Movie Viewing Log 2023: March

1. (33) The Last Broadcast (1998, Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler)-63, Shudder

2. (34) King Solomon’s Mines (1985, J. Lee Thompson)-75, Tubi

3. (35) Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987, Gary Nelson)-50, Tubi

4. (36) Cocaine Bear (2023, Elizabeth Banks)-90, Theater Viewing

5. (37) Aterrados aka Terrifed (2017, Demián Rugna)-82, Shudder

6. (38) Firewalker (1986, J. Lee Thompson)-70, Tubi

7. (39) Drunken Master (1978, Yuen Woo-ping)-92, Tubi

8. (40) Surf Nazis Must Die (1987, Peter George)-93, Tubi

9. (41) World War Z (2013, Marc Forster), Netflix Instant Viewing

10. (42) Evil Dead Trap (1988, Toshiharu Ikeda), Shudder

11. (43) King Kong Escapes (1967. Ishirō Honda)-75, Blu-ray

12. (44) Scream 6 (2023, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett)-87, Theater Viewing

13. (45) El Camino Christmas (2017, David E. Talbert)-63, Netflix Instant Viewing

14. (46) Killer Elite (2011, Gary McKendry)-76, Blu-ray

15. (47) The Life of Pi (2012, Ang Lee)-92, Public Library DVD

16. (48) Blow-up (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni), Public Library Criterion DVD

17. (49) Class of Nuke ‘Em High (Richard W. Haines, Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman), Tubi

TV Shows Viewed:

1. Miami Vice (S1, Tubi)

2. The Cleveland Show (S1, Hulu)

3. Family Guy (S6, Hulu)

4. Will Trent (S1, ABC via Hulu)

5. X-Men: The Animated Series (S4, FOX via Disney+)

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Deathdream (1974, Bob Clark)

Bob Clark gave us A Christmas Story, yet his main body of work lies in the horror movie genre. Deathdream is a really good horror movie that reminds us to be careful what you wish for. It just might come true and make things worse. Much worse. Lynn Carlin is fantastic as Christine, a mother who wishes for her son Andy (Richard Backus in a freaky and creepy performance) to come home from the Vietnam War. He was reportedly killed, and yet one night he shows up, to the amazement of his mother, father (John Marley) and sister (Anya Ormsby) who all thought he was dead.

They choose to ignore the fact that he’s home, although his father starts to notice that Andy is well, different. A lot different! What occurs next is a series of brutal murders and the realization that while Andy is still walking, he’s not exactly human anymore. That’s for sure in what reminds me not only of The Monkey’s Paw (the inspiration for the flick) but also Stephen King tales as well.

I’m not sure if Andy is a zombie or a vampire, yet the scenes where he attacks people to drink their blood are pretty suspenseful and freaky. Clark made a low budget movie that is still well put together anyways, and he focuses on the negative impacts of the Vietnam War upon a local community literally less than a year after the US pulled out of the conflict. I do wish the movie had lingered on those aspects a bit more, yet Deathdream is a really effective drama horror movie that did burrow itself into my brain a little. Viewed thanks to Tubi, and a reminder that the 1970s had some of the best horror the genre had to offer.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Flesh Eaters (1964, Jack Curtis)

The Flesh Eaters is one of those cheesy 1960s horror movies, and yet it has more violence and gore than a lot of them do. In fact this movie is not afraid to cross the line and feature some creature murder effects that would make Herschell Gordon Lewis nod in approval. Despite the movie’s obvious limitations I enjoyed this one, and it’s a mostly bleak bottle style episode movie where a group of people are trapped on a distant island. This island happens to be surrounded by a group of monstrous glowing microbe that a scientist on the island seems to know more about than he’s telling. Byron Sanders is stoic and resourceful as the movie’s hero, and Barbara Wilkin plays the love interest. There’s not a huge cast here, and honestly most of the others seem to exist as potential victims.

One of the victims ends up being devoured from the inside out in what is a really gruesome and nasty moment, and the movie’s evil critters sure are hungry. All the time! The movie doesn’t really overstay it’s welcome and I’m actually surprised no one has tried to remake this movie, although I guess the creature effects would all be CGI these days. Sometimes practical effects work best, or at least look really cool.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Raven (1963, Roger Corman)

I finally watched Roger Corman’s 1963 horror comedy classic The Raven, which is a delightful movie with a great cast. When Jack Nicholson is a supporting actor in this movie you know you have some stars, that’s for sure. Vincent Price and Peter Lorre play sorcerers battling Boris Karloff in a battle of wits, powers, and even manners. Hazel Court plays Price’s wife who may still be alive, and Olive Sturgess is Price’s daughter. The movie uses the Edgar Allan Poe legendary poem The Raven as it’s main basis, although of course the rest of the movie has nothing to do with the actual story. Richard Matheson wrote the film, so that’s why it has so much good natured and fun humor combined with fantasy and horror movie elements.

