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Filmspotting Message Boards => Marathons => Topic started by: 1SO on September 27, 2011, 04:27:33 PM

Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on September 27, 2011, 04:27:33 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/cre18.jpg)

It Begins!!! The time has come to put away your toys and crawl under the covers (as if that will do any good.) As with last year (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8943.0) this is a group marathon, so whoever else decides to watch some horror films in Oct. post their findings here.
Thanks to Final Girl (http://finalgirl.blogspot.com/) for the Shocktober logo.

Beavermoose
Child's Play (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629333#msg629333)
The Devils (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631001#msg631001)
The Devil's Backbone (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg638384#msg638384)
Les Diaboliques (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg637321#msg637321)
The Exorcist (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg637321#msg637321)
The Howling (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg638384#msg638384)
The Omen (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631386#msg631386)
[REC] (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg637321#msg637321)
Rosemary's Baby (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg637321#msg637321)
Suspiria (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631373#msg631373)

Bill Thompson's Splatter Time Fun Fest
The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-luccello-dalle-piume-di-cristallo-the-bird-with-the-crystal-plumage-1970/)
Cat People (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-cat-people-1942/) (1942)
The Changeling (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-the-changeling-1980/)
Day Of The Dead (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-day-of-the-dead-1985/) (1985)
Eyes Without a Face (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-les-yeux-sans-visage-eyes-without-a-face-1960/)
Faust (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-faust-eine-deutsche-volkssage-faust-1926/)
Funny Games (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-funny-games-1997/#more-7279) (1997)
Hausu (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-hausu-house-1977/) (House, 1977)
High Tension (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-haute-tension-high-tension-2003/)
Let Me In (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631123#msg631123) (2010)
Peeping Tom (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-peeping-tom-1960/) (1960)
Repulsion (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-repulsion-1965/)
Vampyr (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg633010#msg633010) (1932)

BlueVoid
Evil Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631909#msg631909)
The Human Centipede (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629640#msg629640)
Night of the Living Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632136#msg632136)

Bondo
Romero:
Night of the Living Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629241#msg629241)
Dawn of the Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629723#msg629723)
Day of the Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630615#msg630615)
Land of the Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632124#msg632124)
Diary of the Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632874#msg632874)
Survival of the Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg634733#msg634733)

Corman/Price/Poe:
House of Usher (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629458#msg629458)
The Pit and the Pendulum (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630120#msg630120)
Tales of Terror (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631897#msg631897)
The Raven (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632336#msg632336)
The Haunted Palace (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg633163#msg633163)
The Masque of the Red Death (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg634102#msg634102)
The Tomb of Ligeria (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg635085#msg635085)

Other:
Born (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg635611#msg635611)
The Inner Room (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636360#msg636360)
Mimic (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636903#msg636903)
Misery (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg637122#msg637122)
Phantom of Paradise (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg635131#msg635131)
Re-Animator (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10573.msg630893#msg630893)
Rosemary's Baby (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg634476#msg634476)
The Serpent and the Rainbow (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636110#msg636110)
Slither (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632709#msg632709)
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636360#msg636360)
White Zombie (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg635923#msg635923)

Corndog
The Birds (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632139#msg632139)
Dawn of the Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg635496#msg635496)
The Evil Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629714#msg629714)
Evil Dead II (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631576#msg631576)
Night of the Living Dead (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg634941#msg634941)
Psycho (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg638198#msg638198)
Suspiria (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg637104#msg637104)
The Thing (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630106#msg630106)

Junior
The Changling (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631078#msg631078)
In The Mouth of Madness (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630898#msg630898)
Martyrs (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631345#msg631345)
The Wicker Man (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631607#msg631607)
Wrong Turn (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632717#msg632717)

Sam the Cinema Snob
Antichrist (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636538#msg636538)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/the-bird-with-the-crystal-plumage-1970/)
Black Sunday (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg634594#msg634594)
Don't Look Now (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/dont-look-now-1973/)
The Evil Dead (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/the-evil-dead-1981/)
The Fog (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/the-fog-1980/)
House (Hausu) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632468#msg632468)
The Mist (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/the-mist-2007/)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/picnic-at-hanging-rock-1975/)
Sleepaway Camp (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/sleepaway-camp-1983/)

verbALs
The Haunting (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630764#msg630764)

1SO
Black Sabbath (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629008#msg629008)
Cannibal Holocaust (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629234#msg629234)
Cat People (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629477#msg629477) (1942)
Curse of the Cat People (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629593#msg629593)
The Conqueror Worm (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629747#msg629747) (aka.The Witchfinder General)
Dead of Night (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629993#msg629993)
The Devil Doll (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630263#msg630263) (1936)
Dexter: Season 5 (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630843#msg630843)
Hausu (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630984#msg630984)
Hour of the Wolf (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631327#msg631327) (Vargtimmen)
Island of Lost Souls (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631524#msg631524)
The Last Man on Earth (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg631855#msg631855) (1964)
The Legend of Hell House (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632244#msg632244)
Mad Love (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632093#msg632093)
Magic (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg632787#msg632787)
The Masque of The Red Death (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg633725#msg633725)
Motel Hell (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg634035#msg634035)
My Bloody Valentine (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg637119#msg637119) (1981)
Night of the Demon (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg635632#msg635632)
Scream 4 (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630562#msg630562)
Torso (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636804#msg636804)
The Unknown (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636132#msg636132)
Vampire Circus (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636514#msg636514)

Mr. & Mrs. 1SOs Not-So-Scary Halloween
The Ghost Breakers
The Hound of the Baskervilles (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636779#msg636779) (1939)
Shadow of a Doubt (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636950#msg636950)
Wait Until Dark (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg636905#msg636905)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on September 27, 2011, 04:47:59 PM
I always watch a lot of horror films in October. I don't know what, but I'll post reviews here when I do.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on September 27, 2011, 05:03:44 PM
My slate:
Romero:
Night of the Living Dead
Dawn of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Land of the Dead
Diary of the Dead
Survival of the Dead
Document of the Dead

Corman/Price/Poe:
House of Usher
The Pit and the Pendulum
Tales of Terror
The Raven
The Haunted Palace
The Masque of the Red Death
The Tomb of Ligeria

Other:
Slither
Against The Dark
Phantom of Paradise
Cracks
Mimic
Misery
Rosemary's Baby
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on September 27, 2011, 05:09:25 PM
I need to do this because horror is kind of a big blind spot for me, but it seems like I am doing so many other things. I will try, but here is an idea of what I would try to do anyway:

The Thing
Dawn of the Dead
Night of the Living Dead
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Evil Dead
Friday the 13th
Carrie
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Hills Have Eyes
Suspiria
28 Days Later
The Blair Witch Project
Rosemary's Baby
Poltergeist

Pretty much any horror standard and I haven't seen it, or it has been way too long to remember anything about it.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on September 27, 2011, 06:05:36 PM
Three of those on my big List, 'dog. Three more in the 101st spot.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on September 30, 2011, 07:20:20 AM
I think I'll just do a top 10 horror list of shame.
---
The Exorcist
Child's Play
Rosemary's Baby
The Omen
Suspiria
Les diaboliques
Rec
The Devils
The Devil's Backbone
The Howling
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: FLYmeatwad on September 30, 2011, 12:41:00 PM
I'm definitely going to be seeing The Shining and The Thing (is The Thing Part 2 supposed to be good?), and maybe The Exorcist. Probably others too. Who knows. Like Junior, I'll put reviews or something here.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on September 30, 2011, 01:37:17 PM
I'm definitely going to be seeing The Shining and The Thing (is The Thing Part 2 supposed to be good?), and maybe The Exorcist. Probably others too. Who knows. Like Junior, I'll put reviews or something here.

I haven't heard any advance word on The Thing (release date is 10/14) but I believe it is supposed to be a prequel to the 1982 version.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on September 30, 2011, 01:41:22 PM
My older son and I always do an October horror movie marathon.  Just started working on this year's line-up, which will no doubt evolve as I steal ideas from other lists herein.   ;D

So far:

The Fog (1980)
The Tenant
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
Lost Highway
Phantasm
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Jared on September 30, 2011, 05:00:44 PM
I always watch a lot of horror films in October. I don't know what, but I'll post reviews here when I do.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: FLYmeatwad on September 30, 2011, 07:33:23 PM
I'm definitely going to be seeing The Shining and The Thing (is The Thing Part 2 supposed to be good?), and maybe The Exorcist. Probably others too. Who knows. Like Junior, I'll put reviews or something here.

I haven't heard any advance word on The Thing (release date is 10/14) but I believe it is supposed to be a prequel to the 1982 version.

Well I mean I'll be seeing the 1982 version, and wondering if The Thing Part 2, I assume this was made in the 80's as well(?), is supposed to be good.

EDIT: Guess not! I guess that's why they say they are showing The Thing Part 2 on Friday. Interesting.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Black Sabbath (1963) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on September 30, 2011, 11:17:29 PM
(http://i56.tinypic.com/2mzfomp.png)

Black Sabbath (1963)

Cult legend Mario Bava delivers three "tales of terror and the supernatural". Typical for the director, the stories are thick with atmosphere and lurid colors and rather thin on character and plot. Not something with much lasting power beyond the atmosphere, a couple of effective moments and the presence of Boris Karloff, who introduces the film and stars in one of the stories.

First up is "The Telephone" about a  high-priced escort who receives a series of strange phone calls. This doesn't develop into another round of Scream, but goes a surprisingly subtle route. It has a predictable climax, but that's followed by a low-key surprise. Not bad, but certainly not remotely scary.

Next is "The Wurdalak", which sounds so cool, especially the way Karloff says it. This is where the disappointment set in. Wurdalak is another name for Vampire. Even though they don't say it, that's exactly what it is. Everybody walks around oblivious to what is obviously going on. This includes the film, whose big reveal is exactly what you thought it was going to be 3 minutes in. I waited for it to go somewhere else but instead the story just wasted my time.

Finally there's "The Drop of Water" which benefits from the simple story, doesn't overstay its welcome, and offers one genuinely creepy image. If this is meant to be the dessert of the film, it's pretty sweet but as empty and unimaginative as a bite-sized candy bar.
RATING: * *
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Cannibal Holocaust (1980) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 02, 2011, 12:07:43 AM
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Quote
Radically ahead of its time and still unbearable to watch for many viewers, Cannibal Holocaust marks the apex (or nadir, depending on your viewpoint) of the Italian cannibal movie subgenre which flourished through the '70s and early '80s. ...grim worldview and unremitting nastiness make for a very rough ride whose viciousness remains potent and startling.

HORROR (noun)
1. An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
2. A thing causing such a feeling.

Despite its stigma, the Horror Genre is generally meant for fun. It's an adrenaline rush and the filmmakers behind the scenes are usually interested in creating a good time more than anything else. Cannibal Holocaust is horror by the strictest of definitions. I've watched A LOT of horror movies in my time and have a pretty strong stomach for whatever a filmmaker wants to throw at me. Watching Cannibal Holocaust there was some fear, quite a bit of shock, and a great deal of disgust. When I say watching Cannibal Holocaust was a horrific experience, I say it with absolutely no encouragement. This is not a litmus test to see if you can handle the extreme gore. It's not good enough or even bad enough to be interesting.

So then, why does Cannibal Holocaust have any reputation at all? Why does it still have any relevance today, where you can say 'Cannibal Holocaust' in a room and a few people will acknowledge they've at least heard of it? There are a few answers to these questions. First of all, unlike a lot of cheap exploitation horror, the gore effects are quite convincing. In fact, except for the editing in what is supposed to be found footage, the images and performances are mostly convincing. This is aided by the filmmakers decision to film animals that were most definitely harmed on camera. It's a moral line, one of many the film will cross both in the fiction of the story and for real. By not holding back on any transgression, Cannibal Holocaust is much more challenging and dangerous than anything remotely similar.

The story is told in three groups. There is an expedition to search for a small documentary crew that disappeared in the jungle, the found footage showing what happened to that crew and the financiers reacting to the footage. By far the most interesting thing about Cannibal Holocaust is the debates by the producers over the found footage, which depict the film crew upsetting the villagers with appalling sadistic violence applied by a feeling of superiority. The scenes, which include burning the villagers huts have obvious political parallels and I actually applaud the film for how believable I found their actions. A moment of lust becomes a graphic sex scene performed in front of the now homeless natives, who can only watch from the beach in the deep background. It may sound like B.S. exploitation, but I bought as very interesting commentary. Plus, it perfectly sets up the revenge you know is coming.

Meanwhile, the producers question the actions of the dead filmmakers. I'm sure this is nothing more than little breathers meant to wet your appetite for what's to come. It does feel like "well if you thought that was horrible, wait till you see what's on the next reel." However, the discussions are ernest, even if accidentally so. They talk about whether it's right to film such atrocities as female mutilation. Aren't the filmmakers equally guilty of savagery? Should the found footage that people lost their lives to film, even see the light of day? (Of course that last one is great meta-commentary since I'm sitting there watching the same footage.)

Ultimately, what is genuinely interesting about Cannibal Holocaust is undermined by a couple of huge mistakes at a crucial moment. For the first hour the only silly moment is when the leader of the 2nd expedition decides to go skinny dipping to gain the trust of the tribe. He's soon joined by a group of native girls. Only, they don't look like National Geographic natives so much as Polynesian porn stars. In the last twenty minutes, the film crew participates in a gang rape. It makes no sense. Nothing the crew has done before make this a plausible action, especially since one of the crew is with his girlfriend. She is literally shoved aside as he takes his turn. (Also, it happens in mud to hide the fact that the victim is white, unlike the rest of the tribe.) This is followed by a graphic discovery, and the reactions sound completely false. Right at the climax these characters reveal themselves as actors. The whole enterprise loses all credibility.

Before the final stupid decisions, I wrestled between giving 2 1/2 stars because there is some interesting discussion to be had about Cannibal Holocaust and giving it 1/2 star because I want to sound as discouraging as possible. (Zero Stars can act as encouragement because it means I was offended, so it worked on some level.) There are a handful of absolutely brutal, immoral films out there. The question remains can they be defended on some kind of artistic grounds. Films like Salo and Enter The Void are easy to support by comparison. The original Last House on the Left takes higher ground than Cannibal Holocaust. Ultimately, the few really interesting bits do not balance out the rest of the film's extreme off-putting disregard for humanity, which is displayed like a badge of honor. Cannibal Holocaust isn't the worst film ever made. It is a film best ignored and forgotten.
RATING: * 1/2
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 02, 2011, 12:57:50 AM
Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)

Wait, why is this in black and white? I know they had color film by 1968. Something about lower budget black and white, especially in genre films, as opposed to the richer black and white of the classic period, makes me think of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, not of quality films.

On the other hand, early in the film it is black and white more thematically, as a capable black man appears in time to save a white woman (who frankly adds nothing to this situation, she does not seem to be long for this zombie apocalypse). They end up holing up in a house, surrounded by zombies.

This lull in the action seems a good time to start this marathon with the general note that I came a bit late to the whole zombie craze. Not necessarily deliberately, I pretty much let all zombie stories (with the exception of Thriller and probably a Goosebumps book or two). And then there was 28 Days Later (top-15 film). Then there was Shaun of the Dead. Then there was Zombieland. Whether for thematically rich drama or for comedy, suddenly I saw the broad potential of zombies in art, going so far as to listen to a multi-part podcast/university course discussion about zombies that included Romero. I figured it was about time I watch the person most closely linked to the emergence of zombie lore.

Fresh on the heels of the civil rights movement, the racial tension sits heavily upon some of the interactions, though it wasn't as present as I was expecting. This film doesn't seem to be making much of a political point. Even the origin of the zombies is designed in a way to minimize thematic meaning, and I really do think those who try to draw out really deep meaning are reading too far into this one or at least the film relies so heavily on the context of the 60s that its insights are lost to time. The main interest to find here is simply watching this group try to survive. By now this might seem mundane but the film has a lasting richness in its construction, even without high production quality, consistently strong acting or thematic depth.

It is of course difficult to forget all that came after this and thus understand how sensational this might have seemed at the time. Hearing the descriptions of the response to the violence in this film (which is extraordinarily slight by modern standards) is rather surprising. And being so versed in zombies at this point, the idea of cannibalism as taboo isn't of itself motivating. Anyway, I write this on October 1st, the 43rd anniversary of the film's premier, to the day. Sounds like a good way to start Shocktober.

4/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 02, 2011, 01:04:59 AM
Re: Cannibal Holocaust

So not an intelligent critique of imperialism? Somehow that film is #1 on the iCM grindhouse list.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 02, 2011, 01:17:05 AM
It's #1 because that list is alphabetical. It only ranks as high as #10 on the 2007-08 list.

I read skjerva's comment. It definitely critiques imperialism during the most interesting portion of the film. But you're pulling 10 minutes out of an incredibly rough 90 minute presentation.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 02, 2011, 01:35:31 AM
Fresh on the heels of the civil rights movement, the racial tension sits heavily upon some of the interactions, though it wasn't as present as I was expecting. This film doesn't seem to be making much of a political point. Even the origin of the zombies is designed in a way to minimize thematic meaning, and I really do think those who try to draw out really deep meaning are reading too far into this one or at least the film relies so heavily on the context of the 60s that its insights are lost to time.

Fun fact: any racial implications are purely accidental.  The part wasn't written specifically for a black man.  They just liked Duane Jones the most.

Glad you liked it, I'm not big on zombie films but NotLD is a fantastic watch.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 02, 2011, 09:02:09 AM
Fresh on the heels of the civil rights movement, the racial tension sits heavily upon some of the interactions, though it wasn't as present as I was expecting. This film doesn't seem to be making much of a political point. Even the origin of the zombies is designed in a way to minimize thematic meaning, and I really do think those who try to draw out really deep meaning are reading too far into this one or at least the film relies so heavily on the context of the 60s that its insights are lost to time.

Fun fact: any racial implications are purely accidental.  The part wasn't written specifically for a black man.  They just liked Duane Jones the most.

Glad you liked it, I'm not big on zombie films but NotLD is a fantastic watch.

Yeah, this is why the movie is on my list and not Dawn. The racial commentary really only comes at the very end. I don't know if the context of the 60s is lost to time, but the movie certainly isn't focused on the race issue. Romero seems to have forgotten that scares come first and designed the rest of the series around "important social issues," which are boring.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 02, 2011, 11:31:43 AM
Day Of The Dead (1985)

Quote
I remember when I first watched Day Of The Dead many moons ago. I didnít like it very much, but over time I chalked up my dislike to being young and not quite getting the genre or George A. Romeroís sensibilities. Now that I return to Day Of The Dead as an avid fan of Mr. Romero and someone who loves the horror genre (while also having a decent grasp on horror themes and concepts I think) I expected to love it. Turns out that young Bill understood Day Of The Dead perfectly fine because all these years later itís still a movie I donít like.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-day-of-the-dead-1985/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 02, 2011, 11:43:22 AM
Child's Play
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Z_fYxbEgVpE/TZB_-K4L1EI/AAAAAAAAAj8/Y7uD1hoynLw/s1600/03childsplay.jpg)
Criminal Charles Lee Ray uses his voodoo magic to possess an ironically titled "good guy" doll. The main child actor tells his parents that the doll talks to him but no one believes him. That is until the doll starts killing people! The narrative is conventional slasher fair but is saved mostly by the novelty of having a freaking doll as the main villain. I feel like its sort of satirizing those kinds of unstoppable serial killer movies, even referencing terminator at the very end with Chucky half destroyed and still going. Its a fun movie, and incredibly amusing when you just think of the fact that a 3 foot doll is attacking grown men. Nothing to write home about but a fun take on the slasher genre. Not scary at all though.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 02, 2011, 02:02:17 PM
@Bill. I like your take. I have a strong like/HATE regard towards DOTD. The performances are terrible, but consistent in their theatricality, so I came around on Dr. Logan and a couple of the others. I also really, really like the zombie finale. Overall, it's a film so hampered by budget it would've been better to wait for more funds or not even bother. Overall I find this chapter easier to rewatch than Land of the Dead, where Romero had some support but felt even further out of his element.

@Beavermoose. Child's Play is okay. After that, they tried treating Chuckie as a serious threat with a bunch of terrible sequels. Bride of Chucky, however, is a lot of fun. They finally took the idea in the right direction.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 02, 2011, 09:44:54 PM
House of Usher (1960)

I haven't read any Poe for a good long while, perhaps even since ninth grade English. The handful of short stories I have read I've enjoyed for its rich gothic nature. As such, I thought it would be fun to read the Poe originals alongside watching the Corman/Price films for this marathon. I had never read The Fall of the House of Usher and I have to say, the thickness of the prose caught me by surprise as I don't remember struggling so much with Poe before, and yet it kind of makes sense. I can't say I loved Usher as a short story (I do absolutely adore the part of The Martian Chronicles that is based on Usher and other Poe stories) and have an even more difficult time picturing a feature film adaptation of what is an extremely slight story, but then I'm gonna watch The Raven for this marathon, which I can picture as filling a third of a Simpsons' episode but not a feature-length film. But that's why we watch the films.

And indeed, what a film. It takes a couple of major details from Poe's story but really embellishes it in order to get more from the story. In the story, the visitor is a childhood friend of Roderick Usher, in the film he is fiancee of Madeline Usher, a character in the story almost in spirit only. Rather than being a mere observer of the House, Philip is an active participant in a romance with Roderick standing sternly in the way, with dare I say incestuous underpinning. You also get a richer exploration of the Usher curseÖis it the house or is it the genes, or is it both? That mystery is the shroud that hangs over the plot.

Price is fantastic here. I'm not sure how much I've seen of him but it strikes me that he reminds me of a sinister version of Paul Newman, complete with bright blue eyes. Combined with his distinctive voice he is just an immediately captivating screen presence. The four person cast here works quite well as a whole.

Anyway, I had a great time with this film. On the whole I appreciate the adaptation, though the ending in the original story seemed cooler and neater. The film had a few soft moments in the last act where it felt like it could have lost ten minutes, even out of the 70-something minute runtime. Still, with these films being a little less classic than the Romero zombie films, getting off to such a great start and seeing both the high technical level of Corman and strong presence of Price has me very excited about this part of Shocktober too.

4/5
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Cat People (1942) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 02, 2011, 10:57:23 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/WKl28.jpg)

Cat People (1942)

Cat people has a considerable reputation as a classic 1940s horror film. It's one of the landmark examples of horror by suggestion, the use of shadow and noise to create terror. This is very evident in a couple of key scenes that are still pretty intense. Unfortunately, I'd have trouble coming up with Top 5 key moments in Cat People. While the performances are fine and the script is good enough, at 70 minutes everything feels truncated. I would've appreciated more character development, more story, a few more plot turns. After all that is in place there'd be room for even more scary scenes.

It's hard to go into what's really good about Cat People because there's so little of it. I'd love to tell you about the two really effective scares, the small visual moments involving footprints and nails, but then there'd be nothing left for you to enjoy on your own. There's a story about how the cat people came to be, but it's left largely unexplored. And what about that strange looking woman at the Serbian restaurant? It would've been nice to get back to her and see what else she knows. The film doesn't even explore the sexual connection of the curse. I tried to look at the film as a metaphor for something related to men and women, but again they don't take the time to include such things into the story.

I don't like faulting a film for what it isn't. Cat People does build to some well-directed horror set pieces, and I can recommend it for what's there, but there could've been so much more.
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 03, 2011, 12:41:14 AM
Huh.  I think it hits all those points in its brief running time.  Maybe because I've seen it a bunch of times.  The sex stuff is pretty obvious, though, isn't it?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Jared on October 03, 2011, 11:50:58 AM
are you going to watch the sequel (which I believe is on the same disc)? Its an odd but interesting diversion from the original.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 01:11:55 PM
Curse of the Cat People

Don't feel like writing a full review for this because I watched it last night and it's already fading from memory. I liked how they brought back a lot of the cast and I really like the way the sequel involves that strange looking woman from the restaurant. It's interesting to see how directors Robert Wise and Gunther von Fritsch don't try to mimic the style of the original. They don't shake the shadows completely, but there are more stylized lighting effects and more of a gothic ghost story feel that reminded me of Wise's The Haunting. Overall though, this feels even more incomplete than the original, with characters like the aging actress behaving strangely just for effect. I watched this at night, alone and with all the lights out yet nothing even remotely creeped me out. The odd stuff didn't build but just plopped along, until suddenly we got some danger in the last 2 minutes.
RATING: * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 03, 2011, 02:02:05 PM
I'm not committing to this list, but I'm going to try to work through these, and perhaps others as I edit them in over the rest of the month:

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (http://wp.me/pC1yx-220)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (http://wp.me/pC1yx-22v)
Don't Look Now (http://wp.me/pC1yx-22k)
House (http://wp.me/pC1yx-20U) (1977)
Burnt Offerings
Sleepaway Camp (http://wp.me/pC1yx-20x)
The Evil Dead (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/the-evil-dead-1981/)
Black Sunday (http://wp.me/pC1yx-21P)
Faust
The Mist
Antichrist (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/antichrist-2009/)

Additions:

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
An American Werewolf in London
Requiem
Deep Red
Grace
The Fog (1980)
Maniac
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 02:19:55 PM
Glad to have you aboard. That makes three for House (Hausu).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 03, 2011, 03:55:44 PM
Curse of the Cat People

Don't feel like writing a full review for this because I watched it last night and it's already fading from memory. I liked how they brought back a lot of the cast and I really like the way the sequel involves that strange looking woman from the restaurant. It's interesting to see how directors Robert Wise and Gunther von Fritsch don't try to mimic the style of the original. They don't shake the shadows completely, but there are more stylized lighting effects and more of a gothic ghost story feel that reminded me of Wise's The Haunting. Overall though, this feels even more incomplete than the original, with characters like the aging actress behaving strangely just for effect. I watched this at night, alone and with all the lights out yet nothing even remotely creeped me out. The odd stuff didn't build but just plopped along, until suddenly we got some danger in the last 2 minutes.
RATING: * *

It's not a horror movie at all.  It's a movie about childhood, and a lovely one at that.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 04:20:29 PM
It's not a horror movie at all.  It's a movie about childhood, and a lovely one at that.

Then everything about the film was misleading. Not just the marketing and the fact that it's the sequel to a horror film - you can give many examples of other films that did the same - but everything, including the supernatural aspects of the film itself. I found it to be in the same vein as The Innocents (or The Others). A Tale of Two Sisters, I can make a stronger argument for that being a film about childhood and not a horror film than I can with Curse of the Cat People.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 03, 2011, 04:36:03 PM
Well, of course it has supernatural elements.  But that doesn't mean anything.  Spirit of the Beehive is a closer analogue than The Innocents.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: BlueVoid on October 03, 2011, 04:50:26 PM
I decided to throw my hat into the ring. I'm not sure how many I  will get to, but this is my tentative list.

1.)  The Human Centipede
2.) Evil Dead
3.) Evil Dead 2
4.) Hostel
5.) Dawn of the Dead
6.) Night of the Living Dead
7.) Halloween
8.) Re-Animator
9.) Scream


To start off:

The Human Centipede

I wanted to start October off with a bang. I didn't go into this much talked about and controversial body horror film with high hopes. I expected to be grossed out and left bored by feeble attempts at shock horror. The premise is pretty heinous. A disturbed doctor kidnaps his victims and stitches them together, mouth to rectum, to form a 'centipede'. Clearly this is high brow entertainment.

For the most part I got what I was expecting. The premise delivered what it was advertising. I'm not one to be impressed with graphic displays of mutilation. I don't go for a director trying to shock and disturb the audience just for the sheer sake of producing an emotion. This is cheap. A well crafted and thought out horror film can use graphic displays to accent and heighten the emotional response to a film, but it should not be centered around this. To his credit I don't think director Tom Six does that here. There are many disturbing elements, but I don't think he went overboard with graphic imagery. Sure, there is some - how could there not be given such a premise? - but he also showed restraint. Six at least attempted to go beyond exploitation.

That being said I would never consider this a 'good' movie. Beyond the initial premise the movie doesn't really go anywhere. It tries. It tries very hard. Six appears to be grasping for any sort of deeper meaning he can possibly think of, but it never comes through. It's clear he is channeling the works of better filmmakers like Takashi Miike, but comes nowhere near the quality. Scenes are set up to appear to appear meaningful, but its really just hollow mimicry. Beyond featuring some decent acting by Dieter Laser as the doctor there is really little of value here. The best I can say is that its not as awful as I thought it was going to be.
2/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 05:02:12 PM
Yep. I didn't avoid Human Centipede because of the subject matter (which is actually laughable in it's desperate attempt to be shocking) but because the execution seemed incredibly bland.

Welcome to the Marathon. We're now looking at over 100 possible reviews before the end of the month.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 03, 2011, 07:11:42 PM
I think there's a lot of tongue in cheek humor in the human centipede. *no pun intended*
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: oneaprilday on October 03, 2011, 08:04:55 PM
House of Usher (1960)

And indeed, what a film. It takes a couple of major details from Poe's story but really embellishes it in order to get more from the story. In the story, the visitor is a childhood friend of Roderick Usher, in the film he is fiancee of Madeline Usher, a character in the story almost in spirit only. Rather than being a mere observer of the House, Philip is an active participant in a romance with Roderick standing sternly in the way, with dare I say incestuous underpinning. You also get a richer exploration of the Usher curseÖis it the house or is it the genes, or is it both? That mystery is the shroud that hangs over the plot.
Are you saying those things are not in the original story?  They are, actually.  (Sorry if I'm misunderstanding you; I'm not quite clear on the distinctions you're making between the orig. story and the film's story. )

Anyway, sounds like a great film - I think I did see it a long time ago, but not since I've been teaching Poe for my Am lit class these past couple of years.  I'll have to check it out!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 03, 2011, 08:13:57 PM
This is not really related to the marathon because I won't be writing something about all of these films but I'm trying to watch one horror film for everyday in the month of October. (31)
I'll edit this list as I go along.

1st: Transformers 3
2nd: Child's Play
3rd: Prince of Darkness
4th: Eyes Without a Face
5th: The Devils
6th: The Omen
7th: Suspiria
8th: Slither
9th: Wolf Creek
10th: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
11th: Paranormal Activity 2
12th: [REC]
13th: Slumber Party Massacre
14th: Tucker and Dale vs Evil
15th: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw III
16th: The Birthday
17th: Pieces
18th: Don't Look Now
19th: Prom Night
20th: The Happening
21st: White Skin
22nd: The Devil's Backbone
23rd: The Funhouse
24th: Black Christmas
25th: They Live
26th: The Exorcist
27th: Rosemary's Baby
28th: Zookeeper
29th: Cannibal Holocaust
30th: The Howling
31st: Les diaboliques
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 03, 2011, 08:15:18 PM
The main thing I was saying wasn't in the original story was the romantic plot. I didn't see anything to indicate a romantic bond between Philip and Madeline and without that and thus Roderick's resistance, there was no reason to suspect incest or at least no reason for Poe to pull it out at all.

As to the latter underlined point, by "richer" I meant the film just stresses it more clearly than the story, though the story is certainly tackling that as well. I do definitely recommend you watch the film, I'd love to hear your take with a more detailed grasp of the story.

@BM: LOL at Transformers as horror film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 08:33:31 PM
This is not really related to the marathon because I won't be writing something about all of these films but I'm trying to watch one horror film everyday for the month of October.

1st: Transformers 3

I see what you did there.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 03, 2011, 08:45:18 PM
This is not really related to the marathon because I won't be writing something about all of these films but I'm trying to watch one horror film everyday for the month of October.

1st: Transformers 3

I see what you did there.

It was a horror.   ;)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 03, 2011, 09:14:54 PM
Líuccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, 1970)

Quote
I love making my way through the career of Dario Argento. Even the films of his that arenít very good are always a great experience to discover. Líuccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo isnít one of his bad movies, but it is a very interesting film in how it stacks up against the rest of his body of work. Líuccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo dispels the very incorrect notion that Maestro Argento has built a career on movies that are strictly atmospheric. Donít get me wrong, Líuccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo is full of atmosphere, but itís also a movie with a clear theme and it highlights a very distinct fetish of a director.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-luccello-dalle-piume-di-cristallo-the-bird-with-the-crystal-plumage-1970/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 03, 2011, 09:20:29 PM
Anyway, sounds like a great film - I think I did see it a long time ago, but not since I've been teaching Poe for my Am lit class these past couple of years.  I'll have to check it out!

