Happy 9th Blogiversary To Me

I know I say this every year but I can’t believe I’m still here (somewhat) blogging. 9 years now!

I almost completely forgot to put a post together for it this year. Work has been crazy busy and I was badly wanting to catch up on actually reading other blogs this month. I’ll try to visit my favorites soon, I promise! 🙂

So as I’m preparing this post at the last minute, I’ll keep it short again & just list my Top Ten Movie Lists For 2021 So Far as it’s nearly the end of the year anyway. I’m still not really braving the cinemas yet, so this is mainly movies “released in the U.K. for the first time in whatever format in 2021 that I actually managed to watch”. So, yes, most big cinema releases are sadly missing.

So here are My Top Ten Movies Released To U.K. Cinemas Or Streaming Services In 2021 So Far:

1. Dune – 8.5/10
2. Spontaneous – 8/10
3. Promising Young Woman – 8/10
4. Minari – 7.5/10
5. Willy’s Wonderland – 7.5/10
6. Space Sweepers – 7.5/10
7. Moxie – 7.5/10
8. The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things – 7.5/10
9. Raya And The Last Dragon – 7/10
10. The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – 7/10

Honorable Mentions: (7/10)
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Palmer, tick, tick… BOOM!, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Free Guy

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Seen In 2021 So Far (a MUCH stronger list than the 2021 releases!):

1. Gandhi – 8.5/10
2. When Marnie Was There – 8/10
3. It Happened One Night – 8/10
4. Black Narcissus (1947) – 8/10
5. Swallow – 8/10
6. Wings Of Desire – 8/10
7. Dracula (1931) – 8/10
8. The Secret Of Kells – 7.5/10
9. Les Diaboliques – 7.5/10
10. Battleship Potemkin – 7.5/10

Honorable Mentions: (7.5/10)
Bloodsport, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, The Hunt (2020), Hud, Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Innocents (1961), Trees Lounge

And…. Screw it! I watched the most TV I’ve watched in years in 2021. So let’s rank those too! Especially as there were some great shows.

Here are My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021 So Far:

1. Squid Game: S1
2. Cobra Kai: S3
3. Ted Lasso: S1, S2 E1-2
4. WandaVision: S1
5. Monsters At Work: S1
6. Sweet Tooth: S1
7. Midnight Mass: S1
8. Loki: S1
9. Lisey’s Story
10. The White Lotus: S1

The full list of everything I’ve watched & read in 2021 is HERE.

Space Sweepers (2021) Review

Space Sweepers (승리호, 勝利號, Seungriho)

Directed by Jo Sung-hee

Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jin

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Set in the year 2092 and follows the crew of a space junk collector ship called The Victory. When they discover a humanoid robot named Dorothy that’s known to be a weapon of mass destruction, they get involved in a risky business deal.

My Opinion:

Really enjoyed this movie. That’s two things I’ve liked on Netflix recently! I struggle to find anything new that I like on Netflix (the other recent thing I liked being Squid Game – I LOVED that).

There really has been some great South Korean stuff in recent years & what they seem to have in common is this: Good characters. Simple, yeah? Surely it’s easy to write good characters? I sometimes feel like Western cinema has forgotten that audiences want to actually care about the characters. And the South Korean stuff also seems to do really well with making us care about complex characters who are often far from perfect. Especially people down on their luck and/or fighting for survival (Parasite, Train To Busan, Squid Game). They made us cry over a zombie movie and a mega violent Battle-Royale-Style TV show, for crying out loud! Why can’t we get more American movies like that?

Don’t want to totally mislead anyone by mentioning Train To Busan & Parasite as those are very good films. Space Sweepers is more “blockbuster popcorn movie” & closer to being the sort of thing a more mainstream Western audience might go for. It’s cheesy & silly at times but they still got that one thing right: Good characters. The film follows a group of space crew misfits who risk their lives collecting space debris to sell while those living on Earth struggle to survive while breathing highly polluted air. They find a young girl stowaway on their ship one day & the movie really picks up from there. If you watch it, stick with it as it gets much better at that point after starting out like a basic sci-fi action blockbuster.

The sci-fi action is fine & the story of yet another dystopian future is decent enough but the characters are what make it enjoyable. We have a funny robot and a tough guy who goes all warm & fuzzy as soon as a cute young kid shows up. We also have a good tearjerker backstory with the main dude & the girl playing the crew’s Captain is cool. Then of course we have the young girl, who is adorable. Yeah, the movie is a little cheesy at times but it’s fun and the South Korean characters are once again well-written (especially for a sci-fi action blockbuster).

My Rating: 7.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2021

I spent October posting (well, mostly re-posting) nothing but horror movie reviews. It’s fun but I always like getting back to reviewing every type of movie. Here’s everything I watched in October, including all the non-horror stuff…

MOVIES WATCHED IN OCTOBER (ranked best to worst):

Dune – Reviewed this in full at the link. Liked it a lot. Love Denis Villeneuve’s work & enjoyed reading Dune last year during lockdown so was really looking forward to the adaptation. It looked great and (most of) the cast were perfect. Especially loved Rebecca Ferguson as my favorite character Lady Jessica. I now have a new favorite 2021 film release. – 8.5/10

Dracula (1931) – I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as this one. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. I haven’t yet updated that list with these but I did do a quick post HERE with a very short review of each. Dracula was my favorite. They’re all so iconic & I’m glad I finally saw them. – 8/10

Frankenstein (1931) – I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. I love the overall story. It’s damn good. So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character. – 7.5/10

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. And I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo! – 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941) – Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. – 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933) – I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. I enjoyed this but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! It was fun watching all of these & I’m happy I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel! – 7/10

Black Widow – This was fine. I’ve said many times that I have “superhero burnout”. I do enjoy the Marvel movies and I’ve watched them all (and ranked them HERE of course since I’m obsessed with lists). I’ve put this one at 14 for now but think I was maybe being too generous as I liked getting another Marvel movie with a female lead and it’s about time that Black Widow got her own movie. But I might move it down a bit because, damn, I wish it had been a little better. It’s certainly not awful & I did enjoy watching it but, meh…

I liked the characters, though. I think it was the story that didn’t work so well. Scarlett Johansson was good as always and I did really like Florence Pugh even though I don’t get the obsession that younger people have with her like she’s the best actress EVER or something – she’s okay? I also really liked David Harbour & Rachel Weisz and their crazy little “family” but think the hubby wasn’t so happy with what they did with Harbour’s character. Or something. I dunno – I know nothing about the comics & these characters outside of the movies but I think that helps me to just enjoy the films since I don’t have to worry about how they adapt the characters.

This movie also did the exact same OTT action-filled ending as every single other Marvel film and seeing that same formula over & over again is getting boring. Man, I hate reviewing Marvel movies as I say the same things over & over again since it feels like I’m watching the same movie over & over again. They’re fun & I watch them as I do enjoy them while they’re on but I don’t tend to revisit them. I’m glad Black Widow got her own movie. I liked the characters & their fucked-up little “family”. The overall story was a bit dumb. Hoping Shang-Chi will be better? Think that’s coming to Disney Plus this week. I want to see something a little different. – 7/10

Tenet – First of all, I better say that I’m not a Christopher Nolan fan. As with Florence Pugh, I also don’t get the obsession with Nolan & people thinking he’s one of the best directors ever or something. He’s okay? I did love The Prestige, kind of hated Interstellar, and felt meh about most of the rest. Okay, The Dark Knight was decent too but, as with all his movies, it’s rated far too highly.

I unfortunately feel kind of the same about Tenet as I did Interstellar. I liked the idea behind the story but thought the execution was a complete mess by the end. I feel like Nolan tries too hard to make a story more confusing than it needs to be so that diehard fans can go “You just don’t get it” whenever anyone doesn’t worship a Nolan film & points out that it’s not as great as they think it is. John David Washington was fine as was Robert Pattinson. They did what they could with this story. I liked the story involving Elizabeth Debicki & her complete dick of a husband, although her character made some shitty decisions and, honestly, could’ve fucked up a very important mission.

