Movie Viewing Log 2023: January


Changing things up a bit. TV shows viewed will be listed as well, maybe even repeat watches if I feel like it. This is all the movies I watched for the first time in 2023 for the month of January!

Look at those happy young people

1. The Philadelphia Story (1940, George Cukor)-93, Public Library Criterion DVD

2. Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge (2022, Alexandra Barreto)-86, Shudder

3. Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984, Edmund Purdom)-75, Shudder

4. A Christmas Horror Story (2015, Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan)-77, Shudder

5. American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas)-94, Public Library DVD

6. Cemetery Without Crosses (1969, Robert Hossein)-87, Tubi

7. Caltiki, The Immortal Monster (1959, Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava)-70, Tubi

8. Heavy Metal 2000 (2000, Michel LemireMichael Coldewey)-55, Tubi

9. M3GAN (2022, Gerard Johnstone)-85, Theater Viewing

10. A Cat in Paris (2010, Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol)-85, Hulu

11. Beyond the Darkness (1979, Joe D’Amato)-60, Tubi

12. Earth Girls Are Easy (1988, Julien Temple)-83, Public Library Blu-ray

Movie of the Month: American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas)

TV Shows:

1. X-Men: The Animated Series (Disney+, S3)

2. Beyond The Dark (Shudder, Season 1)

3. Family Guy (Hulu, S5)

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Aenigma (1988, Lucio Fulci)


The really weirdly titled Aenigma was Lucio Fulci once again trying to craft something different than his other movies, although this one was a bit too campy for me at times. It was sort of channeling Carrie, although I was also reminded of Phenomena as well, and those are better movies than this one. Still if you want to see a Fulci movie about a coma patient who gets revenge for the prank pulled on her, this is the movie for you. Lara Lambert is great and sinister looking as Eva, the instrument of Milijana Zirojevic’s Kathy, and Ulli Reinthaler is good as Jenny, who I think you were supposed to root for even though she was involved in the prank. Jared Martin is the doctor who is treating Kathy, yet still fails to make any connection between her and the strange deaths. I can’t tell if that is the plot requiring him to be that oblivious, or if it’s just him being blinded by the two ladies who are in love with him. I’ll go with both here. Both is good.

The snails death is actually pretty nasty even for a Fulci movie, and is probably one of the most memorable from a master of memorable disgusting and gruesome moments. There is also several other decent kills, and the last act is suspenseful enough, particularly since Eva literally becomes an unstoppable killing machine. Does the movie offer tangible answers to what happened, why any of this was possible, and if it could happen again? Hah ha, no, of course not. That’s the Italian horror movie way, and I’m fine with it. Also the end credits shot is very The Shining, in a way, and that’s how I like it.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Manhattan Baby (1982, Lucio Fulci)


By the 1980s Lucio Fulci had decided to change up his style a bit, and the result is the pretty decent and somewhat entertaining Manhattan Baby, which is a strange title. Here Fulci channels The Exorcist, and reminds me of Poltergeist (even though that movie came out in the same year) for a movie about a girl who ends up cursed because her father uncovered an ancient Egyptian tomb. This leads to cruel deaths, weird happenings and a finale that is pretty wild. It’s a shame that this movie had its budget cut, as Fulci was trying to move away from his usual gory affairs, and you can tell that he was trying to make a creepy and effective movie. Still there are some good freaky death scenes in this movie, and it’s pretty obvious this is still a Fulci movie.

Christopher Connelly and Laura Lenz are really good as the parents of Susie (Brigitta Boccoli) who ends up becoming affected by the evil. What happens to Susie and her brother’s (Giovanni Frezza) babysitter is pretty crazy, and there is a bedroom scene that would easily be at home in any of the Poltergeist movies. I can’t say more about the deaths yet one that occurs in the finale is pretty wild and very memorable, and despite not being allowed to reach it’s full potential I still liked this movie. I saw it thanks to Shudder, which has a fairly solid collection of Fulci’s movies. The Italians sure knew how to make a crazy horror movie.

She’s got that…cobra in her? Huh Fulci was ahead of his time!

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001, Sam Irvin)


Unlike her other film, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Elvira’s Haunted Hills plays more as a spoof comedy/loving homage to classic Hollywood horror comedy movies. This is both good and bad, as some of the jokes fail to land and the storyline isn’t as good as her previous film. However I still liked this one anyways, since Elvira is quite funny as usual and has some truly great snappy one liners, which is her main charm and appeal. I’m not sure why Sam Irvin and her decided to make this a period piece movie, yet the castle setting is amusing enough and is good for some funny gags, some witty, some rather dumb. Cassandra Peterson deserved a bigger budget movie, and if it’s true she’s hung up being Elvira for good we may never see her star in one, which would be a shame although there’s still time for that to happen. It’s one major frustrating aspect of horror movies in that so many of them don’t receive the funding they deserve.