The Corman/Poe films are really terrific.  Masque of the Red Death is the best, but they're all worth watching.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 03, 2011, 09:24:52 PM
(http://i56.tinypic.com/n694ex.jpg)
The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981) (http://corndogchats.blogspot.com/2011/10/evil-dead-1981.html)

This movie is ridiculous. Okay, so my movie IQ has been steadily growing over the last couple years, but I must admit that my horror IQ is quite low. Despite loving the films Halloween and Scream, both of which appear on my Top 100, my horror knowledge is very shallow. Many of the classics are films I have not seen, or at least not seen within memory, like Psycho. So this October I will be making an effort to delve deeper into the classics in the genre, of which I have enjoyed almost everything I have seen. I just love all the silliness of it, and it can sometimes be genuinely terrifying, even if I am usually a very hard scare.

To me, Sam Raimi is the Spider-man guy, and also the guy who directed that baseball movie with Kevin Costner that I like, well because it's a baseball movie (For the Love of the Game). But his reputation is that of a horror director, being one of the more important filmmakers in the genre in the 80s, starting with this, his directorial debut which he also wrote. Basically five friends travel to a remote cabin in the mountains as a getaway and the night they get there they unknowingly awaken dead spirits which come to inhabit the bodies of the young group. Ash (Bruce Campbell) is left to protect what is left of his friends and try to survive the night himself.

I think this is a great example of why the genre is not taken seriously by the majority of people. There are perhaps more obvious examples, but this is a film which manages to incorporate what I feel are detractors of large audiences. The special effects are very low budget, which is often one of the more common routes for horror films. They can be downright laughable at times, but this also gives the film a certain charm not found elsewhere. I can forgive the film its low budget and cheap tricks, mostly because of the buckets of fake blood used. I don't know what it is, but I love me tons of fake blood and this film delivers. It is actually quite gory, even if it does involve a tree rape amongst other atrocities.

The story is also pretty simple: young group goes to cabin, most transform and try to kill the others, they try to survive the night. There is a hint at relationships and a meaningless charm is even exchanged, but there really is nothing to this film, which is why I suspect most critics shy away from horror films: lack of what they might call "meaningful" plot. The stupid fun that can found in these movies is amazing. Like I said, I do not scare all that easily, and this film never really scared me, though that was mostly because of the stereotypically stupid decisions made by its characters and the atrocious performances, especially from the films star Bruce Campbell. But like I mentioned earlier, this poor quality gives the film a strange charm as well.

I have certainly seen better made horror films, even for a small budget, and this film didn't really do that much for me at all. But I did manage to enjoy myself, utilizing the completely dark basement "home theater" I have set up. Not a film I would come back to and it did not leave me wanting more, but I can imagine including it in a sort of horror marathon with friends one day, just not as the main event. To its credit, it had some really creative camera work, even if the horror POV was probably overused, but then again I admit my horror background is weak, so maybe the POV was something new and fresh back then. If anything else, the film has me excited to delve into some of the classics of the genre in the upcoming month.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: oneaprilday on October 03, 2011, 09:43:00 PM
The main thing I was saying wasn't in the original story was the romantic plot.
Right - a romance between the narrator and Madeline is definitely not indicated in the story.

I didn't see anything to indicate a romantic bond between Philip and Madeline and without that and thus Roderick's resistance, there was no reason to suspect incest or at least no reason for Poe to pull it out at all.
Poe's hint about incest is pretty subtle, and only 1/4 of my students in a given class generally pick it up, but it's there, for example:  "I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain."  Those hints at incest in the story are an intrinsic part of the rotten undercurrent that runs through entire genetic line/physical house of Usher - and it adds to the general unease of the atmosphere.


As to the latter underlined point, by "richer" I meant the film just stresses it more clearly than the story, though the story is certainly tackling that as well. I do definitely recommend you watch the film, I'd love to hear your take with a more detailed grasp of the story.
I guess after having the opportunity to teach the story several times, it's unavoidably clear to me (once I've seen it, I'm looking for it!) - and there's doubling throughout the story that links physical house and the Usher line (think of the poem at the center of the narrative that is simultaneously describing a man going insane and a house falling to ruin).  But it certainly may be that the film is even more obvious - I'm looking forward to checking it out, and I'll report back when I do.

And @sdedalus, thanks for the recommendation of Masque of Red Death!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 03, 2011, 10:21:13 PM
Poe's prose probably made things less clear for me than someone better at cutting through it might find it. It's not like me to miss implications of incest or other sexual impropriety. I took that line to mostly mean they had had only one child per generation generally speaking, maybe only sons (except very temporary variation), but reading it again with that understanding it makes sense. I just have to remember to apply archaic definitions of words.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Well, it didn't take long for me to realize that this wasn't going to be anything like Zach Snyder's remake. That film begins with our central character at home, with the spreading zombie apocalypse being discovered along with her. This begins with a televised discussion about a zombie issue that seems to be well underway, with those working at the television channel starting to bail to get to safety.

Then we cut to a SWAT team assault on a building full ofÖsome kind of criminals, and then suddenly there are zombies, but it is a group that is fairly well prepared for the zombies. This is less zombie apocalypse than zombie outbreak.

So the first thing I have to comment on here are the makeup/effects. NotLD never really went for gore and used mostly body language to signal the zombies so it didn't demand much. Now in color and with a strong increase in gore, the film is put to the test, and I feel like it largely fails that test. The zombies are a bluish or grayish tinge that just looks weird and the gore is of a distracting low-budget B-movie quality. There are a couple of funny/cool kills to be sure, but it looks much older/cheaper than NotLD.

At the end of the day this is fine, but having already seen Snyder's version, with its steadier pacing and better production values and acting, I just don't see that much added value to Romero's. 1SO, in putting it in his top-10 (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8652.msg585305#msg585305), says it is more action film than horror film. But Romero's just doesn't have that much action. The middle act has few moments of real tension and yet the drama/character stuff wasn't really moving me. It does pick up toward the end with some of the best material but it is just a bit long getting there. Snyder keeps things at a much faster rate with more constant action sequences and for me would be the one I'd be most eager to rematch (so long as I shut it off before the credits roll and ruin the thing).

3/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 10:37:32 PM
I'm so used to supporting Bondo that it pains me to be on the receiving end of his wildly minority opinions. Calling Dawn of the Dead largely a failure in the makeup department so defies decades of conventional opinion I'm too gobsmacked to know where to defend the film with the greatest zombie kills of all time. I understand your feeling about the color makeup effects, but the bluish skin along with the theatrical blood achieve an effect no other zombie film can match, except perhaps Evils Dead I and II. Is it realistic? Not quite, but it's a heck of a lot better. Even the hatchet to the face is extremely cool, even though it's one of the faker moments of gore. And you keep comparing it unfavorably to Zach Snyder... ...

I mean ...

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 03, 2011, 10:49:56 PM
Nothing comes close to 28 Days Later. And I take issue with the comment in your review about no zombie film since using the zombies in support of the story rather than just vice versa. Though maybe you weren't counting 28 Days Later as a zombie film, even though it definitely was (I mean, the first zombie films had living rather than undead zombies).

FWIW, I hated Evil Dead. I didn't think it was an even passable film.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Conqueror Worm (1968) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 11:17:35 PM
The Conqueror Worm (aka. The Witchfinder General) (1968)

Filmmaker Michael Reeves died at the age of 25, having only made 4 movies. His most famous is his final picture The Witchfinder General (retitled The Conqueror Worm in the U.S.). Based on the life of notorious and corrupt witch hunter Matthew Hopkins, it's a brutal, savage criticism of religious hypocrisy. Similar in some ways to Ken Russell's The Devils, this film shows that torture porn existed long before Eli Roth grabbed a camera. It has the kind of cheery outlook you get from a Alejandro GonzŠlez IŮŠrritu film. Michael Reeves was a pessimist.

I was expecting Cannibal Holocaust to be my only difficult horror film, not something from 1968 England. It opens with the final tortures of a woman condemned to death for witchcraft. She screams, pleading for her life until the end of a rope finally silences her. The shrieks are almost unbearable, and this is only the beginning. Before the film is done there are beatings, sexual assault, betrayal, more torture, burnings, hangings and a hatchet. All of this sounds like par for the course for the horror genre, but again I find myself questioning what constitutes a horror film as opposed to a film that depicts very real horrors. This film is so depressingly angry with humanity it becomes difficult to deal with. It's a revenge film where the heroes become just as savage and immoral as the villains without once reflecting on their loss of humanity. The winner here is overwhelming evil.

The Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins is played by Vincent Price. I'll admit I only know him by his red smoking jacket hammy persona, so I can't really compare his performance here to other films except to say he's pretty restrained. The evil slides off him without a single moustache twirl moment. When one woman offers sexual favors in exchange for her father's life, Price doesn't bats an eye, suggesting that this kind of trade-off happens at every stop he makes.

In my post-game I read that Reeves was considered a talented young filmmaker, but I found little evidence of that here. The simple story is embellished by scenes of debauchery and horseback riding. Everything is realistically grimy and you can praise Reeves for making his movie without caring what an audience might think, but I found the whole experience unpleasant. Also, the night photography is exceptionally poor. I could still follow the voices but often I couldn't see any of the faces clearly. I really hope there's a little fun headed my way because the only joy I'm getting from this marathon is in reading the reviews of the other participants.
RATING: * 1/2
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: oneaprilday on October 03, 2011, 11:21:10 PM
Poe's prose probably made things less clear for me than someone better at cutting through it might find it. It's not like me to miss implications of incest or other sexual impropriety. I took that line to mostly mean they had had only one child per generation generally speaking, maybe only sons (except very temporary variation), but reading it again with that understanding it makes sense. I just have to remember to apply archaic definitions of words.
Yes, Poe can be surprisingly dense reading, especially "Usher" ("Black Cat," for example, is less so)! 
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 03, 2011, 11:25:31 PM
(http://i56.tinypic.com/n694ex.jpg)
The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981) (http://corndogchats.blogspot.com/2011/10/evil-dead-1981.html)

This movie is ridiculous. Okay, so my movie IQ has been steadily growing over the last couple years, but I must admit that my horror IQ is quite low. Despite loving the films Halloween and Scream, both of which appear on my Top 100, my horror knowledge is very shallow. Many of the classics are films I have not seen, or at least not seen within memory, like Psycho. So this October I will be making an effort to delve deeper into the classics in the genre, of which I have enjoyed almost everything I have seen. I just love all the silliness of it, and it can sometimes be genuinely terrifying, even if I am usually a very hard scare.

To me, Sam Raimi is the Spider-man guy, and also the guy who directed that baseball movie with Kevin Costner that I like, well because it's a baseball movie (For the Love of the Game). But his reputation is that of a horror director, being one of the more important filmmakers in the genre in the 80s, starting with this, his directorial debut which he also wrote. Basically five friends travel to a remote cabin in the mountains as a getaway and the night they get there they unknowingly awaken dead spirits which come to inhabit the bodies of the young group. Ash (Bruce Campbell) is left to protect what is left of his friends and try to survive the night himself.

I think this is a great example of why the genre is not taken seriously by the majority of people. There are perhaps more obvious examples, but this is a film which manages to incorporate what I feel are detractors of large audiences. The special effects are very low budget, which is often one of the more common routes for horror films. They can be downright laughable at times, but this also gives the film a certain charm not found elsewhere. I can forgive the film its low budget and cheap tricks, mostly because of the buckets of fake blood used. I don't know what it is, but I love me tons of fake blood and this film delivers. It is actually quite gory, even if it does involve a tree rape amongst other atrocities.

The story is also pretty simple: young group goes to cabin, most transform and try to kill the others, they try to survive the night. There is a hint at relationships and a meaningless charm is even exchanged, but there really is nothing to this film, which is why I suspect most critics shy away from horror films: lack of what they might call "meaningful" plot. The stupid fun that can found in these movies is amazing. Like I said, I do not scare all that easily, and this film never really scared me, though that was mostly because of the stereotypically stupid decisions made by its characters and the atrocious performances, especially from the films star Bruce Campbell. But like I mentioned earlier, this poor quality gives the film a strange charm as well.

I have certainly seen better made horror films, even for a small budget, and this film didn't really do that much for me at all. But I did manage to enjoy myself, utilizing the completely dark basement "home theater" I have set up. Not a film I would come back to and it did not leave me wanting more, but I can imagine including it in a sort of horror marathon with friends one day, just not as the main event. To its credit, it had some really creative camera work, even if the horror POV was probably overused, but then again I admit my horror background is weak, so maybe the POV was something new and fresh back then. If anything else, the film has me excited to delve into some of the classics of the genre in the upcoming month.

Corndog - I am dismayed to see that Evil Dead II is not on your marathon list; quickly swap something else out in its favor.  Then Sam's true genius will be revealed and you will appreciate Bruce Campbell's iconic performance as Ash.  From your review, I think you will appreciate this evolution of the original.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 03, 2011, 11:28:27 PM
And I hope that you appreciate that I used the word "appreciate" two sentences in a row.  I know I appreciate my appreciation of the word "appreciate".
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 03, 2011, 11:31:17 PM
I 2nd jim's comment. Your review points to an immediate need to see Evil Dead II.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 03, 2011, 11:35:13 PM
And then on to Army of Darkness!

Also, "To me, Sam Raimi is the Spider-man guy" is a phrase that makes me feel really old.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 03, 2011, 11:42:18 PM
And then on to Army of Darkness!

Also, "To me, Sam Raimi is the Spider-man guy" is a phrase that makes me feel really old.

Agreed, to both! 

Sadly, in the case of the latter.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: BlueVoid on October 03, 2011, 11:44:39 PM
@1SO Too bad you've run into a duo of clunkers. Sounds like another one I'll steer clear of. It seems like there is an abundance of these kind of just deprave 'horror' flicks floating around. It amazes me how much of a cult following they seem to get.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 03, 2011, 11:45:46 PM
Corndog - Congratulations on your upcoming 10,000.  I've been here only a short while but I've liked your stuff.  Good show.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 04, 2011, 08:48:44 AM
The zombies are a bluish or grayish tinge that just looks weird and the gore is of a distracting low-budget B-movie quality.

Seeing as how Dawn is a B movie I'm not really seeing your complaint.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 04, 2011, 11:01:37 AM
It's similar to something I said in my review of Snyder's version. I liked that 28 Days later didn't have undead/supernatural zombies given its very real/serious approach. I like my supernatural zombies better in comedic films where I don't have to take it very seriously. I think the same goes for bad effects/overdone gore, it works better in a comedic film than a more serious film. Now I suppose it is up for debate just how serious Dawn of the Dead is playing it but it stands out more here than similar stuff would in a film like Shaun of the Dead (though both that and Zombieland have far better effects).
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Dead of Night (1945) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 04, 2011, 09:11:28 PM
Dead of Night (1945)

Quote from: Martin Scorsese
A British classic: four tales told by four strangers mysteriously gathered in a country house, each one extremely disquieting, climaxing with ... a crescendo of madness. Like The Uninvited, itís very playfulÖand then it gets under your skin.

For most of its running time, this is really basic sub-Twilight Zone material. There's a hospital patient who has a spooky vision of a death he may have escaped. (The genesis of Final Destination?) A young girl who meets an odd boy during a game of hide and seek. These both should have been expanded. We barely get to the premise and the tale is over. A comical ghost story about golfing should have been cut completely. The man whose mirror looks into the house of its prior owner is more satisfying, but again it's a really basic idea and you wait for a surprise that never happens.

Then there's The Dummy.

Ventriloquist horror stories are fairly common and never stray from the formula. (Even when used on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"). They also never fail to creep me out, and this feels like the first version of this tale. The back and forth between the insulting, unpleasant wooden Hugo and his human owner starts uneasy and slips nicely into complete insanity. It's the only story that's exactly as long as it needs to be and I liked it quite a bit.

However, that's not the best part of Dead of Night. The final minutes goes off the rails into some genuine terror. (I edited Scorsese's comment so as not to spoil it.) I was disappointed with most of Dead of Night, but I can almost recommend it for what happens at the very end and then the extra bit at the very, very end. A mostly forgettable movie ends on a note well worth remembering.
RATING: * * 1/2
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 04, 2011, 11:35:08 PM
A film I have always wanted to see - just for the ventriloquist part.  Now my desire to see it is even greater, but my expectations are more muted.

Nice review, 1SO.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 05, 2011, 09:39:05 AM
Quote
Ventriloquist horror stories are fairly common and never stray from the formula.
When I saw your new avatar I thought it was a decolourised picture from Magic, I haven't seen it in a while but Hopkins performance makes this at least a memorable take on this sort of story. Seen it?/What did you think?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 05, 2011, 10:31:19 AM
Quote
Ventriloquist horror stories are fairly common and never stray from the formula.
When I saw your new avatar I thought it was a decolourised picture from Magic, I haven't seen it in a while but Hopkins performance makes this at least a memorable take on this sort of story. Seen it?/What did you think?

(http://i55.tinypic.com/1zcz315.jpg)

I know the question was directed at 1SO but I just wanted to jump in (I'm rude that way).  It's been a while, but I really loved this movie when I was younger.  I'd read the book (part of my William Goldman phase) and thought the movie was a faithfully creepy rendering of the story.  Most of the action takes place on a lake in the Catskills and the atmosphere is vividly autumnal.  Hopkins gives a very manic performance and you can really sense how painful it is for him to be inside his own head.  Ann-Margret is beautiful and earthy, but you have to wonder what universe we are in when her choice of lovers is between (the always good) Ed Lauter and Anthony Hopkins.  Burgess Meredith is outstanding as Hopkin's gruff but caring agent.  The film has a nice, slow pace and has a very memorable penultimate shot.  Oh yeah - the dummy (Fats) is creepy as hell.     

It's been twenty or so years since I've seen it, but I think I'm going to add it onto my Shocktober list now. 
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 05, 2011, 11:09:35 AM
(http://i53.tinypic.com/33yrz7r.jpg)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982) (http://corndogchats.blogspot.com/2011/10/thing-1982.html)

Alright, here we go. With the second entry in the Shocktober horror marathon I can start to feel things start to get going with a pretty outstanding film from John Carpenter, who has done it before with Halloween, one of the few horror standards I have seen, and good enough to make it onto my Top 100 films of all time list. With the prequel set to release in the next couple of weeks, I was anxious to catch the original first to see what it was all about because I am curious to see the new one starring Joel Edgerton. This one stars Kurt Russell, and what can I say about Kurt Russell other than what happened to him? He was such a cool dude and sure, he still does stuff, but he is the type of actor whose persona seems to me, an outsider to the decade, to have dominated the 80s. Sure there were bigger stars, but Russell was right there until the early to mid 90s. He is the type of guy that I feel like should have been bigger.

In Carpenter's The Thing, Russell plays Mac, the pilot for an American outpost on the frozen continent of Antarctica. The film hits the ground running right away as a mysterious helicopter is pursuing a husky dog, trying to kill it. It is soon learned, after the helicopter lands at the American camp and the crew are killed, that they were Norwegian researchers who had encountered a strange phenomenon. The other members of the American team must try to unravel the mystery of the Norwegians as they slowly disappear and disfigure. Wilford Brimley, Keith David and Donald Moffat co-star in this alien horror mystery.

The film had me from the word go, which is great for a horror film because when it hits the ground running as quickly as it did, the tension and mystery just build and build throughout and it's brilliant. Carpenter crafts what I would call more of a mystery/thriller than I would a horror film, and I mean that in the best way possible. I have said that I don't scare easily, so perhaps it is better that this would be more of a mystery given my tastes, but the fact remains that the unknown is more terrifying than the known, and Carpenter's treatment of the "Thing" is great in that regard. Everyone is kept on their feet guessing who is human and who is not, even the audience doesn't know. Carpenter even throws in little hints, but not until the reveal do we actually know who is who.

And the setting of the film really aided the effectiveness of the film. Putting this in the freezing, remote Antarctic outpost is perfect for everything that has to happen here. For one, paranoia. Paranoia is a compelling theme for any movie, but place it in a location where no one can go anywhere and you basically just turned it up to 11. And watching these characters basically lose trust in everything around them, but especially the people they have lived with for weeks in this secluded science center, is worth the price of admission, or in this case the price of rental.

I was impressed by John Carpenter's ability to be patient with this material and let it evolve naturally, creating a sense of impending doom and mystery as to what the "thing" is and how it would be resolved. And the ending is exactly what needs to happen. Another thing which impressed me, and surprised me a bit, was seeing that Ennio Morricone composed the score for the film. I have loved his work in the past, but when his name came on screen I was curious to see how his style would fit with this type of film. I was also disappointed by how little his score was used, basically only using a very simple theme, which was remarkably effective, like the rest of the film. Kurt Russell was simple and effective. That is the best way I can describe this film: simple and effective. That and explosive claustrophobic paranoia.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 05, 2011, 12:00:21 PM
I saw Magic when I was young and didn't know who Anthony Hopkins was. I thought it was uninspired and dull at the time, but I plan to revisit it some day. Perhaps I should add it to my Shocktober list too.

Am I the only one disappointed in Carpenter's The Thing outside of about 10-15 minutes of the greatest makeup effects?

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 05, 2011, 12:11:19 PM
I watched the first 30 min or something of The Thing and obviously was not that taken by it.

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

While I am guilty of too often making snap judgements on things, whether they be books or films, not giving sufficient time to let the non-obvious elements really sing in, The Pit and the Pendulum really stood out to me more strongly upon finishing than did House of Usher, though I've come to appreciate that one a little more both with time and as a result of the film adaptation. Though I can't say I'm crazy about the ending, Pit and the Pendulum is fantastic in putting us in the untethered mind of someone subjected to tortures of the Spanish Inquisition; a place where the confusion of sensory deprivation, rumor and reality combine to create a mental prison as terrible as the real one. Though I should be accused of false equivalence, I couldn't help but think of America's descent into torture as part of the war on terror. Those who scoff at the notion that using light, noise and temperature to cause discomfort and disorientation is torture really ought to read this story. Anyway, Poe certainly is the master of mood. On to the film.

If I thought House of Usher featured pretty dramatic deviations, it is nothing compared to Pit and the Pendulum. That film largely kept to the spirit of the story, simply adding dramatic interest. Here a story is created out of whole cloth. Rather than taking place in the Inquisition, it is set a generation removed as the son of someone who performed torture in the Inquisition is haunted by his recently deceased wife and the parallels to his mother's own demise. Rather than psychological horror, it is more of a mystery for most of its runtime. It does eventually get into more of a horror style though not quite in the atmospheric nature of Poe's story.

This is not a terrible adaptation by any means, but it doesn't quite match the potency of the story, nor does it prove as successful as House of Usher before it.

3/5

P.S. As an update on the marathon, I won't be watching Comedy of Terrors as it is not a Corman film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 05, 2011, 12:31:55 PM
Am I the only one disappointed in Carpenter's The Thing outside of about 10-15 minutes of the greatest makeup effects?

I hope so.  I love the atmosphere, the tension and the great characters.  I think it's incredibly entertaining and Kurt Russell's Mac is one of the coolest  8) characters in film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 05, 2011, 12:57:11 PM
The Thing has become a taste litmus test. I dreaded this film when I first saw it because I had a weak stomach, but when I got past the paddles scene and all that, I fell in love with it. To the extent that just the helicopter/ dog scene at the start gives me that thrill. You know what the dog is, you know why these Norwegians are psychotically intent on killing it. When I find people don't like it, I want to know exactly why because I can see why it is a divisive film and it says so much about people's tastes if they don't like it (which isn't to denigrate other people, like I say it's a litmus test; are you acid or alkali?).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 05, 2011, 04:07:52 PM
Why I don't like The Thing is I just find the characters uninteresting. I never thought I never thought I'd say that in reference to people like Keith David and Wilford Brimley and especially Kurt Russell in a John Carpenter film. jim calls Mac one of the coolest characters in film, but what does that say about Snake Plissken or even Jack Burton? There are some memorable bits of dialogue from the cast, but I wouldn't call them distinct or engaging characters. They're already kind of dehumanized because of their isolation so there's no loss of identity when The Thing starts to take them over. I don't have a problem with the generally slow pace of John Carpenter. I find the people from that costal town in The Fog more interesting.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 05, 2011, 04:47:20 PM
The Thing is my least favorite of the 80s Carpenter/Russell films.  The Hawks/Nyby version is better, naturally.

I've seen Magic (the wife is a huge William Goldman fan) and recall it as pretty good.  But ventriloquism creeps me out.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 05, 2011, 05:47:50 PM
The Thing is certainly lacking in character, but I think the build and suspense is fantastic. Yes, it's an Alien knockoff, but a really good Alien knockoff.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 05, 2011, 06:05:30 PM
Why I don't like The Thing is I just find the characters uninteresting. I never thought I never thought I'd say that in reference to people like Keith David and Wilford Brimley and especially Kurt Russell in a John Carpenter film. jim calls Mac one of the coolest characters in film, but what does that say about Snake Plissken or even Jack Burton? There are some memorable bits of dialogue from the cast, but I wouldn't call them distinct or engaging characters. They're already kind of dehumanized because of their isolation so there's no loss of identity when The Thing starts to take them over. I don't have a problem with the generally slow pace of John Carpenter. I find the people from that costal town in The Fog more interesting.

I do think he's one of the coolest, but not to the disparagement of Snake or Jack Burton.  And I do think the characters are distinct, but maybe I'm responding to the casting here.  I love just about every actor in this movie and think they bring a nice turn to each of their roles and the ways they respond to the stress of their situation.

Regarding your appreciation of The Fog, well, I have nothing but love for that movie as well.    :)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 05, 2011, 06:08:07 PM
I've seen Magic (the wife is a huge William Goldman fan) and recall it as pretty good.  But ventriloquism creeps me out.

Is your wife disappointed that he hasn't written a novel since Brothers in 1986?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 05, 2011, 06:27:56 PM
The Thing is certainly lacking in character, but I think the build and suspense is fantastic. Yes, it's an Alien knockoff, but a really good Alien knockoff.

I certainly thought alot about Alien while I was watching this, but like you say Sam, it is a good knockoff.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Devil Doll (1936) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 05, 2011, 07:35:11 PM
(http://i52.tinypic.com/5p25b7.jpg)

The Devil Doll (1936)

I had a Bondo of a Timeô watching this.

Even though the film is only 78 minutes long, The Devil Doll is so disjointed and so unsure of what it's doing or what kind of film it's trying to be that I couldn't wait for it to end. A couple of days ago sdedalus told me that Curse of the Cat People is not a horror movie. I think you could make a case for this also not being a horror film, despite the title and the fact that it's directed by Tod Browning who made Dracula and Freaks, arguably the two best horror films of the 1930s. There's definitely the fantasy element of miniaturized humans, but they aren't full-sized humans shrunk down against their will and they don't terrorize so much as impishly sneak around. There's a revenge story, but ultimately the film is a slight melodrama about a wrongly convicted man who wants his daughter to be happy. Can you be a horror film and have a bittersweet ending reminiscent of Sleepless in Seattle?

The two best things about The Devil Doll are the impressive effects and Lionel Barrymore's performance. The human doll effects blend seamlessly into their surroundings. They move much more freely within the frame than I though the 1930s capable of. I've seen some Georges MťliŤs shorts involving tiny people, but those would cut to an insert of an overlarge set. Interaction with the environment was minimal. This was impressive, but much like Tokyo Drift the effect is so overused that it loses its magic long before the end.

Lionel Barrymore stars as a double-crossed banker who uses the dolls to get revenge on his three ex-partners. To move about undetected, he adopts a disguise, that of a kindly old woman. I like Barrymore from his work with Frank Capra, and he's oddly convincing as a sweet old lady. He pulls the performance off without lapsing into camp or laughs, and it's often easy to forget that you're watching a man in drag. I also liked how you could separate the sweetness of his male persona with the calculated scheming of his old lady. It's not a Great performance, but in this mess of a film it stands out as something that works.
RATING: * 1/2


Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 05, 2011, 09:14:37 PM
The Changeling (1980)

Quote
The beginning of The Changeling didnít exactly fill me with hope for the rest of the film. It was a fairly innocuous opening, itís not like the scene in New York made me rage against the gods of film or anything like that. It was a ham fisted and obvious scene, and that made me question exactly what I had gotten myself into. Luckily the film moved away from that snowy upstate New York scene and dropped the obviousness of what it was going for in the process.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-the-changeling-1980/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 05, 2011, 09:25:22 PM
The Changeling (1980)

Quote
The beginning of The Changeling didnít exactly fill me with hope for the rest of the film. It was a fairly innocuous opening, itís not like the scene in New York made me rage against the gods of film or anything like that. It was a ham fisted and obvious scene, and that made me question exactly what I had gotten myself into. Luckily the film moved away from that snowy upstate New York scene and dropped the obviousness of what it was going for in the process.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-the-changeling-1980/).

Bill - I read the review and can't wait to catch this one.  I remember when it was released (I was 13) and the commercial had this image of the empty wheelchair swinging around to face George C. Scott that I have never forgotten.  What I can't recall, however, is how I never managed to see it during the last 30 years. 

By the way - Peter Medak directed, among other things, the excellent Let Him Have It as well as the excellent excellent The Krays.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 05, 2011, 10:01:02 PM
I've seen Magic (the wife is a huge William Goldman fan) and recall it as pretty good.  But ventriloquism creeps me out.

Is your wife disappointed that he hasn't written a novel since Brothers in 1986?

Probably.  She's read them all.  Several times.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Scream 4 by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 06, 2011, 08:54:14 PM
(http://i52.tinypic.com/dxgqxi.jpg)

Scream 4

I'm a bigger fan of this series than most. The first is - I do not hesitate to say - a masterpiece of modern horror. Batman and James Bond got their reboots, but how many films rebooted an entire genre, showing us after decades of bad films that the slasher genre is a worthy one? This was accomplished by an incredible screenplay centered around one idea, what if the typical characters in a slasher film were aware that slasher films exist?

I know you're thinking "big deal. Most people like the original Scream. What about the sequels?" I like them a lot too. Both of them. While they're nowhere near as good as the original, mainly because of the motivation and reveal of the killer, I still defend both movies for the scary fun they are. (I looked around and found my old reviews for Screams 2 and 3, which I may post here before the month is done.) So despite it being labeled a failure, I was excited to watch Scream 4. I completely missed the marketing and the reviews so I don't know why everyone was so quick to dismiss it.

The film starts with promise, and I'm not talking about the opening which straddles the line between kinda clever, and lamely self-aware. The writing doesn't work, but Wes Craven directs with his his usual command of the genre and I was happy. The opening 40 minutes returns to the town of the original slayings, sets up the characters old and new. It's as comfortable as a pair of old sneakers, and I felt some of the old happy magic that I haven't had in too long. There's a nice double phone bit and the killer once again strikes fast and often. Scare scenes always go on a bit longer than you expect, which in this case is a great thing, and I smiled with anticipation every time the phone would ring.

Then it all starts to go downhill. The setup turns into this rambling, rickety rollercoaster of a plot. The script moves from here to there completely unsure of where it's going. The attacks and the kills became considerably less inspired. Some of them are just flat out stupid. (I don't know for sure, but I find it hard to believe a knife can easily penetrate someone's forehead.) The killer's dialogue is also uninspired this time. He didnít use to make such gory threats, which combined with the fact that we know the killer is going to be revealed as one of the cast, just sounds like a lot of empty bragging. The killer was more effective without the punk bravado.

Except for the first film, the revelation of the killer has always been a letdown. (Man, it was so good in the original.) This one is a particularly whiny bit of stupidity. The requisite lengthy explanation scene manages to be even more annoying then I have tolerance for. I don't know why they continue to get this part wrong, but here I wish they could have just picked someone else. Anyone.

The performances are also a mixed bag. The two Cinema Club geeks are particularly horrible. It's a combination of the bad acting and obvious, ham-fisted writing that wouldn't have made it onto Dawson's Creek. (Kevin Williamson double zing.) Courtney Cox is also really bad. Again, you can blame the writing, but she also seems way too old for her character's sneaking around trying to get the story. Cox acting can be compared to Natalie Portman in the Star Wars films. Her motivation was clearly some kind of contractual obligation and not a desire to be there. This slipped into Neve Campbell's work as the series went on, but she's much more committed this time. Her and David Arquette remain a solid foundation for all the other cannon fodder.