I don’t know. I didn’t hate the movie. I thought the overall story was fine & enjoyed seeing things played out in reverse. But I also think the execution of the story was a bit of a mess. Again. Now thinking I should rewatch Memento again as I did like that at the time but don’t remember it being so messy? It seems like Nolan’s movies are getting worse over time. – 6.5/10

Class Of 1984 – This was kind of a weird one. I kind of liked it. I think. I watched Class Of 1999 (from 1989) several years ago and, man, that was pretty cheesy. That was about a school with a bunch of unruly delinquent students so secret robot teachers are hired to keep them in line. The Class Of 1984 school certainly could’ve used some killer robot teachers! It’s about a new teacher (Perry King) who starts at a school that is being terrorised by some truly evil students. When he stands up to them, they begin terrorising him as well. It’s one of those “based on true events!” movies where I’m thinking that’s bullshit as, yeah, some teenagers could be horrible but I don’t think they were this bad in 1984. I grew up in the ’80s – we were pretty nice!

I liked Roddy McDowall as a fellow teacher who gets pushed over the edge & it was fun seeing a very young Michael J. Fox from before he was famous (he’s a nice student, of course – not one of the bad ones). This movie goes very over-the-top at the end, though. I liked all of that sweet revenge but could’ve done without the long & drawn out rape scene. I know they needed to make us really hate these evil fuckers but I think anyone watching the movie hated them enough before that. The movie was more “extreme” than I was expecting. Not so much in showing actual gore & blood, which was mild, but the baddies truly were evil & violent people. Am assuming it was controversial at the time. I think it could’ve been much better. It kind of feels like a movie that thought it was tackling an important topic but the end was too over the top to take seriously. Enjoyed the revenge, though. – 6.5/10


The Night House – I reviewed this separately since it’s one of the few horror movies I actually watched in October. It was fine. Could’ve been better but I was very happy to be able to watch a new horror on Disney Plus. Had some good eerie bits, at least, and supernatural horror is always my favorite type. – 6/10

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit – I’ve never paid much attention to Wallace & Gromit. Not sure why. I’ve liked what I’ve seen, though. Halloween seemed like a good time to finally watch this one for my Best Picture Project. The focus of that is to of course watch all the Best Picture winners but I’d like to watch some of the foreign language winners as well. And I then noticed I’d seen all of the Best Animated Features except for two: this & Rango, which I’ve also now watched. Woohoo! I’ve seen all the winners in that category now! My life is complete!

Anyway. This was cute & funny & I’m sure Wallace & Gromit fans like it. I enjoyed it. I’ll be honest, though, neither this nor Rango were as good as the Pixar & Disney films that tend to always win so it’s obvious they weren’t up against those. Rango didn’t have much competition but, wow, I disagree with Wallace & Gromit winning over Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride & especially over Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle!! What?!? Well, that’s the Academy for you I guess. – 6.5/10

First Love – I was mostly interested in checking this out as it’s a Takashi Miike movie and his Audition film was certainly interesting. I believe a lot of his stuff is extreme so I was interested in this one as it was meant to be less crazy. But I found it a bit boring. I liked the young boxer & the girl he helps plus there were some fun, quirky characters including one pissed off chick who was amusing. But I was mostly bored & sad it didn’t live up to its really cool movie poster. Here’s the short Wikipedia synopsis (the poster is also at the link): “It tells the story of a boxer and a call girl who become unwittingly involved in a drug-smuggling scheme.” – 6/10

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers – I watched the “Loomis timeline” first 6 Halloween movies in October & reviewed them all in a post on Halloween (at the link) so no need to say much here as well. I’ll just say this: the first Halloween, as expected, is far superior to the sequels. The rest are below as I rewatched them but this & number 6 were first time watches for me. They aren’t great! I still far prefer the Elm Street movies. – 5.5/10

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers – This was the worst of these Michael Myers sequels but I’ve given it an extra half a point since adorable young Paul Rudd is in it (looking exactly the same as he does now). – 5.5/10

Terror Train – Since I was watching all the Halloween movies, it made sense to also check out this 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher I’d somehow never heard of. I’ve reviewed it in full as well so I’ll just say it wasn’t great but seemed to have a pretty good budget for the time & I liked the train setting. It was like a slightly shit version of an Agatha Christie story. I don’t know why I’ve put it underneath Halloween 5 & 6 as it’s actually better than those… But they of course have the “Michael Myers/Halloween” franchise thing going for them I guess and I’m more likely to remember those than this somewhat forgettable horror. – 6/10

Movies Rewatched In October:

Halloween (1978) – This is obviously an all-time slasher classic from the great John Carpenter. And I adore his score, as I do in his other movies. The Halloween theme is absolutely brilliant and I’m convinced it’s what has actually made this such a popular franchise. I can’t imagine this movie without the music. – 8/10

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – This is one of those movies where I want to give it a higher rating as I love a few of the songs (especially Time Warp) and it’s SO iconic & it’s fun & Tim Curry is truly awesome. But, man, the final half hour or so of this thing has always been pretty sucky. Sorry! But I realize that’s kind of the point as it’s meant to be like a cheesy ’50s B movie. Should I up my rating?? I really should… It’s a classic. I’ll think about it! For now, I’ll leave it with this: – 7.5/10 (Re-watching this has made me further appreciate Phantom Of The Paradise too – both deserve their cult status)

Us – Appreciated this a bit more on rewatching it. It’s flawed but I really like the story & stand by my opinion that it’s much better than Get Out. – 7.5/10

Logan – I also stand by my opinion that I prefer the X-Men movies (bad as most of them unfortunately are) to the MCU movies. I just prefer the characters. Will be fun, though, if (when??) they bring them together? I don’t love Logan but it’s very good and certainly the best of the Wolverine films. – 7.5/10

Halloween II (1981) – The least sucky of the Halloween sequels since at least Jamie Lee Curtis/Laurie Strode is actually in the damn thing. – 6.5/10

Fun Size – This is a fun “teen” Halloween movie. Actually has some pretty raunchy jokes in it for a Nickelodeon movie! The best thing about it is the weird little brother – he’s funny. – 6.5/10

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers – At least this one is better than 5 & 6? Think it could grow on me as I like the character of Jamie Lloyd & liked the ending. – 6/10

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch – Oh man, I wanted to love this as I vaguely remembered liking the jingle from it when I saw it as a teen. But it’s really not good. However, I do wish they’d continued with this idea of having Halloween be a series of unrelated stories as I love horror anthologies. The story in this was also a pretty good idea. I just wish the movie itself was much better. – 5/10

TV Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales – These are always fun and it was a nice surprise when (slight spoiler!) they spoofed a “horror” favorite of mine: The Lost Boys. Wasn’t expecting that! Don’t think the kids watching are going to get those references, though.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Midnight Mass: S1 E2-7 – I like Mike Flanagan. I think I’ve watched every single movie of his, most of which I’ve really liked. But I have yet to really love something of his. Doctor Sleep & Gerald’s Game were my favorites, but is that thanks to the Stephen King thing since I’m such a big King fan? And I have to say that Midnight Mass feels very VERY much like a King story, such as Salem’s Lot (a favorite book), which is probably why I thought this was a pretty great show.

I tried to watch another Flanagan show but gave up after a couple of episodes as it was just too damn slow. No, I’m not someone with a short attention span but I also don’t really want to spend hours & hours watching a TV show. Think it’s why I just prefer movies. A good movie can do just as well with character development in less time as long as they do it right. So, Midnight Mass started the same way as most Flanagan stuff & I admit I wasn’t feeling it at all at first.

I’m really glad I didn’t give up on it as the end of episode 3 is when I went “Fuck yeah – something good is finally happening!!“. They then spent far too long talking in all the remaining episodes too, blah blah blah blah, but we got some great supernatural horror (my favorite!) in between all that blathering. The characters were good, especially Flanagan’s wife, and I loved this small, very Stephen-King-esque island community setting. That was great! I want to live there! You know, without the freaky supernatural horror stuff. And I absolutely hated the religious nut bitch (as you’re meant to) and her type of character also screamed Stephen-King-character because that’s the exact sort of character he writes so often. Same with the main guy with the tragic past. So, yeah, I probably liked this as it was so very much like a Stephen King story. Again, though, I just wish I could love a Flanagan movie/show. He’s getting closer!