In fact this is probably more of a dark comedy than a horror movie, still I counted it as such anyways because this is my Horrorfest and I do what I want. Price vs Karloff is great and all, yet the movie works the best when Lorre and Price are bickering amongst each other back and forth. While Corman and Price made better Poe movies than this one, I think it’s up there amongst their best works and it’s beyond fun to watch. The castle setting is perfect for this movie, and the chair wizard battle scene is marvelous in every way. I saw this thanks to Tubi, and I’m happy to check off another Price movie. It’s a shame he was never nominated for an Oscar.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The House of Seven Corpses (1973, Paul Harrison)

I’m not sure if The House of Seven Corpses is a really early example of a meta style horror movie, yet this one doesn’t seem to fully commit to the idea. Maybe it was lack of money, talent or style, yet Paul Harrison’s movie is pretty tame and fails to offer any scares. I did like the zombie aspect, yet the movie only features that way too late for such events to make a sizable impact. I didn’t hate this movie, but I didn’t really like it either, so it rests in that 50-60s out of 100 score that I’ve given forgettable movies that fade away in my brain. If it wasn’t for blogs and movie logging websites I would probably forget I had even watched movies such as this one, and that’s the worst offense a movie can commit: to be pedestrian, lackadaisical. John Carradine stars in this movie, yet even can’t rescue this one, and the movie manages to waste him in a thankless old man role.

I will admit I did like the ending, although the overall conclusion doesn’t really make sense. The opening part of the film is excellent, and it’s all downhill from there, which is rather disappointing. I guess the only reason I’m glad I saw this is that it’s probably another movie that inspired Edgar Wright’s hilarious fake trailer spoof of British and American horror movies, Don’t! That’s about it, and I’m glad I saw this for free on Tubi because if I had paid to view this in theaters I would have been rather annoyed.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Roadgames (1981, Richard Franklin)

This movie’s title is either Roadgames or Road Games, but that doesn’t matter because it is a highly effective, well crafted and even gorgeous horror thriller from Australia. Richard Franklin makes a really good movie that I should probably rate higher, and the cast helps him out: Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis, who play a trucker and the hitchhiker he picks up on the dusty backroads of the Australian Outback. Keach’s Pat is tired and in an hurry to make some money, yet along the way he ends up possibly driving behind a man who could be a serial killer. That or Pat is just sleep deprived and going crazy, which is something even he entertains at one point. Curtis’ Pamela believes him to a point, or perhaps she just is eager for a ride and some adventure. Roadgames is Hitchcock in the Australian wild, yet it’s done with style, beautiful cinematography, and some nicely executed set pieces.

My favorite thing about this movie is how the police keep thinking Pat is the killer, which is something that Hitchcock loved to do in his movies. Franklin also made Patrick, which is just as good as this movie, and he went on to a pretty solid Hollywood career. Yet this movie stands out I’m sure when people think of his filmography, and for good reason. Keep watching for the bleakly amusing ending, which has a final shot that I’m sure made people jump in the movie theater. Good times. Also any movie that has a dingo and doesn’t kill it off will get tons of points from me. Viewed thanks to Tubi, which is my favorite free streaming service. If you don’t mind the ads, that’s the one for you.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, Marcus Nispel)

The 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is actually a pretty solid flick, and is one of the better modern remakes. It helps that the cast here is good and that the movie actually has some relatively brutal and nasty moments that fit in well with the franchise’s overall mean aesthetic. It also helps that the TCM series has set the bar really low.

Jessica Biel and Eric Balfour headline a group of young people who run afoul of the Sawyer Clan in Texas. I liked that this movie changed the hitchhiker from the original and that R. Lee Ermey is given a chance to chew scenery. Which he also does in the mediocre TCM prequel that I saw in theaters. The original is a masterpiece and I liked the second one, yet this series probably shouldn’t have this many entries.

Funny enough this movie succeeding ushered in a bunch of horror remakes, and I believe I’ve seen all of those, some of them in theaters. You can complain about horror remakes all you want but the genre has a long history of doing them and won’t ever stop because people like me and others keep going to see them. Oh well, at least I’m honest that I’m part of the problem.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990, Jeff Burr)

I’m starting to think that I’m not a big fan of this franchise. I liked the first two Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and the remake, however the others I’ve viewed in the series are not good. Maybe I’m not the gorehound I thought I was, or perhaps I need a little more sizzle with my steak. Leatherface doesn’t offer a whole lot, and I’m sure the MPAA gutted this movie like well, you do to animals at a slaughterhouse. It could also be that I don’t really find Leatherface that menacing or interesting as a villain.