Mary Jo Smith is a riot as Elvira’s faithful companion, Richard O’Brien is creepy and weirdly funny as the castle’s owner, and Mary Scheer about steals the movie along with Scott Atkinson, who probably was channeling George Sanders, although according to others it was supposed to be Vincent Price. Either one is good. The final act has a moment that is so funny and awesome it has to be seen to be believed, and I won’t spoiler it. Check this one out, lower expectations a bit, and enjoy Elvira being well, Elvira.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Watcher (2022, Chloe Okuno)


Although Watcher is a slow burn, the movie pays off pretty well in the last half and it is a very claustrophobic and intense horror thriller that lets the viewer into the mindset of a woman in a foreign city. Lucky for her she is with her boyfriend, however she is left alone to her own devices while he is working and she wanders Bucharest, all while a serial killer runs amok. Maika Monroe is excellent in role of Julia, who attracts unwanted attention when she looks across at another building’s window from hers. Sure this is very Rear Window to a degree, yet Watcher operates differently from that one. Chloe Okuno does a fine job of showing the viewer what possibly justifiable paranoia feels like, and how women often experience this whenever they go. It’s quite different for a man, and I often think about how I’m fine walking alone in many places, where as women wouldn’t feel this way. That’s too bad, yet that’s often the case.

I’m a little mixed about the finale, and I kind of wondered if maybe things could have played out a bit differently. Maybe the movie couldn’t have had it’s cake and eaten it too, yet that final shot is rather haunting and very effective. I probably should have tried to see this movie in theaters, and I loved those late night scenes that linger in my mind a little. Cities look so beautiful and peaceful at night, yet behind closed doors may lurk unknown horrors or evil that we don’t know about. Horror movies do a great job of bringing that to the forefront, although some times it can make one very fearful and well, paranoid. Shudder has this one, check it out.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Fangs (1974, Art Names)


Fangs aka Snakes, aka Holy Wednesday, aka killer snake movie that begins as a slow burn drama and turns into a horror revenge thriller. One man who loves snakes too much decides to get his revenge on people and goes on a killer spree. This movie is the kind of campy weird drive in fare that in this case isn’t quite weird enough.

The second half works better than the first, mostly because you witness a man driven to the limits of sanity. Are we supposed to identify with this lunatic? Probably not, yet 1970s cinema had many a revenge movie where the hero or heroine wrecks their terrible retribution upon those they feel deserve it.

Les Tremayne is actually quite good here in the title role, however I actually felt there wasn’t enough interesting events happening in this movie to really love it or even like it. I gave it a 7/10 at least since the movie does try to be more than your typical grindhouse movie, still I’ve seen better made 1970s revenge flicks than this one. Perhaps I’m starting to hit the bottom of the barrel for that decade in regards to B-movies.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: A Blade in the Dark (1983, Lamberto Bava)


Lamberto Bava’s A Blade in the Dark is frustrating cause there is a good horror movie in here somewhere. It just never fully emerges, which is too bad since Bava has made some good movies and is the son of one of my all time favorite directors. I did like some of the movie and the ending is satisfying enough, however too many parts dragged. Also Brian De Palma was much better at channeling Alfred Hitchcock.

This movie has a meta style plot where the hero, Bruno, is scoring a horror movie and finds himself in a horror movie. The kills are good, yes, however this movie has thin characters and I stopped keeping track of who they were since I figured out they were just future victims. It’s a solid criticism of the Friday the 13th movies and other slasher films from the 1980s, and it definitely applies here. I didn’t hate this movie, yet I can’t really recommend it at all save for maybe hard-core 1980s slasher flicks. Watched thanks to Shudder.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! (1972, Andy Milligan)


Andy Milligan had an interesting low budget career where he made whatever movies he could, right up until he sadly passed away. I’ve seen one already and just like this one it’s a mix of low budget oddities and a still wonderfully goofy take on horror cinema. I don’t mind either one, yet I can’t fully endorse the two. The title for his 1972 cult movie is a mouthful, that’s for sure, and concerns a werewolf clan hiding out at an old mansion.

The clan’s patriarch is dying, and the family is desperate to find a cure for their lycanthrope curse, which has plagued them for their whole lives. Some parts work, others don’t, and the movie plays out mostly in a soap opera vein. The full moon also shows up to wreck havoc in the finale, and I did greatly enjoy the ending, which has some nice surprises. Check this out anyways despite it being uneven, and I’ll always eagerly watch cult cinema no matter what.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents I Like Bats (1986, Grzegorz Warchoł)


I Like Bats is one of those artsy foreign horror movies that often tries to be more than just a horror movie. In this case it’s a vampire flick that’s also a love story and a case of vampire driven insanity, I guess. I’ve seen way better foreign artsy horror movies than this one, and I’m starting to think my rating for this movie was too high. There’s some good scenes, yes, and I liked the ending despite the final scene being a tad obvious, although it did amuse me a little.

Katarzyna Walter is a woman that works in her aunt’s shop and feeds on people. After meeting Marek Barbasiewicz’s psychiatrist by happy chance she falls in love with him. This leads to her attempting to be cured by him, which has some interesting results. There is one scene at a party that is one of the film’s highlights, and the movie does wisely zig and zag at times. I don’t know if I would have viewed this if it hadn’t been on Shudder, which has a pretty good collection of foreign cinema.

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