Alice In Borderland: S1 E1-5 – After being absolutely obsessed with the brilliant Squid Game (I loved it! Watched the whole thing twice!), we decided to check out this Japanese show as it’s one of those they recommend if you liked Squid Game. I can see why, as it also involves people being forced to play games that can result in their deaths. It’s fun so far so but we’re only halfway through, so I’ll say more once I’ve finished it.

It’s definitely not as good as Squid Game, though. The characters aren’t nearly as well developed. It’s also very “youth aimed”, which is fine, but the majority of the people on this show are in their 20s whereas Squid Game varied more in ages. Also, it doesn’t have the same sense of desperation that the characters in Squid Game had as they were down on their luck & needing the big prize. The “players” in this show are (seemingly at this point) chosen at random to participate. I like the mystery of it, though, as it appears that everyone else in the world has disappeared so am eager to find out what’s going on with the overall story…

Never Mind The Buzzcocks: S29 E2-6– God, it’s like the old Buzzcocks from years ago had the soul sucked out of it completely. Very disappointing. Think they need new regulars?!

The Masked Singer U.S.: S6 E1-7 – This show is so stupid but I seem to keep watching it. I’m convinced that one dude is John Lydon…

MUSIC LISTENED TO

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood – I liked this heavy metal band’s first album, where every song is about a horror movie, so was happy when they released this second album in time for Halloween this year. It’s just a bit screamy, FYI, if you don’t go for the full-on screamy metal stuff. I have to be in the right sort of mood but will always prefer classic metal, such as Black Sabbath, to this more modern stuff. The “horror movie” idea for these two albums was a great one, though.

Iron Maiden – SenjutsuCompletely forgot to mention this album in my roundup the month it came out so figured I’d mention it quickly now. Really like it. I streamed it shitloads while working that month, hoping to help it beat Drake to the number one spot. It didn’t. I’m still bitter & annoyed. Yeah, I know I sound like an old person. Don’t care! 😉 Drake did a version of I’m Too Sexy, FFS. Right? Seriously?! Ugh. I weep for the future. Kids these days! Glad mine loves a lot of great classic rock & can name loads of bands from the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s.

BOOKS READ

Billy Summers by Stephen King – Enjoyed this, as I do with most King books, but it’ll never be a favorite. I always prefer King when he’s doing his supernatural horror thing so, this straightforward “crime” story of a professional hitman hired to kill a bad guy on his way to court, wasn’t really my sort of thing. The character of the hitman (Billy Summers) was fine as you do feel some sympathy for him (plus he only kills bad people!). The relationship he develops later on with a character is a bit awkward. I think I’d have been a bit bored if this book didn’t also include a “story within the story” as Billy Summers decides to write a book about his life while waiting for the man he’s been hired to kill. So we learn about his life from a young age via the book he writes. I liked that & it was the best thing about this book. Oh! That and references to a well known place from one of King’s most famous books (and not in Maine!). – 3/5

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I might as well take this bit out of my roundup posts as I never really have any blog plans anymore. Watch movies, sometimes review them separately if I have much to say, otherwise just mention them in my monthly posts. 🙂

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Everything!!! Damn. Still not going to the cinema so missing soooooo many movies. Really want to see Last Night In Soho.

I’ll end today’s post with Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show…

Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941) & The Invisible Man (1933) Reviews

I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as Dracula, etc. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. Thanks to the family for letting me watch half of them, too! I haven’t updated that list with these yet as I’m not sure where to place them at this point but figured that I should at least try to write a little something about these classics even though it’s after Halloween…

Dracula (1931)

Directed by Tod Browning

Based on Dracula (novel) by Bram Stoker & Dracula (play) by Hamilton Deane & John L. Balderston

Starring: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, a vampire who emigrates from Transylvania to England and preys upon the blood of living victims, including a young man’s fiancée.

My Opinion:

I don’t know where to start with these “reviews” as I’ve not watched enough classic horror to be able to easily discuss them. I’ll say that Dracula was easily my favorite of those I watched Halloween weekend. Bela Lugosi was great as Count Dracula. Loved his look and the mood of the start of the film in his creepy old castle in the fog & full of cobwebs. The whole thing just said traditional “Halloween” to me, so that was great. A proper vampire movie! Also, I noticed it was directed by Tod Browning who did the movie Freaks, which I absolutely adore & think is a fantastic film that was ahead of its time. So I was eager to see another Browning film.

Vampires aren’t usually my favorite when it comes to the typical “Halloween” monsters. As far as these type of movies go, it seems to be the zombie ones I like the most (thanks, George Romero!). So I wasn’t necessarily expecting this to be my favorite (I thought it would be Frankenstein). But Lugosi was so good & I loved seeing all the “vampire rules” played out, which I admittedly know best thanks to The Lost Boys. No “death by stereo” in Dracula, though! Ha!

Am so glad I finally watched this. I want to see all the Hammer Horror now too to compare, especially Dracula! Am guessing that just has more heaving bosoms. They loved heaving bosoms in old English movies. So between this Dracula, Nosferatu & my beloved The Lost Boys, maybe I do love vampires after all. It’s made me want to revisit Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula now as well. Or… maybe even read the book! Maybe. I did read Frankenstein recently. We’ll see!

My Rating: 8/10

Frankenstein (1931)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Frankenstein (novel) by Mary Shelley & Frankenstein (play) by Peggy Webling & John L. Balderston

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye, Edward van Sloan, Frederick Kerr

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts.

My Opinion:

Unlike the rest, I do think I at least saw bits of this as a kid. I definitely remember the part with the girl. I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. Yes, I stick with Stephen King. I’m old, busy & tired. I’ll watch a serious film as it takes up less of my time but don’t have the energy to read War And Peace or some shit. Give me light entertainment for reading! I admit reading Frankenstein, with its 1818 language, was hard going. But I love the overall story. It’s damn good.

So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I have no clue how close Dracula was to Stoker’s novel so that’s probably why I was able to just enjoy that movie as it is. Looks like Frankenstein was also partly based on a play adaptation? I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s a 1931 film. It’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character (which is also unlike described in the book). And I’ve now seen Boris Karloff in action as well as Bela Lugosi! It’s about time, I suppose.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Premise suggested by Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, E. E. Clive

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

My Opinion:

This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. Well, a little. We get a bit with the blind guy and I really liked that part of this movie. My favorite part of the book was when “the creature” hid in a family’s cottage for a very long time & sort of became fond of them & learned from them and the blind man in the movie was I guess a nod to that.

I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Didn’t know that, as I knew nothing whatsoever about this film beforehand. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo!

I also liked a super weird part of this movie in which a mad scientist guy has some tiny people in jars. In looking it up, I found they’re called “homunculi“. Fascinating! Here’s what it says at that Wikipedia link: “A homunculus is a representation of a small human being. Popularized in sixteenth-century alchemy and nineteenth-century fiction, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human.” So that seemed silly at first but now I kind of love that bit. Fun film and, overall, I like the two of these movies together as one.

My Rating: 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941)

Directed by George Waggner

Starring: Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney Jr.

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Larry Talbot returns to his father’s castle in Wales and meets a beautiful woman. One fateful night, Talbot escorts her to a local carnival where they meet a mysterious gypsy fortune teller.

My Opinion:

Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Well, I know about werewolves thanks to An American Werewolf In London & the beginning of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, of course! Oh, and Teen Wolf. I’m so ’80s! Hey – did you know a guy in Teen Wolf flashes his penis at the end of that movie?

So, anyway – Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. Hairy guys are just a little less sexy than those bloodsuckers, I guess. Lon Chaney Jr. stars as the Wolf Man in this (I knew that thanks to Warren Zevon). So I’ve seen another classic monster movie & actor. Feel like I have a tiny bit more movie blog cred now! Wow – this was a pathetic review. Oh! I like the Silver Bullet movie too. God I’m so ’80s…

My Rating: 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933)

Directed by James Whale

Based on The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

Starring: Gloria Stuart, Claude Rains, William Harrigan, Dudley Digges, Una O’Connor, Henry Travers, Forrester Harvey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

My Opinion:

I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. In all honesty, I think the 2020 movie was my first real introduction to this character (which I assume is very different from the book!). So I’d feel like an ass saying too much about this movie.