Of the new cast my favorite performance is by Alison Brie of "Community". She's a bit over the top, but no more than Cox in the original or others of this type throughout the series, like Parker Posey. She seems to have studied the other films and really gets the fun tone. With all this potential of picking up the franchise so many years later, Scream 4 feels about as fresh as if they went into production immediately after Part 3.
RATING: * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: smirnoff on October 06, 2011, 09:36:58 PM
I'm sorry you had to experience Witchfinder General, 1SO. It stands out in my mind as one of the most terrible films I've ever seen (30 minutes of).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 06, 2011, 09:51:31 PM
I'm sorry you had to experience Witchfinder General, 1SO. It stands out in my mind as one of the most terrible films I've ever seen (30 minutes of).

I put it in the marathon because it's a very acclaimed cult film, and is sometimes mentioned in conjunction with The Devils, a film I really like a lot. Plus, with Vincent Price I expected something classier. There is a great quote I found while doing post-film research.

According to Kim Newman in his book, Nightmare Movies, when director Reeves made a suggestion on the set, Vincent Price objected and told the director: "I've made 87 films. What have you done?" And Reeves responded: "I've made three good ones."
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 07, 2011, 12:03:57 AM
Day of the Dead (1985)

Since Bill tackled this film already this month, I expect it makes sense for me to play off some of his comments. Dawn of the  Dead didn't work for me at more than an average level. I thought its commentary on consumerism was pretty shallow. Yeah, I get it, humans are like zombies in how they go through their lives to consume, but it doesn't really offer me enough to chew on. And like I mentioned, I thought the effects/makeup in Dawn were pretty poor.

Now here comes Day of the Dead. I totally concede that the acting in Dawn was miles better than you get here. The soldiers especially just went way too big with their dumb macho routine. But, again as Bill noted, the make-up for the zombies and the effects for the quality kills here were just splendid. It worked for me in a way that Dawn didn't.

So let's get to the thematic point. On this I think you are wrongly pedantic as you are in insisting that 28 Days Later isn't a zombie film. To limit the definition/capabilities of a zombie so extremely takes a lot of the potential away. Considering zombies have enough brain activity for motor functioning, I don't see why it is so implausible that they would be conducive to Pavlovian conditioning and some residual motor memory. If you aren't willing to go along with it that far, you aren't trying hard enough. And even if this hits its themes a bit often, I certainly take the thematic interest here, actionless though it may be for the bulk over the shallow thematics of Dawn, which I might remind you is also fairly actionless for the bulk of the middle. This is the first film that seems to hint at sentimentality toward the zombies. You've got the soldiers' desire to exterminate versus the scientist desire to find a way to cure or tame. Yet even from one of the scientists you get some highly objectionable behavior. I ultimately think the last third of 28 Days Later does a better job with the equivalence but it still makes this film interesting enough that combined with the effects it worked for me.

One final mention, I now know where the clip in the Gorillaz song M1A1 comes from. I believe there is a scene reminiscent of this open in 28 Days Later as well. Catching up a bit more on these foundational works of zombie film makes me appreciate the genre knowledge of 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead but also the superior filmmaking abilities of Boyle and Wright.

4/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 07, 2011, 12:45:46 AM
Day also has that killer opening.

(http://www.pinkraygun.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/day-of-the-dead-arms.jpg)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 07, 2011, 07:26:32 AM
So let's get to the thematic point. On this I think you are wrongly pedantic as you are in insisting that 28 Days Later isn't a zombie film.

Well, they aren't zombies, they don't die and come back to life, they are infected with a virus that affects the control parts of their brain.

To limit the definition/capabilities of a zombie so extremely takes a lot of the potential away. Considering zombies have enough brain activity for motor functioning, I don't see why it is so implausible that they would be conducive to Pavlovian conditioning and some residual motor memory. If you aren't willing to go along with it that far, you aren't trying hard enough.

It's not implausible, and that wasn't my point of contention. I don't want to see it, it doesn't interest me, it isn't handled well, and it does not fit within the universe Romero has constructed. Why should I go along with it though? Just because a filmmaker puts an idea in a film I have to go along with it? I don't think that's the case, I'm not willing to go along with the direction Romero takes zombies in Day and Land, it's not because I'm not trying hard enough it's because I don't care for said direction.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 07, 2011, 07:56:52 AM
So let's get to the thematic point. On this I think you are wrongly pedantic as you are in insisting that 28 Days Later isn't a zombie film.

Well, they aren't zombies, they don't die and come back to life, they are infected with a virus that affects the control parts of their brain.

In many of the original zombie stories, the zombies were living people whose minds were taken over by voodoo and the like. Being undead is not even remotely a necessary or sufficient condition to be a zombie.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: smirnoff on October 07, 2011, 08:39:52 AM
I'm sorry you had to experience Witchfinder General, 1SO. It stands out in my mind as one of the most terrible films I've ever seen (30 minutes of).

I put it in the marathon because it's a very acclaimed cult film, and is sometimes mentioned in conjunction with The Devils, a film I really like a lot. Plus, with Vincent Price I expected something classier. There is a great quote I found while doing post-film research.

According to Kim Newman in his book, Nightmare Movies, when director Reeves made a suggestion on the set, Vincent Price objected and told the director: "I've made 87 films. What have you done?" And Reeves responded: "I've made three good ones."

Hah, good one. :)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 07, 2011, 10:30:57 AM
So let's get to the thematic point. On this I think you are wrongly pedantic as you are in insisting that 28 Days Later isn't a zombie film.

Well, they aren't zombies, they don't die and come back to life, they are infected with a virus that affects the control parts of their brain.

In many of the original zombie stories, the zombies were living people whose minds were taken over by voodoo and the like. Being undead is not even remotely a necessary or sufficient condition to be a zombie.

Okay - I just did a lot of research into the origins/definition of zombies (i.e., I looked it up on Wikipedia) and contrary to what I previously thought (I'd been in agreement with Bondo), apparently in Haitian folklore zombies are the dead reanimated.  As far as I can tell, Zora Neale Hurston lent anecdotal credibility to the psychotropic drug folklore, which was burnished by ethnobotanist Wade Davis (The Serpent and the Rainbow) several decades later. 

It's a silly but fun argument to have.  Regardless, I still consider 28 Days Later to be a zombie film. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 07, 2011, 10:54:07 AM
The first zombie film ever, White Zombie, has people becoming zombies via potion, not death. That's what I was referring to.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 07, 2011, 11:53:48 AM
Bondo, if you're interested in furthering this debate, please add Wes Craven's underrated The Serpent and the Rainbow (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096071/) to your marathon.

(Junior, if you haven't seen it, this is a solid recommendation.)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 07, 2011, 12:09:48 PM
Bondo, if you're interested in furthering this debate, please add Wes Craven's underrated The Serpent and the Rainbow (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096071/) to your marathon.

(Junior, if you haven't seen it, this is a solid recommendation.)

Very solid recommendation.  Good Bill Pullman and Paul Winfield.  Great Zakes Mokae and Brent Jennings. 
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 07, 2011, 12:17:36 PM
Seen it. Good stuff.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 07, 2011, 02:34:17 PM
Y'all should watch Jacques Tourneur's I Walked With A Zombie.  It's the best Jane Eyre ever.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 07, 2011, 03:40:28 PM
I also appreciated what was there while wishing for more. The more explanation we got, the more the film felt like a psychological fantasy more than a horror film. Which is a shame because the horror stuff was really good at times.

I had the same problem with Wise's Curse of the Cat People, as well as The Innocents and The Others. I like my horror scary and my drama psychological. Don't promise horror but then only dip your toe in while you bait and switch me for the other. This is why I much prefer The Changling (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630305#msg630305). There's psychological drama going on, but it doesn't take aware from the constant mood of horror.

and Shocktober is a rather common name. I think Noir-vember is much more clever, though less popular.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 07, 2011, 03:47:32 PM
The Evil Dead (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/the-evil-dead-1981/)

Itís strange to see the same film again, but this time as a straight possession film. After seeing Evil Dead II a few years ago, I intended to watch the original, but it took me a while to get to it. And now I feel like a fool for not checking it out earlier. While Evil Dead II is brilliant in its own right, Iíd strongly argue that The Evil Dead is a stronger and smarter film because writer/director Sam Rami has an expansive and powerful understanding of the horror film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 07, 2011, 04:39:59 PM
I had the same problem with Wise's Curse of the Cat People, as well as The Innocents and The Others. I like my horror scary and my drama psychological. Don't promise horror but then only dip your toe in while you bait and switch me for the other.

How does that jibe with the true test of a samurai film being the drama between the battles?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 07, 2011, 05:09:16 PM
A good samurai film has good battles, enough so that the film can be recommended solely on that samurai battles. But to be great, the true test of a superior samurai film lies in the drama between the battles.

Curse of the Cat People, The Innocents, The Others and The Haunting... these three come on masquerading as horror films. They are ghost stories and haunted houses so you're ready for some chills. Then the film brings in more characters and backstory and you realize this isn't a horror film at all. The drama that's there in its place... not as interesting.

You're the person who's seen more than me so I'm sure you have a few examples of dramas set among samurais in Japan. How many of them go no further than a threat of violence or perhaps a minor skirmish? And how many of those films left you satisfied by the drama?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 07, 2011, 05:18:34 PM
I prefer to judge a film on based on what it is, rather than some pre-determined expectation of what genre it neatly fits into.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 07, 2011, 06:08:09 PM
I feel like I'm getting my words twisted around in order to get pulled into an argument or be called out as a liar because my explanation isn't clear.

First of all I prefer not to judge a film but to experience it and (afterwards) evaluate it.
I would love to say I have no pre-determined expectations, but I have 5000+ movies of experience and I usually know about the director before the film so there is a little prep.

I have seen more than enough films to know that while many squarely fit a particular genre, just as many deconstruct, push the boundaries of or simply don't fit into a genre. There has already been countless debates on these boards about the differences between genre and film technique (animation/documentary) and the seemingly endless combinations and sub-genres. sdedalus and Martin in particular know that the 3 of us have watched more than most here. I know that unless you're talking about a pure piece of Saturday popcorn genre, genre expectations are for crap. I just watched Hour of the Wolf, which is called Ingmar Bergman's only horror film. Anyone who goes into this expecting more Wes Craven than Bergman is simply asking to be disappointed. I'd like to think you both give me more credit than that.

I've made some nutty declarations on these boards and I always do my best to support my positions. I never expect agreement, but I hope for understanding of my opinion. I believe that sdedalus was asking for further clarification of my samurai statement, and not trying to catch me in a contradiction. If I had a hard time explaining myself that's because I don't think one applied to the other.

You have to at least know I am a film fanatic, honest and true. I will try anything and I will give them a willing chance. This morning I watched a bunch more Stan Brakhage shorts, which I hated last time. I did it because sdedalus compared (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=6970.msg630473#msg630473) the opening credits of Se7en to the Brakhage short Cat's Cradle. Still not a fan, but I respect that there are some here who like his work. I'm coming up to 10,000 posts, an overwhelming of which are reviews or film discussion. Don't ever confuse me for a troll.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 07, 2011, 06:19:13 PM
A good samurai film has good battles, enough so that the film can be recommended solely on that samurai battles. But to be great, the true test of a superior samurai film lies in the drama between the battles.

Curse of the Cat People, The Innocents, The Others and The Haunting... these three come on masquerading as horror films. They are ghost stories and haunted houses so you're ready for some chills. Then the film brings in more characters and backstory and you realize this isn't a horror film at all. The drama that's there in its place... not as interesting.

You're the person who's seen more than me so I'm sure you have a few examples of dramas set among samurais in Japan. How many of them go no further than a threat of violence or perhaps a minor skirmish? And how many of those films left you satisfied by the drama?

I'm still not following.  There are great movies that have drama.  There are great movies that have sword fighting.  There are great movies that have drama and sword fighting.  The films' greatness has nothing to do with the ratio of their various elements.

Generally speaking, I'm happy when a film defies my expectations, and/or when it tries to bring something new to a genre. I'm also happy when a film provides an excellent generic example.  I try to take what the films give me and appreciate them for what they are.

Addendum for the last post:  I'm certainly not trying to call you a liar, I'm just trying to understand your position, which seems contradictory to me.  I can understand not thinking a samurai movie that has no drama is great, or not thinking an ostensibly "horror" film that has no scares is great, but the two statements don't seem to go together in my mind.  In the first case, a film is judged lesser because it fails to go beyond its genre; in the second, a film is judged lesser because it does go beyond its genre.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 07, 2011, 06:50:46 PM
I completely agree with your first 2 paragraphs. It's not a ratio I was referring to, it's more about how action movies can get a pass just because they have good action. Take Fast Five. The action in the opening and closing half-hours is pretty good, but the drama in the middle is given too much attention and I ended up mixed on the film. The Italian Job (both versions) had good characters and a great car chase, which is why they are superior films. So it's not a ratio of one to the other, but the quality of both. I swear I reviewed a samurai film where the action was lousy, but it got 3 stars because I liked the characters.

So maybe the confusion is I emphasized one side over the other, you could say the true test of a great drama is the battles between the acting, but that just sounds weird. It probably gets at the problem you had with my original statement, but I felt what I was saying was quite clear. I just find that samurai films, much like martial arts pics, musicals and Summer Hollywood Blockbusters, tend to put most of their energy into the kenetic set-pieces and not so much into the story and characters.


I tried to directly answer your addendum, but all the double negatives made it hard to understand. Does it help that you gave me something to think about when you posed that Curse of the Cat People is not a horror movie at all? It's something that's come up quite a bit as I've watched my Shocktober list. Many of my picks are so far outside the horror genre, I've been questioning if they're best explained at as something else.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Dexter: Season 5 by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 07, 2011, 07:52:54 PM
(http://i53.tinypic.com/t66jhl.jpg)

Dexter: Season 5

For 4 years, Dexter has remained one of my absolute favorite television series. Every time the latest season comes out on DVD, I consume it in about 3 days. I decided to include Dexter in Shocktober because a season never plays like a collection of 12 episodes you can review individually, but like one complete story. Of course, that's not the best thing about Dexter.

The show's greatest strength is the character of Dexter and the performance by Michael C. Hall. Dexter remains one of the most compelling antiheroes in all of fiction. While Vic Mackey softened his edges over 7 years on "The Shield", Dexter Morgan remains a sympathetic monster, a likable serial killer. Filled with good intentions, but prone to brutal violence. Hall gets the gift of being able to play both good and evil, and he continues to do a remarkable job with Dexter's inability to appear socially normal.

The best thing about the way the show is written is how many times Dexter gets into a situation where there's no possible way for him to not get caught, and when Dexter does escape it's never by some act of God. It happens a few times this season. Dexter injects his animal tranquilizer into one victim only to get tranquilized himself. Another intended victim escapes from Dexter's car as Dexter is chasing a 2nd person WHILE his police associates arrive on the scene. Impossible situations, beautifully executed.

While the character of Dexter remains as compelling as ever during Season 5, the writers have run out of things to do with the rest of the cast. More than ever before, the subplots are uninteresting. The sister has commitment issues. The big cop gets into a bar fight because he can't handle that his wife makes more money. The step kids don't respect Dexter. God, it sounds even worse as I type it out. Yet, I was still enjoying Season 5 until...

As our story begins, Dexter tangles with a great serial killer (played by Shawn Hatosy). This guy is pretty smart, very capable of outmaneuvering Dexter. They're set up like a couple of master chess players. Then into the plot arrives Julia Stiles. Stiles is an actress who always makes the obvious choice. She raises her voice when she's angry. She know how to look hesitant or concerned. She brings nothing to a part that isn't already on the page. Her greatest skill is playing a character who resembles a murdered ex-lover. She is a seat filler, and nothing more.

Dexter: Season 5 became increasingly less interesting as it played out, even though Jonny Lee Miller is good as a key player in the main story and Peter Weller is excellent as a sleazy detective investigating Dexter. It all falls apart in the finale which tries to throw a lot of dramatic fireworks around, including an unnecessary car crash and a moment between Dexter and his sister that you've been waiting for, but not at the time and place where they try to shove it in. The only good thing about the ending is the resolution of Stiles' character. (No, it's not a malicious murder. It's actually a real nice bittersweet moment.) Season 5 - more specifically that stupid finale - left me hesitant about continuing to watch Dexter. Perhaps in a year I'll at least start it and see if things are back on track.
RATING: * *

1. Season 1
2. Season 2
3. Season 4
4. Season 3
5. Season 5

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 07, 2011, 08:08:17 PM
Shocktober is a rather common name. I think Noir-vember is much more clever, though less popular.

Nonsense, the name was a wholly original bit of genius on my part. No one else had ever recognized that Shock ends with the beginning sound of October and that October is a month tied to horror due to Halloween. ;D
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 07, 2011, 08:17:36 PM
I completely agree with your first 2 paragraphs. It's not a ratio I was referring to, it's more about how action movies can get a pass just because they have good action. Take Fast Five. The action in the opening and closing half-hours is pretty good, but the drama in the middle is given too much attention and I ended up mixed on the film. The Italian Job (both versions) had good characters and a great car chase, which is why they are superior films. So it's not a ratio of one to the other, but the quality of both. I swear I reviewed a samurai film where the action was lousy, but it got 3 stars because I liked the characters.

So maybe the confusion is I emphasized one side over the other, you could say the true test of a great drama is the battles between the acting, but that just sounds weird. It probably gets at the problem you had with my original statement, but I felt what I was saying was quite clear. I just find that samurai films, much like martial arts pics, musicals and Summer Hollywood Blockbusters, tend to put most of their energy into the kenetic set-pieces and not so much into the story and characters.

I think my problem is more with the general statement.  "Whether this movie is great or merely good rests on the drama between the action sequences."  is a statement that, while I wouldn't necessarily agree with it, I can at least understand.  Often, a few great elements or sequences is enough for me to consider a film which is merely OK the rest of the time a great film.  An example for me would be the original Gone in 60 Seconds, which has almost nothing to commend it but its car chases (going so far as to have most of its dialogue exchanges in voiceover, it clearly cares nothing about acting or characters), but is nonetheless one of the greatest movies I've seen in the last year.  I have no problem privileging the part over the whole in this way, but clearly not everyone will (or should) see it that way.

I tried to directly answer your addendum, but all the double negatives made it hard to understand. Does it help that you gave me something to think about when you posed that Curse of the Cat People is not a horror movie at all? It's something that's come up quite a bit as I've watched my Shocktober list. Many of my picks are so far outside the horror genre, I've been questioning if they're best explained at as something else.

Certainly.  A genre as expansive, long-running and varied as horror is sure to be difficult to use as the basis for determining a film's success or failure.  Especially in a situation like with Curse of the Cat People, where Val Lewton and his directors were pretty much left alone to do whatever they wanted, within their low-budgets, and their films were marketed as B-level horror movies despite their clear artistic ambitions (I Walked with a Zombie as a Jane Eyre adaptation for example).

Wikipedia on Curse:

"Although sharing some of the same cast and characters and marketed as a sequel to 1942's Cat People, this film has little relationship to the earlier one. RKO studio executives wanted to cash in on the success of the first film, and insisted on keeping the title, despite producer Val Lewton's desire to change it to Amy and Her Friend.[4] Lewton had put a lot of himself into the film, integrating into the story autobiographical details from his childhood, such as the party invitations that are "mailed" by putting them into a hollow tree. Lewton grew up not far from Tarrytown, where the story is set, and was fond of ghost stories such as "The Headless Horseman" (Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow") which is cited in The Curse of the Cat People.[3]"
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 07, 2011, 09:42:33 PM
Haute Tension (High Tension, 2003)

Quote
I donít like to have to say this, but since so many people happen to be touchy on a subject that I donít believe deserves the time of day, I will be liberally spoiling Haute Tension throughout this review. There, now you know random not regular reader of this blog, donít come crying to me about spoilers, I wonít listen.

With that bit of pedantry out of the way I can fully inform you of how utterly disappointing I found Haute Tension to be. Before I get to what made it disappointing I need to discuss why the disappointment I ultimately felt was so, uh, disappointing. Haute Tension could be thrown in with any film from the slasher sub-genre of horror. The initial story it presents is very common, very much a story that has been done before, seen before, and heard before. Within the well worn framework of the initial story Alexandre Aja establishes a style, a setting so drenched in ambiance that it makes up for the known nature of the story.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-haute-tension-high-tension-2003/).

In many of the original zombie stories, the zombies were living people whose minds were taken over by voodoo and the like. Being undead is not even remotely a necessary or sufficient condition to be a zombie.

There have been stories like that yes, but I don't consider those zombie movies, more along the lines of possession movies.

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 07, 2011, 10:02:34 PM
Is that Julia Stiles in the picture for Dexter Season 5, 1SO? Because I <3 Julia Stiles.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 07, 2011, 11:36:28 PM
Bill, pretty much the reaction I expected. Many people turn on the film with that terrible twist. I would say that most of the film doesn't make a lot of sense before this reveal too, from a staircase head splat that is physically impossible to the moment where the killer searches for the girl by checking under the sink faucet. The search is so dragged out I found myself feeling bas tension.


Corndog, did you think to at least skim the review? There's a whole paragraph about her.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 07, 2011, 11:50:24 PM
I don't read things about things I haven't seen, sorry. I just look at pictures and ratings, if there is one (to the Confessions thread?). Though I have always heard great things about Dexter anyway; a show I plan on checking out if I ever get into watching TV shows.

But even as I lightly skimmed it just now I didn't see her name until I looked even closer.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 07, 2011, 11:53:08 PM
In the Mouth of Madness - John Carpenter.

(http://i.imgur.com/0AzPx.jpg)

In the Mouth of Madness completes my watching of Carpenters Apocalypse Trilogy, with The Thing and Prince of Darkness being the other two entries. This one has, perhaps, the most promise, though in its execution ends up just being pretty good.

Stephen King's entire career is based on What Ifs. What if there was a car that was evil and ate people? What if there was a store that sold you exactly what you needed, no matter what? What if there was a place so bad it made you go crazy? In the Mouth of Madness is based on its own What If: what if a horror writer's words were so pervasive that they changed reality? Sam Neil's insurance inspector guy has to find a horror writer "even more popular than Stephen King" who's gone missing with a new book waiting in the wings. He goes on a journey to find the writer in a small New England town that features prominently in his books. It's all very meta. And this is the good part. Sam Neil is pretty great at doing the dry disbeliever (Jurassic Park!) and his little sarcastic jibes play well alongside the surreal horror. We get thrown in the middle of all of this crazy shit going on the same as Neil and it's a lot of fun.

But then they start to explain things. And all of the cool images and ideas start to join together and, as happens so often in King's work, it just doesn't add up to what it should. There is, early on, a cool black church at the center of town. The story goes that the black church consumed the old stone church which may or may not be hidden deep in the bowels of the new church. It's a fantastic idea, but nothing comes of it. When we meet the writer he's suitably crazy, but not excitingly so. There is one fantastic image late in the move which involves ripping and things, but then everything just kind of goes as you expect. Nobody believes Sam Neil, things keep coming back. It's all very rote up until the last minute or so. The very end of this movie is pretty wonderful, even if it doesn't totally make sense. It's audacious, and I'll generally like a movie that goes over the edge. I don't want to spoil things, but the ending and the first half of this movie make it a worthwhile watch. There are scares, though it's not as scary as The Thing or Halloween. It's better than a lot of things, though.

(I mention Stephen King a lot here, as he is the obvious inspiration (even the cover design of the books echo his 80's output) but there's also a lot of Lovecraft going on. Talk of "the old ones" and a lot of tentacles and textual references including some word-for-word transplants.)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 08, 2011, 07:17:26 AM
from a staircase head splat that is physically impossible to the moment where the killer searches for the girl by checking under the sink faucet.

The faucet didn't bother me since the film did paint the guy as pretty methodical. About the staircase, am I right to assume you're referring to the dresser usage? What did you find physically impossible about that? Because unless there was something wrong with the height of the object in proportion to the dresser I thought that was a plausible way to kill someone.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 08, 2011, 08:30:20 AM
If you have no skull or spine. Sure.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Hausu (House) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 08, 2011, 02:46:24 PM
Hausu

Quote from: MartinTeller
This movie has quietly and slowly been building some buzz over the past few years.  Although I was a bit curious, I was inclined to write it off as either campy B-movie trash or incomprehensible jibberish.  But I took the plunge, and I say that neither is true.  If it's campy, it's because the effects are "cheap" (which only adds to its infinite charms) and the tone is tongue-in-cheek (think Evil Dead).  As for incomprehensible, no more so than any other supernatural horror flick.  Everything that happens makes sense within the internal logic of the film... it's just cranked up beyond the maximum.  I've heard this movie compared to an acid trip, which is fair, but not in the way people usually think.  An acid trip isn't crazy things happening for no reason.  It's reality heightened and amplified.  Everything in this movie is completely over-the-top, from the syrupy-sweet intro to the insane deaths to the brilliant use of music and sound design.  It's one of the most (if not THE most) audacious films I've ever seen, and I haven't felt this exhilarated in quite a while.  It's extremely entertaining, infinitely bizarre, sometimes quite funny, and always surprising.  Instantly one of my new favorites.  I'm going to watch all the Obayashi I can get my hands on.  If his other films are anything like this, I've got a new obsession.  Rating: 10

I learned about Hausu not from Martinís high praise (which isnít too far off the mark) but from an article called The 5 Most Baffling Horror Movies From Around the World (http://www.cracked.com/article_18776_the-5-most-baffling-horror-movies-from-around-world.html). The article describes the plot as ďA group of schoolgirls goes to visit a lonely old lady at her isolated property, when suddenly God has an acid flashback.Ē I would call it a cross between Moulin Rouge and Japanese Nutty Super Happy Fun Time! On the surface it appears too stupid, but Martinís right. Try explaining to people why in Evil Dead II itís awesome when the guy chases his possessed hand around the cabin. It just is.

Hausu fits neatly into 3 half-hour sections: before the house, things that are kind of explainable and everything tries to kill them. Had the first third not worked so well, the style wouldíve been too much to take. It reminded me of The Cell, which I also liked more for the creative filming of scenes set in reality than all the crazy fantasy stuff. Director Nobuhiko Ohbayashi comes up with some audacious but thematically fitting style tricks, like heart shaped frames within frames or a brilliant image involving a girl and her father. He separates the frame into thirds using glass doors on the set. The girl and her father are on opposite ends while her scarf blows off into the middle. She freezes in the frame while the father in regular motion watches the scarf fall in slow motion.

I really liked the fun of Hausu, and the style tricks get more and more complicated. They donít all work, but the amount that does is astonishingly high. There are even a couple of musical numbers. (I probably would've been disappointed if there wasn't.) Throughout is a simple melody that plays over and over again, in different forms (my favorite being when itís done by a meowing cat jump cutting across the piano). Thereís color and sound effects and just a sheer joy of filmmaking that carried me happily through the first hour. No matter what I say in the next paragraph, know that this is a great Halloween film for a group, and a much more upbeat pick than Tetsuo: The Iron Man.

The divide between Parts 2 and 3 contains an unusually long camera shot that uses Wong Kar Wai style blurry motion and muffled audio. This is one of the tricks that doesnít work. For a film that uses a ton of camera style, itís odd that by staying with one shot for so long the film suddenly feels self-conscious. After that, Ohbayashi cranks the crazy knob up past 11 to 12 and Charlies Angels fun becomes Charlieís Angels 2 overkill. The scares and creepiness get washed out in a slew of WTF bits. I would call it a cultural difference or a sign that Iím getting old that I wanted the film to relax a little if not for others of my Nationality and age who love Hausu front to back. Still a recommendation, and Iím very excited that so many others are watching this one for Shocktober. Itís just not one to own for me. Iím very interested in Ohbayashiís other films, especially if the style is more like the first third and nothing like the end.
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 08, 2011, 05:44:04 PM
The Devils
(http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/images/the-devils-header.jpg)
The Devils is a horror movie like Passion of the Christ is a horror movie. The "frightening" moments consist mostly of brutal torture and nuns going crazy and having an insane orgy. Its a very odd and hectic movie. There's a whole lot of debauchery and almost all the characters are batshit crazy. Its unfortunate also that I had to watch a really bad DVD transfer because I do believe I could have looked really nice. I enjoyed it but it's a very roughly made film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 08, 2011, 09:05:24 PM
If you have no skull or spine. Sure.

I meant plausible within the film. After that the film goes for some other less than anatomically correct kills, as long as it maintains the same level of plausibility within the film I'm happy with that.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 08, 2011, 09:30:42 PM
The Devils is a horror movie like Passion of the Christ is a horror movie. The "frightening" moments consist mostly of brutal torture and nuns going crazy and having an insane orgy.

When I saw Passion, it was missing the nun orgy scene, which would've made a nice break from the brutal torture.


Its a very odd and hectic movie. There's a whole lot of debauchery and almost all the characters are batshit crazy.

You mean like this guy...

(http://i54.tinypic.com/atkpra.jpg)

This is what I loved about The Devils. It was a very 60s take on the 17th century, which worked extremely well. And there were the odd bits of humor. ("A carrot.") This isn't a film for everyone, but as a fan of Jesus Christ Superstar and Moulin Rouge I can endorse it. Could make a nice double feature if you follow it with Hausu.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 08, 2011, 11:38:32 PM
The Changeling - Peter Medak.

(http://i.imgur.com/nieDD.png)

The obvious comparison film here is The Shining. Both feature a scary old building with noises and bouncing objects. There's a guy and a girl and a kid. Ok, I'm stretching a bit there, but the real comparison point is in the camera. There's a whole lot of steadicaming going on. Like every shot in the house starts in one room and goes through a hallway and ends up in another room. It builds the house as being one scary place to live.

The problem is that, outside of a few moments, it's not very scary. Once you find out what the problem is everything becomes rote for the last third. There's a problem with these "dead person uses alive person to get revenge" movies: once they tell you that the scary thing is a "good guy" they get less scary and the movie falters. The Changeling partially avoids that, but only partially. The ending is, again, quite good. I just wish these movies would remember that we aren't here for a murder mystery. We're here to be scared.


This is my second Shocktober movie. I'm gonna keep track of repeated elements at the bottom of my reviews.

Returning objects: 2 (ItMoM, The Changeling)
Gothic buildings: 2 (ItMoM, The Changeling)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 09, 2011, 10:18:18 AM
Let Me In (2010)

Quote
Iím going to let the cat out of the bag right away, Let Me In is nowhere near the picture that LŚt Den Rštte Komma In is, in fact Let Me In pales in comparison to its Swedish counterpart. There are many key areas where Let Me In falls short when stacked up against the film it is a remake of (and yes Matt Reeves, your story about adapting the book and not remaking the film is hogwash. Let Me In is essentially a shot for shot remake of LŚt Den Rštte Komma In, but itís a good film so I donít see the need for all the bullshit about what the film is based on). That being said, Iím not here to review LŚt Den Rštte Komma In, I already did that and told everyone why it is a masterpiece. Let Me In is a good movie in its own right, and that is what I am here to discuss.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-let-me-in-2010/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 09, 2011, 10:41:28 AM
In the Mouth of Madness - John Carpenter.

(http://i.imgur.com/0AzPx.jpg)

In the Mouth of Madness completes my watching of Carpenters Apocalypse Trilogy, with The Thing and Prince of Darkness being the other two entries. This one has, perhaps, the most promise, though in its execution ends up just being pretty good.

Stephen King's entire career is based on What Ifs. What if there was a car that was evil and ate people? What if there was a store that sold you exactly what you needed, no matter what? What if there was a place so bad it made you go crazy? In the Mouth of Madness is based on its own What If: what if a horror writer's words were so pervasive that they changed reality? Sam Neil's insurance inspector guy has to find a horror writer "even more popular than Stephen King" who's gone missing with a new book waiting in the wings. He goes on a journey to find the writer in a small New England town that features prominently in his books. It's all very meta. And this is the good part. Sam Neil is pretty great at doing the dry disbeliever (Jurassic Park!) and his little sarcastic jibes play well alongside the surreal horror. We get thrown in the middle of all of this crazy shit going on the same as Neil and it's a lot of fun.

But then they start to explain things. And all of the cool images and ideas start to join together and, as happens so often in King's work, it just doesn't add up to what it should. There is, early on, a cool black church at the center of town. The story goes that the black church consumed the old stone church which may or may not be hidden deep in the bowels of the new church. It's a fantastic idea, but nothing comes of it. When we meet the writer he's suitably crazy, but not excitingly so. There is one fantastic image late in the move which involves ripping and things, but then everything just kind of goes as you expect. Nobody believes Sam Neil, things keep coming back. It's all very rote up until the last minute or so. The very end of this movie is pretty wonderful, even if it doesn't totally make sense. It's audacious, and I'll generally like a movie that goes over the edge. I don't want to spoil things, but the ending and the first half of this movie make it a worthwhile watch. There are scares, though it's not as scary as The Thing or Halloween. It's better than a lot of things, though.

