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Down The Rabbit Hole

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2017 Movie Viewing Log


Well it’s that time again.

January:

1. Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Reichardt)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
2. The Gunman (2015, Morel)-70, Netflix Instant Viewing
3. The Lobster (2015, Lanthimos)-92, Family Video
4. Hail, Caesar! (2016, Coen Brothers)-91, Family Video
5. Night Moves (2014, Reichardt)-88, Public Library
6. Room (2015, Abrahamson)-95, Family Video

Movie of the Month: Room (2015, Abrahamson)-95, Family Video

February:

Image result for arrival (2016)

7. Dirty Grandpa (2016, Mazer)-78, Amazon Prime
8. Hell or High Water (2016, Mackenzie)-96, Family Video
9. Out of Sight (1998, Soderbergh)-90, Crackle
10. Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982, Reiner)-83, Family Video
11. Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010, Cosmatos)-81, Public Library
12. Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland)-96, Family Video
13. Justice League: War (2014, Oliva)-70, Netflix Instant Viewing
14. Girl Asleep (2015, Myers)-93. Netflix Instant Viewing
15. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013, Oliva)-81, Netflix Instant Viewing
16. Death Race 2050 (2017, Echternkamp)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
17. John Wick Chapter 2 (2017, Stahelski)-95, Theater Viewing
18. Manchester By The Sea [2016, Lonergan)-93, RedBox
19. Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)-97, RedBox
20. The Crippled Avengers (1978, Chang)-77, Netflix Instant Viewing
21. Finding Dory (2016, Stanton)-88, Netflix Instant Viewing
22. Gnomeo and Juliet (2011, Asbury)-60, DVD
23. Zach and Miri Make A Porno (2008, Smith)-87, Netflix Instant Viewing

Movie of the Month: Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)-97, RedBox

March:

24. Man of Steel (2013, Snyder)-90, Family Video
25. Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Snyder)-71, Family Video
26. Get Out (2017, Peele)-97, Theater Viewing
27. Superman: The Movie (1978, Donner)-91, Netflix Instant Viewing
28. Night Owls (2015, Hood)-86, Netflix Instant Viewing
29. Kung Fury (2015, Sandberg)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
30. The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing
31. Logan (2017, Mangold)-94, Theater Viewing
32. Kong: Skull Island (2017, Vogt-Roberts)-90, Theater Viewing
33. Superman II (1980, Lester/Donner)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
34. Ms. 45 (1981, Ferrara)-93, YouTube
35. Superman III (1983, Lester)-34, Netflix Instant Viewing
36. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987, Furie)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
37. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, Singer)-81, RedBox

Movie of the Month: The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing

April:

38. Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003, Dante)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
39. HairBrained (2013, Kent)-76, Netflix Instant Viewing
40. Joe Vs The Volcano (1990, Shanley)-88, Family Video
41. In Like Flint (1967, Douglas)-88, Netflix Instant Viewing
42. Eyewitness (1981, Yates)-75, Netflix Instant Viewing
43. Micheal Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special (2017, Aukeman)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
44. Reptilicus (1961, Pink)-40, Netflix Instant Viewing
45. Free Fire (2016, Wheatley)-93, Theater
46. High Rise (2016, Wheatley)-95, Netflix Instant Viewing
47. The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969, Franco)-7, Comet TV

Movie of the Month: High Rise (2016, Wheatley)-95, Netflix Instant Viewing

May:

48. Carnage Park (2015, Keating)-75, Netflix Instant Viewing
49. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, Gunn)-93, Theater Viewing
50. Sausage Party (2016, Vernon and Tiernan)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
51. Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)-97, DVD
52. Eegah (1962, Hall Sr.)-15, Netflix Instant Viewing
53. Alien: Covenant (2017, Scott)-93, Theater Viewing
54. Catalina Caper (1967, Sholem)-5, Netflix Instant Viewing
55. Future War (1997, Doublin)-10, Netflix Instant Viewing
56. Twice-Told Tales (1963, Salkow)-80, Comet TV

Movie of the Month: Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)-97, DVD

June:

Image result for my neighbor totoro

57. Wonder Woman (2017, Jenkins)-91, Theater Viewing
58. It Comes At Night (2017, Shults)-92, Theater Viewing
59. Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964, Gentilomo)-35, Netflix Instant Viewing
60. Horrors of Spider Island (1960, Böttger)-6, Netflix Instant Viewing
61. I Accuse My Parents (1944, Newfield)-40, Netflix Instant Viewing
62. Jack Frost (1964, Rou)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
63. Fist Fight (2017, Keen)-80, Family Video
64. Laserblast (1978, Rae)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
65. Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders (1996, Berton)-50, Netflix Instant Viewing
66. Los Nuevos extraterrestres (1983, Simón)-15, Netflix Instant Viewing
67. Spy (2015, Feig)-88, Family Video
68. Ant-Man (2015, Reed)-88, Family Video
69. My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Miyazaki)-95, Theater Viewing
70. The Pocket Man (2016, Chubinidze)-92, Theater Viewing
71. Snack Attack (2012, Cadelago)-75, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Miyazaki)-95, Theater Viewing

July:

Image result for Baby Driver

72. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964, Webster)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
73. The Sidehackers (1969, Trikonis)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
74. Baby Driver (2017, Wright)-97, Theater Viewing
75. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Watts)-93, Theater Viewing
76. A Single Life (2014, Blaauw, Oprins, Roggeveen)-82, Theater Viewing
77. Game Over (2006, Pes)-85, Theater Viewing
78. Luminaris (2011, Zaramella)-91, Theater Viewing
79. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989, Miyazaki)-91, Theater Viewing
80. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017, Besson)-55, Theater Viewing
81. Teenagers From Outer Space (1959, Graeff)-51, Netflix Instant Viewing
82. National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj (2006, Nathan)-56, Charge TV

Movie of the Month:  Baby Driver (2017, Wright)-97, Theater Viewing

August:

83. Dunkirk (2017, Nolan)-93, Theater Viewing
84. Night Monster (1942, Beebe)-56, MeTV
85. Bite (2015, Archibald)-60, Public Library
86. The Black Torment (1964, Hartford-Davis)-81, Public Library
87. Blair Witch (2015, Wingard)-69, Public Library
88. Atomic Blonde (2017, Leitch)-88, Theater Viewing
89. Johnny Express (2014, Woo)-93, Theater Viewing
90. The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)-100, Theater Viewing

Repeats Seen On The Big Screen: Temple of Doom (1984, Spielberg)-90 and The Last Crusade (1989, Spielberg)-95.

Movie of the Month: The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)-100, Theater Viewing

September:

91. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002, Tezuka)-75, Comet TV
92. Deathstalker III: The Warriors from Hell (1988, Corona)-35, Comet TV
93. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979, Miyazaki)-92, Theater Viewing
94. Cave Dwellers (1984, D’Amato)-0, Comet TV
95. Wind River (2017, Sheridan)-98, Theater Viewing

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Horrorfest 2017 Presents: The Black Torment (1964, Robert Hartford -Davis )


Made during the height of Hammer Studios The Black Torment feels like a lost film from them, and it has some of the grace notes of Hammer films. One thing I enjoy about the 1960s is the number of period horror films, many of them well done and entertaining. The Black Torment has ghosts, a sword fight, class issues and some good creepy scenes. The main cast is full of people I did not recognize, yet I felt that added a degree of intrigue to the movie, since I would not be able to guess what happened next.

One of the film’s highlights is Sir Richard Fordyke (John Turner) riding after a ghost! Who then manages to chase after him, in eerie and suspenseful fashion. The movie’s gothic horror aspects are its strongest features, and overcome some weak melodrama early on in the film. Heather Sears as Lady Elizabeth is excellently cast as Richard’s wife, and she more than holds her own in the film.

Plus there is a staircase scene that reminded me of The Shining, which makes me wonder if Stanley Kubrick got the inspiration for one of his film’s most infamous moments from The Black Torment. Every Horrorfest I uncover a hidden old gem, and I eagerly recommend this film to everyone looking for solid entertainment.

Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Bite (2015, Chad Archibald)


Do not watch Bite while eating, as the film roughly 40 minutes in becomes gross. I have viewed a lot of body horror film and yet I still find this movie disgusting. Which is clearly what those who made it had in mind, while channeling other films. Modern horror does that a lot, and unfortunately too much familiar territory is covered as a result.

The cast mostly helps this film, although Jordan Gray is bland as Casey’s boyfriend.  Elma Begovic is rather sympathetic as Casey, despite turning into a monster. Denise Yuen and Annette Wozniak play her friends: one who cares about her, the other does not. Things get out of hand quickly 40 minutes in, and the body horror elements were the film’s strongest.

I did not care for the found footage style opening, and the movie took a bit too long to really get moving. Still Bite is not all bad, and it was not a complete waste of time. Oh and bugs creep me out, just like everyone else. Yet they can also be oddly fascinating. From a distance, behind glass.

Horrorfest 2017: Dead Can Dance!


Image result for Dead Can Dance gif
Go Zombie Michael, Go!

Okay enough Friday the 13th homage titles. If you have not listened to the band Dead Can Dance, do so. Anyways its time for more horror films, as I have fallen into the old habit of viewing them every year. Plus writing reviews, which I plan to do much faster this time. My public library (three separate branches in town) has enough to get me started, and I am finally making the switch to Blu Ray after years of slumming it with DVD’s. So for my few readers, time to get scared…again.

Public Library Edition Planned List (in alphabetical order):

1. Bite (2015, body horror)-http://wp.me/pRBID-2ec
2. The Black Torment (1964, gothic horror)-http://wp.me/pRBID-2eo
3. Blair Witch (2016, duh)
4. Blood For Dracula (1974, duh again)
5. Bram Stroker’s Dracula (1992, DUH)
6. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, creature feature)
7. Crawlspace (1986, crazy people)
8. Drag Me To Hell (2009, demons)
9. Flesh For Frankenstein (1973, creature feature)
10. Final Destination 2 (2003, DEATH)
11. Fright Night (2011, vampires)
12. The Girl With All The Gifts (2016, zombies)
13. Green Room (2016, crazy people)
14. The Horror Show (1989, evil spirit)
15. Krampus (2015, duh)
16. Leviathan (1989, creature feature)
17. Lights Out (2016, evil spirits)
18. Little Shop of Horrors (1986, creature feature)
19. The Neon Demon (2016, crazy people)
20. Prison (1988, evil spirits)
21. The Quiet Ones (2013, evil spirits)
22. The Ring (2002, pissed off spirit)
23. The Tall Man (2012, urban legends)
24. Wrong Turn (2003, cannibals)
25. 31 (2016, seriously crazy people)

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Stung (2015, Benjamin Diez)


Made in the fine tradition of killer insect movies, Benjamin Diez’s Stung is gross, shocking, outlandish and entertaining. Even if the main plot is kind of flimsy, the setting is great: two young people cater a party for an elderly rich woman at a creepy ancient mansion, and killer wasps show up. Well they are mutant wasps, of course, although the hilariously deadpan mayor played by the legendary Lance Henriksen doesn’t think it matters if they’re bees, wasps, whatever. Matt O’Leary as Paul and Jessica Cook as Julia happen to be the young folks trapped in a bad situation, and things just get worse from there. Because if you get stung or bit by one of those monstrous insects, you end up changing into one. And that is if they don’t eat you, first. I am reminded of several other, notable and more famous horror films, yet even I cannot overcome my disgust of bugs. Most people hate and fear insects, and often for good reason.

Despite Henriksen really being the only professional here, I did like both O’Leary and Paul, who had good chemistry together despite their characters ignoring it the entire movie. A good love story adds to the film, which is good since I was a tad disappointed at times, since the trailer builds it up to be way scarier. Also I think I am tired of horror films having an obvious “Supposed to be shocking” conclusion that pops up after the film should have ended. However, as modern horror goes this is still a fun popcorn flick, and I believe it is still available on Netflix.

Sometimes Second Chances Are Overrated


Image result for movie watching gif

Second viewings are part of watching cinema. Yet lately I’ve been neglecting them in an attempt to do more first time viewings and consume more media every year. So often necessary multiple viewings typically get ignored. Also I’m not as found of second viewings as I used to be, particularly since they often highlight key flaws. They also tend to make me doubt my judgement when I like or enjoy a movie even more after another viewing.