I enjoyed it but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! I know jack shit about filmmaking but, with all the stupid CGI these days that rarely moves me, I was more impressed by whatever probably super simple tricks they used in this movie to make this guy’s head, etc, invisible in some scenes. Brilliant! Way cooler than computer magic.

FYI – the star of this one is Claude Rains and, once again, I’m happy to finally see these actors in these iconic roles. And, hey – the old lady from Titanic, Gloria Stuart, is in this. Her heart will go on! God I suck at reviewing old movies. This was good, though. All of these were. I’m glad I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel!

My Rating: 7/10

Dune (2021) Review

Dune (2021)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Based on Dune by Frank Herbert

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in the far future, it follows Paul Atreides as his family, the noble House Atreides, is thrust into a war for the dangerous desert planet Arrakis.

My Opinion:

I finally read the first Dune book last year during lockdown in preparation for this movie (pathetic review HERE). Then, obviously, the movie was massively delayed. So, being old & forgetful, I’ve forgotten half the book by now. And, of course, the movie only covers half of the book (if that), so I have no chance of remembering the rest of the book by the time the next movie comes out. Hey, that’s okay – everything can be a surprise when I see it! I’ll say this, though – Holy shit, I was saying NONE of the names, etc, right in my head while reading the book. Half the movie I was like “Ah, so that’s how that word is said”.

Seriously, though, I really did like the book. I’d had no intention of reading the rest as I’ve heard they aren’t as good as the first one but I kind of want to know the whole story now instead of waiting years for the movies. There are some storylines & characters I’m far more interested in than others but I really like the overall story & the world Herbert created.

There are, as with many stories like these, far too many characters to keep straight or fully care about but there are a few I liked enough to keep me interested. For me, I like Paul of course but it’s mainly Lady Jessica. LOVE her! People moan about lack of good female characters but this book is from 1965 & Lady Jessica is awesome & the star of the story for me. Was disappointed that things involving her were left out of the movie, such as the secret garden, which I felt were quite important to the story. But I admit that I love the whole Bene Gesserit thing (Boy, was I saying Bene Gesserit wrong!) & wanted to see all of that onscreen. I realize that they could never possibly cover everything in these books but quite a lot was still left out so I’m very glad I read it!

I was also very worried as Rebecca Ferguson seemed to barely be in the trailers, etc, but she’s just as important as Timothée Chalamet’s character. Although they sadly left out some things involving her, I was happy that she does get plenty of screen time. Phew. And I’ve had a girl crush on Ferguson especially since Doctor Sleep so was very happy when she was cast as Lady Jessica as she seemed perfect. She’s fantastic. Easily my favorite thing about the movie as well as the book, so I still have a girl crush. She’s so lovely. Here’s a closeup of these two. They’re so damn pretty. Well, I don’t fully get why young girls like Chalamet but whatever. He has amazing hair, though:

Um. Let’s see. I’ve talked enough about Lady Jessica and that was the main thing I cared about. Am very happy with all of that but was happy with most everything to do with this adaptation. Yes, I’m sad that plenty was left out but that was to be expected. Yes, some of the characters weren’t how I imagined them but I thought they all did well including Jason Momoa who I was most worried about as Duncan Idaho & thought he’d throw me out of the story but he didn’t. Was sad to get so little of Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck, who is a great character. Was also disappointed that they didn’t get into the whole Mentat thing at all as that was quite interesting in the book but also confusing & I really wanted a refresher on what the Mentat are. Wow, I don’t remember the character of Glossu Rabban, played by Dave Bautista, at all. Pretty sure he’s important! I clearly pay less attention when they aren’t focusing on my favorite characters plus I wasn’t really feeling Bautista in the movie & he did throw me out of the movie a bit for some reason. But I thought all the rest of the casting was good enough.

Oh! Damn. Not even mentioned Zendaya. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know she’s not in it much. She has a very important role but, as I expected, she wasn’t going to be in this much as she shows up later in the book. I think some people were very disappointed as they pushed her so much in the marketing (which was stupid but, you know, they always push “youth” & beauty). To be fair, they used her more than they needed to for the first half of the book & much more than I was expecting. She’s good – I think she’ll be very good in the role based on what we’ve seen so far. SO looking forward to seeing the next movie now & seeing more of her Chani with Chalamet’s Paul. And seeing more Lady Jessica & that freaky Bene Gesserit stuff!

I thought this would be a short review! While writing this, more of the book has come back to me and I’ve decided I really do like what I’ve seen of Villeneuve’s adaptation so far and it has renewed my interest in the story & wanting to continue reading it now. Especially as so many things were left out of the movie… Now I’m wondering how much I’ve missed by not reading Game Of Thrones!

As for Villeneuve, I’m definitely a fan. I’ve liked all I’ve seen of his work and Arrival is probably my overall favorite film of the past decade (and it’s still my favorite of his). So I was very eagerly awaiting this Dune adaptation & he again didn’t disappoint. The world looked fantastic, though a little too dark. Why do serious movies have to be so dark & grey these days??? I know it’s a sandy, dreary planet but still – I get enough grey living in England. But it did still look lovely & the cast was (mostly) great and it made me like the story even more.

My only other small complaint is that the Hans Zimmer score was very disappointing. As in, it was bland and I hardly noticed it except for when it suddenly sounded like some Scottish Braveheart thing WTF? Disappointing as I adored Jóhann Jóhannsson’s (RIP 😦 ) work on Villeneuve’s other films (and especially on the non-Villeneuve Mandy) but sadly he couldn’t work with him again. I know it seems like a small thing but an amazing score can make a good film a great film for me. I still think this adaptation of Dune was pretty great & I’m happy with the results but, man, a perfect score really would’ve pushed this one even higher for me. Maybe the score will grow on me. Bring on the next movie! I can’t wait.

FYI – Yes, I did see the David Lynch Dune but I can barely remember the book a year & a half later so let’s just say I remember nothing from a movie I watched a good 25 years ago. Might rewatch now, though! Will keep my expectations low. Wish the Jodorowsky Dune had happened…

My Rating: 8.5/10

Halloween 1 Through 6 Mini Movie Reviews

Happy Halloween! My final post today contains my thoughts on Halloween 1-6, which I rewatched throughout October.

Even though I’m an ’80s kid & always enjoyed watching horror on TV every October, I just never quite managed to see all of the Halloween movies. To be fair, we didn’t have it as easy as you whipper snappers! I had to sneak around & try to watch what I could late at night on TV. And my mom was certainly not going to be renting violent slasher flicks for me. Well, I would’ve been old enough to rent the 6th Halloween movie… But I was an Elm Street girl by then, so that’s what I spent my time watching in its entirety instead. And, after now finally watching all of the first “Halloween timeline” movies, it has confirmed what I already knew: I’m still definitely an Elm Street girl.

As for other slasher franchises from the same sort of era, I’ve seen even fewer of the Friday The 13th movies. Can’t even say for sure but I’ve seen the first two then maybe a few others but couldn’t tell you which ones. Well, okay – one was that Jason in space one. Ha! Fucking hell. And, of course, Freddy Vs Jason where I was Team Freddy. As for Child’s Play, I never saw beyond the first three but I have no interest as they look really bad. However, I actually enjoyed those films, cheesy as they are, more than what I’ve seen of the Friday The 13th movies. Maybe I’ll try to watch all of Friday The 13th someday but I’m in no rush, especially since refreshing my memory & finding out just how bad the Halloween sequels actually are.

I saw more of Halloween than I’d realised, though, I just didn’t remember much other than the first movie. And I’ve watched the first movie plenty – it’s in a completely different league from the sequels. I believe it was only 5 & 6 which I’d not seen at all. I have no energy to watch every Halloween movie, though. Look at this shit!:

Okay, so what I’ve watched is “The Loomis Timeline” (and Halloween III). There are actually only three others I’ve not seen now: Resurrection, Halloween Kills (I’ll watch it when it’s on services), and Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (which I will never watch as I hated his Halloween film with an absolute fucking passion. Almost as much as I hated the Elm Street remake! Dreadful).

