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Author Topic: Horror: The Final Chapter  (Read 19744 times)

1SO

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Horror After Horror
« Reply #440 on: November 06, 2020, 11:22:51 AM »

Jungle Holocaust (1977)
aka. The Last Survivor
aka. Mondo Cannibal Massacre
aka. Last Cannibal World
aka. Carnivorous
★ ★
The Italian Cannibal film started with 1972’s Man from Deep River, but this film kicked off the specific exploitation sub-genre. It’s directed by Ruggero Deodato, who went on to make the most famous of these, Cannibal Holocaust. So, this was educational, and thankfully less extreme by comparison. Still more uncomfortable than most horror films with lots of transgressive acts of violence (including unsimulated animal cruelty) and people spending large portions of the film completely naked.


Blacker than the Night (1975)
aka. Darker Than Night
★ ★
My 3rd film from Mexican filmmaker Carlos Enrique Taboada (Even the Wind is Afraid, Poison for the Fairies), and what I find most interesting about his films is their titles. I’ve read his style as “what you don’t see” filmmaking and that patient, understated approach does not excite me.


The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)
★ ★
When it was done, I had to take a step back and realize everything that happened. Presenting itself as a mystery where Peter has visions of a past life or perhaps an upcoming death is a distraction from the sexual jealousy that turns out to be much more important. Unfortunately, director J. Lee Thompson also is more focused in the distraction, with little though given to potential of the big picture.


The Beast Must Die (1974)
★ ★ ½
Cute idea, an Agatha Christie style gathering of types to solve the mystery of ‘who is the werewolf?” Suspects include Peter Cushing, Charles Gray (The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s narrator), a couple of blacksploitation stars and a very young Michael Gambon. Too bad, nobody knew how to build on that premise. Unable to afford creature effects, the werewolf is just a large dog. It’s a thin line between campy performances and terrible overacting, and some moments are unintentionally funny.


The House in Nightmare Park (1973)
aka. Crazy House
aka. Night of the Laughing Dead
★ ½
I wasn’t familiar with British comedian Frankie Howerd, but I do know about the “Carry On…” series, which I have been warned away from and two of which starred Howerd. This comic version of an Old Dark House film serves as additional warning and made me miss the sophistication and restraint of a Mel Brooks parody. I watched for Ray Milland, and he’s more lively here than in The Pajyma Girl Case. If you’re wondering if there’s anything with Milland I won’t watch, I’ll remind you I’ve already seen Frogs and The Thing with Two Heads.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 12:06:36 PM by 1SO »
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1SO

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Re: Horror After Horror
« Reply #441 on: November 07, 2020, 03:04:30 PM »
The work goes on.



You’ll Like My Mother (1972)
★ ★
It’s like Get Out, only the mark is a pregnant woman (Patty Duke). Looks cheap and pulls punches like a TV Movie, but it’s interesting seeing Richard Thomas playing creepy evil.


The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972)
aka. The Corpse Which Didn’t Want to Die
★ ★
Average giallo which means cool title and a story more interested in twists than logic, more interested in pretty women than compelling characters. A few inspired shots, but I didn’t care about the mystery. Not sure how much they cared either.


The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971)
aka. Satan vs. the Wolf Man
aka. Werewolf Shadow
★ ★ ½
My 5th Paul Naschy film this year (all from this Marathon) and the 3rd where he plays the werewolf Daninsky. I’m starting to see the appeal of this series and how Daninsky is like Godzilla, once a villain and now our protector against other supernatural horrors. Horror imagery shows an affection for the genre, but not the skill to pull off a great moment. Now I’m wondering what I might’ve gained from watching the series in order.


The Night Visitor (1971)
aka. Lunatic
aka. Salem Come to Supper
★ ★
I can’t find what attracted stars Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Trevor Howard to this very thin story about a man (MVS) mysteriously able to slip in and out of the locked cell of his fortress asylum to exact revenge. The film opens showing him out, so there’s no mystery to the murder and there’s little attention given to why he’s doing it. That just leaves ‘how’, and there’s no trick to that either. I have to think those involved envisioned something grander than a feature-length short story.


Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)
aka. Island of Terror
★ ★ ½
And Then There Were None is a bulletproof plot and telling a similar story in giallo style is an idea that can work, but not under director Mario Bava. The solution seems to make sense, but like most Bava, is overly-twisty just to appear clever. While there’s nothing wrong with a sexy cast, Bava’s camera goes beyond leering into tawdry burlesque. The murders – normally a Bava specialty – mostly happen off screen, leaving us with corpses on the beach.
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1SO

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Horror After Horror
« Reply #442 on: November 08, 2020, 01:11:54 AM »

The Snow Woman (1968)
aka. Snow Ghost
aka. Snow Fairy
aka. Ghost Story of the Snow Witch

"One evening, during a strong snowstorm,
the spirit of snow turned into a terrible Witch."


My first version of this classic ghost story (Yuki Onna) was as a segment of the 1990 anthology Tales From the Darkside: The Movie. It’s perhaps most famous from the 1964 Japanese classic Kwaidan, but this story exists in so many versions around the world it’s impossible to catalogue them all. There are versions where she is more water based and a less spooky moon-based version that you may know as Princess Kaguya. Yuki Onna even pre-dates Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”.