Yet it’s more because so many films don’t even deserve a second viewing, much less a first time watch. Too many films these days fit into the “Well that was fine, I guess,” and then I move on to another movie, one that may be far more interesting because its either really awful or a truly great film. Oh and movie marathons make second viewings even harder, as I usually watch a ton of horror movies ever year and currently I am going through MST3K, all 34 episodes on Netflix plus the ones that I can find at my local library or on the internet.

Image result for Second chances gif

Some films are easily more watchable, and I own movies I have seen endless times; recently I found that Big Trouble In Little China was on Netflix, and instead of using it to kill time and then moving on to something else, I proceeded to watch the entire thing. Maybe those movies that endlessly hold up to numerous viewings are the ones that should truly deserve our admiration, or perhaps moving on to the next film is the best policy.

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015, Christopher B. Landon)


Ah the Scouting life. I am an Eagle Scout, something that depending on the people you talk to is either something cool, or something really dorky. I enjoyed my time in the Scouts fully, and I made some good friends along the way. Despite this movie being cheesy, way too focused on gore at times, and rather outrageous, I still liked its spirit and its heart. Also this film centered on a trio of friends, and these three guys help add to the film’s strong comedy elements, which outweigh most of its horror elements. I am also very heavily biased towards the zombie genre, and therefore am prone to liking many of the ones I watch every year. Ben, Augie, and Carter are a bunch of goofy Scout members who have been Scouting for years. Naturally two of them are thinking quitting (not really hard to figure out which ones), and they cannot bring themselves to tell the one who is very happy with the status quo. Having been young once upon a time its easy to identify with all three teenagers, and so even without the zombies this film has plenty on its plate already.

Oh and having David Koechner as their Scout leader is a great touch, especially since he kind of reminds me of past Scout leaders. What happens to him is both crazy and funny in a horrible sort of a way, and this humorous part along with the cause of the zombie outbreak sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Tye Sheridan as Ben proves to be a solid leading man for the film, and I actually liked that the young people in this movie, save for a few, actually look like they are in high school. Well that and also the main problem in many zombie movies: the military showing up, freaking out, and deciding that bombing the area is the solution. Also that having Scouts to defend you is a good thing, since they know how to build weapons and other things. This could be a new favorite of mine, and is recommended as a fun time at the movies. Sometimes fun is a good thing.

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Spoorloos (1988, George Sluizer)


In the USA, it is known as The Vanishing, which is a rather simplistic title for such a film. This is a very intelligent film, well crafted, an exercise in mortality, good vs evil labels, the nature of people. Even though the ending was given away online long ago, I always knew that such knowledge does not matter, and actually the ending is hinted at early in the film, anyways. I love that use of foreshadowing, giving the audience clues, filing us in while leaving the characters in the dark. At times this can be frustrating on both ends, yet in George Sluizer’s modern classic he is more concerned with the bigger picture than details or giving the audience closure. I hate that it is supposed to be a European or foreign in general style of film making, especially when someone such as Christopher Nolan or other American directors have used such techniques. This all depends on the audience, and in the horror genre audiences can be rather fickle, as I learned after going to see It Comes At Night last week. And no I have not viewed the remake of this film, which I imagine was a disappointment because it either copied the original, or it decided to forego anything that makes Sluizer’s film a remarkable experience.

Imagine that you went on vacation and your beloved disappeared after making a pit stop. Even worse despite not being under suspicion for her vanishing, you spend the next couple of years desperately searching for her, never knowing her fate, only being able to guess at what happened. In many countries people randomly or purposely disappear; there is a Wikipedia page devoted to such cases, and it is rather creepy. Sluizer embodies his main character, Rex, with both devotion to his beloved, Saskia, and the obsessive need to find her, to know what happened, even as his dreams give him a darker realization he chooses to ignore. Raymond, the other man in the film, is one focusing on his own nature, choosing to embark on a horrible path that his philosophical musings have lead him to-its as if both men are bound by destiny. I love that the film even features this discussion, especially in an intense moment between Raymond and Rex (interesting names for the two, both start with R and are masculine in nature) where both men struggle physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. You can properly label Raymond a monster and yet Sluizer refuses to give us this easy out, showing him as a family man with a capacity to love.