So here are some brief thoughts on each of the “Loomis Timeline” movies. By the 4th but especially the 5th & 6th one I was getting bored & just typing out random thoughts while they were on so, screw it, I’ll just post all those ramblings.

Halloween (1978)

Directed By John Carpenter

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis (her name is Loomis?! – Oh, interesting… she changed it. It’s really Nancy Kyes), Nick Castle

My Opinion:

Oh, it looks like I took a few notes while watching this: Cop daughter dodgy acting, Great score, Michael drives so well!

What can I say about Halloween? I’m not going to do some full review of any of these. I’ll just say that this one is SO much better than the rest. As with most slasher franchises, obviously. But, wow – the sequels are pretty dodgy after such a strong start with this one.

As in my notes, “Cop daughter dodgy acting“, I don’t think I have to look this up to see if anyone won an Oscar. But who wants good acting in a slasher movie anyway?? Jamie Lee Curtis is still one of the best “final girls” and makes up for the other two girls who are only there to be horny & murdered anyway. And I know Donald Pleasence was a proper actor & all that but he hams it up more and more in each of these movies. But it’s all part of the fun in campy slashers, which is what these sort of become. I far prefer the mood of this first movie, though, which has a more simple story & decent atmosphere & doesn’t get too over the top or silly. I have my Elm Street movies for ones that have a sense of “fun” & loads of other ’80s horror if I want campy.

Not gonna lie, though, there’s one thing I love above everything else when it comes to this movie & it’s the score. Carpenter’s Halloween theme is an all-time classic. It’s a damn masterpiece. That’s why it gets used over & over in all of the sequels & is the one truly great thing in each of them. Love it! I’m convinced these movies wouldn’t be nearly as popular if it wasn’t for that theme. Because, quite frankly, Michael Myers kind of sucks. Am I allowed to say that?! Blasphemy! He’s okay in this one, though. I like that he’s this purely evil psycho from a young age and I really like the beginning of the film & the image at the end of this review. That’s all good. But the character gets more & more ridiculous as these sequels go on & that starts to get boring. And I like the passion & desperation from Loomis in this one to catch Michael (before he gets too over the top & becomes slightly demented Loomis in the sequels).

I don’t mean to sound negative, though – this movie is a horror classic. Think I’m just frustrated by the sequels! They just aren’t ones I watched over & over as a teenager when I wasn’t so snobby & picky, I guess. So I don’t have that nostalgic love like I have for the Elm Streets but the first Halloween is great.

My Rating: 8/10

Halloween II (1981)

Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Dick Warlock

My Opinion:

Wow, I made two notes while watching this: Guy blowing up was funny, The sister plot!!

Okay – So is this when they made up the “Laurie is Michael’s sister” plot? Because that wasn’t in the first one, right?? That was a little silly. But, whatever – this movie wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I know I saw it years ago but didn’t remember anything other than “it’s not as good as the first one”. But at least it’s still Laurie/Jamie Lee, therefore it was far more enjoyable than the other sequels. I also like that it carries on immediately from where the first movie ends & there’s none of that “a number of years later” bullshit. I liked that some of the other sequels did that too (or did they all do that? Bloody hell – I just watched these & am already mixing 4, 5 & 6 all up in my mind!).

This was fine. I liked that it was still Laurie & Loomis. I liked that it was still horny people getting murdered while being horny. I liked the hospital setting. The ending was ridiculous & this is when it starts getting stupid that Michael just won’t fucking die but I know that’s the point of these slasher villains so I can’t exactly complain. But, come on – how the hell did Loomis survive?! Well, I suppose you don’t know that until number four, right?? Whatever. That’s okay. I’ll forgive some of the stupid stuff since this is the best of the sequels & at least Laurie is in it.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O’Herlihy, Nancy Kyes

My Opinion:

I made no notes while watching this. The hubby wanted to watch this one with me for some reason so I saw it last but knew it wouldn’t matter since it’s nothing to do with the Michael Myers story. I fell asleep & missed the end. I have to be honest – Watching this was a fucking chore. (I’ve still not finished it. I really should. I can’t be arsed).

Here’s what I remembered from seeing this one once as a teen: The jingle in the commercial & the masks. I can see why that’s all I remembered as those are the only things worth remembering. I gave this one a rating on Twitter already, though, and I think I was a bit too harsh. I’ll raise it by half a point as I love a horror anthology & like that they had the idea of doing these Halloween movies as unrelated individual stories. I wish they’d done that! I could live without the Michael Myers sequels. They’re better than THIS film but maybe they’d have made some really good movies if they’d continued with the anthology idea. And as far as the story goes, I think this movie has quite a good one! I like the story – it’s a clever idea. The Stonehenge connection is silly but, hey – Stonehenge is awesome & I love that place so that’s okay. The execution of the story just isn’t the greatest & the movie unfortunately comes across as very very bad film. But I can see why Film Twitter seems to love this one as it’s so unlike the Michael Myers Halloween films.

I wanted to like this. I thought I’d love it for some reason as I remembered liking that great jingle so much! Didn’t remember Tom Atkins being a dirty old perv. At least he finally asked that girl how old she was after sleeping with her once or twice. Ha! The ’80s. Gotta love ’em. Oh yeah – I meant to mention that I liked seeing a commercial on the TV in this movie for the first Halloween movie. Liked that they got that into this unrelated story.

My Rating: 5/10

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)

Directed by Dwight H. Little

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, Michael Pataki

My Opinion:

My notes while watching this: Dumb that Laurie is dead, How did both those fuckers survive blowing up?, I like the sister, I like the ending (but 5 fucking ruins that).

After watching 5 & 6, I decided that this one wasn’t horrible. I hated that Laurie was suddenly dead with some dumb story that she’d died in a car accident, leaving her daughter (brand new character Jamie Lloyd) an orphan. I hate when characters are just written out of a story like that.

I very vaguely remember seeing this but, again, remembered no specifics. I liked the character of Jamie Lloyd & liked her in this & movie five (another character ruined by a sequel, though – I wasn’t happy with movie six!). That’s right – I’ve looked this up & it’s ten years after the events of movie two & Michael has been in a coma that whole time, which is to be expected since he was burnt to a fucking crisp along with Loomis who somehow just has a partially scarred face. But Myers has woken up now in 1988 because they decided they wanted to make another Michael Myers Halloween movie after all.

This movie has a couple things going for it. As I said, I liked the character of Jamie Lloyd & I also liked her foster sister. They were “nice”. I know that seems stupid but I want to have a likeable character or two, even in slasher flicks. They had a good relationship & Jamie was very cute. And I liked it now focusing on a girl much younger than the teenage Laurie Strode. But the foster sister is a teenager so we still get some horny teens fucking before dying (not the foster sister, though – she’s the good girl! Her boyfriend is a cheating bastard). Also, I really liked the ending. Okay, it’s maybe a little predictable and just ending the way the first Halloween began but I liked that full circle thing. Then the fifth movie had to come along and fuck that good ending up…

My Rating: 6/10

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989)

Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Tamara Glynn

My Opinion:

Loads of notes while watching this (I was clearly getting bored), so here are my random thoughts:

– Is that how he thanks the guy who nursed him back to health?!

– Telepathic link is dumb

– Now she’s a step sister? Thought she was a foster sister in number 4.

– Did they have to kill the sister so soon?!

– So did the “step mom” survive??

– Loomis is demented & getting on my nerves

– Cartoon sound effects for the cops?! WTF?!?

– Jamie being a killer was cooler

– Michael sucks. He has no personality. I’m bored with him.

– I’ll say it again – Michael drives so well!

– No story to these – only 1 had a story

– Uncle! Hahaha. Heartwarming. Like Mando taking off his helmet for Grogu. Um… Why is he not burnt to a crisp?!

