Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Black Sabbath (1964, Mario Bava)


Years later I finally viewed this movie thanks to Shudder (I believe it was in 2018, maybe). Black Sabbath is probably Mario Bava’s best film although a few others do qualify, and this also inspired a certain famous rock band that I am a big fan of as well. Black Sabbath is easily one of the best anthologies ever made, and although one of the stories is weaker than the other ones all of them are still pretty great and make the film a quality viewing experience. Bava wisely sticks to only three stories, and has the legendary Boris Karloff narrate and star in the film as well. The title of the three tales are The Drop of Water, The Wurdulak, and The Telephone.

Maybe it’s the copy I viewed or the Wikipedia page is wrong (shocker!) yet the version I watched had The Drop of Water story first. This tale is utterly terrifying and has an marvelously creepy finale that works incredibly well. A woman foolishly steals a ring off of a dead woman’s finger and discovers too late that you should never rob from the dead. The dummy featured in this movie is pretty freaky looking, and this story is a great exercise in unbearable tension. I feel this one was the best of the bunch honestly, and shows that Bava was a master of the supernatural, a strong element of most of his movies.

The Wurdulak is Bava making a vampire story that is one of the best vampire stories ever put to film. Planet of the Vampires also shows that Bava has a knack for vampire films, and it’s a shame he didn’t make more of them. Karloff appears as the head of a family that has a serious and very unique vampire problem. There’s plenty of bite in this one hehe, not to mention those who end up becoming the undead turn on their own family members. Many consider this tale the best of the bunch, yet I feel it’s not as scary as Water is although the gore factor is certainly featured in this one pretty well.

Finally there is The Telephone, which although is the weakest of the bunch is still very suspenseful and well crafted. Michèle Mercier is a woman who is haunted by her former boyfriend, who she believes was in prison but has in fact broken out and is seeking revenge. It just occurred to me that each of the stories are very bottle episode in nature, as all of the characters are limited to one particular location. How this one concludes is rather bleak, although that can be said of all of the tales in this movie.

Although I’m not sure if Bava should have featured a wrap around story, I’m fine with how this works as a book style movie with different tales featuring new people each time. Black Sabbath is easily one of the best horror films of the 1960s, and is easily in my Top 100 horror movies.

Horrorfest 2017 Presents: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, James Whale)


Everyone knows about The Bride of Frankenstein, widely mentioned as that rare sequel to equal or be superior to the original film, and its a shame I have taken so long to finally watch it. Luckily for me my local library had a blu ray copy, and it had not been too long ago that I had seen the first film, which is also a classic in its own right. There are certain things about the sequel that I prefer to the original, most notably the addition of a key member: Dr. Pretorius (a wonderfully flamboyant Ernest Thesiger). The good doctor is the driving force that makes Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) proceed to create a new monster, one to be a mate for the Monster (the legendary Boris Karloff), who of course survived the mob attack depicted in the previous installment.

This film begins the trend of horror sequels depicting previous events so new viewers would not be left behind, and it is also more brutal than the original film. Karloff starts off by murdering a poor couple who had the misfortune to investigate if he was dead or not, and yet in this film he begins to discover his own humanity. The Monster even learns how to speak, and it is this film where the poor blind man (hilariously parodied in Young Frankenstein) befriends the creature, only for others to drive the poor beast away. I also am amused that the titular creature is hardly even in the film, saved away for a wonderfully dramatic and intense moment near the film’s end. This movie also has a surprisingly amount of comedy, which Whale perhaps inserted to dull some of its more harsh edges.

While I am not sure if this is better than the first film, I still love it just as much, seeing as Universal wisely brought back the original cast and crew that made the first film so great. Too bad the rest of the sequels did not involve James Whale, although I still want to seek them out as well. I have an odd fascination with horror film series, and Universal deserves both praise and disdain for giving birth to them in the first place.

2017 Movie Viewing Log


Top 10 of the Year:

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1. The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)
2. The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)
3. Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)
4. Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)
5. Wind River (2017, Sheridan)
6. Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)
7. Get Out (2017, Peele)
8. Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)
9. Baby Driver (2017, Wright)
10. Hell or High Water (2016, Mackenzie)

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:

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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)-95, 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:

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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:

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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
96. Afternoon Class (2015, Oh)-90, Theater Viewing
97. The Centrifuge Brain Project (2012, Nowak)-90, Theater Viewing
98. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984, Miyazaki)-92, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Wind River (2017, Sheridan)-98, Theater Viewing

October:

99. Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)-98, Theater Viewing
100. Bride of Frankenstein (1935, Whale)-95, Public Library
101. Crawlspace (1986, Schmoeller)-90, Public Library
102. A Cure for Wellness (2017, Verbinski)-65, Public Library
103. Urban Legend (1998, Blanks)-80, Crackle
104. The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974, Gibson)-70, Tubi TV
105. The Manster (1959, Crane, Breakston)-45, Tubi TV
106. Final Destination 2 (2003, Ellis)-82, Public Library
107. 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957, Juran)-80, Public Library
108. Blood For Dracula (1974, Morrissey)-70, Public Library
109. Raw (2017, Ducournau)-92, Netflix Instant Viewing
110. Legion (The Exorcist III DC, 1990, Blatty)-94, Public Library
111. The Curse of the Cat People (1944, Wise, Fritsch)-71, Public Library
112. It (2017, Muschietti)-94, Theater Viewing
113. Pieces (1982, Simon)-77, TubiTV
114. Flesh For Frankenstein (1973, Morrissey)-75, Public Library
115. Fright Night (2011, Gillespie)-84, Public Library
116. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976, Sole)-82, TubiTV
117. Jennifer’s Body (2009, Kusama)-90, Blu Ray
118. Salem’s Lot (1979, Hooper)-90, Blu Ray

Movie of the Month: Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)-98, Theater Viewing

November:

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119. Cutthroat Island (1995, Harlin)-45, Charge TV
120. Crossfire Trail (2001, Wincer)-77, Get TV
121. Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing
122. Thor: Ragnarok (2017, Waititi)-91, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing

December:

Image result for paprika (2006)

123. Paprika (2006, Kon)-95, Public Library Blu Ray
124. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017, Johnson)-94, Theater Viewing
125. Scary Movie (2000, Wayans)-83, Netflix Instant Viewing
126. Justice League (2017, Snyder)-82, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Paprika (2006, Kon)-95, Public Library Blu Ray

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: The Old Dark House (1932, James Whale)


the-old-dark-house-1932

James Whale created some memorable and classic horror films. The Old Dark House is one of those films, and while it’s not as good as his best work in the genre it’s still very good. I loved the dialogue in this movie, which is sharp and funny, along with the wonderful characters. This is one of the most delightful bunch of people I’ve ever encountered in a horror comedy picture. It also helps that most, if not all, are British and have that “What, me worry?” take on things that always amuses me.

A trio of wary travelers end up in an old mansion where the butler is played by horror legend Boris Karloff, who of course has a scar and his usual imposing presence. This film helped create many horror cliches, from people stuck in a creepy house in the middle of a storm to someone possibly crazy being kept locked up in the attic. I didn’t really care for the last act but the rest of the movie works and I think it’s a fun, if not scary at all, movie.

It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958, Terence Fisher)


I’m not quite sure how this film’s title makes any sense, although perhaps Frankenstein achieves revenge by living, I guess? Cleverly escaping being executed for his horrible crimes and for creating a monster that killed people in the first installment, the good Baron takes up a new practice in England. The local doctors are jealous of his talents, so Frankenstein must plan ahead and try to remain a step up above the usual people hounding him, and of course the authorities too. Hans, a long doctor (played by Francis Matthews) figures out who the Baron is and forces him to become his mentor. I actually like Peter Cushing best in this installment, as he expertly goes from being kind to his typical madman, a doctor who treats the poor but is also using them as parts for his experiments. What Frankenstein achieves this time is taking a hunchback, Karl-who helped Frankenstein escape-and transform him into a normal man by transplanting his brain. The experiment is a success, and yet the new Karl (Michael Gwynn) refuses to go along with the main plan, with disastrous consequences.

What surprised me is that this film is equal to the first installment, and that Fisher manages to equal his previous grand achievement, giving birth to a sequel that is one of the best sequels ever made in my opinion. Revenge is creepy, thrilling, and rather dark, as poor Karl becomes a tragic figure damned by man and by the Baron, cheated out of a happy life. In a way he is even more pitiful than the famous creature that Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff previously embodied, for he is a normal looking man and yet due to circumstances beyond his control his life is ruined. The Baron never looks back or shows remorse, and this is aptly showcased in The Revenge of Frankenstein.

How the film ends I will not reveal, but I will say that with this installment Frankenstein becomes something akin to a slasher villain: its not possible to defeat him, even with the authorities in hot pursuit. The final shot is rather chilling, and this film has all the grace marks of a good Fisher Hammer Studios movie. So far I have not viewed any other movies that come close to matching Revenge or Curse of Frankenstein, and I doubt I will. They have style and elegance, proper intelligence and excellent pacing.

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