(I mention Stephen King a lot here, as he is the obvious inspiration (even the cover design of the books echo his 80's output) but there's also a lot of Lovecraft going on. Talk of "the old ones" and a lot of tentacles and textual references including some word-for-word transplants.)

Nice write-up, Junior.  I've seen it recently and I'm with you.  I would only add that, for me, the Lovecraft stuff is where the movie derails.  All that mythology is just lazy; it uses "atmosphere" as a substitute for plot.  Also, the casting of Jurgen Prochnow was problematic for me, as well as the way the character was written.   You never get a sense that Sutter Cane was once a normal person; his character comes across as always having this other-worldly omniscience. 
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 09, 2011, 02:46:58 PM
the vampire attack scenes that featured some of the worst CG effects I have ever seen

That's rich considering Let The Right One In has those attack cats, possibly the worst CG effect I've seen in a great movie.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 09, 2011, 07:10:31 PM
the vampire attack scenes that featured some of the worst CG effects I have ever seen

That's rich considering Let The Right One In has those attack cats, possibly the worst CG effect I've seen in a great movie.

To each his own, the CG with the cats in Let the Right One In didn't bother me, nor was it used in a pivotal moment. The CG in Let Me In I thought looked bad, really cartoony/mid-90s bad CG, but more importantly it was present in some very important moments and that really hurt those moments.

Also, I'm just stating my opinion, you can have yours. I don't see the need for the hostility that you started out your response with, there's a lot of that around the forums lately and I'm not liking it.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 09, 2011, 07:31:21 PM
Spoilers for Let The Right One In/Let Me In, kinda

I think the important scenes to compare and contrast, because they were actually in both films, are the fire in the hospital and the two primary vampire attacks (underpass and tree). All three of these strongly favor Let The Right One In.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen) by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 09, 2011, 10:41:31 PM
(http://i53.tinypic.com/2cqkuwp.jpg)

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen) (1968)

Quote from: IMDB
An artist in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film

My running theme this month has been the debate of when is a horror movie not a horror movie. A couple of months ago when I discovered this IMDB description I was skeptical if the maestro of existential crisis and talky meditations on death would have it in him to make a film that fit into the horror genre. I've seen some effective dark imagery from Bergman before, but why did this one earn the tag "only" horror film? I sure as hell was going to find out.

My general feelings towards Bergman has been that I appreciate the later color films more than his black and white work. That has nothing to do with the cinematography, as ALL Bergman's are evocative in their imagery, even if the film is little more than close ups of faces. In fact, watching Hour of the Wolf I came away with a greater appreciation of Bergman as a visual storyteller. There are some incredible images in the film, particularly during the titular hour, a dark night of the soul that makes up most of the last half of the film. Bergman dips heavily into surrealism with some very particular makeup and special effects, all of which are technically flawless in their presentation. I realize this is true of all his films, but the images are especially striking this time because I've never felt him pushing so hard to create unease in the audience. The world is taken out of balance and you feel like an outside visitor to a strange and hostile world.

The first half builds up the growing unease through a series of social interactions, including a dinner party. This stuff is rather typical Bergman, acted flawlessly by the Bergman ensemble including Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson. This section contains all the high minded talk about the nature of relationships that will seem familiar to you if you've ever watched a Bergman film. (Bergman  likes to speak so intellectually about such emotional subject matter.) As you can tell, I wasn't so smitten with how Hour of the Wolf started, but that 2nd half really got under my skin.
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 10, 2011, 12:54:52 AM
Martyrs - Pascal Laugier.

(http://i.imgur.com/tDZ6J.jpg)

This movie is crazy. A young girl escapes her torturers. Fifteen years later, she and her girlfriend try to get revenge. Then crazy stuff happens. And keeps on happening. There are jump scares and gross out scares and utter despair. The movie just keeps getting crazier. There are plot turns later in the film that came out of nowhere but still made sense. It's a supremely well made film, and scary as hell. The ends are interesting, too. But if you are grossed out by the worst that humans can do you might not want to watch this one. It's terrible in a good way.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 10, 2011, 08:54:00 AM
Suspiria
(http://artnectar.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/scene_from_suspiria.png)
Definitely the most unique looking film I've seen so far during this marathon. With its over saturated colours and crazy looking maybe German expressionist inspired sets, let's just say that Suspiria's art direction makes the Shining look like a minimalist painting. I didn't find the story all that compelling or frightening but the way the film is shot and what Argento chooses to show us is very interesting. I of course need to mention the music as well, with the creepy sounds and voices which I often confused for actual sounds from the film. It works very well.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 10, 2011, 09:50:47 AM
The Omen
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZqslDQVEOlc/TeFhYChAE9I/AAAAAAAABNI/7drGCxxvZMI/s1600/omen_1976.jpg)
Speaking of movies with awesome soundtracks. Goldsmith's soundtrack to this film is incredible, the demonic chanting elevates this movie a lot.  The Omen is probably my favorite film so far in this marathon. The drama unfolds as Gregory Peck, the father, slowly discovers that his son is not simply a normal little boy, and must discover the secret of his origins. The demon child in this one isn't super evil like the Exorcist girl, he is very subdued and sort of just affects his environment psychically. I really liked the fact that bad things happened and Damien mostly just did nothing and had his evil smile on. For this reason he never seems all that evil. So when comes the time for his father to kill him we're still not entirely sure if its the right decision.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 10, 2011, 11:08:09 AM
Sleepaway Camp (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/sleepaway-camp-1983/) (1983)

Another slasher film? Arenít they all the same? Sleepaway Camp is something special, I canít imagine another slasher film out there quite like itĖexcept for the four sequels. On some level, itís more of a summer camp movie with some heavy slasher elements. But when the slasher turns come, itís horror on overdrive.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 10, 2011, 12:09:41 PM
I know you like to wait a day to process before writing your review, but you still sound a bit gobsmacked by the film. I think this combined with Bill's review last year (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/review-sleepaway-camp-1983/) could persuade a few new members to watch.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 10, 2011, 12:16:10 PM
I still am. It left a big impression.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 10, 2011, 12:46:07 PM
Robot Chicken spoiled the ending for me, put it was still pretty god damn brutal to actually see what happens.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 10, 2011, 12:55:26 PM
Sleepaway Camp (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/sleepaway-camp-1983/) (1983)

Another slasher film? Arenít they all the same? Sleepaway Camp is something special, I canít imagine another slasher film out there quite like itĖexcept for the four sequels. On some level, itís more of a summer camp movie with some heavy slasher elements. But when the slasher turns come, itís horror on overdrive.

And a memorable ending to boot.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 10, 2011, 01:15:51 PM
It is a doozy, for sure.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Lobby on October 10, 2011, 02:50:29 PM
Suspiria
Definitely the most unique looking film I've seen so far during this marathon. With its over saturated colours and crazy looking maybe German expressionist inspired sets, let's just say that Suspiria's art direction makes the Shining look like a minimalist painting.
I just watched this, and needless to say - I wasn't the slighest frightened. And then I dare say I'm a true squishy!
It was quite an experience. Not as a movie to be honest - the plot was minimal, and I hated how unsyncronised the speech was with the mouth movements - but as a piece of art. The colors, the images and that annoying little tune that keeps coming back... It somehow fascinates me a little.

A weird movie. In one way it's so much a B movie. And yet in another way it feels artistic. Strange experience indeed. I can't say it turned me into one of his dedicated fans. But at least I've educated myself a little and I suppose that's not a bad thing.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Jared on October 10, 2011, 04:10:19 PM
The opening is terrific...love the music. I kind of got bored with it after that.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Lobby on October 10, 2011, 04:18:55 PM
Yeah, I loved the car, the rain, the arrival and what takes place immediately after...
The story was about at the level of a bad porn movie.
The red color was hypnotizing though.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Island of Lost Souls by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 10, 2011, 06:17:02 PM
(http://i52.tinypic.com/n16zgl.jpg)

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

When I was a kid, watching 1977's The Island of Dr. Moreau (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076210/) (starring Burt Lancaster and Michael York) was a really fun time. Creepy, but not too much so, this tale of the mad scientist who is turning animals into people was scary fun. Nowadays, it's impossible to erase the memory of the 1996 train wreck which starred a clueless Val Kilmer and a completely off his nut Marlon Brando (along with a then unknown David Thewlis.) Island of Lost Souls is the original adaptation of H.G. Wells novel. It stars Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi and will be released on Criterion Blu-Ray in a couple of weeks. It's also a complete dud.

I'm prone to blanket generalizations I shouldn't be making, but based on this marathon most early Horror Films are dated beyond repair. Lost Souls isn't scary or creepy or even interesting. The music is emotionally pitched beyond high melodrama while most of the cast sleepwalk through to their paychecks. Kathleen Burke as Lota the Panther Woman at least tries for something interesting, and Lugosi gives the monkey/man part his usual hammy touch. (Though the Hungarian accent sounds especially out of place.) The film runs a brief 70 minutes yet goes on forever. It reminds me of those old commercials that show people shrieking at the horror of a carnival sideshow, even though you would probably do little more than shrug. It's a little bark and even less bite. This film has long outlived its purpose and the only thing I found interesting was the chant of "Are we not men?", which I remember from Devo.
RATING: * 1/2
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 10, 2011, 10:13:30 PM
(http://i55.tinypic.com/2vl4nyq.png)
Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987) (http://corndogchats.blogspot.com/2011/10/evil-dead-ii-1987.html)

Oh boy, what do I make of this film? About a week or so ago I ventured into my first early Raimi (sorry to those I made feel old by calling him that Spider-man guy). It was The Evil Dead, which is the first in this two film series about the walking dead and human possession by some evil spirit. I found that first film a bit difficult because of the horrid acting and laughable effects, but I have to say it has a certain charm to it because of the obvious B movie feel and amount of fun camp to be had. And I do believe that my viewing of its sequel to be beneficial to my positive slanting view of what was ridiculous filmmaking in the first installment.

We return to the site of the crime in the first film, and with the same character who outlasted, outwitted, and outplayed the rest of the pale faced zombies: Ash (Bruce Campbell). Ash takes his girlfriend to a secluded cabin which he knows about (and if the occupants show up they will just claim to be lost) for a romantic weekend with just the two of them. And just as soon as he gets there does he play the ominous tape which unleashes the evil spirit, which possess his girlfriend, forcing him to behead him. Soon enough some strangers show up looking for their parents, but when the bridge goes out, and they can't seen to find the way from which they came, everyone is stuck trying to survive and not become possessed.

I am not sure at all what to make of this film. Is it a sequel? A prequel? A remake? None of the above make sense. You might call it a sequel, but the cabin has current occupants who were long since gone in the original. And if it is a sequel than Ask is a sick human being not only for having been there and experienced it all before and yet still taking his new girlfriend back and ignorantly playing the same tape again which let out the spirit, but also because he gives her the same charm. C'mon man, have some class and originality. It could be a prequel, but Ash claims to have been there before, like in the original? And if it is, why does he go back in the original, and act as though he doesn't know how to get there? And a remake? Well all the factors are different apart from Ash and the general idea behind the spirits, which is actually expounded upon in this one. I guess that leaves this film as being some sort of strange, unique phenomenon.

And I truly think phenomenon is the best word to use in this situation because it is the only way to explain its popularity. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time with this film, perhaps a better time than with the first one, and I think that is probably in part because I knew kind of what to expect, or in some cases, what not to expect, like good acting and effects. They are both laughable, but the camp factor is so high it becomes a joyride instead of a genuine fright night. It was bad to the point that it reminded me of another film from 1987, Andy Sidaris' Hard Ticket to Hawaii. That was a film which I watched with friends, knowing it would be horrible, and it was, but it was also one of the best film experiences of my life because of how bad it was. This film was like that, and yet Hard Ticket to Hawaii is rated a 3.5 on IMDb, and Evil Dead II is rated a whopping 7.8. I understand the love, but how can the same love not be expressed to a equally ridiculous film. It is an unexplained phenomenon to me.

And that leads me to my final paragraph of the review, a paragraph I would like to dedicate to Bruce Campbell. I was somewhat mixed on his performance in the first film, but he just goes all out here and I have nothing bad to say about him. Well, that's not true. He is so bad that he gives one of the single best  indirectly comedic performances I have ever seen. And for those who will say it is not indirect, I just mean that it was a non-comedic performance, it was a horror performance. He is so over the top, so unnecessarily flamboyant and demented. The laughing scene is just plain awesome. At the end of the day I definitely had a great time, but not because it is a great film, in fact because it is a bad film. Not as bad as Hard Ticket to Hawaii, it actually has some cinematic moments that show signs of promise for Sam Raimi given a budget and a script not written by himself, but still bad. Next time I will be sure to watch it with friends, and hope they get the joke too.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 11, 2011, 12:04:38 AM
The Wicker Man - Robin Hardy.

(http://i.imgur.com/CrQNg.jpg)

The Wicker Man is awesome. I'm getting that out of the way at the top. It's super great. Go watch it.

Ok, now let's get into it. The Wicker Man is a musical more than it is a horror film. There are horrifying elements, mostly in the last third, but it's way more a fish-out-of-water detective story. Edward Woodward (perhaps the best name ever) is a headstrong police officer trying to find a young girl who's gone missing on a remote British island. He runs afoul of the locals, including their Lord (those silly Brits!), Christopher Lee. See, Woodward is a Christian and Lee and his people are pagans. They believe in the old gods, those of fire and air and water and all that jazz. And they sing and dance and jump over fire while naked. It's a fun time. And they sing a lot. It's fun.

But Woodward just gets more and more angry at the islanders as they exuberantly flaunt their strange beliefs at him. It's kind of a funny performance, the way he's tortured by their NUDITY and talk of PHALLI! The scene where Lee explains to Woodward how their pagan-ness came about is fun, Lee plays calm and cool to Woodward's red-hot outrage. And the seduction song sung by the tavern owner's daughter is funny and sexy.

The third act gets a little darker as the islanders prepare for their May Day celebrations. That's where the creepy masks and rituals come in. I am inordinately scared of people with animal heads, so this stuff worked for me. I saw the remake before I saw this, so any plot twists were not surprising to me, but I still enjoyed the ride. It's a fun time, even through the darker ending. The photography throughout is pretty cool. It's not often gorgeous but it feels so earthy and almost documentary-ish, which is neat.

This one has a good chance of ending up on my top 100 list. It's really a great film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 11, 2011, 12:15:01 AM
It's a great film to discover. So wonderfully bizarre.

Edward Woodward is a great name, but it cannot compare to Benedict Cumberbatch.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 11, 2011, 12:16:38 AM
The Wicker Man - Robin Hardy.

This one has a good chance of ending up on my top 100 list.

It's on mine.  Cabal!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: tmkmalone on October 11, 2011, 12:18:40 AM
So far I've watched John Carpenter's "The Thing" again and I suppose "Dogtooth" might fit the bill as some kind of horror film.

Here are a few that caught me off guard in the past.

Seconds (1966)
Want out of your life? Just pay the fee and we'll fake your death, change your face, and set up a new identity for you. Very creepy. Stars Rock Hudson, directed by John Frankenheimer.

Open Water (2003)
Based on the true story of two scuba divers accidentally stranded in shark infested waters after their tour boat has left. Minimalist thriller.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Elvis (Bruce Campbell) and JFK, both alive and in a nursing home, fight for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy. Great camp from the director of "Phantasm."

The House of the Devil (2009)
College student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret; they plan to use her in a satanic ritual. Great 1980s setting with special thanks to eBay.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 11, 2011, 05:07:48 AM
Quote
It was The Evil Dead, which is the first in this two film series about the walking dead and human possession by some evil spirit.

Probably a slip of the keyboard, but Army of Darkness makes it 3 films & though it is wildly uneven it is another good time...except it sounds like you didn't like ED2, which totally floors me!
I would have thought the comparison you make between the first two films would have pointed very definitely to ED2 being a comedy, pure and simple, and Brucey's performance being so damn BIG as a comedic turn not a horror one. I don't even think Campbell is capable of straight acting, in real-life he always comes across as a good time. If you take it seriously for even one second, ED2 would obviously be a big mess...sorry a big LOUD mess. Who can take it seriously though?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 11, 2011, 07:11:52 AM
I would have never connected something called Army of Darkness to the Evil Dead series, I never knew.

As as for my response to Evil Dead II, I said I had a great time. I don't have to recognize it as a well made film for me to be able to like it and I was trying to say that after seeing the second film it made my enjoyment of the first that much more because I was able to see how ridiculous the two films were and how much of a good time they are. And as for Bruce Campbell, I loved him. I believe I said this in my review: "I have nothing bad to say about him."
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 11, 2011, 07:57:31 AM
It was The Evil Dead, which is the first in this two three film series about the walking dead and human possession by some evil spirit

Army of Darkness
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 11, 2011, 11:26:00 AM
Sorry I was genuinely confused by your saying it was a bad film! My bad (by which I mean bad).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 11, 2011, 01:56:13 PM
Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without A Face, 1960)

Quote
I donít think anyone should read Les Yeux Sans Visage as a typical horror film. Georges Franjuís picture lacks any traditional horror beats, in fact the few moments that could be perceived as horror beats are conventional character reveals. What music there is in Les Yeux Sans Visage is very minimalist, letting the actions of the characters speak volumes. I can see how someone going into Les Yeux Sans Visage looking for a traditional horror movie would be underwhelmed, in fact I know one such person. I looked at Les Yeux Sans Visage in a different light, itís not a horror movie but rather an observation of horror.

You can read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-les-yeux-sans-visage-eyes-without-a-face-1960/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 11, 2011, 03:17:32 PM
Sorry I was genuinely confused by your saying it was a bad film! My bad (by which I mean bad).

Haha, yea I can see it being confusing, but if it makes any sense, I liked the film precisely because it was bad, which made it funny and a fun experience.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Last Man On Earth by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 11, 2011, 07:53:01 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/Toh5q.jpg)

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

The Last Man on Earth is the first attempt to adapt Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. Most recently, this story was told with Will Smith and CGI creatures. It was very successful financially though it received mixed reviews. In 1971, it served as the basis for The Omega Man, a Charlton Heston vehicle that laughable for its portrayal of the creatures as hippies who keep getting their mellow harshed by this square dude with firearms. I never figured the 1960s original starring Vincent Price would be the best version of this story (aside from reading the novel itself), but I found Last Man to be a real joy.

Like zarodinu (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9536.msg627286#msg627286), I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic films, especially when they show populated city centers now all barren except for a few rotting corpses. A lot of the sparse and ravaged imagery here reminded me of 28 Days Later... (A very high compliment). I was expecting a cheap B picture, but everything looks high class.  The creature makeup is effectively zombie-like, similar to Night of the Living Dead and the widescreen lensing by Franco Delli Colli (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005685/) is wonderfully gothic and glossy.

All versions of I Am Legend have had trouble with the creatures. Are they zombie? Are they vampire? They've been portrayed as something else even though they clearly carry traits of both. TLMOE makes the sensible decision of saying 'Yes' and then 'Yes'. They are in fact vampires and zombies. Undead creatures that fear the sun and can be killed with either a stake through the heart or by cutting off their head. The simplest, most direct answer proves to be the most effective.

Vincent Price makes an excellent choice to take the lead with such material. It's not an Award winning part but a star vehicle, and Price treats it as such. He's larger than life, but stops short of chewing up the scenery because he doesn't have to worry about being upstaged by anyone. That gives it a sense of fun, even though Price also effectively conveys the drudgery of having to fight off the creatures day after day for years, and with no end in sight. The film takes us through his daily routine and you feel the crush of this being his lifetime job, much like anyone else trapped in a small office for the rest of their career.

Best of all, there is a growing realization that the creatures are developing into a more organized society. Price is the boogyman, the monster who comes to kill you while you sleep. You see Price, armed with a stake and hammer, kick in the door of a teenage girl. He encounters old friends and co-workers who are now one of them. One thing this film gets right above all other adaptations is the sense that Price is the real monster here. He isn't just the minority but the one creature who must be destroyed in order for life in its current evolved form to move forward.
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 11, 2011, 09:57:54 PM
Tales of Terror

Marathon note; I'm no longer reading the Poe stories alongside the films. Too much effort. On to the film. It's not good.

The first one, based on Morella, was kind of meh, very simple and quick. I was a little confused about one of the points of contention upon which the drama is based.

The second story in the set in particular is brought down by Peter Lorre, who apparently got pretty chubby by the 60s and was phoning in performances. It is an interesting merging of The Black Cat and Cask of Amontillado, two stories I have read in the past. It has one scene that makes me think it is the horror version of Sideways. For all this is is the (tepid) peak of the set.

The third oneÖI couldn't really tell you. I checked out.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: BlueVoid on October 11, 2011, 10:32:28 PM
(http://i55.tinypic.com/2qsqyic.jpg)
The Evil Dead - 1981
It's very rare a horror film can actually get to me. Normally I see the overdone gore, jump scares and creepy music as cheap tricks for films which are overreaching. I'm a product of being desensitized. Through years of watching increasingly more disturbing cinema there is a hardening effect on the visual senses. Even when seeing horrible scenes, I roll my eyes and brush it off as 'just being a movie'. What I like about the low-budget 'The Evil Dead' is that it falls into all of these traps of a horror movie, but still manages to be scary even while being fun. It has awful special effects, at times silly acting, but is still genuinely creepy. I got the sense of sitting around a campfire and listening to a good ghost story. In one scene you will be laughing at the ridiculousness of the zombies, the next unnerved by the ruthlessness of the situation. It manages to be fun and scary without feeling cheap. It is a well executed pure horror film which shows that a solid vision can overcome a small budget. It just goes to show that even a rudimentary zombie mask can be horrify if used right.

Rating: 3.5/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 11, 2011, 11:03:27 PM
I really should revisit the Evil Dead trilogy, it's been 10 years.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 11, 2011, 11:05:26 PM
I've never gotten more than 10 minutes into any of them.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 12, 2011, 05:34:42 AM
I shouldn't be book recommending on a film page, but Matheson's original story of "I Am Legend" is a great read. Also when I reviewed The Haunting I didn't mention how much better is Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House". Both are fairly short books, so easy to digest. Both show how letting the reader generate their own bogeymen can be more effective than any film; especially in the horror genre. [/subversive comments]
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 12, 2011, 01:26:04 PM
I shouldn't be book recommending on a film page, but Matheson's original story of "I Am Legend" is a great read.

It is a great read, and very quick. I don't want to imply that this version is closest to the book cause it's not. Again, every version handles the creatures in a different way. The book is still my favorite version of the story, but I really like the way this film handles the creatures.

I should add, I also read a script that was in development that was going to star Arnold Schwarzenegger and be directed by Paul Verhoeven. (This was around 1992.) It had a completely different 3rd Act, with a crucifixion and Schwarzenegger being banished away to a cave where he becomes a sort of zoo exhibit.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Mad Love by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 12, 2011, 07:44:48 PM
(http://i51.tinypic.com/2hqus6p.jpg)

Mad Love (1935)
ďI, a poor peasent, have conquered science. Why canít I conquer love?Ē

This was nuts and awesome.  Peter Lorre portrays a mad genius doctor who has fallen in love with a stage actress.  When he discovers she's married to a famous concert pianist he goes even madder.  He is given a chance to prove his love for her when the pianist is involved in a terrible train crash that leaves his hands mangled.  Running to the rescue Lorre's mad doctor fixes the crashed hands through unethical means.  The rest is a mad dash to crazy.

Would it be worth it to do a Peter Lorre marathon? I know him from The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and M. All three are among the greatest films ever made and Lorre is just a part of that greatness. Now comes a film that isn't completely successful, but Lorre is astonishing in it. It helps that this is physically the creepiest I've ever seen him. (How do you make Lorre creepier than usual? Try going bald.) His character isn't very deep and I see that as a symptom of the script since all of the characters are pretty one-dimensional. Lorre takes this shallowness and turns it to his advantage by playing his character's obsession to a scary, laser-focused degree. He finds no joy in his surgical brilliance, only pain in the happiness it doesn't buy him.

Surrounding this performance is... not much. Once again, an early horror film is short (68 minutes) but far from sweet. A lot of the simplicity works like a fable or a morality play, but as Lorre makes that mad dash to crazy the director starts making a lot of mistakes. It's like watching a juggler take on one too many balls. Suddenly everything starts to drop. The climax has a great unintentionally funny lines. On their way to stop the evil doctor from committing murder, a cop tells his partner "Donít drive so fast. Thereís no hurry." The climactic moment is stopped by an act that is clearly physically impossible. The editing isn't clever enough to try and hide it.

So in the end, Mad Love doesn't completely work, but there are some good creepy images (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs303.ash2/58338_436067928305_774178305_4939805_3513979_n.jpg) along the way and Lorre's performance, which can't be over-hyped. This one gets a mild recommendation.
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 12, 2011, 08:05:57 PM
That is a fun movie.  I like the title The Hands of Orlac better, though.

A Lorre marathon would be worth it because he's almost always worth watching, but you've seen the best of him already, I think.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 12, 2011, 09:34:05 PM
Land of the Dead

I don't think it should be controversial to say that having good actors is better than having bad actors. Yet the first three Romero "of the Dead" films have featured bad to mediocre acting. The quality of the acting is one of the main reasons I think Snyder's Dawn of the Dead is able to surpass Romero's (the effects being another). Well, by the 00s, Romero was apparently finally able to get funding, so here comes Land of the Dead, a fairly high production value film staring the likes of Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. Except Hopper none of them are A-listers, but they are professionals and the difference is immense.

Now, acting isn't everything. At the end of the day I think Night of the Living Dead remains Romero's best, but Land of the Dead is working with a fair amount too. Of course I should note that if Bill didn't like the directions Romero took the zombies in Day, he'd absolutely hate where he continues to take them in Land. From the start he shows that these zombies are starting to communicate and improve their use of tools and problem solving.

But the zombie menace is almost a sideline here. This is a world that has become settled with the existence of zombies. Safely stowed away in an urban center, sending out troops to grab supplies from the surrounding area in well equipped vehicles. Already you have strong stratification in society with a luxury skyscraper of residences and fancy shopping for the well connected and urban slums around. You've got various suspect black market sort of activities. All of this is interesting, though slight social commentary (much like Dawn of the Dead's commentary on consumerism).

The effects here are very good and features some of the best visual jolts and kills of the series thus far. Considering the buzz around Romero drops off heavily after Day, I found this to be rather a delight. Nothing incredible but good solid entertainment.

4/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: BlueVoid on October 12, 2011, 09:52:16 PM
@1SO Peter Lorre fascinates me. I loved him in 20,000 leagues under the sea. I'd be all for a Lorre marathon. I kind of feel compelled to watch this just for him. Lorre seems built to play creepy.

@Bondo I should give Romero another shot. I was pretty underwhelmed by Night of the living Dead, as I will post shortly. That being said I think his reputation deserves at least two films. It's be interesting to see how he has progressed anyway.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: BlueVoid on October 12, 2011, 10:04:41 PM
(http://i54.tinypic.com/14mun9s.jpg)
Night of the Living Dead - 1968

The godfather of all zombie movies. George Romero's directoral debut, which spawned a franchise, is generally considered the origin of the modern zombie movie. The plot is basic, nothing as complex as one of the countless re-imaginings of the zombie movie, each trying to outdo the other with their own twists. No, this is straightforward. Some kind of radiation from space has caused all recently deceased individuals to become reanimated and for some reason want to eat humans. Enter the zombie.

This is your classic, slow moving, raccoon-faced zombie, that really are not all that threatening on their own. They are generally pretty stupid, slow and weak. It's only in a gang where they can do their damage. This is the crux of the problem with the movie. It's not at all scary, and I was more flabbergasted by the stupidity of the victims rather than ever being at all scared. This inter cut with overly long news reels explaining the circumstances grind the pace down to a crawl and makes it pretty dull. One thing I noticed is that it seems more antiquated than it is. The tameness of the content and the low quality of the film and special effects make it appear much older than its 1968 release date. I can appreciate the historical significance of this genre-defining classic, but it does not hold up against time.
Rating: 2/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 12, 2011, 10:52:39 PM
(http://i56.tinypic.com/24wrm28.png)
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963) (http://corndogchats.blogspot.com/2011/10/birds-1963.html)

What...the...hell. What the hell? No, seriously, what the hell, or better yet, where the hell? Where, the hell, does Alfred Hitchcock get off? Okay, I have seen 28 of Hitchcock's 54 feature films in his career and I don't think he has made a bad film. Maybe one or two of the one's I have seen, which include almost all of his early British work, were mediocre, but everything seems like it is brilliant. This film is brilliant. I don't know what it is, what he has, or how he does it, but Alfred Hitchcock just doesn't seem fair. It doesn't seem fair that someone would be this talented and be able to make films like this. Now don't get me wrong, it doesn't quite live up to the likes of Rear Window, North By Northwest or Vertigo, but what does. Seriously? What does, even non-Hitchcock, and maybe particularly non-Hitchcock films can't live up to those films, which means I can't call The Birds one of Hitch's best, but I am 100% confident any other director would take it as their own so they too could have a masterpiece.

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is the somewhat childish daughter of a newspaper giant in San Francisco. One day, while at a bird shop, she feigns being a salesperson in order to flirt with a dashing man, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), who is looking for a pair of love birds for his kid sister. When Melanie shows up at Mr. Brenner's doorstep with the birds however, she is informed that he spends his weekends with his mother and sister up at Bodega Bay. So Melanie wisps up the coast to surprise her new friend with the birds. Once there, a romance appears to blossom under the watchful eye of the bitter mother (Jessica Tandy) while Melanie stays with the schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), an old flame of Mitch's. But something else is watching the affairs of Bodega Bay: the gathering flocks of birds who begin to attack the town's residents, causing them flee to their homes for safety.

Over my viewing experience of the Master's films, the one common thread I have always noticed is his mastery of genre. He is known as the master of suspense and has a good number of suspense/thriller/horror films, though I think it would be a stretch to call any of his films horror, except maybe Psycho and this film, which also borders on the horror with the freak threat of the birds. But when I talk of Hitchcock's mastery, I go much further than the genre's he is pegged under. There is also often a mix of romance and comedy in his films which is handled with such care and precision, and The Birds is no different. Heck, I think this film would work as a simple melodrama between Melanie, Mitch, Lydia (the mother) and Annie. The dynamic's between all of them are not only so well developed in the script, but the performances/chemistry is great too. I think any scene between Hedren and Pleshette was brilliant. They really came off as the girls talking about boys, but with some real, compelling stakes too.

But then you bring in the concept of the attacking birds and Hitch spins the audience on its head and shows his unparalleled ability to create tension and an unbearable level of suspense. Everything builds and is hinted at throughout the film, and I loved when a random lady shouts at Melanie, blaming her evilness for bringing the birds upon them. The symbolism is wide open on the use of the birds, and maybe they don't symbolize anything, but their mere presence makes it a great plot theme and a question to ponder. Not to mention the fact that the way Hitchcock puts his images together just creates fear and apprehension about ever going outside again. And a lot of that also has to do with the special effects, which is the only thing I remember from my viewing of the film when I was a kid. Back then I was not impressed, claiming you could see the strings the birds were on, blah blah blah. But the reality of the situation is that the effects are utterly brilliant, especially considering the film was made in the early 60s.

If I had one complaint with the film it would be that it could have gone longer on some of the character development before the bird attacks. I was having such a great time with the romance and the awkward dynamic between the ladies and Mitch that I wanted more of it. I really almost feel like if the film would have been three hours instead of two, we may be calling The Birds the definitive Hitchcock masterpiece. But as it stands, it is merely a two hour perfect melding of genres that escapes into the brilliant filmography of Hitchcock, even when it would be held as some of the best by any director who is a mere mortal. Hitchcock just has that ability, or better that sensibility to know just exactly how to construct the story in front of the audience's eyes. He strings together the images like no director I have seen, and he even manages to capture some truly remarkable shots in this film.And on a closing note, I saw this film in the theater, and Hitchcock on the big screen really is like nothing else you will experience, and further proof that films are meant for the theater.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 13, 2011, 10:12:01 AM
Land of the Dead


I quite dislike Land, and not just for the zombies, I find the acting to be atrocious, except for maybe the lead.