– Using her as bait? Loomis has lost the plot. A net?? That was a cartoon trick! Or Ewok trick. Get the net!

– Meandering

– He survived burning to a crisp but can’t handle a beating

– Who’s the guy with the boots?! I was paying no attention since I was bored.

Okay, that’s the end of my random thoughts. I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen this one. I’ll say this: It was annoying that they decided they didn’t want Jamie to be a cold-blooded killer after all. Boo!! But, oh well – at least we get likeable Jamie again. That was nice that they forgave her for stabbing her step mom, I guess. I was annoyed that they killed her nice step sister so quickly. As these movies were so similar, I keep messing them up in my mind. This then focused on her sister’s teenage friend instead, right, and Michael killing horny teens in a barn at a Halloween party? It’s really bad I can’t keep these straight when I’ve just watched them this month, for crying out loud. Oh yeah – I liked that this too picks up right from where number 4 ended. But!! Then Michael goes into another coma (what a pussy) and wakes up one year later to again terrorize Jamie. Guess the story needed time for her to be rehabilitated or whatever. And I was thoroughly confused by the ending because I think I wasn’t really paying attention but they cover that (sort of) in the final stupid Loomis Timeline movie anyway…

My Rating: 5.5/10

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)

Directed by Joe Chappelle

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, Mitch Ryan

My Opinion:

Lots of random thoughts while watching this one too. At least I had cutie Paul Rudd to look at:

– Introducing Paul Stephen Rudd!

– Michael is slower than a fucking Romero zombie

– Michael Myers in space (what’s this note in relation to?! Oh, I think it was a radio caller? Is that where they got the Jason in space idea??).

– Shit, crazy Loomis is back

– Oh no, is cutie Paul Stephen Rudd bad?! (Later FYI – No, he wasn’t. Paul Rudd can’t be bad! He’s a sweetie!)

– This father is such an asshole – he better get killed by Michael!

– FYI – the mother is from the ’80s classic Better Off Dead… I’d recommend that over this movie…

– Is Loomis’s (Loomis’? Loomises?!) face not at all burned anymore?!

– Paul Stephen Rudd is blathering on about the Druids or some shit. Makes me want to listen to Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge. (Later FYI – wasn’t Stonehenge in the Halloween III plot? A link!!)

– Glad Paul Rudd got better at acting. He’s adorable in this, though.

– God, I was already out of high school when this came out. Maybe that’s why I never watched this one? Although I don’t think I saw number 5 either. Anyway – man, I’m so old. 😦 Almost as old as Paul Rudd! Although he looks much younger than me. But he looks younger than everyone…

– This just turned into Rosemary’s Baby. But, like, a bad Rosemary’s Baby.

– Wasn’t Jamie, like, 8ish in the fifth movie? And this is six years later & she had a baby?

– Oh shit – it’s over. I wasn’t paying much attention at the end there. What did I miss???

– What is this grunge music? Aww, how ’90s…

That’s the end of my random thoughts. This movie is the worst of these (not counting the unrelated Halloween III). I should rate it lower than number 5 as it’s definitely worse but I think I’ve upped the rating for adorable Paul Rudd. I also liked that he’s actually the character Tommy Doyle, who Laurie was babysitting in the first film, so that was a nice link. But I hated what they did with Jamie Lloyd’s character (what a waste!). Think I hated that even more than the Laurie Strode car accident write-off. Plus, um… Was she raped? Do they really explain all that? She’s actually kidnapped by this cult that, like, worships Michael Myers or some shit at the end of movie five so did they keep her those whole six years then impregnate her? Gross. She was really young in movie five – how was she of child bearing age only six years later anyway?

I admit that at one point I wanted more of an explanation as to why Myers was evil & also unable to be killed but I’ve changed my mind after this movie and its talk of Druids and some dumb curse & whatever other bullshit they were spouting. Dumb. Now I want to go back to the simplicity of the story in the first Halloween. He’s just evil. Sometimes that’s all the explanation you need.

In the movie’s defence, though, it sounds like there’s a better version. Maybe the story in that isn’t as much of an incoherent mess. From Wikipedia:

After the film’s home media release, the original workprint of the film, which featured 45 minutes of alternative footage and a different ending, was discovered by fans of the series. This version, dubbed The Producer’s Cut, developed a cult following, with bootleg DVD copies sold on eBay and online petitions targeting for an official release of it. In 2014, the Producer’s Cut was officially released on Blu-ray.

Well. I’ve rambled enough. This was a disappointing end to the Loomis Timeline but at least it gave us Paul Stephen Rudd.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Society (1989) Review

Happy Halloween! I decided it was time to bring this lovely post over to my own blog as it was lacking in shunting images. I don’t often review old favorites from before I started blogging but did this one for a fun blogathon over at Silver Screen Serenade (original post HERE). Enjoy!

Society (1989)

Directed by Brian Yuzna

Starring: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Ben Meyerson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a Beverly Hills teenager who finds his wealthy parents are part of a gruesome cult for the social elite.

***WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AND SLIGHTLY NSFW IMAGES TO FOLLOW***

My Opinion:

Here we go: I’m now going to talk about a film that all movie bloggers over a certain age should know well as I’m sure we all caught it on cable late one night & went “what the fuuuuuck?!?” (I know this was my experience with it). This is back in the days before the Internet was around to spoil a movie’s surprise ending for us before we had a chance to see it. You still had the occasional blabbermouth who might ruin a movie for you but it took a lot longer for word-of-mouth to travel back in the late 80s/early 90s and, although I think I saw this film a while after it was released, I’d managed to avoid hearing ANYTHING whatsoever about it. So imagine my surprise when I started watching a movie I’d not heard of on cable late one night that had that cute Billy Warlock in it. Yes – I’m talking, of course, about the 1989 film Society. For those who have somehow avoided seeing this one, there’ll first be some MINOR SPOILERS and then I’ll give another warning before giving MASSIVE SPOILERS regarding the crazy ending.

So, Billy Warlock plays a boy who is popular but just doesn’t seem to fit in with his rich family & their high society friends. Well, that seems pretty normal… who really gets along with their family? And rich people are wankers.

The movie is pretty boring at first & goes along really slowly with some dodgy acting. It felt kind of like an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 or Baywatch (which, hey – Billy Warlock was also in!). So I was getting ready to turn the channel & see what else was on when a couple of weird little things happened from out of nowhere.

Things like this:

And this:

Yeah – I think it was the “boobs on the back” thing that made me stick around. So some more stuff happens, blah blah blah… I still can’t really remember much of this movie until its ending – I don’t think anyone can. Then, after an hour of boredom, we get to the last half hour of this thing and WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?!?! Shunting, that’s what! SHUNTING! What the fuck is shunting? I’ll tell you what shunting is! Now is your chance to turn back if you’re at all intrigued and want to see this movie spoiler-free. MASSIVE SPOILERS and NSFW images to follow………………
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Billy Warlock comes home to find his family and their high society friends all engaged in shunting: a big orgy-looking thing where they’re all melting into each other & feeding off poor people. Like this:

And Billy Warlock’s mother & pretty sister have turned into this (the sister is the crotch):

And his father has truly become a butthead:

But it gets even BETTER. There is a way to defeat these high society bastards & escape so that you don’t end up being their next meal. I’ll keep that a surprise in case you still wish to watch the movie at this point but here’s a little preview. I think it’s one of the greatest moments in cinematic history:

I have to say I really kind of love Society – it must be my favorite film that I don’t actually own. I should change that… I was a big fan of Cronenberg’s The Fly for a good few years before seeing Society (like, was kind of obsessed with it & watched it over and over again when my mom wasn’t around to yell at me for watching nasty stuff) and I think, between these two films, I was kind of turned on to the body horror genre (I did a top ten of my favorite body horror movies HERE). Don’t get me wrong – Society is NOT as good as a Cronenberg film (and it’s not meant to be) but I can guarantee that anyone who saw it at the time hasn’t forgotten the final half hour. It may be super tame by today’s standards but that’s fine by me – nothing beats the cheesy special effects of a good 80’s body horror film. It’s a genre I still wish to explore more than I have – does anyone have any good recommendations?