In fact, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu as Raymond gives one of the finest performances ever in a horror drama film. He is both creepy and sympathetic, and unlike Rex, who seems to at times doubt who he is Raymond never once denies what he is doing or his very nature. Raymond’s monologue about his boyhood past is equal parts chilling and sad, a part of the film that is very important to understanding what he has become over the years. I love the film’s ending because it as much about the banality of evil, of making us realize how monsters do not exist save for in fiction. People commit acts of evil, yet that does not make them any less human. Rex perhaps deserves what happens to him, for he cannot turn away and move forward, his past love trapping him. Gene Bervoets also deserves proper credit in this film, as he is also great, and Johanna ter Steege as Saskia shows why Rex cannot let her go, casting her spell over the film even after she exits. When it comes to horror films that leave an impact, Spoorloos is in that rare class of horror that is quite unforgettable, and is a great example of a horror movie that has added more to both world cinema and horror in general.

Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)


Not every movie has to make sense, or be an obvious traditional narrative. This French New Wave classic gets away with being rather mysterious and confusing, since that’s the whole point. Existing as a dream, or a bizarre nightmare, you have two people struggling with their own memories, and haunted by past events that may or may not have happened. Shot in glorious black and white, with expert cinematography, it is a depiction of a house forgotten by time, yet populated with people when the scene or moment apparently calls for it.

The rather creepy and weird score only underlines scenes that can be best described as pieces of a mythical puzzle-one that is less Rubik’s cube, but instead a twisted 10,000 pieces from a box puzzle that takes forever to finish. Part of the film’s allure is that there are no easy answers, no attempts at understanding what is really going on. Just as dreams and past fragments of memory, having drifted away and become obscured, end up lacking consensus, even if they still have some meaning. There does not seem to be any rhythm or reason in what is happening, which reflects many dreams randomly composed of elements floating around in our heads.

Overlooked in this analysis is how obsessive the main male character is, as he is 100% convinced that he’s right despite the protests of the woman he so eagerly follows. His persistence is a mix of stalker behavior and his desire for a woman who has cold grace and beauty. Her response ranges from rejection and suspicion, which then gives way to wondering if he is indeed correct about their previous affairs between one another. This then gives way to her saying no again, resulting the entire cycle beginning anew.

Romance is often presented in movies as way too wonderful, or being many bitter moments in time. What Resnais’ does is present love as neither of those things, yet at the same time does not bother with realism when it suits his movie. The choices made by the final lingering shot could very well lead to another lifetime of regret and longing; one such character suffers such a fate, and becomes lost in a endless cycle of longing, left to their devices in the comfy corridors of an ancient monument to the past. 96

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Grizzly (1976, William Girdler)


Finally, a decent Jaws knockoff that manages to be fun, cheesy and actually thrilling. Grizzly may be unrealistic, yet I was still entertained by the travels of a gigantic bear that terrorizes a national forest. One of the scenes where the grizzly horribly murders two campers is gruesome and shocking, which I did not expect from this film at all. In fact despite being a low budget film this movie has a solid pace, and wisely uses the fear of the monster as well as showcasing its violent attacks. Even though I do not recognize any of the cast, I still liked all of them, primarily the film’s hero, Michael Kelly, played stoically by Christopher George. Much like Jaws the film centers around three men hunting the creature, the other two in this case being a helicopter pilot, Don, and a naturalist, Arthur. I also like that the film used an actual live bear for the attack scenes, which makes them less silly and more powerful.

That said, the film does engage in some silly moments, mainly the unintentionally hilarious part where the bear manages to bring down a fire lookout tower, killing the ranger hiding up above. Also the film’s ending involves, well, the use of something unexpected. With that in mind I still like William Girdler’s film, and it manages to be not a bad knockoff of a more famous and better horror film. Even though I am not particularly scare of grizzly bears, even though I wouldn’t want to encounter one in the wild. Especially one that is 15 feet tall and likes to maul people to death.

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