It's not at all scary, and I was more flabbergasted by the stupidity of the victims rather than ever being at all scared.

Night is not really a movie interested in being scary as far as the traditional definition of scary goes. The horror in Night isn't the zombies, it's the humans and how easily they destroy one another. That is scary.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 13, 2011, 10:37:06 AM
I think Night is the scariest of the films.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 13, 2011, 10:43:24 AM
None of the films have scared me in the least. Thankfully horror has only a little to do with scares.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 13, 2011, 10:45:58 AM
Ok, everybody. I'm fine with saying that horror doesn't need to scare. That's cool. But, can we at least admit that most horror has something to do with scares?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 13, 2011, 10:52:30 AM
Ok, everybody. I'm fine with saying that horror doesn't need to scare. That's cool. But, can we at least admit that most horror has something to do with scares?

Nope, I don't believe that to be the case. A movie like Final Destination has nothing to do with scares, it's all about having fun with inventive and elaborate kills. A lot of Giallo, like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, is about setting up an eerie atmosphere, or some sort of atmosphere, and they aren't always in the realm of scary. Some horror is very interested in scaring the viewer, but just as much horror is interested in exploring other ideas besides being scary.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 13, 2011, 10:56:57 AM
Those two examples are scary in some sense, though. I'm not talking strictly jump scares. I'm talking things that unnerve you. That's a scare, and most horror I've seen is interested in doing that at one point or another.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 13, 2011, 11:17:47 AM
Those two examples are scary in some sense, though. I'm not talking strictly jump scares. I'm talking things that unnerve you. That's a scare, and most horror I've seen is interested in doing that at one point or another.

I see what you're saying, but this is where the subjective nature of the topic comes into play. You may find some aspects of Final Destination unnerving and thus a bit scary. I don't, I like the movie as an exercise in fun and inventive kills, but it's never unnerving or scary to me. There is undoubtedly a personal element to what scares us, what we find scary, and how we define scary and by extension horror. I can only give you my definition based on how my life in horror films, and other mediums, has played out.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 13, 2011, 11:19:32 AM
Ok, everybody. I'm fine with saying that horror doesn't need to scare. That's cool. But, can we at least admit that most horror has something to do with scares?
I think horror deals with the abject, which can be frightening, but doesn't necessarily have to be.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: FLYmeatwad on October 13, 2011, 01:38:29 PM
Those two examples are scary in some sense, though. I'm not talking strictly jump scares. I'm talking things that unnerve you. That's a scare, and most horror I've seen is interested in doing that at one point or another.

I would agree with this almost 100%, maybe even 100% exactly. Or 110%, who knows. Regardless, I think it does tap in to parts of the psyche that are both meant to unnerve and frighten you. I didn't think The Shining was very scary at all in the sense that I was ready to make water in my trousers, but it was unnerving at parts, which was frightening. It was tense, unnerving, and frightening. That probably qualifies as scary.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Legend of Hell House by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 13, 2011, 03:57:35 PM
(http://i52.tinypic.com/2u7vwx1.jpg)

The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Due to my lack of having anything special to say about The Legend of Hell House, I'll keep this short. This is a very ordinary haunted house movie, often compared (and deservedly so) to The Haunting. It effectively strips the sub-genre down to the bare conventions and wastes little time setting up character and plot. Our mixture of a scientist (who brings and his wife ?!?), a psychic and a former survivor of the house arrive at the haunted mansion, and the spooky stuff happens right away. There's banging, clanging, screaming and lots of fisheye lens. It's not bad, just very typical.

I guess the twist here is the battle between fighting the evil spiritually and using science. There's a box that's brought in to suck the evil energy out of the house. It's one original idea, but there's never a moment where you believe it might work. Parts of this British film are too stiff in the upper lip, like when the scientist asks the ghost to "leave a specimen in the jar, please." (That addition of "please" really kills it.) Roddy McDowall seems underused and extremely restrained till the end when he gets into a shouting match with the evil spirit. The most interesting thing about The Legend of Hell House is that it reminded me a lot of Edgar Wright's grindhouse trailer for "Don't".
RATING: * * 1/2

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Jared on October 13, 2011, 07:15:57 PM
horror: scares :: comedy :: laughs ?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 13, 2011, 10:36:50 PM
The Raven

The Simpsons does a reading of The Raven, with entertainment added, in about 6 minutes. This film was 80. Even more than some of the others, this seemed a tall task. But ultimately this has almost nothing to do with the story aside from there being a Raven and a lost love Lenore. What it turns into is a feud between wizards. It isn't all that compelling. Price is meh, Lorre once again annoys, Karloff hams things up. Jack Nicholson is actually in this, though I didn't realize it until the end credits. I find that the further afield they go from the Poe works, the sloppier the films tend to be.

2/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Antares on October 13, 2011, 11:47:22 PM
I'm not a big fan of horror films so I'm not participating in this marathon. But I was looking over the list of films to be watched on the first page and would like to make a suggestion. If you can find it, check out the TV movie Trilogy of Terror (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073820/) starring Karen Black. The first two stories are mostly Night Gallery type stuff, but the third segment with the Zuni doll is first rate terror. I remember watching this back in the mid-70's when ABC aired it and that segment scared the shit out of me. I've been told by a few friends who love horror films that it has held up pretty well over the years.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 13, 2011, 11:52:14 PM
I remember that one, but I only remember that 3rd story. TV Movie wise I was a big fan of Dark Night of the Scarecrow, but I bet it doesn't play well today.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 14, 2011, 12:59:42 AM
The Raven

The Simpsons does a reading of The Raven, with entertainment added, in about 6 minutes. This film was 80. Even more than some of the others, this seemed a tall task. But ultimately this has almost nothing to do with the story aside from there being a Raven and a lost love Lenore. What it turns into is a feud between wizards. It isn't all that compelling. Price is meh, Lorre once again annoys, Karloff hams things up. Jack Nicholson is actually in this, though I didn't realize it until the end credits. I find that the further afield they go from the Poe works, the sloppier the films tend to be.

2/5

That's one of the Poe/Corman films I haven't seen.  (It might be the only one, I'm not sure).  Can't imagine how they made a whole movie out of it.  The Simpsons sketch is one of my all-time favorites though, and has been since it first aired.

There's a Poe-ish Corman that stars Nicholson and Karloff called The Terror.  Francis Ford Coppola was the Asst. Director and Monte Hellman was the location director.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 14, 2011, 11:22:33 AM
House (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/house-1977/) (1977)

I expected the classic Japanese Horror film to be crazy and out there. I wasnít prepared for how out there it would be. Equal parts high-school comedy, surreal fantasy and gruesome horror, House is a synthesis of film tones that work to good effect, but the actual film techniques get in the way of the filmís best elements.

On the week leading up to summer break, Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) discovers that her plans for her friends would involve spending the summer with her widower fatherís girlfriend. She quickly switches plans and takes her friends to her auntís house for the summer. But the small mansion where her aunt lives in the countryside harbors a great evil which unleashes itself on the unsuspecting girls.

While it might sound menacing and dark, the film is often hilarious. Upbeat music, a slapstick tempo to the action and some hammy acting make some of the darkest moments of the film also the funniest. The absurdity of the comedy also helps sell the horror which is almost never explained or clearly defined, leaving the film open to go anywhere and do anything.

Thereís also a self-aware, almost meta level to the way the film presents the characters. All the girls are given names that are simply their overriding personality trait. Therefore, youíve got characters called Melody, Kung-Fu, Prof, Sweet and Mac. While this might seem like a reductionist approach, it actually makes them surprisingly memorable and, in some ways, endearing.

At times, the film is too flashy. The film has a good number of crazy hyperediting scenes that work well in tense situations, but when everyone is just having a conversation, it becomes gratuitous. A camera pan or a wide shot would have got the job done. Therefore, by the time we get to the intense stuff, the film has already abused the editing style.

Thereís also the problem of special effects. Some of them are fantastically surreal and look amazing, but other times it seemed like they just cobbled something together and threw it on the final print. A lot of superimposed effects have jagged edges or sharp contrasts that make the illusion obvious. Some might find it adds to the camp, but given that the film has more than a few sequences where the illusion looks fantastic, it comes across as lazy and inconsistent.

Still, thereís something to be said for the hyper, surreal style of the film. Itís infectiously fun and distinct, simultaneously unnerving and amusing. And the color in this film is fantastically unrestrained, creating for one of the most alluring looking horror films youíre likely to come across. Yet another example of how fantastic a film can look if left visually unrestrained.

The blending of the surreal and silly in this fever pitched dream of mad comedy and distraught horror makes House a distinct and memorable horror experience. Some will try to liken it to the modern horror spoof movie, but none of them have the momentum, allure and pitch-perfect tone of House.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: FroHam X on October 14, 2011, 11:54:29 AM
As crazy as House is, I still think it lacks the underlying heart that makes Evil Dead work so much better. Both films are very similar, though House is definitely more "out there". But the story in House is never interesting. I'm carried along purely by the craziness, which does escalate, but never gets more interesting. A totally awesome, wild, crazy movie, but I don't think it's quite the "masterpiece" some have made it out to be.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 14, 2011, 12:04:13 PM
But it has pretty Japanese girls!!

Also, I think it has some heart. I find the characters more endearing than I find Ash in Evil Dead II. The Evil Dead, well, I think that film might have more heart than this.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 14, 2011, 12:10:58 PM
My review of House (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630984#msg630984) from last week which I am simply relinking to because nobody commented out of jealousy.

I do think there's a definite increase in style as the film goes on. I preferred the less crazy style moves from the beginning of the film to the bat shit insane cut-ins from the end. It's like no matter what's happening on screen, he won't let anything overpower his style.

I like that you pointed out why the simple character names worked. I couldn't put my finger on why that decision didn't bother me.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: FroHam X on October 14, 2011, 12:13:16 PM
Also, I think it has some heart. I find the characters more endearing than I find Ash in Evil Dead II. The Evil Dead, well, I think that film might have more heart than this.

I prefer Evil Dead 1 to Evil Dead 2. And I think Ash is hilariously endearing in the first film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 14, 2011, 12:13:44 PM
I'll be watching this one soon. Though the comparisons to the Evil Dead movies scare me.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: FroHam X on October 14, 2011, 12:15:48 PM
Oh no, it's really nothing like Evil Dead stylistically or story-wise.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 14, 2011, 12:18:00 PM
My review of House (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg630984#msg630984) from last week which I am simply relinking to because nobody commented out of jealousy.


Going back and reading your review, I can see why you might have a problem with the last act, but I think the film is brilliantly paced to slowly build us to that frenzied, out there last act. If anything, I think the first act is a bit too zany and too out there, which is why I think the second act dials things back a bit and becomes more subtly creepy.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 14, 2011, 09:30:07 PM
Slither

Oh, what fun. I do love a film that doesn't go where you expect it (unless going where you expect it is more meaningful). Based on the poster of this, I knew there were going to be slug thingies, but how this creature-feature develops really does a good job tying in some disparate influences like zombie films and Invasion of the Body Snatchers without being redundant to them. Generally good effects and acting, some quality kills, and a number of really awesome line deliveries from Nathan Fillion really deliver the goods here.

Looking through the cast that also includes Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Jenna Fischer and that guy Gregg Henry (and a strong part for Tania Saulnier), I also figured out that Matreya Fedor, in a fairly small part here playing one of Saulnier's sisters, was the lead in a short film, No Bikini, from the following year that I really liked (and had to rewatch upon discovering this...it is available on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWOfcQ4O_yY)). So that was an added bonus crossover.

I'm not sure if I'd call Slither the best film I've watched for the marathon, but it was certainly the most fun I've had.

4/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 14, 2011, 10:09:28 PM
Yeah, Slither is great. Gross, but great.

Wrong Turn.

It's like Deliverance, I assume. Except now there're mutants. And young attractive guys and girls. Dushku! That Girl From The Famous Jett Jackson (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0095751/)! Sisto! The horrible acting cop from Dexter! You know, the bad actor? More specific, you say? Deb's boyfriend. (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004993/) He's still bad here. Or should I say, he's still bad in Dexter. Seriously, the guy does nothing. He's a blank. Dushku is good enough, as is Sisto. I don't think I need to tell you who lives and who dies if you look at the cast list. But that's not why we're here. Are there good kills? Do they fight back? Are the mutants gross?

Yes, one or two. Yes, but not very well. Yes, mostly. The movie has a pretty cool beginning, and a cool - if preposterous - scene in the trees but beyond that it's the same as everything else with mutant killers.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 15, 2011, 12:56:11 AM
Slither reminds me of Horror films like Drag Me to Hell or the remake of Willard (which I watched for last year's Shocktober (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8943.msg522484#msg522484).) I don't think it's quite as good as the other two, but they make for a great fun/scary triple feature. And you're right. That Nathan Fillion charm is on full display. Often, the lines themselves aren't that funny, but the way he delivers them is priceless. This film also turned me around on Michael Rooker, who always gave me the impression he'd be a pain in the ass in real life. He's very game here and his relationship with Elizabeth Banks works far better than it should.

Wrong Turn is on the IMDB Top 500 Horror films, which means it's on Icheckmovies. I started watching it once, despite the uninteresting premise. The poor lighting quickly changed my mind. It doesn't seem like a good film at all, but completing this list is one of my goals. (214 unchecked)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 15, 2011, 01:41:22 AM
Heh, I didn't even think to see if it was on a list. I guess that's what happens when you put 500 movies on a list...
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 15, 2011, 07:15:54 AM
Hausu (House, 1977)

Quote
My wife absolutely hated Hausu, the words she most often uttered while watching Hausu were, ďWhat the CINECAST!!Ē At first I shared her sentiment, not the hatred, but the what the hell attitude. The way the camera moved, the way that Nobuhiko Ohbayashi inserted strange effects, and the oddness of the acting were all, well, really odd. I was having a hard time getting past these elements, then for some reason I stopped thinking about them altogether. Thatís when I realized I had taken a drastic turn away from my wifeís viewpoint, I was having a lot of fun with Hausu.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-hausu-house-1977/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 15, 2011, 09:17:17 AM
I hated Drag Me To Hell. :o
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 15, 2011, 09:24:56 AM

Looking through the cast that also includes Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Jenna Fischer and that guy Gregg Henry

I love that guy Gregg Henry.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 15, 2011, 09:28:33 AM
I hated Drag Me To Hell. :o

It is pretty lame.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 15, 2011, 10:31:37 AM
I hated Drag Me To Hell. :o
And what did you hate about it?
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Magic by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 15, 2011, 10:35:32 AM
(http://i53.tinypic.com/2diew5g.jpg)

Magic (1978)

William Goldman (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001279/) is one of my all time favorite screenwriters. He's a master of structure, clever dialogue and misdirection. Highlights include Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Misery and The Princess Bride. All films from wildly different genres, and yet they all have a perfect balance of character and excitement, comedy and danger. Literally dozens of scenes where you're certain of what's going to happen, only to be blindsided by a dramatic change of tone.

William Goldman wrote the screenplay for Magic, based on his own novel, and it's a great showcase for his mixing abilities. This got added to the marathon after I reviewed Dead of Night (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629993#msg629993), which contained the original and oft copied ventriloquist dummy horror tale. Goldman plays off of the expectations of this campfire tale, delivering the exact thrills you came to see, but in a completely unexpected way.

I can't talk too much about what happens in the story with Magic because I don't want to spoil the special relationship of Corky the Magician (Anthony Hopkins) with his dummy, Fats. These tales always involve the supernatural, and Goldman finds a fresh angle that made the film much more interesting that I expected. There's a scene involving Corky, Fats and Corky's manager (Burgess Meredith, who is as great here as I've ever seen him) where Fats is challenged to stay quiet for 5 minutes. The tension in the room between the three of them is amazing, because the entire film could go in a few different directions depending on what happens in those next five minutes.

Doing what he can to destroy William Goldman's script is director Richard Attenborough, who I've never been a fan of (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10228.msg602174#msg602174). (Gandhi was a fluke.) He just doesn't seem to get the material, playing everything at the same low level. Except for the "5 minutes" scene, most of the suspenseful parts are flat. He trys to be eerie, but except for a shot of Hopkins looking like his creation it doesn't work. Continuing the argument of when is a horror movie not really a horror movie, this film takes solid horror material and plays it like a domestic drama. Attenborough is seen as more of an actor's director, but there are a couple of scenes where he has Hopkins go way too big. He's yelling and sweating and the effect is more off-putting than scary.

There are also three little decisions that hurt the film quite a bit for me.

A character named Duke arrives out of the blue (and right when the film conveniently needs a new victim), with dialogue that suggests some big scenes have obviously been cut out. Twenty minutes after meeting Hopkins, he has a line like "you always told me that..." and mentions something Hopkins has never told anyone.

Attenborough doesn't play fair with the dummy. There is a clever knife murder that matches up with Goldman's misdirection wonderfully, but there are a couple of moments where Fats does certain physical movements that are simply impossible once the truth is revealed. They're not even thrown in as fakeouts because this happens after the truth is known. So, it's just dishonest.

Just as dishonest is the final shot/line, which feels like a last minute producer reshoot in case they wanted to franchise this. It's a complete lie, unless it's meant as a final double twist to everything that's happened. If it were true, then the rest of the film would make no sense. The twist would be just as bad as the one in High Tension.
RATING: * * 1/2
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 15, 2011, 02:23:13 PM
I hated Drag Me To Hell. :o
And what did you hate about it?

Tying in to your point in the other thread as this does, I honestly can't tell you. I saw it two years ago or something. I remember almost nothing about it. I remember my overall opinion of films but except for special films or films I've watched repeatedly, I just don't remember specific details of what was good or bad. I think I remember it being a little hokey as plots go.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 15, 2011, 09:33:36 PM
Diary of the Dead

While Land of the Dead could have been a continuation of the previous series, this clearly is a new timeline, based in a world that apparently has no knowledge of zombies. They have mummy lore, as they are in the midst of making a mummy film when the zombie outbreak happens, but they are clueless about zombies. So naturally we have to go through the whole "what the f**k is happening" phase that at this point is so tiresome.

Of course, this is Romero's answer to the found footage mockumentary trend. This one manages to be even fuller of meta-wankery as the people filming are actually film students (with film professor in tow) so we get all kinds of terrible dialogue about the meaning of the filming and the idea of a zombie outbreak in a world where video cameras are in everyone's phones and they post the vids up on youtube. This has the potential of insight, but it just feels like it is trying too hard.

There are a few solid momentsÖquality kills and the like. Enough to make it passable even. Romero just doesn't seem to do bad, he always at least finds the basic level of enjoyment. At the end of the day there was one make or break moment. Right near the start, when they are setting up the film students, they are making a mummy film with a scene of the mummy chasing a hot blonde and it was indicated, or at least someone hoped, that it would involve her dress being torn off and her breasts popping out. This sets a certain foreshadowed expectation of the film to deliver on this promise. But I grew increasingly concerned that like so many films it would chicken out from the nudity its story indicated, which would have been annoying. But alas, it didn't, and it was glorious. I'm a simple man, and I know how to appreciate the little things in life, even when the rest of life is a bit of a disappointment.

3/5

P.S. Against The Dark, Cracks and Document of the Dead are no longer planned for Shocktober.

P.P.S. More people should be watching Teeth for Shocktober if they haven't already. That film is great.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 15, 2011, 11:41:36 PM
Interesting that half of your review is a commentary on expectations of nudity. I was mostly disappointed in Land of the Dead, so the reboot of Diary was an unexpected good time, even if it is like you said, just a basic level of enjoyment. Can't remember if it was this film or the prior that had my 2nd favorite zombie kill with the acid. (Nothing has come close to topping the helicopter blade in Dawn.) I also loved the image of the zombies in the pool, though I remember that being the last interesting moment of the film.

p.s. I am now also running into the problem of no longer being able to keep up with my aggressive schedule. I have cut White Zombie from the marathon and wonder what other films will end up not being watched.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 16, 2011, 07:32:22 AM
Re- Magic (found something constructive to say)- I looked at my original post and I was vague on details except Hopkins performance struck me as weird and memorable. In fact, thinking again does it not seem that the seeds of Hannibal Lector are in there, more on the doll's side than his own character?

It might be a personal choice but I wonder why you would give Attenborough another chance when you dislike his style so much. You seem to be an equitable fella (I'm being genuine not sarcastic) because you've also stated that The Bourne Identity gets 4 watches despite your reservations. I wouldn't do that. I gave Godard 3 chances and I won't be giving him a 4th. I'm confident in my opinion enough not to think ploughing that furrow is going to get me any closer to liking his films.

@Bondo, I am sure you are sick of hearing other people's opinions of how you approach films, but, again personally, if said I hated a film I would do it with more than a vague recollection of a film. Again to be more constructive, I thought Loman's central performance was great and this was Raimi's return to form. His Spiderman is fine but what I really want to see from him is some full-on, even hilarious horror. My real complaint? Not enough Bruce Campbell! 8)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 16, 2011, 07:41:44 AM
I have been hesitant about Drag Me to Hell because I don't want to be disappointed by a Sam Raimi horror film.  But, even though I know verbALs only a little, his words are enough to give me the confidence that my 99 minutes will not be ill-spent.   :)

@Bondo, [regarding Drag Me to Hell [...]I thought Loman's central performance was great and this was Raimi's return to form. His Spiderman is fine but what I really want to see from him is some full-on, even hilarious horror. My real complaint? Not enough Bruce Campbell! 8)

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 16, 2011, 07:46:03 AM
I have been hesitant about Drag Me to Hell because I don't want to be disappointed by a Sam Raimi horror film.  But, even though I know verbALs only a little, his words are enough to give me the confidence that my 99 minutes will not be ill-spent.   :)

@Bondo, [regarding Drag Me to Hell [...]I thought Loman's central performance was great and this was Raimi's return to form. His Spiderman is fine but what I really want to see from him is some full-on, even hilarious horror. My real complaint? Not enough Bruce Campbell! 8)

..and taking my opinion over Bondo's?...I am honoured!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 16, 2011, 07:56:23 AM
I have been hesitant about Drag Me to Hell because I don't want to be disappointed by a Sam Raimi horror film.  But, even though I know verbALs only a little, his words are enough to give me the confidence that my 99 minutes will not be ill-spent.   :)

@Bondo, [regarding Drag Me to Hell [...]I thought Loman's central performance was great and this was Raimi's return to form. His Spiderman is fine but what I really want to see from him is some full-on, even hilarious horror. My real complaint? Not enough Bruce Campbell! 8)

..and taking my opinion over Bondo's?...I am honoured!

I respect you both.  I just needed some encouragement to get me to try Drag and you provided it.  Thank you for that.   :)

I have the same reticence towards My Soul to Take.  Anybody with some kind words to get me to chance my time on my guy Wes Craven?  VerbALs?  Bondo?  1SO?

I hate being disappointed by a director I like.  Sometimes I need a push.

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 16, 2011, 08:31:42 AM
@Verbals, I am 100% sure I hated the film when I saw it and if you had asked me to expand on it right after I had seen it I am sure I could have offered concrete reasons. The fact that those reasons have faded doesn't seem like a good reason to start qualifying the general response that I still remember. FWIW, I also hated Evil Dead 2, mostly because it is hokey and illogical. I don't like the Spiderman series much either. I'm not a Raimi guy at all. The best thing he has directed is For Love Of The Game.

Interesting that half of your review is a commentary on expectations of nudity. I was mostly disappointed in Land of the Dead, so the reboot of Diary was an unexpected good time, even if it is like you said, just a basic level of enjoyment. Can't remember if it was this film or the prior that had my 2nd favorite zombie kill with the acid. (Nothing has come close to topping the helicopter blade in Dawn.) I also loved the image of the zombies in the pool, though I remember that being the last interesting moment of the film.

Yeah, acid kill was Diary. The helicopter kill isn't the coolest kill as an idea, but as execution it is so brilliant.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 16, 2011, 08:33:41 AM
@Verbals - Hopkins went on to play Lector, which is the type of role that can seep into everything you do, but there was never a moment where I thought he did something Lector-esque.

I'll give any director another chance if I feel like I'm the one missing out. Took me about 6 films before Another Year followed by a rewatch of Naked got me to appreciate and now praise Mike Leigh. It was years before I came around on John Ford and now I love his work.

@jim brown - Something happened with My Soul to Take during Production. Nobody cared enough to get specifics but even Wes has disowned that one. Every now and then Craven abandons all his senses and puts out a Deadly Friend or Cursed or The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985). He should make a film like New Nightmare where he explains that those films were made by his evil twin.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 16, 2011, 08:39:24 AM
FWIW, I also hated Evil Dead 2, mostly because it is hokey and illogical. I don't like the Spiderman series much either. I'm not a Raimi guy at all. The best thing he has directed is For Love Of The Game.

Okay - maybe I don't respect Bondo after all.   ;)

[joking]
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 16, 2011, 08:41:26 AM
@Verbals - Hopkins went on to play Lector, which is the type of role that can seep into everything you do, but there was never a moment where I thought he did something Lector-esque.

I'll give any director another chance if I feel like I'm the one missing out. Took me about 6 films before Another Year followed by a rewatch of Naked got me to appreciate and now praise Mike Leigh. It was years before I came around on John Ford and now I love his work.

@jim brown - Something happened with My Soul to Take during Production. Nobody cared enough to get specifics but even Wes has disowned that one. Every now and then Craven abandons all his senses and puts out a Deadly Friend or Cursed or The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985). He should make a film like New Nightmare where he explains that those films were made by his evil twin.

I liked Deadly Friend!  It's why I never play basketball!   :)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 16, 2011, 08:55:44 AM
Quote
@Verbals - Hopkins went on to play Lector, which is the type of role that can seep into everything you do, but there was never a moment where I thought he did something Lector-esque.
This is the sort of insightful comment I luv ya for.

Lector is such a good performance because Hopkins is putting something of himself into it, a well hidden disgust maybe. That quality would be in every performance because it would be in him and Lector is simply a very good expression of that. Even though Hannibal goes ridiculously off the rails the Italian section of that film shows the same thing both in Lector (book) and Hopkins (film). Lector's ability to dissect his patients/victims is so complete that he cannot do anything but destroy the wreckage that is left, like the remains of a biology class.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 16, 2011, 09:23:32 AM
Lector is such a good performance because Hopkins is putting something of himself into it, a well hidden disgust maybe. That quality would be in every performance because it would be in him and Lector is simply a very good expression of that.

Remind me to tell you about the time Hopkins yelled at me on the set of Fracture. I felt like Julia Ormond in Legends of the Fall.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 16, 2011, 09:33:09 AM
Lector is such a good performance because Hopkins is putting something of himself into it, a well hidden disgust maybe. That quality would be in every performance because it would be in him and Lector is simply a very good expression of that.

Remind me to tell you about the time Hopkins yelled at me on the set of Fracture. I felt like Julia Ormond in Legends of the Fall.

Believe me I know enough people from South Wales to imagine what getting on the wrong side is like, lovely people if you stay out of their eyeline. Must be quite an experience...to be near a pee'd off Hopkins
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 16, 2011, 11:36:05 AM
Vampyr (1932)

Quote
I remember when I was a young lad and I began to discover horror stories. The stories were of a varied lot, not just your typical vampire and werewolf mix. One particular brand of story that interested me were a series of novels the library had that were called the Poe series. Iíve never been able to locate these books sense, and as time has passed Iíve come to the realization that most likely the Berkeley Public Library labeled the novels as something they werenít. Either way, this Poe series of novels focused on the fantastical side of horror, and no, I donít mean the aforementioned werewolves and vampires per se. Sure, often times the subject matter would be that of zombies, ghouls, and goblins, but the Poe series wasnít interested in the concrete facts of a story. The Poe series of novels, maybe they were novellas now that I think about it, created an atmosphere of the fantastic. The worlds of these stories didnít make sense, but they were captivating in their ability to not make sense. The Poe novels were like a fever dream slowed down to the extreme, and I could never shake from my mind the the created worlds of those novels.

Read the rest at my blog (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-vampyr-1932/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 16, 2011, 04:44:46 PM
The Haunted Palace

If I had done my due diligence, I might not have included this film because, though it shares its title with a poem by Poe, the story is adapted from Lovecraft. It starts with a woman wandering to the house of Joseph Curwen (Price), being followed by two men. We see that inside she is being put through some manner of occult practice. The two men return with a mob and tie Curwen to a tree and burn him, with his final words being a curse upon them and their children. We are then transported 110 years later, where everyone is apparently still alive or replaced in clone form.

Into this town comes Charles Dexter Ward (also Price) and his wife to examine the palace they have inherited, Charles being the great-grandson of Joseph. So he is clearly of a subsequent generation, and they see mutated/deformed individuals around town who seem to be the cursed subsequent generations, yet many of the main adults seem to be the same individuals as the initial scene. They hold the same level of grudge against Ward as they did against Curwen (as they look identical) and Curwen, as we find out, specifically has a grudge against them. So that didn't make much sense to me.

One of the films that this reminded me of was The Shining in the way that the place seems to haunt the minds of those who inhabit it. In some ways this makes me think I've been a little unfair to The Shining, though Nicholson's performance in that is something I enjoy. But that film has so many memorably tense scenes and style that this one simply can't match. Yet I did enjoy this film some, spinning its wheels though it seemed to do at times. It just needed a little...something, to kick it up.

3/5
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Man Who Laughs by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 16, 2011, 11:14:01 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/DKzkq.jpg)

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Quote from: MartinTeller
Leni's technique is as modern as any, and in fact Man Who Laughs could almost be mistaken for one of those Guy Maddin films that attempts to mimic the old silents.  The editing, composition, angles, and lighting are absolutely masterful.  The haunting grin of the astonishing Conrad Veldt is a fantastic image.  Of course, all that wouldn't mean much without a good story, and Hugo's simple but charming romance does the trick nicely.  A very nice surprise.  Rating: 9

Printed Martin's quote this time so as not to discourage others by anything I might say. The Man Who Laughs looks and sounds like a horror film, but it is not a horror film. It's silent melodrama with a dash of swashbuckling, and the more I realized it, the less interested I was to watch. There's an interesting bit of pop culture in how this character influenced The Joker, but I was completely in the wrong headspace for this film and decided to call it quits before the end. This is in no way a criticism of the film. I just wasn't in the right mood to properly enjoy it.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: roujin on October 16, 2011, 11:26:26 PM
Thought you were chester for a second.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Masque of the Red Death by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 17, 2011, 10:46:30 PM
(http://i55.tinypic.com/vno879.jpg)

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
ďShow me the lives and loves of the animals.Ē

How much do you judge a film for being "of its time"? I constantly wrestle with that, and one of the big reasons why I appear to be so harsh on obscure older films is they don't hold up very well in a modern light. I believe this is why they're more obscure. There are a good dozen films from every decade that are as fresh and contemporary now as they were then. While 1964s The Masque of the Red Death was probably quite effective back in its day, there's just a lot of silly and stupid stuff going on.

Let's start with Vincent Price, who is completely in big and evil mode here, with that voice modulated to send chills. It's a great over-the-top fun bit of ham, but The Last Man on Earth was filmed around the same time and that was a fine piece of acting. This could have benefitted from a similar control and a little less bug-eyed sneering. Then again Red Death features death as a character and has a touch of psychedelia to the tone, so Price's performance fits right in.

The story is padded with a subplot about a dwarf dancer and a woman who is completing her training to be a bride of Satan. That ceremony includes a lengthy, trippy scene that reminded me of the fever dream from Rosemary's Baby, orchestrated by Roger Corman and not Roman Polanski. It's very laughable... by today's standards. I honestly can't tell how much slack I should give it, cause it seems kind of silly for 1960s too. That's my point. Every scare comes with a burst of music and a quick zoom into the horror. Like they know the scare doesn't work by itself so they goose it.

Bondo, this will be a test for you because the best part of the movie is that Masque in the last twenty minutes. So not finishing the film is as useful as not watching it at all. It's still not great, but it's the one sequence with some effective atmosphere and the conclusion is pretty well done. I also really dig the final scene.
RATING: * *

p.s. Anyone who has seen The Masque of the Red Death and knows me will know I was very appreciative that they cast Jane Asher, who is a real cutie and did very well in her part.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 18, 2011, 12:18:38 AM
I'd be interested in what you think the difference is between a film that is "of its time" and one that is "fresh and contemporary".  What do you mean when you say a film is "dated"?

