Last of the Monster Kids

Last of the Monster Kids
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Viewing: Week Two

Classes and the flu kept me from seeing as much as I wanted to this week.

Did I mention I finished reading Richard Laymon's "The Cellar" earlier this month? After reading and liking a few Jack Ketchum novels, Laymon was recommended to me as the next logical step in my journey into splatter-punk. I figure his first published novel and one of his most popular books would be a good place to start. I liked it, for the most part. The murder, rape, and general abuse of children is all typical eighties shock stuff, but what I really liked about the book was the almost old-fashion "monster in an old house" premise it has. The whole thing plays out a bit like a darker, much more twisted EC Comic. I thought the down beat ending was unnecessary though. So, I'm thinking "Island" is going to be the next of this author I read. What do you think, readers? Any suggestions?

Anyway, on with the list.

October 10th:

Werewolf of London (1935)Considering how much the modern werewolf genre is informed by “The Wolfman,” it’s fun to think about how things would be different if this movie was more successful in it’s time. On it’s own, it’s a pretty solid Jekyll and Hyde riff though Henry Hull is sort of a dick the whole time, even before his transformation. (7/10)

The Hunger (1983)
There’s some pretty visuals here but it’s not surprising that the lesbian love scene is all people seem to remember about this movie. (6/10) (Also, isn’t it weird that Cliff De Young, seen playing Brad last night in “Shock Treatment,” plays the lover of Susan Sarandon, the original Janet, in this movie? That’s weird, right?)

Theatre of Blood (1973)
A more twisted and, appropriately, more theatrical take on the Dr. Phibes formula. One of Price’s best roles and pretty much without questions his goriest film. (8/10)

October 11th:

The Invisible Man (1933)
This has got to be one of the earliest examples of a true horror-comedy. (8/10)

Lord of the Flies (1963)
Just as slow as the book but less overwrought. (5/10)

October 12th:

Don’t Look Now (1973)
The movie gets kudos for it’s fantastic score, great lead performances, and startling visual style. I don’t know why this is always referred to as a horror film, it’s more of a thriller. The murder subplot is tedious but even knowing the ending before hand can’t rob it of its power. (8/10)

The Mummy (1932)
More spiritual, romantic, and creepier then “Dracula,” the film its most often compared to. (8/10)

The Mummy’s Hand (1940)
A fun, pulpy adventure flick. (7/10)

October 13th:

Reincarnation (2005)
Some of the trippy shit and studying of film differentiates it from the J-horror glut, but even the Japanese had to be groaning about how they had seen so much of this before. (5/10)

“Lost Tapes:” Werewolf
I’ll admit that the twist ending caught me off-guard. (6/10)

“Lost Tapes:” Skinwalker
Some okay build-up but the conclusion was really goofy. (5/10)

October 15th:

Phantom of the Opera (1925)
That this movie is over eighties years old and is still the most faithful adaptation of the book, among countless others, is kind of sad. Still, stiff direction aside, Chaney’s performance makes this a complete classic. (8/10)

Dead End (2003)
The great cast and mid-way turn into horror/comedy makes this a good time. It’s also about an hour longer then it needs to be. Coupled with the obvious twist ending, I bet this would’ve made a pretty awesome “Twilight Zone” episode. (7/10)

Tower of London (1939)
Rathbone and Karloff are mesmerizing (I love the scene where Richard suggests something so awful it even makes the immoral Mord pause.) but the movie falters when focusing on any of the other characters or the convoluted royal family stuff. I prefer Roger Cormon’s remake. (6/10)

October 16th:

“Psych:” Let's Get Hairy
Not as classic as the slasher episode from last season but it’s good to see David Naughton getting work, and the “Hungry like the Wolf” montage made the whole episode worth while. (7/10)

Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told (1968)
This movie is real underrated. It’s sort of the perfect crossroad between the classical horror of the 30s and 40s and the exploitation horror of the late sixties and seventies. Not to mention that the Merrye clan is such a fascinating, interesting group of character. A sequel or two that explored their dynamic more would’ve been great. (9/10)

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
I love the scene where Audrey II leans forward and checks for loose change in the pay phone. That’s a gag that costs hundreds of dollars and hours of work that you might miss if you blink. Talk about a commitment to comedy! (9/10)

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987)
The demon-hand-o-vision is my favorite shot in the movie. (9/10)

Grace (2009)
The subplots needed to be cut but, at the same time, it needed to be longer. However, Jordan Ladd’s performance and that shocker ending makes it worth while. (7/10)

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