My Rating: 7.5/10

Happy shunting, everyone!

The Night House (2020) & Terror Train (1980) Reviews

Happy Halloween everyone!

I have two posts ready to go for later today (reviews for Society & for Halloween 1-6 which I rewatched this month). But I just recently watched these two horror movies for the first time so figured I better squeeze in quick reviews.

I’ll also say that I spent yesterday & part of today watching classic horror on the Horror Channel in the U.K. I’ve just posted My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies this week & was saying it’s terrible that I’ve not seen so many of the old classics so it’s great this has given me the chance to see some. It’s a shame it’s unlikely I’ll get around to reviewing them today but, oh well. I guess there’s no law that says I can’t review them after Halloween. Here’s what I’ve seen:

Dracula (1931) – 8/10
Frankenstein (1931) – 7.5/10
Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – 7/10
The Wolf Man (1941) – 7/10

And I’ll be watching The Invisible Man (1933) today.

Now here are my brief thoughts on these two movies…

The Night House (2020)

Directed by David Bruckner

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin, Vondie Curtis-Hall

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Night House stars Rebecca Hall as a widow who discovers a dark secret about the house her late architect husband built.

My Opinion:

Was super excited to see a NEW film on Disney Plus! Well, Disney Star or whatever the grownup bit of Disney Plus is called – I believe America doesn’t get that?? Yay, we have something you don’t for once! And I can count it as a 2021 release as it’s the first time available in the U.K. This follows Disney also getting The Empty Man, which was quite new too. And it’s a supernatural horror where the hubby had some secret his widow now has to discover and that’s SO my type of guilty pleasure horror movie. Plus I thought the poster at the very top of this post looked pretty cool. Oh! And I thought the director’s film The Ritual was pretty good.

This movie was okay but disappointing. It’s the kind of thing I’ll forget in a year but at least the story kept me interested. I didn’t love Rebecca Hall’s character – Something about her was kind of annoying but she did well enough as a newly widowed woman who is grieving & then having weird shit happen to her. I don’t think the story was explored well enough plus we’re kind of just left hanging at the end without a satisfying resolution. Not that horror has that very often anyway! And she of course watched videos of her & the hubby from their wedding, etc, because that’s a requirement in these supernatural stories where someone has just lost their spouse. I did like a couple of creepy shots that were pretty effective in which Hall’s character saw shapes in her house, though. It was also a good setting, in a lovely secluded house on a lake. Cliché again, yes, but that’s because that’s the perfect setting for this type of story.

This was fine. It passed the time one afternoon & is the type of supernatural horror I go for but it could’ve been better.

My Rating: 6/10

Terror Train (1980)

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Starring: Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hart Bochner, Sandee Currie, Timothy Webber, Derek MacKinnon, Anthony Sherwood, Joy Boushel, Vanity, D.D. Winters, Greg Swanson, Howard Busgang, Elizabeth Cholette, David Copperfield

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three years after a prank went terribly awry, the six college students responsible are targeted by a masked killer at a New Year’s Eve party aboard a moving train.

My Opinion:

I’d never heard of this. An ’80s slasher!! I figured now was the perfect time to check it out as it’s October & I’ve also just spent the month rewatching Halloween 1-6, the first two of which obviously also star Jamie Lee Curtis (I’ve done a post reviewing all of those which I’ll post later today). I can see why Terror Train isn’t more well known but it’s not awful.

It starts out with a pretty pathetic prank being played on a fellow medical student at some party but the guy is unstable already, I guess, as it drives him off the deep end & he ends up having to be committed. Three years later, the students are having a party on a train & the bullied boy decides it’s the perfect time for revenge. Is it a Halloween party?! I guess I just assumed that as they’re all dressed up in costumes. And are parties on trains a thing? It looks like fun! Anyway – the bullied boy goes after everyone involved in the prank, including Jamie Lee Curtis who didn’t actually want to be part of the prank & I think didn’t know what they’d actually had planned for the prank so she’s had guilt over it ever since. And she has a much better hairdo than that frizzy hair she had in Halloween.

I liked this fine. It’s actually not overly “bloody” so not sure if it can be considered a slasher. Probably, but the kills are pretty mild (which is fine with me as I’m pretty wussy). And I know nothing whatsoever about filmmaking but I thought this looked quite good for a film from 1980?? It just didn’t have that low budget sort of look like many movies, especially horror movies, from that time. And David Copperfield is in it as a magician, surprisingly, that I guess they’ve hired as their entertainment. Didn’t know he’d ever done any acting? He was pretty good in this – I liked his character. I saw him live once when I was a kid! Got an autograph afterwards. Think I lost it.

This is well worth a watch for fans of ’80s slashers, especially if you like Jamie Lee Curtis. But it’s a bit slow & I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t into movies from this era as there are much better ones to check out. Oh – Vanity has a small role in this (she was so pretty). I kind of recognised some other faces, I think, but not well. One of my favorite things about watching ’80s movies I never saw is to see familiar faces. Always love that! So I enjoyed this but I can’t say it’s one I’d have watched over & over again in the ’80s like I did with things such as the Elm Street films. It was worth a one-time watch, though.

My Rating: 6/10

My Top Ten 21st Century Horror Movies

I figured it was time to update this list that I first posted five years ago. I did update it a few times but I can no longer bring up the post in my WordPress phone app to update it. How annoying! (I’m too lazy to do anything on this blog that I can’t do in the app). So here it is re-posted with lots of new stuff added.

This was originally a Top 20 but I’ve had to make it a Top 40 this time. This is partly thanks to me deciding to include horror comedies in the list now. I already did a separate list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies but those have now also been added into all the lists I’ve been posting this week in time for Halloween:

My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies
My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies
My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies

Here are some I’ve left out as I don’t consider them horror: The excellent Battle Royale & Under The Skin. Also these that I really enjoyed: One Hour Photo, Colossal, Turbo Kid, Hobo With A Shotgun & VFW.

And, like my 1970-1999 list, I’ve grouped some things together such as franchises & a few directors I appreciate. Also, as with all my lists, I’m sure I’ve forgotten to include some great movies. In this case, as I started my blog in 2012, it’s most likely I forgot movies before the year 2012 as I wasn’t keeping record of them like I do now.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten 21st Century Horror Movies:

Top Forty:

40. Rubber
39. TIE: Grabbers & The Final Girls
38. Color Out Of Space
37. The Conjuring Universe (The first film the best by far but I’ve liked the rest okay as well)
36. The Secret Of Marrowbone
35. Ti West (My favorites: The House Of The Devil & The Innkeepers)
34. Mike Flanagan (He has some higher on the list but I wanted to mention these too: Hush & Absentia)
33. TIE: The Hunt (2020) & The Invisible Man (2020)
32. Circle (2015)
31. Ginger Snaps

Top Thirty:

30. Trick ‘r Treat
29. Us
28. Ari Aster (I want to love his work more than I do but I find it interesting & want more of it, hoping to connect more with one of his films someday. I prefer Midsommar but Hereditary has some great moments)
27. Tucker And Dale Vs Evil
26. [Rec]
25. TIE: The Platform & The Host (2006)
24. The Girl With All The Gifts
23. The Purge (I’ve quite liked all of these films – I like the concept)
22. Gerald’s Game
21. Spontaneous

Top Twenty:

20. Shaun Of The Dead
19. A Quiet Place
18. The Village
17. The Orphanage
16. Final Destination (First film but the sequels I’ve seen have been pretty decent too)
15. The Others
14. Land Of The Dead
13. A Tale Of Two Sisters
12. Slither
11. Let The Right One In

****Top Ten:****

10. The Descent

9. TIE: The Mist & It/It: Chapter Two (Sadly, the first one was much better than Chapter Two…)

8. 28 Days Later… (28 Weeks Later also good)

7. Doctor Sleep

6. It Follows

5. Pan’s Labyrinth

4. Mandy

3. Train To Busan

2. The Babadook

1. Dawn Of The Dead

Lots Of Honorable Mentions:
30 Days Of Night (Remember really enjoying this but need to rewatch it), The Cabin In The Woods (Need to rewatch this too), Saw (First film only – hate the rest), Pontypool (Wanted to squeeze this into the Top 40), The Wailing, The Boy, Honeymoon, Cloverfield, What We Do In The Shadows, The Babysitter, Dead Snow, Teeth, Black Sheep, Splice, 1408, My Little Eye, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Ready Or Not, The Ritual, One Cut Of The Dead, Krampus, Ma, Horns, Child’s Play, Zombieland, Warm Bodies, Willy’s Wonderland

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021) Review

My final reblog for October Horror Month is this fun current trilogy…

Cinema Parrot Disco

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Directed by Leigh Janiak

Based on Fear Street by R. L. Stine

Fear Street Part One: 1994

Starring: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Maya Hawke, Jordana Spiro, Jordyn DiNatale

Fear Street Part Two: 1978

Starring: Several people from the first film plus Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, Gillian Jacobs, Chiara Aurelia

Fear Street Part Three: 1666

Starring: Pretty much everyone from the first two films (even the dead ones, which is a little silly!)

