If you’ve been wondering what happened to the October Horror Movie a Day series I’ve been doing, the computer died a couple weeks ago and I just got it back last night. Unfortunately, that means you guys have missed out on a quite a few review for the Horror Movie a Day listing. Basically just to catch up a bit, here’s a list and a brief rundown of what I’ve been watching:
The House of Usher — a classic Poe adaptation by Roger Corman starring Vincent Price and Mark Damon. It’s hard to believe that Roger Corman used to make good movies, but yeah, he did. Vincent stars as Roderick Usher who is trying to keep his sickly sister from leaving the Usher estate to be with her beloved because he believes their family to be inherently evil and doesn’t want them to reproduce. Mark Damon (Kill Baby Kill) stars as the love interest and tries to convince her and her brother that their illnesses and belief about their family is all in their heads, but the ending seems to suggest that the house of Usher is evil indeed.
The Mask of Fu Manchu — This is awesome! An evil Chinese dictator wants the sword of Ghangis Kahn so he can take over the world! Some British twits get in their way, so he captures one of them and turns him into a love slave for his daughter (whom he is disappointed in because he wished to have a son, and calls her “ugly and insignificant” before a room full of potential suitors). Back to the story, Fu Manchu wants the wipe out all the white people and take over their women. He refers to one character as “son of a white DEVIL!” and has a hero refer to him as “Yellow skinned demon” or something along those lines. This is a great movie!
Return to Horror High — Silly mid 80’s romp which stars George Clooney before ER. The film is about a knuckle-headed film crew filming a horror film on location in a high school where a bloodbath took place years before. George Clooney’s character is playing as a security guard character in their horror movie, but in a case of art imitates life, he decides 15 minutes into the film that he’s leaving to find better roles. The film actually has some clever moments, such as an actress refusing to do a rape scene because it could influence people who watch horror movies to commit the act, and her sleazy director tries to convince her that it’s necessary to the story. “You don’t have to SHOW it”, she complains, to which he retorts “They sure as hell don’t want to hear about it”. With sharper writing it could have been a classic, but it runs out of steam about 30 minutes in and nothing else really funny happens.
Zombie — Lucio Fulci’s cult classic about a bunch of people getting torn apart by zombie flesh eaters brought to life by some kind of voodoo curse that is never explained. I got this on blu-ray back at the beginning of the year. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of this film but I do like the gore effects and the zombies are some of the most impressive you’ll ever see. It suffers from what plagues most Fulci movies — the majority of the characters suffer from some sort of mental disability that shuts down entirely their fight or flight capacity to the point where they stare at the camera incoherently at the monster coming to rip out their guts and seems surprised when the event actually transpires.
The Bat — This movie really bored me, but Vincent Price is in it.
Curse of the Demon — very cool movie about a Satanic cult being investigated by a skeptic. Suffers from some silly effects for the titular creature, especially towards the end when he is treated like a kaiju. The film though is very classy and well done over all. Lots of witty banter and dialogue especially between the lead and the affably evil antagonist.
Ninja III: The Domination — LOL. A Cannon Film that goes above and beyond to solidify that company’s reputation is justified. Lynda Dickey is possessed by an evil samurai who kills a bunch of people and cops on a golf course for no apparent reason. At one point, the video game in her rather sweet apartment shoots out evil lasers at her, that turn out to be the evil spirit. I was hoping the game was going to pull her in like the MCP in Tron and force her to right in a Shinobi type video game….and in this movie, such a scenario wouldn’t be out of place.
The Raven — Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff star in this loose adaptation of Poe’s epic poem as a trio of feuding magicians. Each one of them is at the top of their game here and have fun chewing the scenery, especially Lorre as a lovable drunken oaf who is turned into the titular character by Boris Karloff and seeks the assistance of Price to turn him back. Jack Nicholson shows up and plays as Lorre’s son, and man, Nicholson really sucked back in the day.
Halloween (1978) — Each time around this year I always plan to re-watch this one and for some reason I never really do, except for a theatrical showing a couple years back. This has always been one of my favorite films and always will be. In my 8th grade home ec class we had a substitute teacher one day who was known for being a bit off. He had one of those old AV carts the teachers used to check out from the library back in the day in the room, so we automatically assumed we were going to watch a movie. But no, he had checked it out for himself so he could watch Halloween in between classes.
Halloween 2 (1981) — well, it’s an unnecessary sequel we got due to executive meddling, but as far as sequels go it’s not bad. It suffers from some plot holes, such as why the chick from Smith’s Grove witholds the info that Laurie is Micheal’s sister from the authorities knowing it could save her life and then when she is finally getting Loomis out of town, she springs the info on him knowing how gung-ho he is about stopping Micheal. She was a dummy. Anyways, the most interesting thing about this film is that it plays almost like an Italian horror film with strange lighting and vicious death sequences. The first Halloween owes a nod to Argento, yes, but this one is trying to actually be an Argento flick in places, which made me ask myself “How cool would it have been to have a young Argento direct a Halloween sequel?”.
What about you guys? What have you been watching?
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