Honestly I'm curious.  It's a criticism I've never made because I have no idea what it means.  I think all films are of their time.  And I think all films are relevant to the present.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 18, 2011, 12:47:22 AM
This is probably worth its own thread since there are hundreds of films you could bring into the discussion. The big unfairness of it all is when a film sets a new style, rewrites the rules, changes the game, that film's cinematic elements tend to get cannibalized and hammered to death so that it comes to be recognized as a key film of that era. Stallone defined the 80s action film, while Die Hard (whose success wasn't immediate) opened the floodgates for a new kind of 90s action hero.

The easiest way to explain it is in the realm of special effects. 1992s The Lawnmower Man is dated because of its cheap polygon computer effects. The Matrix still looks groundbreaking. If it came out any year after 1999, it would still be the freshest thing in town. I recently reviewed Star Wars Eps 4-6. A New Hope was modest with the effects and Lucas was able to pull it off beautifully. As the series progressed, it became difficult for technique to keep up with imagination, and when that difference is large enough to be noticed, it dates a film.

80s films tend to be dated by the wardrobe and hairstyles, yet many have a classical feel that avoids that. For The Graduate, Mike Nichols was asked to include some kind of reference to Vietnam, but he didn't want to date the film, and it remains very contemporary.

The Masque of the Red Death builds up to psychedelic angles and garish colors. The way it films scares wouldn't work today because the audience is more sophisticated. We have decades of horror films to build from so a push in followed by a woman screaming won't work so well anymore, and it certainly won't get the same response the 5th time it's used within the same film.

I feel like trying to answer this in a few paragraphs just comes off as both long-winded and still vague. I just don't want to use the old "I know it when I see it,". It's also late and I've been writing a lot, so this may have to be concluded tomorrow.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 18, 2011, 12:59:40 AM
I think the term "dated" is well enough defined not to leave doubt as to its meaning. Barbarella pretty much is the picture that goes with that meaning. 

However there are aspects of older films that have been completely lost in modern cinema. The whole concept of suspense has very nearly been terminated. One good example is lyricism and spirituality of The Archers post war ( yes SD and A Canterbury Tale). These tales told without a trace of cynicism are difficult impossible to replicate.

Other good examples are the machine gun dialogue of 30s comedies and the visceral feel of real Sfx from the70s and 80s.

I think these Corman films have a charm of their own.  So I understand the "of their time" comment by there are pros and cons.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 18, 2011, 02:19:51 AM
Nope, still not getting it.  Barbarella is awesome in any time period.

I see suspense in films nowadays (Johnnie To), lyricism and spirituality (Malick, obviously), sincerity (Wes Anderson and Pixar), machine gun dialogue (Aaron Sorkin), visceral effects (Moon).

Die Hard's success seemed pretty immediate to me, but I was 12.  Coming out late in 1988, it'd be hard for it to define the 80s action hero, though he is pretty much in the vein of Axel Foley, is he not?

As for hair and wardrobe, well, I think that's one of the greatest things about films from earlier eras: they serve as windows onto the past in myriad little ways we'd never think to look up in a history book (different styles of telephones, hats, automobiles, obscure slang, etc etc).  Every film is not only a documentary of its own past, but a documentary on the era in which it was made.  I think history is both fascinating and vital in itself and far from those elements being a negative in a film, they're usually constitute enough on their own for me to enjoy the experience of watching the film.

Anyway, I really object to the idea that audiences are more sophisticated nowadays.  The assumption that audiences in the 30s, 60s or 80s were unsophisticated rubes more easily made to laugh, cry or scream than us geniuses of the present is as false it will be 30 years from now that audiences today are are fools.  Can you seriously compare the romantic comedies of the 30s and the present and declare that we are more sophisticated?  His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story vs. Just Go With It and Friends with Benefits?

Every generation wants to think its predecessors didn't know anything, and every generation is wrong.

To your specific point, what you're identifying in Masque of the Red Death is not its datedness but rather its campiness, a trait I assure you was quite well-known in its own time.  The Corman films are campy, they are cheap, they have questionable acting and cardboard sets and, let's say unusual directing (I think Corman is great, I appreciate his willingness to do pretty much anything with his films, they always surprise me).  That is a fundamental part of their charm, today as it was 50 years ago.  No one took them seriously as scary horror movies (except maybe 13 year olds, but they scare easy).  They began to be taken seriously as works of art much later, when people started to look at them more deeply.  The question I'd ask if I was bothered by your example (which I can't say I recall as it's been a long time since I've seen the movie) is not "how could audiences be so dumb as to be scared by the camera pushing in on a woman screaming?" but "why does Corman repeat this image and camera movement?  What effect does it have on the viewer (if not fear, then what else?)  How does it fit in with the overall style of the film, the various other techniques he uses throughout the film?  Is it a radical break?  Is the whole film filled with quick zooms?  If so, what effect does that have on the viewer and the narrative?  All these questions and more could lead to an interesting discussion of the film (one which very well could end up with the conclusion that the film is not very good).  But "this film is dated" leads nowhere.  There's nowhere to go with that and nothing left to say.  It ends the discussion, rather than beginning it.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 18, 2011, 05:42:24 AM
Barbarella is not dated? OK, we have a clear difference of opinion there.

Quote
Barbarella is awesome in any time period.

That really wasn't replying to the point was it?

Quote
lyricism and spirituality (Malick, obviously)

Not obviously, at all. And my point was those values without the cynicism (and answering every point in that way would be more attrition than discussion)

To be equitable I don't think MacClaine defines the 80s action hero either.

Quote
But "this film is dated" leads nowhere.  There's nowhere to go with that and nothing left to say.  It ends the discussion, rather than beginning it.

No it doesn't, which was what I was doing continuing the discussion/ joining in/ adding another pov. {and I really am too thick skinned to be bothered if my contribution isn't wanted, just deal with it} Again to TRY to be constructive, the elements that date, those parts that could be only of this time would be (in my puny opinion);

- the cinematography of time ( I love the black & white of this era, but the vivd colours may be dated but they make the era unique)
- the tastes of the time (what people then considered good or bad taste and how they expressed these things, informs a modern viewer of the attitudes of the time)
- VINCENT PRICE, was in his prime at this time and this is what he did at the time. Not before not after, an icon of the age.
- CORMAN, again this was his time and how he fit into the existing movie making business and how he made his films is wonderfully evocative, yet still informs modern viewers and even directors how to approach similar subjects.
- The material. EA Poe's stories have been endlessly made and remade. However his greatest tales were made most definitively from House of Usher, through Pit and the Pendulum, the Raven to Red Death in this era. This means the Poe's work is irrevocably associated with a 60s style as a result. A GOOD THING.

I hope this has helped in some small way to continue the discussion (and I'm not as irritated as I sound).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 18, 2011, 11:23:49 AM
I put the larger issue into a new thread (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10597.0), saving this for conversation specific to The Masque of the Red Death.

I have not yet seen one of the British Hammer Horror films (I think) and I had not seen one of Corman's 60s films until now. I assumed they would be about the same, and even though it's Corman I thought this would be less campy and more low-budget creepy. I was so unaware that this is known as camp horror that it didn't feel campy when I was watching it. A bit hammy, but not so much tongue-in-cheek. To that, the "fundamental charm" went over my head. I discovered this hearing it was as you said "a more serious work of art" than camp.

There is all sorts of larger discussion you could have here. Expectations when watching a film. What exactly is camp and how do you know when it's good or bad? But in the end I went in thinking I would like The Masque of the Red Death, and I was disappointed by the end.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 18, 2011, 01:18:00 PM
Quote
British Hammer Horror films

Warning: NOT RECOMMENDATIONS- you might really hate them.

Try any of the Christopher Lee Dracula films

House of Wax

or the ultimate send-up Carry On Screaming approach with extreme caution!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36m2jLl0Me4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36m2jLl0Me4)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 18, 2011, 03:09:58 PM
It's relatively more serious and less campy.  I think there's a lot more going on than in something like The House on Haunted Hill, for example.  But that's not to say it's, I don't know, Kwaidan or something.

But all of Corman (and all of AIP, his production company) is campy on at least the level of budget, sets, acting, and the audacity of style.  They go for big effects with small resources, and that disconnect is often called camp.  But camp is one of those things that is really hard to define.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Motel Hell by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 18, 2011, 06:18:22 PM
(http://i53.tinypic.com/350vyoi.jpg)

Motel Hell (1980)
ďMeat's meat, and man's gotta eat.Ē

I've heard of Motel Hell for a many years, but when one of our crew at work said it was his first job in the business, I decided to add it to the marathon. A dark horse for a possible buried treasure, like Sleepaway Camp. Unfortunately, this is no buried treasure. There are strange hints of a better movie somewhere in there, but the best parts of Motel Hell feel like accidents.

Motel Hell is part of the crazy cannibal family sub genre, definitely walking in the shadows of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I tried to take the film reasonably seriously before the camp overwhelmed me. While it sets itself up as a horror film more in line with Chainsaw and Mean Creek, events take a turn for the silly and the horror takes a backseat to this strange family interacting with a new girl who has entered their lives. The plot progressing shoots far past bizarre, landing firmly into illogical. So taken as a whole, this is a highly forgettable mess of a movie.

However, within the film are some clever ideas and well-executed moments. The biggest being the human garden where people are rendered unable to speak and wait with their heads above the ground like bobblehead cabbages. They groan and gurgle and wait to be harvested, often with a burlap sack over their head. There's also the film's climax where the bad guy brandishes a chainsaw while wearing the head of a pig carcass. The fight isn't anything special but that pig's head keeps it interesting.
RATING: * 1/2
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Masque of the Red Death by 1SO
Post by: Bondo on October 18, 2011, 10:04:12 PM
The Masque of the Red Death

Though I did not read the story immediately prior to this viewing, Masque is one of the stories I have previously read and one I really enjoyed. So that gave me a few expectations, some of which were met, some of which weren't. But first I should say that this film provided the best moments of the Corman half of my marathon so far, but its flaws keep it beneath House of Usher overall.

First off, I love the visual aesthetic of this film. I feel like they have the sets and the costumes right, particularly the colored rooms. I was disappointed to find out that the clock, and the way it and time fits into Poe's story, are completely absent from this adaptation. That was one of the best hooks of the short story.

But the thing I really dig is the character here. You've got the Christian peasants and the Prince and his hedonistic/satanic elites. Right there you've got class judgements. The Prince's vices are ultimately his downfall. The vices of the group are further illustrated in an early scene where a dwarf male and what looks like a five year old girl (though based on later awkward/disturbing dubbing is presumably another dwarf or the like) dance and the Prince and a fellow nobelman share remarks of a sexual nature toward her. This is a den of depravity. But while this vice may be the root of the Prince's downfall, the red death makes no particular moral point. Death is fickle and random and all manner of faith an illusion of comfort.

The main problems here are in the middle third and especially the sub-plot of one of the prince's established paramours seeking marriage to the devil. It gets really sluggish and doesn't really do much to move the brilliant opening third to the strong closing third. But it is sufferable and this stands right beside Usher as worthy Corman/Price/Poe.

4/5

p.s. Anyone who has seen The Masque of the Red Death and knows me will know I was very appreciative that they cast Jane Asher, who is a real cutie and did very well in her part.

Typical 1SO...and accurate.

Anyone who has seen Polanski's MacBeth knows he can do silly.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 18, 2011, 11:00:56 PM
Agree about the visuals, sets and costumes. This is what threw me when suddenly I was told that Corman made low budget camp to make up for his lack of funds. This seemed really well funded.

I have a favorite moment here and I want to see your reaction. It's during the escape. They come up behind a guard and the guard turns to reveal it is in fact the Prince. Price's facial expression is like a snooty magician who just made everyone's wife disappear. So over the top, but in the best possible way.

Care to add anything about my calling the film "dated" (and meaning that in a bad way)?

Glad to see you agree with me about the woman marring Satan. It was like a joke with a 10 minute setup and a meager punchline.

Remember the colored rooms when you watch The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.
Remember the marriage ceremony when you watch Rosemary's Baby.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 18, 2011, 11:16:18 PM
I can't say I remember that particular expression, though I know what moment you are talking about. As for feeling dated? There are certainly a few effects that make it look cheap/dated, contrary to the rest of the production. Namely, anytime an arrow is shot. Just terrible. Also the bird attack. But generally speaking I wouldn't say the film felt dated in a bad way.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 18, 2011, 11:42:36 PM
Agree about the visuals, sets and costumes. This is what threw me when suddenly I was told that Corman made low budget camp to make up for his lack of funds. This seemed really well funded.

Clearly I'm not expressing myself well.  I should have never used the word "camp" because it seems to just be confusing things.

"In The Films (http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/114212%7C0/The-Masque-of-the-Red-Death.html) of Roger Corman by Ed Naha, the director admitted that The Masque of the Red Death "was the biggest and best-looking of the Poe films, the first film we ever did in England. We had a shooting schedule of five weeks which was, as you may realize, two weeks longer than our usual shooting schedule. I thought, 'Gosh, I'm really going to be able to spread myself out on this thing!" At that time, I didn't realize that English crews work much slower than American ones...Still, even a small amount of extra time allowed me to do a lot more stylistically with this production." "
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 19, 2011, 05:46:00 AM
Quote
English crews work much slower than American ones
We do everything slower and longer. It's the key to successful relationships. 8)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 19, 2011, 10:46:46 PM
Rosemary's Baby

While the first two of the Dead films are certainly classics of the genre, Rosemary's Baby is likely the biggest classic outside the genre. I should first say that the technical components on display here from Polanski are indeed impressive, unfortunately I can't say the film holds up so well for me.

I don't quite get the bond to the Castevets. We see Guy really take to them in particular due to some unknown stories being told by Roman (though I guess we figure that out). Meanwhile Minnie (Ruth Gordon) is the most obnoxious person ever. This leads to them getting random suspicious foods and being convinced to go to the worst doctor ever. That's some kind of weird kind of trust. And even when the trust is questioned, she doesn't question all associated with them as would seem natural.

Clearly if Guy can't appreciate Rosemary's short haircut, she should leave him for me because I dig it. Mia Farrow is really great here with all the heavy lifting. Cassavetes is capable as well. But that's about it. Probably an unpopular opinion but the satanism here is campier than in Masque of the Red Death, partly as a result of less subtle acting outside the main couple. The plot laid some interesting hints and the "fantasy" sequences were effective, but so much of the film was not all that suspenseful, partly because it felt a bit hokey. The film probably could have been a fair bit shorter. Certainly not a bad film but a bit of a disappointment.

3/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 20, 2011, 01:06:23 PM
Black Sunday (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/black-sunday-1960/) (1960)

Seeped in old gothic tradition, but pushed the boundaries even farther than the Hammer Horror films, one could ostensibly argue that the Italian Horror of the í60s and Ď70s was the last great wave of gothic horror in the movies.  With the emergence of the slasher film, horror would never be the same, but Black Sunday serves as a reminder of how mood and setting are essential for great horror.

The dark castle that the Vajda family takes shelter in becomes the setting for this vampiric tale. An ancient curse sworn by a witch moments before she was executed by the Vajdaís ancestors comes back to haunt them when a couple of men stumble into an old crypt and unleash this ancient evil once more.

From there, the film gets a bit sketch in terms of plot and characters. For one, itís not always clear the actual nature of this witch and the handful of vampires that begin springing up and attacking the Vajda family. Also the characters which constitute the Vajda family become a bit confusing to keep up with. The youthful males in particular often seem interchangeable in their roles even though they have different relationships with the other characters around them.

There is also a poor English dub out there which was the only one I could find. Itís not aggressively bad so to be amusing or even poor enough to obscure all meaning, but often the wording feels odd and the sentences donít seem to come out right. It was enough to occasionally throw me off. If you can track down an Italian version, Iíd highly recommend that.

The film is notable for its levels of gore. At times, these effects are effective at conveying gruesome violence in a way that is visceral but without showing too much. Itís the suggestion, with the aftermath or effect of a violent act which makes the violence work. Occasionally, it feels like it might be showing a bit too much and not always to a particular effect to shock or repulse.

This is, in part, because the film is in black and white. The fact that there isnít enough detail allows them to show more (at least for the time) but without that color and detail it isnít as vibrant and shocking as what audiences would see today in a horror movie, or perhaps even on TV. In effect, I think in showing a bit too much to too little of an effect. The film hasnít aged well, even though I will admit some of the effects are fantastic.

One thing the black and white does enhance a lot is the mood. Thereís something about the atmosphere of old black and white movies, particularly in horror films, which is not something easily translatable to color film. The iconic locale, atmospheric air and visual aesthetic perfectly complement the mood.

In this light, I think Black Sunday excels as a mood piece. The other parts donít always come together but there are a lot of unnerving, unsettling and effective moments throughout the film that flow perfectly out of the dreary, gothic atmosphere. Itís got some rough patches, but Black Sunday is worth checking out to see the tail end of gothic horror flick.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 20, 2011, 09:52:51 PM
Survival Of The Dead

Well, Romero made it much further than popular opinion would dictate without producing a dud in this series. Alas, all streaks are made to be broken. Survival just didn't work for me. It starts with a pretty simple and promising premise. You've got two Irish families on an island in a Hatfield vs. McCoy type fued...only now one side thinks you should kill zombies and the other side is holding out hope of keeping them around in some form.

And then immediately we are taken away and put amid a small group of soldiers who we are reminded crossed paths with the gang from Diary of the Dead implying this is set in the same world and time of that film. The gang ultimately heads to the island as well. And a bunch of fairly insignificant things happen and the film ends. I just never really was entertained or enlightened by the film.

2/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 20, 2011, 10:34:58 PM
I've watched all of Romero's Dead films except Survival. Frequently I pick up the DVD and then put it down for something else at the store. I was half hoping you would give me that final push, but your review is exactly how I think I would feel about it.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 21, 2011, 06:12:35 PM
(http://i51.tinypic.com/al5dsz.jpg)
Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968)

As I continue my limited education on the cinematic delight that is the classic horror world, I continue to be amazed by the films which I see, but for reasons other than their sheer brilliance, which is not to say that there is not brilliance contained within, because there is. As I rolled through The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, I discovered two classics which were, simply put, B-movie comedies that took camp to another level in my own personal filmography, which probably helps explain my strange experience with Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, a film I saw before experience past campy Raimi. For some reason, I had this idea that the classics of the horror genre would be comparable to the classics of any genre. The classic noir are tense and mysterious, the classic comedies are greatly funny, the classic romances are beautiful and heartbreaking, yet the classic horror film I have seen to this point are not horrifying at all.

In this Romero classic, Barbara (Judith O'Dea) and her brother travel to a remote Western Pennsylvania cemetery where their father lies interred. As night falls upon the graves, zombies attack. After her brother gets the short end, Barbara finds an empty farmhouse to hide out in. Soon she is joined by Ben (Duane Jones) and a few other characters seeking refuge from the undead. They board up the house in hopes of survival, but the radio and television broadcasts seem to indicate a recent satellite burn up has caused terrible after effects to those exposed to the radiation contained within, causing an outbreak of these re-animated dead.

Horror films are definitely niche, but the following the genre has is very devote in their championing of some of the classics, which is to say I am surprised that more major studios do not produce horror films. All the classics seem to be independent films by young ambitious directors. There are some aspects of this film that simply amaze me. The first is the lack of production value, like the Evil Dead's, and yet that is part of the charm and attraction. It is clear this was pieced together pretty much on first shot every time. Another is the horrible acting, which starts and ends with Judith O'Dea, whose characterization consists of sitting on the couch, doing nothing, and whimpering in her inability to accept the fact that she adds nothing to the film in any way.

The final "complaint" I have with the film are the zombies themselves, which pretty much sum up why this horror movie is not a horror movie, but a comedy. They are dead people who walk around at roughly half the speed of snail. How are they threatening at all!? The characters easy outran their enemies so many times that I couldn't ever feel the threat or the need to hole up in a farmhouse, essentially cornering yourself, the only tactic that seems stupid.

But allllllll of that aside, I still had a fun time with the film for its camp/comedic qualities. The editing was able to at least muster some suspense, but the enjoyment here is all in the acting, which is led by Duane Jones as Ben, who leads the bunch through the night. The ridiculous scenarios were a treat too, though Romero does not go as far as Raimi. I guess what I am trying to say is I do not entirely buy into the B-movie horror style. I really like the idea of the genre and hold a few horror films in very high regard, especially Scream and Halloween, both of which certainly have their B-movie elements, but not to the degree of films like this or Evil Dead. I had a good time, but it is not a film I will be coming to again any time soon.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 21, 2011, 10:49:41 PM
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/the-bird-with-the-crystal-plumage-1970/) (1970)

Italian horror master Dario Argento is famous for his excessive visual style and surreal images. However, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a break away from the likes of Suspiria for a more grounded thriller flick. And while removed from his signature mark, Argento proves that his mastery is not in his excess, but in his strong filmmaking.

When Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante), an American in Italy, witnesses an attempted murder, the cops involve him in a series of investigations of unsolved murders that they believe are linked. While Sam is more interested in leaving the country with his girlfriend, after an attempt on his life and a constantly nagging sense that thereís something off about the case, Sam becomes immersed into the case.

While a necessary device for the narrative, from a character perspective, Sam is not developed enough to make this obsession solidify as strongly as it should. The film, to its credit, tries to give the audiences glimpses into his psychology, intercutting bits of the murder attempt he witnessed with his lovemaking, suggesting itís stuck in his mind.

Itís endemic of the large problem of the film sacrificing characters for plot and set-pieces. Itís a common trait among horror, especially when characters in the film do idiotic or stupid things which allow the film to get to that moment of suspense and terror. It does make it a bit hard to empathize because, at times, Sam is remarkably dense about the case, a bit too reckless in the last act for someone whoís gone about most of the film with a surprisingly cool head.

However, the moments of fright themselves are remarkable. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro who would go on to shoot films like The Conformist and Apocalypse Now, has a fantastic sense of camera pacing coupled with Argentoís structuring of the sequence. Together, they build some remarkably unnerving and fever-pitched sequences of terror.

What Argento does is frighten the audience with the knowledge that something is coming and removing any expectations of when it is coming. And he toys with the audience, pulling away when we expect it to come or suddenly introducing something that obscures our vision of what is happening. The fear is not in the thing itself, but in the inability to know what or where that thing is.

All this builds to a smart and satisfying conclusion which plays with conventions and expectations in a compelling way. Both narrative and thematic assumptions are usurped for a distinct and bold twist. In this way, Argento finds a way to be vicariously flamboyant through the story as opposed to the visuals.

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage proves that Argentoís value is not simply in the campy excess, but that he also knows the technical craft and how to pace and create moments of terror. It may not have the cult appeal of the unrestrained Suspiria, but the strong sense of control is what makes The Bird with the Crystal Plumage effective and, arguably, the better film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 22, 2011, 01:19:03 PM
The Tomb of Ligeia

It begins to feel like every Poe story, or at least every Corman adaptation, ends with fire. I suppose it is thematically rich as a signal of the victory of hellfire over the retched or something. Sadly I found Ligeia rather more mood than meaning. Price is Verden Fell who starts by burying his wife, Ligeia, or does he? Ligeia's spirit haunts him and his abbey. When another woman, Rowena, happens upon him while out riding with her fiancee or some such, they get pulled into the madness a bit. I was a little confused by the rather rash switch that had her marrying Fell. Indeed, it was a bit baffling as a whole. Elizabeth Shepherd is decent (if a bit campy at times) in the role of the females Ligeia and Rowena but there's not too much to recommend ultimately.

2/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 22, 2011, 05:09:59 PM
Phantom of the Paradise

Obviously I'm aware that the Phantom of the Opera is a fairly old text, yet if you said that title, I'd inevitably think of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical first. And rightfully so as it is my favorite version of the story, and the film adaptation my favorite film version of the story. Little did I know that a decade before Webber's musical opened, Brian de Palma made a film musical also inspired by the story.

This is such a wackadoo film that it is hard not to be impressed by the sheer insanity. It is campy beyond belief, there are performances, makeup and other visual effects that are rather terrible. There are some things that make little sense, namely how much the crowds cheer and party through deaths and freaky crap happening right in front of them. This clearly seems the drugged out tail end of a society's existence.

The music at focus here is strong (credit to Paul Williams who in addition to playing one of the main parts, wrote all the songs) and made stronger for the way it incorporates some of the various fads of the music industry of the 60s and early 70s to great effect. I do feel a bit bummed that my favorite musical scene was the opener of the film, a sort of Franki Valli song that is just a ton of fun. Given that the main character here is working on an version of Faust, we manage to get some of the plot themes from that mixing into the traditional Phantom love triangle. Frankly, I think things are so out of control and over the top here that it doesn't work that much as a story, it certainly doesn't have the emotional weight of Webber's musical and as such doesn't surpass it as my favorite.

In addition to Williams, the only real person of note is Jessica Harper, of Suspiria fame and, as I just discovered, Minority Report. I can't say she brought much more to the part than anyone else in what is definitely not an actors showcase, but oh well.

5/5 (until I get out of the daze the film has put me in).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 22, 2011, 05:13:32 PM
It is a great film. Never come out of the daze that is The Phantom of the Paradise.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: edgar00 on October 23, 2011, 09:25:29 PM
There is a week left before Halloween and still some time to read the reivews. Watch out Bill, I'm going to rip roar through those reviews you posted at your blog. I Saw the Devil? Heck, I am The Devil!!!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 24, 2011, 03:18:34 PM
(http://i54.tinypic.com/2r2anoo.jpg)
Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1978)

I have recently been sitting down with some of horrors "classics" from before my time, as I am a self proclaimed film lover with a rather large hole in my horror film experience. Just last week I sat down with Night of the Living Dead, the film that launched the zombie career of famed horror director George A. Romero. I was less than impressed with his first "classic", which was done on a small budget, certinaly dampening my spirits with the lame scares, but truly it was a blandly directed film in my estimation, making it passable entertainment for a horror film with no outstanding benefits. So now I turn back to Romero asking for more with the next installment in the "Dead" franchise, Dawn of the Dead, which most people probably recognize as a 2004 film directed by Zack Snyder, but it was Romero himself that made his mark with this film.

Once again we are returned to Pennsylvania, the state in which Night of the Living Dead takes place as well. It is apparent that this film should follow Night, proving that the epidemic of the undead has spread and the coverage is waning with the widespread panic of the general public. Francine (Gaylen Ross) is in the news business but after a chaotic day on set, she flees the city with her helicopter pilot boyfriend Stephen (David Emge). The two are joined in the helicopter by a pair of SWAT team members, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger). As they fly across the state, they find refuge in an abandoned shopping mall, where they set up shop by baracading themselves in and destroying all the zombies inside. But soon other survivors happen upon their hideout and are looking to get their piece of the pie.

This film seems so much more complete and thought out than Night of the Living Dead was. I do enjoy the notion of returning to that same world, where a strange epidemic is spreading and threatening humans. I think this films deals with that a lot better than the first too. I thought the zombies were unthreatening due to their lack of speed, thereby giving the humans ample time to escape, but with this film Romero really gives the epidemic scope. Because of the sheer volume of zombie and the extent of the effected area, the zombies are  real threat this time. Humans can no longer live normally and that is threat enough to the way of life. People cannot be running away from zombies all day long and be happy. Romero brings together the cast much better this go around too, making it feel more natural.

The situation is a whole lot of fun. I imagined it as the perfect set up for a video game or end of world/zombie scenario: vacant mall with everything you would need, including guns to kill the zombies. After dispelling the zombie population, the gang has a lot of fun living in the mall, another simple fantasy. But Romero adds to this by bringing in the human threat at the end, and practically condemning consumerism by glorifying it. The gang comes in to loot and our protagonists feel entitled to the mall just as the looters do. Everyone is trying to survive, the zombies are the enemy, and yet the two groups of humans make it out that the other is the enemy. This loss of focus really takes this over the top for me and instead of being a good zombie film, it actually just becomes a good film.

The production value is really a whole lot better this time too. All of the acting and locations are tons better than anything in Night of the Living Dead. There is still some hokiness, but no extremely over the top acting to take me out of the film. I was invested and interested the whole time and genuinely entertained by what Romero had to offer me with Dawn of the Dead, which has me excited to look into some of his other efforts. Heck, I am even interested in checking out Zack Snyder's remake, even if Zack Snyder is a director I know I dislike. But then again, I have even heard good things about the remake. It is just a scenario that I think I would not bore from seeing, which is a compliment to both Romero the writer, and in the case of this film, Romero the director.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 24, 2011, 04:02:49 PM
Good analysis. You seem to be stepping a cautious toe into Romero's zombie world, but you're finally coming around. Dawn of the Dead is in my Top 10 of All Time, and here's the review to back that claim up. (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8652.msg585305#msg585305)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 24, 2011, 07:20:48 PM
Should I watch the Director's cut of the Exorcist? Or the original?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 24, 2011, 08:06:31 PM
Director's cut has a few more scary moments, so that.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 24, 2011, 08:37:39 PM
Good analysis. You seem to be stepping a cautious toe into Romero's zombie world, but you're finally coming around. Dawn of the Dead is in my Top 10 of All Time, and here's the review to back that claim up. (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8652.msg585305#msg585305)

Thanks, but I wouldn't say cautious toe, I wanted to love Night of the Living Dead but didn't. Heck, I want to love everything I see. I just haven't had the time or energy to delve deeper into Romero or Shocktober in general this month.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 24, 2011, 09:31:33 PM
I just want to say that I find NotLD way more on the scary side than the silly side.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 24, 2011, 09:41:00 PM
The line has been drawn in the sand then Junior, the line has been drawn.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 24, 2011, 09:49:52 PM
Let it be known that from here on out there will be two groups of people. One composed of all right-thinking people like me and Bondo, the other composed of weirdos that laugh at terrifying things, like you and Bondo.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 24, 2011, 09:51:13 PM
Duly noted.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 24, 2011, 10:18:34 PM
Born

Obviously this didn't look great, but I took it on as a bit of a jokey entry into Shocktober due to Alison Brie's presence in the lead role. It wasn't a fun experience though. I've been watching a lot of indie festival submissions the past month, not necessarily a benchmark of consistent technical and acting prowess. I can say assuredly that this film would not make it into the festival. It has moments of technical competence that does not extend to anything dealing with special effects which just look terrible. And the acting here, including Alison Brie, is really inept.

The story is a variation on the demon spawn tale, most recently seen by me in Rosemary's Baby. On the day of her mother's funeral (and apparently also dia de los muertos), she is raped by her deceased demon brother and becomes pregnant despite being a virgin. At this point she battles with demonic possession that leads to bloody acts and blah blah blah. The film feels way too long and nothing in the story is particularly notable.

I do want to take a moment on pet peeve...body doubles. And this isn't just a result of wanting to see Annie's Boobs. In the two scenes where you are meant to be seeing Alison Brie's character's breasts, the fact that it is a body double demands an editing selection that alternates between head shot (establishing it "really" is her) and a torso shot. I think this makes for worse cinematography generally (compare to the scene in Teeth with Jess Weixler...if that scene was edited like Born it would have made that shot much less compelling. You see, breasts aren't as expressive as someone's face, so any time you spend just focused in on them is time you aren't getting any useful emotion out of the scene. Additionally, cutting to the shot of a naked torso minus a head has a heavier indication of objectification...it smells more of desperation to get T&A in the film. Of course, this film doesn't rely entirely on Brie's body double on this, three other actresses get naked (clearly not in body double form) in the film and the final third seems to happen with twin demon blondes standing fully naked in the background. There's just an icky feeling about the nudity here. But going beyond the effect of the body double on the film itself, it doesn't inspire much confidence in the actor/actress either. I reckon if you aren't willing to do nudity, don't take a part that has nudity involved (or convince them the film doesn't actually need nudity in the part).

1/5
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Night of the Demon by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 24, 2011, 11:59:01 PM
(http://i53.tinypic.com/fp2khl.png)

Night of the Demon (1957)

Night of the Demon has a pretty classic reputation in the horror genre. It stars Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins.  Frequent Hitchcock collaborator Charles Bennett cowrote the script, and it was directed by the legendary Jacques Tourneur, a master of suggested terror that hides in the shadows. While, I wouldn't call the final product classy, I did have a hell of a good time watching it.