A young couple drives though Texas to deliver a car to Florida, which serves as the reason why they didn’t just fly instead. This ends with them encountering a pre LOTRs Viggo Mortensen and Ken Foree, both who steal the movie from the two leads. Kate Hodge and William Butler do their best with flimsy material and a script that ends up being too predictable for my liking. There were a few cool moments, yet this movie offers very little in the way of scares or even creep factor.

The original classic is terrifying in so many ways, and the sequel leaves you disturbed and wanting to take a mental and physical shower. The remake actually offered up some decent moments, too. You get none of that with this movie. I have only maybe a few more to watch from this franchise, yet based on what I’ve seen I’m thinking of quitting while I’m behind.

Horrorfest Presents: Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965, Freddie Francis)

Both Amicus Productions and Freddie Francis have done better, yet I still thought Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors was pretty decent. Some of the stories could have been cut, others deserved to be turned into full length movies. Which is often how it goes, and the cast here elevates some of the weaker material.

A group of men are on a train with a mysterious doctor who tells them their futures. It’s Peter Cushing sporting a bad accent and a neat outfit, and all of his tales end in, well…I think you can figure that out. The first one, “Werewolf,” begins with Neil McCallum going back to his old family estate. I enjoyed the ending, and one clever moment, yet this story is kind of bland. Ursula Howells was really good in this one at least.

The second one features Bernard Lee who played M in the Bond movies, plus Alan Freeman and Ann Bell. “Creeping Vine” is decent enough yet has the feel of a bleaker Doctor Who episode. Still that one could have been fleshed out into a longer movie, and it would have worked better as such. The killer vine effects aren’t too bad for a low budget movie, either.

Dudes On a Train

I actually liked “Voodoo,” if only because it leans into being a cautionary tale about imperialism and stealing from other cultures. Roy Castle is a jazz musician who learns the hard way that one should not steal tunes from other people. The cool thing is his backing band is Tubby Hayes’ quintet, so they’re real actual jazz musicians. Kenny Lynch is his fellow jazz performer who spends the whole segment warning Castle not to be a fool. I wouldn’t mind someone remaking this one into a longer movie.

“Disembodied Hand” is pretty twisted, as art critic Christopher Lee and Michael Gough’s artist going at it which leads to disastrous results. Both really deserved what they got considering how they refused to put their egos aside. This was probably the best one of the bunch, and the hand itself looks really wicked.

“Vampire” features Donald Sutherland and Jennifer Jayne as happy newlyweds who move to a small village. Max Adrian is the local doctor who suspects the new bride is a vampire. While the ending is a bit obvious I still grinned anyways, and I rather enjoyed this one a lot. The movie’s finale is a bit clear to those like myself who’ve seen way too many of these anthologies, yet I didn’t mind. Viewed on Tubi, and worth a watch just because they don’t really make these types of movies anymore.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Poltergeist III (1988, Gary Sherman)

Even though I feel that Poltergeist III is similar in quality to the second one, I did agree with the movie trying to be more creepy and sinister in the same way the original movie operated. It doesn’t completely work, yet there are some good moments I enjoyed and the movie does have a pretty good cast. I’m not surprised that most of the original cast did not come back for the third one, and they explain this away by saying that the Freelings sent young Carol Anne to live with her relatives in Chicago. It’s very sad that Heather O’Rourke passed away shortly before the movie was released, and the movie was dedicated to her memory. This lead to people arguing the series was cursed, which I think is kind of silly. Bad things happen to people whether they make horror movies or not. Anyways Tom Skerritt and Nancy Allen play her uncle and aunt, while Lara Flynn Boyle is their daughter in one of her earlier roles.

There is a neat pool scene that I liked, and the finale is pretty intense to me since I really dislike heights. Zelda Rubinstein pops up back again of course, and there is your typical doctor who thinks none of what is happening is real, and of course pays the price for his disbelief. That character could have been dumped and the movie would have operated just fine without him. The skyscraper setting is quite good, however unfortunately Sherman and company are unable to fully exploit that premise to create a better movie. Too bad since Sherman’s earlier movies are much better than this one. However as noted with the second movie, if you are willing to check out the series you could do worse or better with other franchises, and they’ll probably pop up back on Tubi again soon. I can admire a movie for trying I guess.

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