When told as a ghost story, the ending is a twist, though a rather predictable one. Otherwise, the end ranges from sad understanding to outright tragedy. This version may be the best because it manages to work as all of the above. The short story is extended out in mostly good ways, including a corrupt bailiff and a fire witch whose blind hatred for a Snow Woman plays like racism. While the film captures all of the tragedy of Yuki Onna’s existence, (including a scene where she’s nearly raped because of her prized pale skin), it never strays too far from its spooky foundations. When the Woman goes into vengeance mode, her entire look changes and her nice appearance is coated with a (literal) cold hatred.
RATING: ★ ★ ★ – Very Good
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 10:04:12 PM by 1SO »
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Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: Horror After Horror
« Reply #443 on: November 08, 2020, 03:55:21 PM »
Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)
aka. Island of Terror
★ ★ ½
And Then There Were None is a bulletproof plot and telling a similar story in giallo style is an idea that can work, but not under director Mario Bava. The solution seems to make sense, but like most Bava, is overly-twisty just to appear clever. While there’s nothing wrong with a sexy cast, Bava’s camera goes beyond leering into tawdry burlesque. The murders – normally a Bava specialty – mostly happen off screen, leaving us with corpses on the beach.
Coincidentally I too watched this movie this weekend and while the plotline sure was a crooked one, I really liked the film's synthetic feel. Bava apparently was a hired gun for this movie but he nevertheless put some visual flair to the celluloid. The villa that climbed on the cliffs of the island really was something.
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1SO

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Re: Horror After Horror
« Reply #444 on: November 09, 2020, 09:47:26 PM »

The Book of Stone (1969)
★ ★ ½
Nobody is ever going to ask me to recommend a Carlos Taboada film, but this may be my favorite. (IMDB has the 4 I’ve seen rated between 7.3 and 7.4. He’s consistent) His ghost stories have the narrative simplicity of something like The Others, but they never really go hard for some chills. All of his films have about two or three excellent shots, so he would best be experienced on a YouTube highlight clip.


Psychout for Murder (1969)
aka. Daddy Said the World Was Lovely
★ ★ ½
A young woman (the stunning Adrienne Larussa) is wrongfully committed to a mental hospital by her family and lover. She gets out and goes after everyone who betrayed her. One of the better giallos because a woman is predator instead of prey. She’s smart, resourceful and uses her sexuality because men are stupid. It’d be nice if someone didn’t underestimate her abilities, but for an Italian thriller, this is pretty subversive.


Death Laid an Egg (1968)
aka. Plucked
aka. A Curious Way to Love
★ ★
The description by 366 Weird Movies is more accurate than you might believe. “a blur of red herrings: prostitute killings, Gina Lollabrigida lounging about in her underwear, scarves with odd hieroglyphics, a speeding car, a scene of a woman crawling out of a car wreck that had nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of the plot, and chickens, chickens everywhere.” Early giallo has a style much closer to French New Wave. Experimental flash edits and a sense this is a comedy. Largely incomprehensible, which is exactly why it has fans. Something new to catch every time.


Nightmare Castle (1965)
aka. The Faceless Monster
aka. The Night of the Doomed
aka. Lovers from Beyond the Tomb
★ ★ ½
Barbara Steele was made for gothic horror, with her big eyes and jet black (or platinum blonde) hair. With all the candles and ornate staircases, she completes the look. As an actress… she’s passible, but not as charismatic as her look. This is overly-familiar spooky house, with crypts and ghosts and mad doctors trying to gaslight fragile minds. As musty as a hidden passage.


The Man Without A Face (1950)
★ ★
My Watchlist has been coming up closer to Noir than Horror, but this one is a bit of both. Actually, It’s a bit of a lot of things: Pop psychology, surrealist murder mystery, Mexican melodrama. A lot of ideas thrown at the wall, but nothing handled well enough to make a lasting impression.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2020, 12:10:53 AM by 1SO »
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1SO

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Horror After Horror
« Reply #445 on: November 11, 2020, 12:00:30 AM »
Yeah, I'm ready to move on. I don't even feel like saying much about this group.
 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936)
★ ★
I figured the story of Sweeney Todd is so interesting that it would survive the lack of music and theatrical flair, but this was dull. Perhaps too censored, much of the horror is barely touched on. Mrs. Lovatt’s meat pies are almost completely removed. This also gives too much attention to the other characters around Sweeney’s shop, so that he hardly feels like the central figure.


The Last Performance (1929)
★ ★ ★ - Okay
Conrad Veidt stares at you HARD. Simple morality tale with German Expressionism visuals.


The Magician (1926)
★ ★ ½
Looks similar to early Universal Gothic horror. Cast is average.


The Bells (1926)
★ ★ ★ - Okay
Lionel Barrymore is always a treat. He's why I watched this, and why I liked it.


The Bat (1926)
★ ★ ★ - Good
Haunted House fun. I watched this at the end of a Silent Horror marathon so I was pretty worn out, but I like these 1920s themed criminals and some of the tricks reminded me of Batman.
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #446 on: November 11, 2020, 12:15:08 AM »
Thanks for all the reviews, I have enjoyed reading along. I am even tempted to watch Death Laid an Egg (the weirdness you mention appeals to me).

1SO

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Horror: Post Mortem
« Reply #447 on: November 11, 2020, 10:54:02 AM »
Thanks. I tried to get a count of how much Horror I watched this year, but ICM, IMDB and Letterboxd have conflicting classifications for the genre. Seems to be around 130, which is way more than I would've predicted would be left to interest me a year ago. My Watchlist still has 16 titles, and I have a few more to watch for my 2020 Hit List, including His House, Saint Maud and Possessor. Right now, I need anything but another Horror film.
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Junior

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #448 on: November 11, 2020, 11:00:27 AM »
That's impressive. I think I topped out at around 40 myself, with 11 of those being the Halloween rewatch marathon I did over 4 days. Alas, I too am a little tapped out on the genre, but if I'm gonna give it up for a while, I'm glad I went out on Possessor, which is a great film.
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1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #449 on: November 11, 2020, 11:04:58 AM »
I'm glad I went out on Possessor, which is a great film.
The Snow Woman coming in towards the end was a great finale.
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