The plot involves satanic worship, evil curses and a man who is marked for death. That man is a doctor who steadfastly doesn't believe in the magic of the occult. Of course, he doesn't realize he's in a horror movie, but the good Dr. Holden doesn't come off as naive or dumb. In fact, if this was a real life situation, you'd completely side with his point of view. Tourneur sets up excellent dramatic tension with this Scully in a Mulder world. Holden goes from recklessly defiant to cautious and protective, and this isn't handled through dialogue but by simply watching how the character handles increasingly unexplainable events as his time of death draws closer. That deadline creates a rolling tension much like the pregnancy in Rosemary's Baby, building to a climax where you will be clutching your pillow as a man descends into the dark of night, chasing after his destiny.

That is if you're not distracted by the fishing line.

You see, while Tourneur generates tension and atmosphere much more overtly than in Cat People, he also has his illusions shattered by the limits of his budget and 1950s effects. Don't get me wrong, I had a fun time, but there were fantastical moments that would probably draw unintended laughs even in a room full of serious movie fans. The more special the effect needed to be, the cheaper and sillier it looked. This isn't just the demon, though that is the obvious example. There's also a seance that's really hokey and I was amused by how dismissive Holden is of suggestive spiritual techniques and alleged black magic, yet he's a firm supporter of hypnotism. This is another scene that I found mostly effective but also kind of silly. We also get yet another bad looking attack from a cat. (Can someone please name me a film where this doesn't look fake?) Still, I had a fun time overall and would recommend Night of the Demon.
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 25, 2011, 12:07:57 AM
I watched that last night, too. I didn't mind the fishing line, and I thought the demon was pretty scary, as long as they didn't linger on the shot.

What I didn't like was the way the main guy kept not believing anything. I understand that his character is the doubter but there comes a time when you just gotta accept you're in a horror film.

I also didn't like the bad guy very much. He seemed like he would be intimidating if he talked a little slower but his motormouth style just didn't work for the character.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 25, 2011, 12:25:30 AM
They tried to make the demon effective through fast editing, but it looked silly. It also looked like about 6 different demons of different sizes with unchangeable expressions.

Did you notice though that after the fireplace he does start believing? It isn't a sudden 180 degree reversal, but he starts to doubt himself. He'll say he doesn't believe to protect his reputation, but it comes off like a guy puffing his chest. He wants to grab the paper from the fire grate too, but doesn't want to appear weak. So he goes to the window first, takes his time. But he puts the parchment somewhere safe. The next time it tries to blow away, he grabs it and holds on tight. He can feel it trying to escape and is much more convinced of it's black magic. By the end, he clearly is convinced. I think he scoffs for too long only in terms of this being a horror film. Logically thinking, he starts to get convinced at just the right time.

The bad guy did seem off. I assumed it was the pointed beard, the type only a strange and evil man would wear.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Junior on October 25, 2011, 12:34:16 AM
Yeah, I noticed it. It was still annoying.

The beard was hilarious, too. It's so silly.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 25, 2011, 04:37:27 PM
I watched The Thing 1982 last year on Blu Ray and thought the practical makeup effects were still some of the greatest, most creative ever conceived. At the end of the review on this weeks podcast they said that you can see the wires and Carpenter could've benefitted from modern technology. What am I missing?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 25, 2011, 04:43:49 PM
I watched The Thing 1982 last year on Blu Ray and thought the practical makeup effects were still some of the greatest, most creative ever conceived. At the end of the review on this weeks podcast they said that you can see the wires and Carpenter could've benefitted from modern technology. What am I missing?

Nothing, 1SO.  They were wrong; it happens.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 26, 2011, 12:14:48 PM
White Zombie

The modern zombie has almost invariably been an uncontrolled, instinctual beast driven by the need for flesh. As an element of horror this may be an ideal conception. White Zombie however creates a zombie, the reanimated dead, that is in a pacified state of mind control that allows them to exist as an uncanny, but not immediately terrifying, population of slaves. While zombie stories have been used to discuss race and the like before using the them vs. us distinction, naturally having a group of zombies as slaves opens up its own line of social commentary. Indeed, with this conception, the distinction between the undead and the simply possessed is not necessarily crucial and you blend into things like the Imperious curse in Harry Potter or hypnosis. This is the fear that your mind could be taken over and you could be forced to do things against your will. You can draw the line of what you consider a zombie where you want, but they are a related concept.

In the case of White Zombie, the real focus is a kind of "be careful what you wish for" terror. A wealthy man living in Haiti lusts after women, traveling with her fiancee, that he meets on a boat to Haiti. He conspires with a man trained in the dark arts (Bela Lugosi) to capture her. Unfortunately he finds that winning her body but losing her spirit isn't the same as having her love.

Unfortunately this conflict isn't necessarily central and developed beyond one or two scenes. There is enough craft of the old monster movie style to make this a satisfying enough experience (and mercifully short) but it's one that hinted at potential thematic greatness. It should be remade in full feminist glory as a rebuffing of objectification of women or something.

3/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 26, 2011, 02:26:03 PM
I watched The Thing 1982 last year on Blu Ray and thought the practical makeup effects were still some of the greatest, most creative ever conceived. At the end of the review on this weeks podcast they said that you can see the wires and Carpenter could've benefitted from modern technology. What am I missing?
Mate I put the same comment on the show discussion page. I took on board that the co-host only saw the film recently so I can understand where he was coming from, from a modernist point of view. He was still badly wrong.

@Bondo re White Zombie; that is a really good review. I could see you really felt that concept. Nice insight.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 26, 2011, 02:51:49 PM
White Zombie is on TCM sometime in the next few days.  I haven't seen it yet, but I plan to.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 26, 2011, 04:19:31 PM
White Zombie on TCM: Sunday October 30, 7:30AM (Eastern).

Set those DVRs!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 26, 2011, 04:36:22 PM
It is also on Netflix Instant FWIW.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 26, 2011, 05:00:46 PM
It is also on Netflix Instant FWIW.

Even better!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 26, 2011, 05:08:43 PM
It's also on YouTube. In 1 part.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 26, 2011, 05:51:37 PM
Pfffft.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 26, 2011, 09:54:43 PM
Don't Look Now (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/dont-look-now-1973/) (1973)

Initially, Donít Look Now presents itself as a fantastic fit for Nicolas Roegís follow-up to the provoking and dissonant Walkabout. The dichotomy between the key players and their setting as well as the conflicting imagery of the secular and religious should give Roeg and his editors the opportunity to craft compelling montages that made Walkabout a fascinating feature.

The opening sequence shows these talents in full force, the intercutting of images conveying meaning while also giving a dissonant effect of echoing through the pacing and conjunction of images. Itís every bit as enthralling, provoking and masterful as the finest moments of Walkabout. However, once the opening sequence comes to an end, the film slides downward into a placid and languishing story.

British couple Laura (Julie Christie) and John (Donald Sutherland) Baxter are working in Venice even as they deal with the still fresh trauma of the death of their daughter. After encountering two eldery sisters, Laura believes that they may still be able to communicate with their daughter from beyond the grave while John urges her to move on instead of lingering over the pain.

The core problem with the film is that while the setup between the characters is strong, the film never finds a way to make these characters clash over their fundamental differences in any meaningful way. Instead, itís more interested in gazing at their lovemaking and capturing Donald Sutherland be particularly stilted and ridged. Itís as if the characters are going through motions even though they are presented with something fantastical and out of the ordinary that should challenge them. On some level, they donít even seem to recognize their own surroundings.

Venice is the perfect setting for the fish out of water sensation the film hopes to convey. While the narrow, winding streets feel ominous and threatening, the story itself is never able to convey or enhance this element as a foreboding part of the story. I could see Daphne Du Maurierís original short story working as a provoking piece, but stretched out over this length, it becomes a weary exercise in too little spread across too much time.

This leads to only a couple moments of slight dread in a film that, on the whole, isnít conveying a persistent mood or able to elicit a sensation of unease. The uncanny is almost nonexistent and if itís a thriller, itís one that lacks any memorable thrills. The filmís only moment of suspense leads to an inexplicable moment that is simultaneously hilarious and baffling.

Horror by no means needs to explain or unmask the evil it presents, but if this is indeed a horror film (which it may not be), it fails to fully tap into a horror that makes sense or present a moment that truly feels horrifying. Sure, the ending is shocking, but thatís all it is, a jolt that defies understanding, explanation, reason or coherence. Sometimes, horror can tap into these to make the horror even more unsettling, but horror is rooted in some kind of fear. Donít Look Now has no clear source of fear.

In execution, Donít Look Now is a massive failure. Thereís a setup for a fantastic film in here and the filmmaking has some admirable moments, but it fails to give the concept any support by building things like dynamic characters, mood, horror, suspense and an idea that can take a solid literal form that makes some kind of sense. Instead, Donít Look Now comes off as nonsense.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 26, 2011, 10:04:01 PM
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

I reckon this is a great second part of a double feature with this morning's viewing of White Zombie. We return to Haiti and the potential of zombies that may or may not be dead. One of the things I noticed is that this was kind of a melding of the zombie concept with Indiana Jones. It isn't much of an action film, but Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) is an Anthropoligist who happens to travel the world looking for exotic compounds that might be used in Western medicine. So he has this nature about him that makes him a survivor and allows him to face off with local tough men.

Perhaps the better description is morbid adventure. And that certainly is a different and refreshing take. Largely due to a hallucinogenic compound he takes early on the film, we are treated to a series of crazy dreams which allow Wes Craven to pump in the horror elements, and they work effectively because you know what they are and can just go along.

Though the film dragged along a bit early, it really ramped up toward the end with really great excitement and rather more craziness. I didn't really know where it was going to take me and I felt real involvement in the character such that I really cared. Solid filmmaking from Craven who, looking back, has really never disappointed me through three Scream films, Red Eye and his Paris Je'Taime segment. I need to dig a bit deeper in his filmography.

4/5
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Unknown (1927)
Post by: 1SO on October 26, 2011, 11:05:18 PM
I originally had White Zombie as a part of my marathon. Then I watched it, about a month ago. Like most early horror films from this Shocktober there were a couple of interesting ideas, but I didn't like it. Most interesting was the presentation of zombies as controllable slaves and not mindless flesh eaters.

Serpent has some really solid scenes ("I want to hear you scream.") As a warning, digging deeper into Craven's filmography will turn up a handful of films so bad, you won't believe they came from the same director. (Vampire in Brooklyn, The People Under the Stairs, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, Deadly Friend and Cursed.) I didn't include Shocker because as bad as it is, it's a huge guilty pleasure of mine.


Speaking of not watching old horror films, I saw The Unknown (1927), a silent horror film so inept it's laughably bad. The plot is an armless circus performer is hiding from the law because he's actually a murderer who can be identified by the two thumbs he has on one hand. His arms are poorly tucked inside his shirt, yet he fools everyone. This is considered an early classic, but it's terrible beyond a somewhat interesting climax involving a man tied to horses running in opposite directions.
RATING: *


Sam, I disagree with you about Don't Look Now, though I don't fault your reasoning. Every negative you give is true, but it's not seeing the forrest for the trees. The strange and eerie moments create an uneasy landscape into which that shocking ending just sums everything up beautifully. I know doesn't pretend to traffic in dreamlike imagery, more like a hybrid of overly stylized presentation of realistic events. That's why Don't Look Know got under my skin. Your intellectual approach to cinema isn't going to find much joy here.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: verbALs on October 27, 2011, 02:49:28 AM
Re- Don't Look Now- All mood piece with the grand guignol tacked onto the end. I might use the red riding hood motif to connect the beginning to the end of the film but this only works as a full fledged film if you forget the plot (or the point) and simply get immersed in the crumbling glory that is Venice. I did.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 27, 2011, 03:02:27 PM
Scary old dwarf lady.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - The Unknown (1927)
Post by: Antares on October 27, 2011, 03:08:48 PM
Speaking of not watching old horror films, I saw The Unknown (1927), a silent horror film so inept it's laughably bad. The plot is an armless circus performer is hiding from the law because he's actually a murderer who can be identified by the two thumbs he has on one hand. His arms are poorly tucked inside his shirt, yet he fools everyone. This is considered an early classic, but it's terrible beyond a somewhat interesting climax involving a man tied to horses running in opposite directions.
RATING: *

I liked this film, it's worth it to watch Lon Chaney at the height of his star power, plus it's by Tod Browning.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 27, 2011, 08:28:02 PM
Picnic at Hanging Rock (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/picnic-at-hanging-rock-1975/) (1975)

At about the halfway point, I realized that Picnic at Hanging Rock would probably be a book Iíd enjoy, but as a film, I found it left a lot to be desired. While the Joan Lindsay novel would have the space to flesh out the details as well as rely on prose to establish a more ambiguous tone, the film fails to convey that level of nuance.

Thereís still something to be said for the creepy story. During the titular picnic, three girls and a teacher go missing at Hanging Rock, leaving the rest of the class in a state of panic. As the police and outlying community begin the search, it becomes clear that the details around the case donít add up and that there are huge gaps that donít make any sense.

Part of the problem is that the story exists in a languid and slowly-moving world which means that as intriguing and mysterious as these circumstances are, it never quite gets up to the speed where the audience left with the gears spinning in their head, trying to make sense of the clues or fully immersed in the world of the mystery. Yes, itís still intriguing and curious, but the whole experience is passive, making the mystery more of an oddity than anything else.

The latter section of the film does become more intriguing and there is something to be said for how the film builds mood around sound and editing as opposed to eerie visuals or dark lighting. Things are just a bit off, and that helps enhance that sense of unease that permeate the entire mystery. Thereís always something missing, something everyone is looking for but never able to find.

Cinematographer Russell Boyd should be given some credit for establishing this mood, but he seems to be much better at working with the interiors of the school where he has more direct control and precision of lighting and framing. The opening minutes of the film are easily the best looking, making everything afterwards pale in comparison. Once out on the picnic, the film is less compelling to watch.

In this regard, even though the film is effective, it is a letdown. Thereís a lot of inconsistency in terms of how good the filmmaking is. Certain sections wane in a place of placid creativity, while others come across as tightly constructed. This means from sequence to sequence, or sometimes even shot to shot, thereís a widely different quality of craft and skill.

On some level, it isnít that big a deal, but a lot of the more languishing moments of the film become visual white space. Itís almost numbingly dull, a static, soft sort of creativity that is mildly indifferent to whatever it is capturing.

Itís a bit disappointing to realize this is one of Peter Weirís early films. Given how engaging and enthralled he seems to be with his subjects in his films from the Ď80s and Ď90s, this ambivalent distance is uncharacteristic and the Peter Weir who made The Truman Show and Fearless should be able to approach this story with the same level of enthusiasm and engagement. Instead, Picnic at Hanging Rock spends too much time doing far too little.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 27, 2011, 09:27:33 PM
Picnic at Hanging Rock > Truman Show and Fearless put together
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: goodguy on October 27, 2011, 09:43:49 PM
Picnic at Hanging Rock > Truman Show and Fearless put together

Yeah, I was reading the review with growing disbelief, but that comparison left me completely speechless. So thanks, Martin, I'm feeling better now.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 27, 2011, 09:55:17 PM
So, what do people have left now that we are approaching the last weekend of October?

Mine:

Burnt Offerings
Faust
The Mist

Additions:

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
An American Werewolf in London
Requiem
Deep Red
Grace
The Fog (1980)
Maniac


I might have time for a couple of the additions I added, but I'm not sure which ones to watch.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 27, 2011, 11:12:14 PM
So, what do people have left now that we are approaching the last weekend of October?

I have Torso and Vampire Circus at home.
Blockbuster shipped the remake of My Bloody Valentine instead of the 1981 original, so that one may not happen.
Haven't got a hold of The Woman in Black. I hope it isn't hard to find.
Had to drop The Phantom Carriage.

Mrs. 1SO is sick, which means there should be plenty of time for our Not-So-Scary Halloween Marathon this weekend.
The Cat and the Canary (1939)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Shadow of a Doubt
Wait Until Dark
and probably adding Bell, Book and Candle

Sam, Behind the Mask is far from perfect but as a slasher junkie I have real affection for it.
If Maniac is the 1980 film, it is terrible.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 28, 2011, 12:35:27 AM
The Inner Room (2011)
I don't really want to bash on a local indie horror film. Especially not one directed by someone named Jack Gastelbondo. Especially not one that stars Jessica Duffy, who I liked in Ink, another local indie film that I absolutely adore. But alas. Julianne seems to be schizophrenic and had some weird thing happen during a delivery. She's driving up into the mountains with her husband to an isolated cabin. She has visions. They probably mean something plotwise and deeper meaningwise. It actually resolves kind of okay but just didn't really connect.

Anyway, there are two pet peeves that were made clear here. The first is something a lot of films, especially horror films do, which is use the score and sudden loud sounds to get jump scares that are entirely artificial. Use the story to make me scared, not sounds that have no correlation to what is happening in the film. The second is something I've been noticing more doing these indie film screenings for my festival. The need to cut back and forth to close shots of characters between every line of dialogue. I know why they do it (because the actors apparently can't handle multiple lines without screwing up and so doing a shot for each line allows for easier editing) but it makes everything so disjointed and impersonal, as if they aren't even in the same room talking.

2/5

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Want to hear something so unbelievable that it just has to be true? Tucker and Dale vs Evil is close to as good as Shaun of the Dead and is better than Zombieland within the horror comedy genre. This really blew me away, and it did so even though the film series director decided to show the trailers of this and the two films tomorrow before the first film of the evening and the trailers showed way too much (I'm iffy on even going tomorrow after seeing the trailer for the film I hadn't seen).

It is a great twist on the psycho hillbilly horror variant where you've got the college kids up in the hills, on edge about the creepy hillbillies when something happens to set off their fears. It isn't a spoiler to say Tucker and Dale are misunderstood guys but the misunderstandings get intense; this is a horror film after all. So many great lines, especially with Alan Tudyk, who is always class. The moments between Tucker and Dale and between Dale and Ally (Katrina Bowden) add a lot of sentimentality to the story. Bowden is also a standout here, jawdroppingly beautiful (which is plot-relevant) but pulls off the nuances of her character that allow you to believe her place in the absurdity. Just a really complete package.

5/5

P.S. Not sure what all I'll actually get to but I still have We Are The Night Misery and Mimic and Otto: Up With People on the schedule.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: smirnoff on October 28, 2011, 08:34:25 AM
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Want to hear something so unbelievable that it just has to be true? Tucker and Dale vs Evil is close to as good as Shaun of the Dead and is better than Zombieland within the horror comedy genre.

Bondo, have you been at the Gaffer's home brew?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 28, 2011, 09:26:47 AM
So, what do people have left now that we are approaching the last weekend of October?

Mine:

Burnt Offerings
Faust
The Mist

Additions:

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
An American Werewolf in London
Requiem
Deep Red
Grace
The Fog (1980)
Maniac


I might have time for a couple of the additions I added, but I'm not sure which ones to watch.

I saw Burnt Offerings on TV when I was a kid.  I'm not sure how it holds up, but my 14-year old self thought it was totally creepy.  Then again, anything with both Oliver Reed and Karen Black is bound to be creepy by default.

The Mist is terrific and discussion-worthy.  American Werewolf and The Fog are both absolute fun to watch. 
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 28, 2011, 10:55:32 AM
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Want to hear something so unbelievable that it just has to be true? Tucker and Dale vs Evil is close to as good as Shaun of the Dead and is better than Zombieland within the horror comedy genre.

Bondo, have you been at the Gaffer's home brew?

I don't know what this means and I will not respond. :D
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: oneaprilday on October 28, 2011, 12:59:18 PM
Picnic at Hanging Rock (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/picnic-at-hanging-rock-1975/) (1975)

Rather surprised (and sorry) you didn't like it more, sam.  I'm having a difficult time understanding exactly what didn't work for you about it - did you want more actual mystery and specific plot points, as in a police/detective procedural kind of thing? 

I think the film is sort of about subverting those expectations, frustrating those desires for  specific plot points, for closure, and for answers - it's about those things (or it does those things)  at the same time that it's about the ways that the feminine/feminine desire (paralleling the natural world) cannot be contained by artificial social structures, eg. the school, constricting clothing.   The thing that resists those comprehensible outward social structures is itself incomprehensible, difficult to pin down, difficult (impossible) to control - in the same way that the girls cannot be found, pinned neatly back in place.  (duder's interpretation here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=3472.msg107237#msg107237), makes a good deal of sense to me.)

The film itself - as it is more about things suggested and about mood than about plot or typical character arcs (the girl we focus on - fall in love with - is the one who eludes us) - mirrors the content beautifully, eliding our grasp, leaving us with a kind of frustrated desire. 

It's interesting, anyway, that where you felt boredom in the languid outdoor scenes, my own feeling was one of tension - which, I suppose, is why the lack of resolve in story left me holding that tension, left me haunted.  Still, you said the film had a deep unease about it - which makes me think it did, on some level, work for you, in spite of your more explicitly expressed disappointment. :)
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: oneaprilday on October 28, 2011, 01:03:28 PM
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

5/5
I wouldn't give it a 5/5 nor put it next to Shaun, but I liked it a lot, too, Bondo.  Great concept grounded in great characters (Tucker and Dale, that is).  I particularly loved Tyler Labine as Dale. 
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 28, 2011, 04:53:48 PM
Picnic at Hanging Rock (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/picnic-at-hanging-rock-1975/) (1975)

It's interesting, anyway, that where you felt boredom in the languid outdoor scenes, my own feeling was one of tension - which, I suppose, is why the lack of resolve in story left me holding that tension, left me haunted.  Still, you said the film had a deep unease about it - which makes me think it did, on some level, work for you, in spite of your more explicitly expressed disappointment. :)
I wonder if part of it was that I pretty much knew where the whole film was going from the beginning and it never surprised or subverted my expectations.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Vampire Circus by 1SO
Post by: 1SO on October 28, 2011, 07:00:02 PM
(http://i41.tinypic.com/24mxlpl.jpg)

Vampire Circus (1972)
"Let me show you something... interesting."

The Corman films are campy, they are cheap, they have questionable acting and cardboard sets and, let's say unusual directing (I think Corman is great, I appreciate his willingness to do pretty much anything with his films, they always surprise me).  That is a fundamental part of their charm, today as it was 50 years ago. 

Sdedalus, I'd love for you to compare Corman to Hammer Horror because Vampire Circus answers my problems with Masque of the Red Death. Where I complained the other film was cheap and dated, that aspect is most of the fun here. There's a complete willingness to try anything so long as it's aimed at showing audiences a good time. The plot is dodgy all over, the effects are cheap and it doesn't make a lick of sense in places. But, like Hausu, the reckless abandon makes for a pretty fun film.

This is my first Hammer film, and one of the later ones, so I don't know if this fits as a typical example of the sub-genre. It reminded me of Andy Warhol's Blood For Dracula, had that film been reasonably well made. There's a complete disregard for genre conventions, but it constantly hurtles with the drive of a Robert Rodriguez flick. Gore and nudity are plentiful but stop short of gratuitous, and it gets away with a lot by having a whiff of British class.

If I could amend what I said about calling the effects cheap, they are not impressive, but you understand what they're going for and they get the job done. It's not a scary film, but the atmosphere is rich and there are a couple of clever executions. A guilty pleasure for sure, but now I know next Shocktober I need to put in a lot more Hammer Horror. (This one didn't have Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing, who I hear dominate this sub-genre).
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: oneaprilday on October 28, 2011, 07:29:30 PM
Picnic at Hanging Rock (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/picnic-at-hanging-rock-1975/) (1975)

It's interesting, anyway, that where you felt boredom in the languid outdoor scenes, my own feeling was one of tension - which, I suppose, is why the lack of resolve in story left me holding that tension, left me haunted.  Still, you said the film had a deep unease about it - which makes me think it did, on some level, work for you, in spite of your more explicitly expressed disappointment.
I wonder if part of it was that I pretty much knew where the whole film was going from the beginning and it never surprised or subverted my expectations.
Yes, I suppose that could have changed your experience with it, but I suspect the film will still play well for me when I watch it
again.  The film builds desire or mood enough, for my anyway, to make me want a particular ending even though I know I won't get it. 

(And when we re-watch any good film, don't we still get immersed in the emotion/mood it builds even when we know what will be happening? Sometimes I think I give into an emotional development of a film even more with a film I love and know well.)

Anyway, hope you don't write the film off altogether, that you re-watch it someday.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 28, 2011, 07:50:05 PM
Vampire Circus (1972)

Sdedalus, I'd love for you to compare Corman to Hammer Horror because Vampire Circus answers my problems with Masque of the Red Death. Where I complained the other film was cheap and dated, that aspect is most of the fun here. There's a complete willingness to try anything so long as it's aimed at showing audiences a good time. The plot is dodgy all over, the effects are cheap and it doesn't make a lick of sense in places. But, like Hausu, the reckless abandon makes for a pretty fun film.

I've only seen one Hammer film, the first Lee/Cushing Dracula movie, and I don't think I'd describe it the way you're doing for this one.  The Corman Poe film are more similar.  I don't know if that's because we're seeing the same films differently, or if there's an internal difference with the Hammers.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 28, 2011, 11:16:04 PM
Antichrist (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/antichrist-2009/) (2009)

Moments of Lars von Trierís Antichrist are elegant, flowing and beautiful. Other moments are sadistic, brutal and cruel. And while there is artistic merit to be found in Antichrist, I canít help but wonder how different Antichrist truly is from the much maligned torture porn genre. What makes Lars von Trier an artist and Eli Roth a hack? In honesty, I find von Trierís film much more graphic, disturbing and grotesque than Rothís Hostel, even though Hostel is the film with the more frequent acts of violence.

Is in the context? Antichrist places its violence amid the anguish of a married couple dealing with the loss of their child. While the wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) experiences extreme cases of grief, the husband (Willem Dafoe) attempts to use his professional skill as a psychologist to help her. Does placing the violence amidst their exploration of sex, life, death and grief somehow give the graphic moments of violence enough thematic weight to justify the explicit detail?

Or perhaps itís the audience the film is targeting. Antichrist is a piece that opens with operatic music swelling and throughout the film aligns itself with the more upper class art-house movement of film. Does the pedigree of the film and its alignment with artistically inclined film creatively validate the detail it goes to in depicting the violence and sex?

The question still lingers: why show the detail of both the sex and violence? Is the detail necessary or is it the idea, the concept, the notion that the film is striving to depict? Itís this tension where the film begins to completely collapse as the reasons to show these gruesome acts become less and less convincing.

Unlike the torture porn genre, the acts themselves are not necessarily what the film is trying to deal with. While films like Saw and Hostel are directly addressing and demonstrating issues of violence, Antichrist is about something more abstract, more universal, more spiritual. The death, anguish and torment are tied to the physical world, but their caught up in grander notions of the nature of the cosmos.

Therefore, the physical acts themselves are not what the film is about, but the symbolic nature such acts hold, what the destruction is attacking and challenging on a grander scale. Instead of Lars von Trier focusing the audience on his ideas, he distracts and interrupts their thoughts with brutal, graphic and sadistically lingering depictions of violence that detract from his broader thematic strokes.

Itís a shame because outside his extreme depictions of sex and violence, the film is thoughtful and provoking. The eerie atmosphere and strong writing perfectly coalesce into the rich ideas von Trier weaves throughout the film, but they get lost in the sensational and explicit imagery that has little value beyond the pornographic.

In some ways, I admire Hostel more than Antichrist. At least that film justifies its depictions of violence by directly dealing with them (even though the depictions themselves are laughably bad). Antichrist uses violence and sex as means to shock and distract the audience from the overall picture. That being said, Antichrist is overall the better film, but Iíd sooner watch Hostel again than suffer through Antichrist one more time.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 28, 2011, 11:55:59 PM
What makes Lars von Trier an artist and Eli Roth a hack? In honesty, I find von Trierís film much more graphic, disturbing and grotesque than Rothís Hostel, even though Hostel is the film with the more frequent acts of violence.

I love this question. I respect von Trier, but Roth is not talentless or merely out to shock. Then again your follow up sentence brings up the argument of sex and violence for entertainment purposes versus presenting something truly horrific.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 29, 2011, 12:05:56 AM
What makes Lars von Trier an artist and Eli Roth a hack? In honesty, I find von Trierís film much more graphic, disturbing and grotesque than Rothís Hostel, even though Hostel is the film with the more frequent acts of violence.

I love this question. I respect von Trier, but Roth is not talentless or merely out to shock. Then again your follow up sentence brings up the argument of sex and violence for entertainment purposes versus presenting something truly horrific.
That is something I probably could have explored more as far as whether or not the violence was entertaining or not, but I couldn't figure out how to make the distinction.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 29, 2011, 12:33:29 AM
I got into this with my review of Cannibal Holocaust (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg629234#msg629234). I know you don't read reviews of films you haven't seen.

Despite its stigma, the Horror Genre is generally meant for fun. It's an adrenaline rush and the filmmakers behind the scenes are usually interested in creating a good time more than anything else. Cannibal Holocaust is horror by the strictest of definitions. I've watched A LOT of horror movies in my time and have a pretty strong stomach for whatever a filmmaker wants to throw at me. Watching Cannibal Holocaust there was some fear, quite a bit of shock, and a great deal of disgust. When I say watching Cannibal Holocaust was a horrific experience, I say it with absolutely no encouragement.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 29, 2011, 08:22:31 AM
I certainly have a stronger stomach for extreme depictions of sex rather than violence. Antichrist however worked for me because the violence is fit into such a symbolic frame. As a general thing, if I'm buying into the ideas your film is getting at, I'll give a director a huge allowance to do things I normally wouldn't care for in a film. I haven't seen Hostel but I've never gotten the idea that it is a big ideas film.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Mr. & Mrs. 1SOs Not-So-Scary Halloween pt. 1
Post by: 1SO on October 29, 2011, 11:00:28 PM
Mr. & Mrs. 1SOs Not-So-Scary Halloween Weekend

(http://i43.tinypic.com/2mpmx38.jpg)

Ghost Breakers

I wasn't able to get a hold of The Cat and the Canary, so I went with the other comedy horror starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. It's good, in fact better than average for Bob Hope. There are moments where you can see he's really acting and not just throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. Like Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love, this project finds a way to turn Hope's schtick into a real character. It helps that many of the jokes are thought out and witty instead of just being obvious punchlines. ("He sees the dark side of everything. He was born during an eclipse.") A couple of times Hope even keeps it serious, mentioning how it would be great if there was a joke to break the tension. (This manages to be amusing, while keeping things wound.)

Hope has a servant, played by legendary African-american character Willie Best. The performance is very stereotyped, with Willie stuttering and bugging out his eyes, but I have to say that it's also very funny. Best gets a lot of the script's funniest jokes and he has a natural chemistry with Hope. ("A lot of folks don't like you, boss. I expect one of these mornings when I come to get you outta the bed, I'll have to pull the sheet up instead of down.") I think he has more screen time than Goddard (who's fine, but not even up to Dorothy Lamour standards), and while there are some cringe-inducing lines, for the most part you're meant to laugh with him and not at him.

For a while I failed to see why this is considered a horror movie at all, but the last 30 minutes pulls out all the stops. Besides the moody lighting and creaky noises there are ghosts, witches, zombies and mummies. Much creepier than a lot of the so-called classic horror films of the 20s and 30s I watched this month, this was a nice surprise
RATING: * * *

MRS. 1SO
The wife loves Bob Hope, and she had a good time with Ghost Breakers but doesn't think this one's a keeper. She thought the comedy transitioned nicely to the spooky 3rd Act, and also found Best much more funny than offensive. There was just something missing, possibly a more interesting plot or more good supporting characters for Hope to play off of. She slightly prefers Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
RATING: * * *



(http://i39.tinypic.com/nxt0lv.jpg)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

The first of what became a 14 film series starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Watson. This was fun and Rathbone seems perfectly cast as England's greatest detective. Is it a horror film? Well, I could see it working as one under the right conditions, but it certainly doesn't fit the genre as well as Brotherhood of the Wolf. Brotherhood is more entertaining, though it could benefit from borrowing Hound's brisk pace and not just a few plot points. (I considered showing Brotherhood to Mrs. 1SO, but I can think of a few reasons why she wouldn't care for it.)

