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Author Topic: Horror: The Final Chapter  (Read 19165 times)

1SO

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Horror: A New Beginning
« Reply #360 on: September 19, 2018, 12:04:46 AM »

Horror Castle (1963)
aka. Terror Castle
aka. Back to the Killer
aka. The Virgin of Nuremberg
★ ★ ½
The genre is growing up fast with this Italian film challenging the acceptable amount of gruesome imagery. Hammer’s atmosphere of colorful class is dragged through smoke and sleaze. The story is fairly standard early torture porn, aside from a connection to post-Nazi Germany that manages to not come off as bad taste.


The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
★ ★
I’m coming to the conclusion that of all the classic monsters, The Mummy is the most limited. There’s the defiled tomb, the ancient curse and learning it was all done for love. This one has a small wrinkle involving the monster’s offspring, but it’s the same slow-moving revenge. The sets and props look too clean and the bandaged creature has all the personality of a killer refrigerator.


Devil Doll (1964)
★ ★ ½
When a film appears on MST3K, it creates an automatic lowering of expectations, as if any film from that show should never be allowed on a list of the Best anything. This isn’t a good film, but it has a couple of novel twists for the ventriloquist dummy sub-genre and the actor playing the entertainer is pretty good, creating some genuine unease with his wooden partner.


The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)
★ ★ ½
”He has a good brain and excellent eyes. I cannot tell you where I got them, but I assure you they’re perfect.”
I wonder if there’s any continuity to the story of these Hammer Frankenstein films or if it’s just the next adventure (excuse) for Peter Cushing to be excellent. (Among all actors who have played the role, Cushing gives Dr. F the best balance of intelligence and madness.) I’ve referred to Hammer as comfort Horror and this is perhaps the most comfy. A couple of small new wrinkles to the otherwise standard formula. Nothing exceptional.


Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)
aka. The Scarlet Hangman

Torture Porn done in the style of the old Batman TV Series, and I don't think that's a deliberate choice.
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Junior

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #361 on: September 19, 2018, 09:40:00 AM »
I'm trying to imagine 60s Batman torture porn and I just can't. Where do people come up with this shit?
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1SO

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Re: Horror: A New Beginning
« Reply #362 on: September 19, 2018, 11:33:14 AM »
I thought I'd have more to say, but that description summed it up perfect. Perhaps a few screenshots.










I get that some people like their horror with a high amount of camp and that's why the film is on They Shoot Zombies, but even as part of a Halloween film fest with friends and drinks, there are better options out there. Here's what the site says.

Quote
“By having a smooth pace, the right amount of action and cheese, and a good dolloping of the old fashioned castle dungeon ambiance, there definitely ends up being very little to not like about Massimo Pupillo’s turn from the black and white Terror-Creatures from the Grave to this colored and near comic-like take on de Sadean torture. The sheer zaniness of it all makes the overly elaborate death devices and unlikely situations perfectly acceptable. It’s just that type of movie."
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oldkid

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #363 on: September 21, 2018, 10:57:14 PM »
Wow.  Just wow.
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1SO

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Re: Horror: A New Beginning
« Reply #364 on: September 22, 2018, 01:03:39 AM »

Color Me Blood Red (1965)
aka. Model Massacre
★ ½
Godfather of Gore Herschell Gordon Lewis is despised among critics because the heavy amounts of blood are further cheapened by wooden acting, stilted dialogue and poor lighting. I think they give the films their own style and usually Lewis has an original idea to work with. Here, he’s (unofficially) remaking A Bucket of Blood, which is just lazy. The one thing I used to like about HGL is absent, inspiration.


Die, Monster, Die! (1965)
aka. Monster of Terror
aka. Colour Out of Space
aka. The House at the End of the World
★ ★ ½
Spooky mansion mystery from a story by H.P. Lovecraft with Boris Karloff oddly seeming out of place, too classy for such a loopy film. There’s a lot of aimless wandering, but the last 20 minutes throws in some wild turns, as if they weren’t sure of what they were building to, so they throw in a handful of ideas all at once. Messy, but quite entertaining at the end.


Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)
★ ½
You look at that title and think this might be good for some unintentional laughs, but it’s not even that entertaining. The highlight is the red filter they throw in front of Dracula (John Carradine) whenever he’s supposed to be seducing someone with his hypnotic charms. This effect also highlights the contradiction of a 60-year-old immortal Dracula. Cast and sets are minimal and everything is filmed in daylight, including the night scenes. If there were any hints the filmmakers cared or understood the spirit of what they were selling, I might have more affection for it. This is just a bad film with a novel label.


Incubus (1966)
★ ★
Folk horror, similar to The Wicker Man or The Witch. (The goat here could be related to Black Phillip.) Full of atmosphere, thanks to legendary cinematographer Conrad Hall and the film being the only one filmed in Esperanto, a language foreign to everybody. All these dislocation tricks do the heavy lifting for too simple a story of demons corrupting pure souls. Casting William Shatner as the most innocent person in the village just brings another layer of strangeness. He does get a typical Shatner moment, however. Following a solar eclipse he tells a woman they just spent the night together.


The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966)
aka. Miss Death
aka. Miss Death and Dr. Z in the Grip of the Maniac
★ ★ ½
This is actually the third film in the 7-film Orloff series that starts with The Awful Dr. Orlof, and my 2nd film from notorious exploitation filmmaker Jesús Franco. This early work is more polished that I would've expected. Coming out before Franco could go wild with on-screen nudity, I actually admire the heavy suggestion of sexuality here with careful wardrobe choices and clever camera placement. The thriller plot is also better than most giallo, which still isn't very good but at least I didn't want to slam my head into the table watching stylish sensationalism steamroll over any substance.
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1SO

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Re: Horror: A New Beginning
« Reply #365 on: September 28, 2018, 10:27:30 AM »

Torture Garden (1967)
★ ★ ½
Five tales of terror with a framing story by a very hammy Burgess Meredith. More serious than typical of this type, but the wraparound and the stories themselves are paced longer than necessary. Best segment features Jack Palance and Peter Cushing as Edgar Allen Poe fanatics.


Rape of the Vampire (1968)
aka. Queen of the Vampires
★ ★
Feature debut by Jean Rollin, whose name has come up a few times in this thread. I’m glad I didn’t start here because this is more scattershot and incoherent than his typical erotic horror. With a solid foundation under me, I recognize Rollin’s usual touches, and I like the story of four sisters driven to believe they are vampires and hunted as such until a real female vampire arrives to help them turn on their attackers. There’s just too much art school pretentiousness in this early work.


Oblong Box (1969)
aka. Dance, Mephisto
★ ★ ½
With the generous participation of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee, this film packs in voodoo, grave robbing, revenge, an old dark house and facial disfigurement. That’s way more story than I’m used to in Horror and it doesn’t cohere into a single vision but grabs at whatever’s handy. There’s a lot here to like, but despite all the pulp juice it’s a really dry experience.


Cry of the Banshee (1970)
★ ★
Vincent Price hunts witches, abusing his power by taking liberties with the accused young women. There’s a good (and very modern) idea here when he ends up angering a real witch and her coven who sets out to destroy Price and his family. What muddles everything is the film itself takes more pleasure in abusing and displaying the young women then in the scenes of revenge that could have given true nightmares to all men.


The Dunwich Horror (1970)
★ ★
The creature on the poster is imposing and looks impressive in the film too. However, it only appears in a couple of shots at the end. The rest of the film has it killing POV style using a psychedelic image filter, which generates no thrills. The story building up to the creature is a number of familiar elements that all seem a bit tired this time.
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1SO

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Re: Horror: A New Beginning
« Reply #366 on: October 01, 2018, 10:00:38 AM »

Count Dracula (1970)
aka. The Nights of Dracula
★ ★ ½
Excited to watch the latest adventure of Christopher Lee’s Dracula, but this is an adaptation of the source material. It’s the same as Coppola’s Dracula but without all those delicious bells and whistles. Klaus Kinski is perfectly cast as Renfield, but it’s too nothing a part.


Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971)
★ ★
Back to Mummys and another plot I’ve seen once or twice before. (Evil female mummy reincarnated as or possessing a modern woman.) Two thoughts I keep having with these mummy films. 1) Is it possible that the Brendan Fraser action/adventure is the best AND one of the most faithful versions of this story? 2) Limited to exotic Egyptian imagery, is it even possible to put a good scare into one of these films?


The Brotherhood of Satan (1971)
aka. Come in Children
★ ★ ★ - Okay 
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Hands of the Ripper (1971)
★ ★ ½
Jack the Ripper had a daughter who learned about her father and is now psychologically scarred. This Hammer horror has a solid cast and the classy period detail to make it reasonably entertaining, but it seems to struggle with horror evolving into a bloodier genre, with shots of the bloody aftermath while the camera looks away during what should be suspenseful murders. (I’d rather have the tension than the gore.) Once again, the ending is abrupt.


Lust for a Vampire (1971)
★ ★ ½
Hammer again, getting further from the classic monsters and closer to the lunacy of Vampire Circus with less old men who speak in theatrical tones and a lot more nudity. Delivers on its title with a young man who successfully seduces a beautiful female vampire. Against all odds, film manages to stay classy despite the pornographic plot with a lot of suggestion, stunning beauty and the required amount of vampire activity.
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1SO

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Horror: A New Beginning
« Reply #367 on: October 03, 2018, 11:57:53 PM »

Season of the Witch (1972)
aka. Hungry Wives
aka. Jack’s Wife
★ ★ ½
George Romero’s least well-known horror film, probably because its 70s no-budget look is visually unappealing. It lacks focus for sure, with some sloppy editing and a couple of really long dialogue scenes. (The film exists in 3 versions: the 89min Season of the Witch, the 130min Hungry Wives and the 104min Jack’s Wife, which I saw.) Once again, Romero shows a mastery for using Horror as Satire, showing how a housewife’s boredom would lead her to witchcraft, which liberates her from domestic life. That aspect of the film, and how it all plays out is smartly-handled. 


Return of the Blind Dead (1973)
aka. The Return of the Evil Dead
aka. Mark of the Devil 5
★ ½
Sequel to the film that inspired this Marathon. It was while watching Tombs of the Blind Dead that I realized much as I had interest in the films on They Shoot Zombies’ list, the only way I would complete it is as a batch where I could quickly move away from such uninspired choices. This film is better I think, but that’s the 200 films between lowering my expectations.


The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
aka. Dracula is Alive and Well and Living in London
aka. Dracula is Dead… and Well and Living in London
aka. Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride
★ ★ ½
Having played Dracula 10 times, this is the last time Christopher Lee is up against Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing. (Appearing in over 30 films together, they would co-star one last time after this in House of the Long Shadows.) Lee always has great presence, but Cushing is the superior actor and this lesser Hammer Horror comes alive every time he’s on screen. Stakes couldn’t be higher with an older Count bored with this world using Satanists and the plague to bring about Armageddon. Fittingly, this is one Hammer film that doesn’t rush the ending.


House of Whipcord (1974)
aka. The Photographer’s Models
aka. Stag Model Slaughter
★ ★
In the final twenty minutes I started to see the satirical angle to this British women in prison film. There's something definitely going on in the subtext about the systematic suppression of females done by other women who hide behind men to carry out their own revenge against pretty ladies having a good time. It took me so long because the film's surface is a pandering fetish picture. Not too violent and not at all scary, I can understand the film finding a cult of fans but I won't be joining in.


The Devil’s Rain (1975)
★ ★
”Absolutely the most incredible ending of any motion picture.” is a bold claim by the marketing department. While not remotely true, the ending is the best part of this film and the final twist is even better than that. Getting there, however, is no fun at all. There’s no cohesion to the scenes, a disaster of editing, with too much of what’s left performed without dialogue so that it’s boring too. The inexplicable star power includes Tom Skerritt, Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino and John Travolta.
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1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #368 on: October 04, 2018, 09:34:11 PM »
The next 5 are very discouraging. Think I’m going to switch over to a proper Shocktober, with titles I’m more excited to watch.
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philip918

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #369 on: October 05, 2018, 12:20:52 PM »
Thank god. Stop doing this to yourself. This thread has become torture porn.