This is a better movie than I remembered from my childhood, with a mystery that's effortlessly involving without being all too obvious. I thought the hound was larger and more vicious, sort of like the wolf in 300. I don't like how Holmes disappears for a good stretch in the middle, but Watson is okay and there's always the mystery of the Hound to maintain interest.
RATING: * * *

MRS. 1SO

The wife though the recent Sherlock Holmes was okay, she really likes the stories by Doyle and she loves Disney's The Great Mouse Detective. She never read the original story, but she thought the movie was wonderful. She loves the intelligence of Holmes and thought Rathbone was exactly how she imagined the great detective. They dumbed down Watson, but Nigel Bruce fit her mental image precisely too. She was hooked right from the start and just had a blast. There will be more adventures with Sherlock Holmes in our future.
RATING: * * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 29, 2011, 11:28:58 PM
I have a big soft spot for the Rathbone/Bruce films, but what they did to Watson irks me (it gets significantly worse in the later ones).  Sometimes I think about buying the Blu-Ray set, but I don't imagine I'd watch them very often.  If you're hungry for more, I recommend The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the underrated Sherlock Holmes in Washington and the campy Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman.

Scared Stiff, the Martin/Lewis remake of Ghost Breakers, is quite fun too.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 29, 2011, 11:39:01 PM
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is already in the queue. After my initial exposure to Hammer, I'm curious to see their version of Baskervilles, with Peter Cushing as Holmes.
The guy in the store told me about Scared Stiff, but I really hate Jerry Lewis. I see little difference between him and Pauly Shore.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Torso
Post by: 1SO on October 30, 2011, 01:25:20 AM
(http://i40.tinypic.com/11vl3me.png)

Torso

In the world of reviewing and rating movies, Italian giallo always gets graded on a huge curve. The famous ones, the ones you can name, they all have moments. There are flashes of originality, camera trickery, usually some good set design or lighting. I actually love the style and look forward to seeing Amer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1426352/) at some point. However, none of these films can sustain a semblance of greatness front to back. At best they're interesting, but you always have to wade through a thick muck of incoherence and cheese to hope that the trip is worthwhile in the end. Even the first 10 minutes of Suspiria loses out to the 90 minutes that follow.

So essentially Torso (aka. (and I'm not kidding) "Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence") is crap. It's story is crap, the acting is crap. This is cheap sexual exploitation interspersed with a handful of murders, where all of the men are portrayed as sexually starved hyenas and the filmmaker finds new places to stick his lens to photograph women who are reasonably attractive at best. They look too used to come off as sexy and I'm just not sleazy enough to find this entertaining.

Some of the murder scenes are skillfully put together, but occasional moments of talent shouldn't be confused with talent. The style of giallo even changes from murder mystery to slasher film. (The middle of High Tension owes everything to the hide and seek finale of Torso.) Even bad films can have good moments. There is something to be taken from bits and pieces of Torso, but that doesn't change the opinion that this is a bad film.
RATING: * 1/2
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 30, 2011, 02:30:49 AM
I've been disappointed in both of the Rathbone/Bruce Holmes films I've seen (Adventures and Hound).  Adventures in particular really irked me as it was much dumber than any of the actual stories, but mostly I just found both of them to be boring, both visually and in pacing.  I think the Hammer Hound is upcoming on TCM and I'm going to watch it, I have hopes.

Watched Masque of the Red Death again tonight and I've gotta say, 1SO, I have no idea what you're talking about.  The one technique I recall you complaining about being overused (a push-in to a close-up screaming woman, wasn't it?) I didn't see at all, maybe once.  I thought the costumes and set design were great, expressive if not necessarily high quality, the cinematography (by Nicolas Roeg!) exceptional and Vincent Price marvelous.  Corman expanded the Poe story dramatically, adding not only the innocent girl and Satanism elements, but giving it a real political argument (he effectively equates Satanism within the Randian mentality of the ruling class).  The whole thing is really creepy, but the final fifteen minutes or so are a terrifying succession of images: from the dwarfs revenge to the final dance to the gathering of deaths.  I think it belongs right with The Seventh Seal as great movies where Death is a main character.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 30, 2011, 11:00:33 AM
Definitely starting with Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and seeing how I feel after that. You're talking to someone who owns The Thin Man box set even though only the first 2 are good movies.

I anxiously await some thoughts on the Hammer Hound. Now that I've finished my list I was considering a bonus Hammer film or perhaps The Phantom Carriage.

The technique was the push in itself. I remember the push in when the screaming woman learns that marrying Satan isn't all that great, but there are 3 more push-ins that I remember well. One where the girl sees him sleeping in a crypt (which I think also includes a push in on the girl), the revelation of Price disguised as a guard and the reveal of the face behind Red Death. What bothered me was the lack of imagination, having every "shocking" reveal come with a push-in. It's as bad as a comedian overselling the punchline.

I also liked the costume, set design and cinematography. The look of Red Death was one of the best things in the film (and why I made it my screenshot). One of my favorite images from this Shocktober is the gathering of deaths. I'm not here to tear down a film you love. You have your Masque and I prefer my Vampire Circus or even Hausu. As for movies where death is a main character, I'm a huge, huge supporter of The Frighteners.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: sdedalus on October 30, 2011, 02:02:16 PM
Fair enough.  I would agree with you on the overuse of the technique, probably, if I saw the same thing you did, but I really don't think all those were push-ins.  At least one of those was a straight axial cut (Price in the coffin).  I think the reveal of Price as a guard is just a continuation of the tracking shot. Roeg moves the camera a lot, the camera is tracking through most of the film, it's part of what sells the dreamlike nature of the story.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 30, 2011, 05:43:44 PM
Mimic

I had heard mostly bad things about this film, but it was the lone del Toro film I had yet to watch so I felt compelled. And in a sense I'm glad to have seen it just for how it fits together. It is curious that del Toro's novel series, The Strain, is something I like as much as I do because it is in many ways a combination of Mimic and Chronos, my two least favorite del Toro films. From Chronos it takes vampire elements, an elderly human patron, an antiques shop owner. From Mimic it takes a focus on epidemiology and public health, CDC operations, and a focus on the New York City underground. However, where The Strain has been captivating (if not exactly deep) in its character development and thematic material, neither Chronos nor Mimic really grabbed me as stories.

Mimic starts with a terrifying contagion afflicting children, spread by cockroaches. To fight this, Susan Tyler, a bug specialist, develops a genetically engineered insect to fight the cockroaches. Every single person in the world knows that nothing could possibly go wrong. But of course it does and now these things are bringing havoc upon New York City, though they do it discreetly. It feels hard to really talk about it beyond this point because it is all kind of a muddle. Being del Toro, the creature design is pretty interesting, but I didn't get into the human characters all that much. Anyway, quite a disappointment. And really, once you take out the great Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone, nothing from del Toro rises above average.

1/5
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Mr. & Mrs. 1SOs Not-So-Scary Halloween
Post by: 1SO on October 30, 2011, 05:49:47 PM
Mr. & Mrs. 1SOs Not-So-Scary Halloween Weekend

(http://i44.tinypic.com/2m42f5l.jpg)

Wait Until Dark

I saw the play Wait Until Dark when I was a teen, and I remember it scaring the crap out of me. Now, I've finally watched the movie and it's really good. Almost great. There are a couple of silly moments - a standoff between the bad guys using makeshift weapons and an overacted moment of hysterics by Hepburn - but this is a serious horror film disguised as a 60's thriller. It could almost be a dead serious take on Charade, (plot similarities are unmistakable) one where the Cary Grant character is unquestionably evil. Tension builds far past where films from this era usually go and the last ten minutes is a non-stop cavalcade of horrific images and sounds involving blades, blood and (of course) intense lighting.
RATING: * * * 1/2

MRS. 1SO
As someone who scares easily, Mrs. 1SO handled herself well. She's a big fan of Audrey, and I think with anyone else in the lead she wouldn't have been half as engaged. She thought Alan Arkin was incredibly creepy with his short, flat hair and black glasses. There's a big jump scare I remember from some list of 100 Scares. I debated warning her, but decided to let it play out. She jumped a little, but the big scare for her was a brief cutaway to a car roaring forward to hit someone full on. (The sound is quite jumpy). She's good at staying one step ahead of a plot, but aside from the various disguises she couldn't figure out the criminals plan nor how Hepburn planned to fight back.
RATING: * * * 1/2
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Mr. & Mrs. 1SOs Not-So-Scary Halloween
Post by: 1SO on October 30, 2011, 10:47:37 PM
Mr. & Mrs. 1SOs Not-So-Scary Halloween Weekend

(http://i39.tinypic.com/op49yo.jpg)

Shadow of a Doubt

I remember Shadow of a Doubt being a more dangerous and sinister work from Hitchcock. It made for a rather disappointing end to Shocktober. (I'm wondering if I should have stuck with The Invisible Man.) This is one of the master's more subtle and sophisticated works, with more time devoted to evoking small town Americana than suspense. The duality between typical young teen Charlie and her dangerous uncle of the same name is set up rather bluntly as a strange psychic link. This goes away as the girl comes to realize she's nothing like her Uncle at all.

This could have led to some very interesting cat and mouse, as young Charlie tries to reason with and scare away her Uncle instead of reporting him to the police. The police story fritters away into a terrible romantic subplot, and the actor playing the male officer is death on film. Joseph Cotton is very interesting and I love how when he spouts hate similar to Charlie's, she finds it scary. Yet he remains a charmer for a good long time. Too long, really. I wish the psychic twins angle wasn't dropped because Hitchcock ends up with a rather average movie about a normal, average family dealing with a run of the mill killer.
RATING: * * 1/2


MRS. 1SO
She didn't love it, and was getting restless by the end but the wife still thinks this is a solid thriller with good performances. I think it speaks to the flaw of the film that her favorite characters were the father and neighbor, humorously trying to come up with the perfect crime. She wouldn't want them to be the focus of the movie, but found their scenes more interesting than the Charlie(s) plot.
RATING: * * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 30, 2011, 11:33:42 PM
The Mist (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/the-mist-2007/) (2007)

From The writer/director pair that brought you the greatest film of all time (The Shawshank Redemption according to IMDB) and the movie about the man who has a peeing problem (The Green Mile) comes something completely different. Itís horror, itís gory, itís mired in religion and doomsday talk and itís freaking amazing.

When as small town experiences some heavy storming, the community gathers at the local grocery story to collect supplies. But when a heavy fog bank rolls in and one man insists that thereís something in the mist, the shoppers wonder what they should do. Some, led by Brent Norton (Andre Braugher) believe thereís nothing out there while a select few experience an event that leaves no doubt there is indeed something in the mist. And itís up to David Drayton (Thomas Jane) to prove there is before the whole crowd ventures out to their deaths.

Of course, the monsters exist. It wouldnít be much of a movie without it, but what becomes compelling is how the people react to it. Some start a practical defense of the store while others panic and make a mad dash for their homes. But one woman, Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), believes there is something more to this mist and begins preaching an end-times message that begins to fuel the flames between people and groups.

Therefore, like the best of horror, itís about how people are the monsters. The commentary isnít all that subtle, but subtly isnít exactly The Mistís gig, especially after the giant tentacle attack. What becomes compelling is seeing how fear, desperation and ego gives way to people descending into something almost worse than animals. The conflicts and fights never feel forced, constructed or illogical. Itís all an inevitable part of who the characters are and how they see the world.

That being said, not all characters are depicted equal. Mrs. Carmody is perhaps a bit overplayed and exaggerated as the bible thumping bitch who condescends to the ďsinnersĒ that surround her. At times, it fits perfectly with the tone and story, but occasionally it just seems too over-the-top and corny. Then again, Iím also talking about the film where a tentacle monster drags a boy into the mist.

Given the current state of religious crazies, sheís not that far-fetched of a character. Sheíd fit in just fine with the good ole Westboro Baptist Church. In the filmís defense, the film isnít so clear cut ideologically, giving religious people a break when a Biker says ďHey, crazy lady, I believe in God, too. I just donít think heís the bloodthirsty asshole you make him out to be,Ē which, for my money, is a notion a good number of religious people would do well to ponder over.

Regardless, The Mist works fantastically as a portrait of humanity in desperation, which makes the last act one of the most honest, brilliant and ballsy endings youíre likely to see on film. I wouldnít dream of spoiling it, but I will say that itís an ending that seamlessly finds a way to bridge narrative and theme into a raw and powerful moment.

In some ways, itís the ending which elevates The Mist as one of the most notable and well-done horror films of the past decade. However, itís a fun film throughout with strong writing, a good mood and superb pacing. Itís a new direction for Darabont, more biting and bold, which has me much more interested in his future in film.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 30, 2011, 11:57:25 PM
You too, Sam? That film has giant plotholes you can plow a whole other film through. Andre Braugher's continued disbelief in the face of overwhelming physical evidence. That stupid lighter bit. How can you be so forgiving? You're supposed to be an analyst.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: FroHam X on October 31, 2011, 01:47:03 AM
Analyst/therapist? Analrapist?

I'm totally with Sam. Plotholes be damned, The Mist is awesome from start to finish.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 31, 2011, 08:53:00 AM
As a follow up to my Mimic review, it seems in the real world we are genetically engineering mosquitoes (http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/10/31/356823/genetically-engineering-our-way-to-pest-control/) to fight diseases like malaria. Didn't they watch Mimic? I for one welcome our new super-evolved mosquito overlords.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 31, 2011, 09:25:23 AM
You too, Sam? That film has giant plotholes you can plow a whole other film through. Andre Braugher's continued disbelief in the face of overwhelming physical evidence. That stupid lighter bit. How can you be so forgiving? You're supposed to be an analyst.
Sam is a complex person.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 31, 2011, 09:33:59 AM
If I could murder one character from the history of film it would be Marcia Gay Harden from The Mist.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: jim brown on October 31, 2011, 10:11:00 AM
The Mist is fantastic.  Good scares and tensions on many levels.  Excellent performances all around, especially Marcia Gay Harden and Toby Jones.  And they clearly forgot to run that ending by any focus groups.   :P
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 31, 2011, 04:37:24 PM
Since I continued linking to all his blog reviews in the first post (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg628097#msg628097), here is Bill's annual Bloody Machete Awards (http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/splatter-time-fun-fest-2011-the-2nd-annual-bloody-machete-awards/).
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on October 31, 2011, 06:46:13 PM
This is not really related to the marathon because I won't be writing something about all of these films but I'm trying to watch one horror film for everyday in the month of October. (31)
I'll edit this list as I go along.

1st: Transformers 3
2nd: Child's Play
3rd: Prince of Darkness
4th: Eyes Without a Face
5th: The Devils
6th: The Omen
7th: Suspiria
8th: Slither
9th: Wolf Creek
10th: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
11th: Paranormal Activity 2
12th: [REC]
13th: Slumber Party Massacre
14th: Tucker and Dale vs Evil
15th: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw III
16th: The Birthday
17th: Pieces
18th: Don't Look Now
19th: Prom Night
20th: The Happening
21st: White Skin
22nd: The Devil's Backbone
23rd: The Funhouse
24th: Black Christmas
25th: They Live
26th: The Exorcist
27th: Rosemary's Baby
28th: Zookeeper
29th: Cannibal Holocaust
30th: The Howling
31st: Les diaboliques

I cheated a bit but I succeeded.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on October 31, 2011, 08:09:31 PM
(http://i39.tinypic.com/2j1oiys.jpg)
Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)

Of the films I initially laid out to watch for Shocktober, I would have to say that Suspiria interested me the most. I think it was because of all I had heard and what little I had seen of it, which was that it was visually stunning and generally held as a great horror film. Even the name Argento was huge in the genre, yet I had not yet discovered any of his films (although he did help write Once Upon a Time in the West). So the main beef I really had when I sat down to watch this film was the DVD itself that I got from Netflix. It wasn't scratched or cracked or anything, but the quality was sub par, both visually and sonically. It was a lot fuzzier than I expected and the sound mix was way off, with moments that were very loud and the next minute very quiet dialogue. I assume this was just the DVD I got, but it peeved me. I really do help there is a better rendering of this film out there.

The film follows Susan (Jessica Harper), who is an American ballet dancer who has just been accepted in a very prestigious European ballet school. When she arrives, however, everything starts to go haywire for her. A girl, who had just been expelled from the school, is murdered the first night she is there. And then there are strange footsteps, freak maggots and the disappearance of one of her new friends, Sara (Stefania Casini). After consulting some psychiatrists, she begins to suspect witchcraft, and must evade the pressure as she investigates deeper into the strange happenings at the school.

Since I've already voiced my annoyance with the quality of the DVD, I guess I will start with what I liked about the film and move on from there. It definitely lived up to the visually stunning that I was expecting. The sets and colors were remarkable. The beautiful reds really popped off the screen and although there were no fancy camera moves, the way Argento captures this bizarre world is awesome, and the lighting definitely helps that. The mood created by the colors, which is predominately red, but also greens and blues, is great and really sets the stage for the high intensity ending. The mood is also carried by the music, which is perhaps the best part of the film.

Basically I said that the visuals and the sound were the best parts of the film, and yet they were the worst part of the DVD. How disappointing. But there were some other disappointing things in the film. The acting was subpar, which I have almost come to expect/accept in these classic horror films at this point. It is not like these are the types of films, or filmmakers, who would attract high end talent when these films were made. Also, apart from the initial kill, I was not all that engaged by the film for the majority of the run time. There was just something fairly ho-hum about it all, even with the nice sets and atmosphere.

But looking back at the film as a whole, I am able to forgive these minor qualms because the film builds, and builds to a brilliant finale. While I may have found the guts of the film middle of the road while they were happening, it really brought the ending to life, as did some great strokes by Argento with the camera. I was really surprised and taken with how effective the closing was. This is really an instance of wishing the quality of the actual film, not the content, was better. It makes me wonder how much more I might have appreciated it, but it was still a good experience which has me further interested in Argento's other films.
Title: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Post by: 1SO on October 31, 2011, 09:59:02 PM
(http://i39.tinypic.com/akwdp3.jpg)

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

So in the end, Shocktober 2011 ends not with a whimper but a big, gooey bang with the 1981 cult slasher, My Bloody Valentine. This film has stayed in horror consciousness longer than most from the 80s not because of the 3D remake (though that helped) or the many sequels (because there are none), but because this became an MPAA whipping boy. This is where the ratings board drew a line in the slasher sand and made them strongly suggested they edit out the bloody gore. Nearly all of the blood was removed from the 1981 release print. You can tell while watching the unrated edition because there's a major downgrade in the film quality every time something icky happens. The picture goes from soft focus 80s to Grindhouse.

This is the most interesting thing about Valentine. The plot is fairly routine, with the usual band of bad teen actors getting hacked to bits in creative ways for 90 minutes. (Scream's major contribution was making the teens self aware of horror clichťs, but just as praiseworthy is finally casting good actors in the parts.) There are some creative setups and original bits of gore, but director George Mihalka doesn't know how to work the extreme violence to the film's advantage. You want to know why some of us believe Eli Roth has talent? Watch Thanksgiving and then watch this (which was clearly the biggest inspiration for that short.) Notice how Roth manages to play the killings for comedy. He's working the horror levers, but more importantly he's out to deliver a fun ride.

Mihalka takes things too seriously, so the bloody money shots do come off as excessively gross. For example, there's a moment where a body is decapitated and falls down a well. The kids climb down to escape the killer. The now headless body is right at the base of the ladder and the kids step out so as not to step on their dead friend. One girl hits it by accident and quickly leaps away. Had Mihalka known horror comedy gold he would've given a close-up of the kids stepping over their friend. Perhaps added a neck spurt from the weight. Instead, he tries to ignore the gaffe. Opportunity missed.

This isn't the worst Halloween ripoff I've seen. It's at least twice as good as other horror slashers I watched this month Motel Hell or Torso. I know it's too much to ask for good acting, but had there been a better spin besides the holiday decorations My Bloody Valentine might have lived up to its reputation. Instead it's more of a slasher curiosity, most pleasing to the gore hounds who had to wait so long to see the hardcore grue.
RATING: * *
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 31, 2011, 10:17:07 PM
Misery (1990)

This is a film that has kind of worked its way into pop culture enough that I knew most of what happens. Steven King's story returns to Colorado, inspiration of The Shining, for another snowbound thriller. Author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) has just finished his latest book and is headed back from his writing retreat when he drives off the road in a blizzard. Annie (Kathy Bates), his "#1 Fan" saves him (it seems clear that he would have died without her intervention), but she's also crazy and it quickly becomes apparent she's not going to let him go.

I like a lot of what this movie does. It is a good capturing of a certain problematic hyper fandom and the way it can limit an artist, usually only metaphorically. It is also effective in portraying the terror of physical helplessness. Sheldon is in no position to bargain. Just thinking about how horror has changed in the past 20 years, I can't help but think this film could have become torture porn. You do get a bit of visualized violence in the hobbling scene, but on the whole this is a pretty tame presentation. It doesn't go to the extremes of something like Audition and I think that is largely to its benefit. This is a disturbed woman but she isn't just completely inhuman.

James Caan plays his part great with the cycling between terror, appeasement and plotting. I can't really believe that Bates won an Oscar for this role as it felt weaker. She plays the role big and unnatural. Yes, her character is crazy, but I want to believe that she's still a real person. Failing that the film feels more like a film and thus the stakes are lowered. I also felt they went a little too cloying in her fandom early on. It just felt a bit forced. Still, the good outweighs the bad; there is a reason this has become a classic thriller.

4/5
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 31, 2011, 10:43:10 PM
The Fog (1980) (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/the-fog-1980/)

John Carpenterís follow-up to the popular and influential Halloween, The Fog is perhaps the quintessential Carpenter film. Itís not his best, not by a longshot, but itís the best at demonstrating his strengths and weaknesses as a writer and a director. Itís also a lot of fun and perhaps his most straightforward film.

Set in a tiny coast town, The Fog deals with simple people in simple times dealing with a not so simple threat. After a night of strange electronic malfunctions, a heavy fog bank appears across the ocean and slowly begins to work its way towards the town. While itís likely to put a damper on the centennial celebration of the town, it carries with it an ancient threat from the depths of the sea.

As Carpenter stories go, itís a bit more on the hokey style, but the way he builds the air of mystery and leaves a lot of the logistics unexplained builds the story more around slow, deliberate pacing and gradually unfolding dread builds to a panicked last act. The suspenseful style makes for a more plausible and ominous horror flick where the cast of characters donít become the foolish ninnies that often permeate horror films.

That being said, The Fog is filled with a cast of almost completely forgettable characters. Itís endemic of Carpenterís larger problem of not having a good grip on making complex or empathetic characters. While the way they respond to the horror is interesting, as actual entities, theyíre about as dull as they come.

But, like most Carpenter films, the real character of the film is the atmosphere. The small, picturesque town gains a whole other dimension in the dark where Carpenter is able to bring out the texture of the shadows and slowly invade it with the softly glowing fog that descends upon the town. Carpenter is able to give shape and form to that tingle in the back of your spine or the sensation that makes you spin around suddenly in the dark, just to make sure thereís nothing behind you.

The Fog ties these fears into a number of places. On a purely physical level, itís the idea of not knowing or understanding the unusual and odd. The fog comes in against the wind and shrouds our sight, leaving us unable to make out anything from a distance. Therefore the horror becomes intimate, that itís not something easily divorceable from ourselves or something we can observe from afar. Itís here, in our faces, by the time we notice it and weíre forced to deal with it.

But The Fog also demonstrates deeper cultural anxieties, rooted in the horrors of the past when we realize that our heritage and past is built atop the lives of many we exploited along the way. Itís almost always the subtlest strand of horror movies, but here Carpenter faces it in some charged imagery that attacks several modern institutions at once.

Like all of Carpenter Iíve seen so far, I enjoyed the mood, atmosphere and horror, but the characters and story are too simplistic to fully immerse me in the terror they must endure. The Fog is still a fun film, its oozing visual display and eerie monster design make it enjoyable to the eye, but by the time the credits roll, the details and character had faded from my mind.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on October 31, 2011, 11:34:14 PM
Was it a deliberate choice to watch The Mist followed by The Fog?

I didn't realize this was his follow up to Halloween. Such a jump to his glossy, high-production values. If I had to name a film that feels like a transition it would be Escape From New York. Then again there's Assault on Precinct 13, which is just as low budget as Halloween. I'm not even sure that one's in widescreen.

Man, he used to be so good. Then around 1990 he just deflated into a terrible director. Escape From L.A. was the definitive proof that he couldn't make a good film anymore.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: MartinTeller on October 31, 2011, 11:37:12 PM
Was it a deliberate choice to watch The Mist followed by The Fog?

Next up: The Steam
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on October 31, 2011, 11:42:42 PM
Was it a deliberate choice to watch The Mist followed by The Fog?
I didn't realize it until after the fact. A happy coincidence...

...or is it?
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Bondo on October 31, 2011, 11:56:04 PM
Man, he used to be so good. Then around 1990 he just deflated into a terrible director. Escape From L.A. was the definitive proof that he couldn't make a good film anymore.

I found Escape From L.A. to be great fun. Almost as great as Judge Dredd.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on November 01, 2011, 08:34:07 PM
The Exorcist
(http://www.filmcritic.com/assets_c/2010/02/The-Exorcist-thumb-560xauto-25887.gif)
Well I'd been traumatized as child having accidently watched scenes from the exorcist on TV. Now that I've actually watched the movie I feel like I've somewhat overcome what was troubling me. It didn't quite frighten me this time around. What it did do was keep me really intrigued and invested, despite the fact that I already knew every single plot point. Its a brilliantly constructed movie. Probably one of the best made horror films ever.

Rosemary's Baby
(http://www.sheilaomalley.com/archives/RosemarysBaby43.jpeg)
Another movie that I thought would be scarier. Rosemary's Baby is like a slower more tame version of Repulsion, which I enjoyed a greater deal more. I'm aware that the movie is supposed to be more a psychological horror film but the movie's pace is dreadfully slow and the main character often makes really stupid decision. My favorite scene is the dream/impregnation sequence and I wish more of the film had experienced with horrific visuals instead of simple paranoia.

Les diaboliques
(http://www.theshiznit.co.uk/media/May2011/LesDiaboliquesImage.jpg)
Another movie which is oddly paced. The first half consists of two women planning and executing a murder, and the second half is part police investigation part supernatural-thriller. It is an interesting film which is very well constructed, but apart from its final few scenes isn't all that frightening either.

[Rec]
(http://www.relyonhorror.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/REC.2007.720p.BluRay.x264-SiNNERS-hdwarez.com-1.jpg)
Really overrated. I enjoyed it but found the story to be quite empty. Apart from the found footage gimmick it doesn't really bring much to the zombie genre. The ending tries to bring in some sort of mythology which is pretty much just unnecessary, unexplained crap.

Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on November 05, 2011, 04:08:04 PM
(http://i39.tinypic.com/25yxj4k.jpg)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

If Alfred Hitchcock is legendary, then Psycho is his marquee, legendary American film. The British director made a number of films in America that can easily be considered masterpieces, and film buff nearly unanimously, and rightfully so, drool over the man's work, but Psycho is the film that most people would readily associate with Hitchcock. It is one of those films that even if you have not seen it, you feel like you have because of its high profile. I can remember seeing it one night when I was much younger and it made quite the impression on me. So much so that years later it made my first attempt at a Top 100 Films list. But last year I did not place it on that list because it had been so many years since my last viewing. Now after seeing it a second time, I can honestly say that it is back in contention.

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is a real estate secretary in Phoenix, Arizona where a client has just made a $40,000 cash purchase. In love with Sam (John Gavin), she takes the opportunity, after being delegated the task of depositing the cash, to run off to where Sam is from and never look back. But after checking in to the Bates Motel, she encounters the sheltered yet amiable manager, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Missing, Marion's sister Lila (Vera Miles) and Sam work with a PI (Martin Balsam) to find out what happened to Marion.

I love watching the old trailers for Hitch's films, mostly because Hitchcock is actually in them, something you would never see these days. Not being alive in the time period, I am curious how big a profile Hitchcock had because it makes it seem like he was not only very popular, but also noticeable enough to lead his trailers. I cannot imagine Chris Nolan doing that today, or any other directer other than maybe Spielberg or Scorsese. I do not have faith that moviegoers would be able to identify who they were. But what I like about the Hitchcock trailers is that I can only imagine them shooting the thing, probably in the middle of shooting the film. This would indicate to me that Hitchcock has the confidence and ability to know just exactly how his film is going to turn out. He knows what will work and why it will work. His touch, which I have noticed throughout the month with these Hitchcocktober viewings, is one that is more surehanded, and brilliantly constructed than perhaps any other director's works.

Psycho pulls this off with some of the biggest, most iconic, and memorable scenes ever put to film, period. Everyone by know is familiar with the shower scene, and for those that have not seen it, should. Not only is it truly riveting and frightening, but for the films lead actress and star, Janet Leigh, to be dispatched with so early in the film is a shocking attention getter. Where does the film go now? Anywhere it wants to go. And what makes this, and so many other scenes in the film, work as well as it does it three things. 1. The camera work is stellar throughout, and this comes down from the vision of Hitchcock and the ability to show us, the audience, just the right thing at the right time, which brings me to the second. 2. The editing is amazing, particularly in the control shown in the shower scene, which features frenetic editing that meshes so well with the films score, which is three. 3. The score, composed by long time Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann, is about as iconic as they come. Never before have I seen a film as fueled by its score as this. It works in perfect psychosis (I cannot really use the word harmony in a review of Psycho, can I?) with the film. If the shower scene is iconic, the score is its equal in that regard.

It is amazing how much, and how easily the film has inspired me to discuss. Heck, I feel like I haven't even talked that much about the film yet! And I know I haven't mentioned Anthony Perkins yet, who is perfect in the role of Norman Bates. He plays it seemingly perfect with a very innocent and sheltered Mama's Boy characterization of the demented hotel manager. If I had one thing negative to talk about it would be that the film's pace seemed inconsistent throughout, especially when compared to the other Hitchcock classics. But I can even spin that as a positive because the film is in fact titled Psycho. Hitchcock shows that the "psycho" is not only in the form of the killer, but Marion shows signs as well, running off after stealing $40,000. You can see it on her face while she is driving through the storm. Her eyes tell you she is crazy as well. And even the other characters make some decisions which call into question their mental stability. There is a bit of crazy in all of us, just not maybe as much as the killer in this case.

There are always complaints about the ending of the film too, but I found it to be good. It might not compare to the rest of the film and the speech by the doctor is a bit tiresome, but the rest of the film is far good enough to overcome a lackluster ending and make it another Hitchcock classic. And one last thing I do want to make sure I mention is a particular shot which has stuck with me since my initial viewing of the film all the way to this one and will stay with me probably forever. One of my single favorite moments in this film, or any film for that matter, is when Det. Arbogast is falling down the stairs in the house. The surrealness of the shot is unmatched by anything I have seen and I think it suits the film perfectly.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Corndog on November 05, 2011, 04:13:21 PM
The question becomes should I conserve my remaining titles for next year, or push forward just to finish? I would like to try and get involved in Noir-vember, so I think I will wait again until next year after I watch Rosemary's Baby, which is at home from Netflix right now.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: 1SO on November 05, 2011, 06:45:38 PM
Yeah. I think it's best to close the crypt on Shocktober 2011 and let Noir-vember have the attention. A big round of applause to everyone who took part. We posted nearly 100 reviews (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10545.msg628097#msg628097) in a month. Well Done!

Thanks to...

Beavermoose
Bill Thompson
BlueVoid
Bondo
Corndog
Junior
Sam the Cinema Snob
verbALs
Mrs. 1SO

...for participating. And thanks to everyone else who followed along.
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: smirnoff on November 05, 2011, 08:23:26 PM
Indeed. Thanks for a memorable shocktober!
Title: Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
Post by: Beavermoose on November 06, 2011, 03:00:47 PM
Well I said I'd do ten so I've done ten.

The Howling
(http://moviescreams.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/the-howling-1-monster-gallery1.jpg)

I think I might actually prefer this film to An American Werewolf in London. The visual effects are maybe slightly inferior but the transformation scenes are still really gruesome. The set-up for the plot is a bit wonky but I love where the film ends up especially how it ends. A really fun and genuinely scary film.

The Devil's Backbone
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nWAsBjMc5zE/TZ08y28dpKI/AAAAAAAABW8/kW59nJ7h6Xw/s1600/devils-backbone+2.jpg)

The Devil's Backbone is so incredibly similar to Pan's Labyrinth that I couldn't help but compare them. And as someone who find's Pan's Labyrinth very overrated I didn't find much more to like about the Devil's Backbone, it is in fact weaker in many ways. It's just a very plain movie. The pacing was too slow and the villain is mostly a one note character.