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia – this is for the first one but covers all three films which are just set in different years):
The film follows a group of teenagers in Shadyside who are terrorized by an ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued the town for…

View original post 716 more words

My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies

Oh man – this was a hard list to do since the majority of my favorite horrors are from the ’70s & ’80s. I’ll also have watched shitloads, so am sure I’ve forgotten to add some great ones & I’ll be annoyed I forgot them. Oh well – I can update the list if so!

Some Rules/Notes:

1. I’ve had to make this a Top Forty, and even then I’m missing some favorites. So I have some “honorable mentions” listed at the end. And the ’80s especially was the decade for “franchises” but it’s too hard to rank every single sequel in those cases plus I see each series as a whole. So, where I mention some, I kind of mean the series. I’ve only listed some specific sequels if any were actually really good (Dream Warriors!). And, let’s face it, the first movie is usually a million times better than the rest (Halloween! Almost wish it was a standalone film…).

2. Also, in order to do this, I’ve decided to leave a few films out that I love/really like but I don’t see as “horror” films…

Alien/Aliens (Two of my all-time favorite films. I don’t think “horror” with these – I think sci-fi)
Jaws (Again, I just think “action thriller”)
They Live & Hardware (Sci-fi)
The Crow (I’m not really sure what genre this one is but I adore this film)
Blade (See it more as a comic book movie)
Ghostbusters (Not horror to me – just comedy)

3. And I’ve added horror comedies into this list. I used to keep them separate (I did a list HERE). But… I figure they’re still horror as well. So some of these, including my second favorite, aren’t scary horror.

4. Finally, I’ll just add this (Is anyone actually reading my long & rambling intros?!): This list is absolutely ridiculous. There used to be a blogger I really liked who told me off one day for all the “ties” on my lists & that I need to number them differently if there are ties & I can’t have more than ten in a top ten. And I was all “My blog, my rules!”. He was awesome, though, and I’m really sad he completely disappeared. Anyway – he’d have a meltdown over this list. I mention 17 films in my top ten (seriously) and number 20 alone mentions 8. I admit that’s pathetic but, hey, I’m indecisive & also hate the thought of leaving anything out. Should I also admit that I go back & rearrange my old lists sometimes?! I think I have some sort of disorder. So I dedicate this list to that dude.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies (but including way more than 40 movies):

Top Forty:

40. The Blair Witch Project (Yes, I liked this first film)
39. Night Of The Creeps
38. The Exorcist (Low, I know – not big on this, mainly just love Tubular Bells)
37. The Hitcher
36. Tremors
35. Waxwork
34. Hausu
33. The Craft
32. The Stepford Children & The Stepford Wives (Children is a cheesy TV movie & big guilty pleasure of mine)
31. Magic

Top Thirty:

30. Society
29. Children Of The Corn (Only the first one)
28. The Changeling (Probably deserves to be higher but in all honesty I need to rewatch it – would maybe move up then)
27. Friday The 13th (I’ve shockingly only seen a few of these, so only really the first couple of films for this one)
26. Child’s Play (First three – Yes, I liked the third one too)
25. Chopping Mall
24. April Fool’s Day
23. The Return Of The Living Dead
22. The Sixth Sense
21. The Wicker Man

Top Twenty:

20. David Cronenberg – The Brood, etc (Sorry for the big cheat but what do you expect from someone who mentions 17 movies in their Top Ten?? 😉 Other than The Fly, I’m lumping all the rest of Cronenberg’s films that I like together. Big fan of his style, although his movies aren’t ones I revisit like a lot of other horrors. In order starting with my favorite of the remaining films of his: The Brood, eXistenZ, Scanners, Videodrome, Shivers, Rabid, Crash. Need to rewatch The Dead Zone)
19. Don’t Look Now
18. The Amityville Horror
17. TIE: Phantom Of The Paradise & The Rocky Horror Picture Show
16. Scream
15. It
14. Fright Night
13. Pet Sematary
12. The Fly (Unlike the other Cronenbergs, I’ve watched this many times)
11. Night Of The Comet

****Top Ten:****

10. Dario Argento – Deep Red, etc (Did it with Cronenberg so might as well with Argento too! Deep Red is my favorite followed by Suspiria, although I need to rewatch that. Next is Phenomena, which isn’t nearly as good, but the rest of what I’ve seen of his wouldn’t make this Top 40 list)

9. TIE: Carrie & Halloween (Only the first Halloween film & honestly for the score more than the film itself)

8. TIE: Poltergeist & An American Werewolf In London

7. The Lost Boys

6. The Thing

5. The Omen

4. A Nightmare On Elm Street (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is also great – Love the whole series but these two by far the best)

3. The Shining

2. Gremlins (Do like Gremlins 2 as well but the first one is much better)

1. Dawn Of The Dead & Day Of The Dead (Dawn Of The Dead is my favorite horror film while Day Of The Dead may not be quite as good but it’s a lot of fun & I love it too. Obviously, the Romero “Dead Trilogy” tops my overall favorite horror movies list I may post on Halloween)

Honorable Mentions:

Stephen King (I have several in the list but I watch every King adaptation & even like most of the bad ones. I ranked them all HERE once – the top two not horror! – but need to add ones from recent years. Some more I liked: Cujo, Maximum Overdrive, Silver Bullet, Cat’s Eye, Misery, Firestarter, etc)
Body Horror (I did a separate list HERE as I find these fascinating but they’re not exactly Top 40 material: From Beyond, Re-Animator, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Altered States, Basket Case)
More: The Toxic Avenger (Didn’t feel right putting Troma in the 40 but I do like this one. Actually, I like the first three), The Evil Dead Series (Sorry, I don’t hate these but I never really got into them), Hellraiser Series (Also not really a fan overall but appreciate its fucking weirdness), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Not big on these either), Candyman (Meh), Arachnophobia, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, The Entity, Sisters, Dolls, Alice Sweet Alice, Pumpkinhead, The People Under The Stairs, From Dusk Till Dawn, Audition

Some I Need To Rewatch Again Before Really Knowing Where To Rank Them:

Stephen King (‘Salem’s Lot & The Dead Zone. Crazy I’ve not rewatched these when I’m obsessed with Stephen King & these are actually my favorite of his books – But I did rank them with the other King movies because my lists make no sense. Should also rewatch Creepshow, Misery, The Stand & Christine)
John Carpenter (Really liked The Fog but, again, need to rewatch it as well as these: Prince Of Darkness & Christine, as mentioned with King)
More: Ringu (I know I included it in my Top Foreign Horror Movies list but I really do need to rewatch it before knowing where to rank it here), The Hidden, The Blob, Phantasm, Near Dark, Black Christmas, Dracula

Want To See These!:

The Amusement Park
Martin
The Exorcist III
Puppet Master

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971) & Inferno (1980) Reviews

For the last Friday before Halloween, I thought I’d re-post my reviews of the only two Dario Argento movies I watched in the past two years. Certainly not up there with Deep Red, which I watched in 2019 & kind of loved.

I’m starting to feel like I’ve already seen all the best horror movies that have been made. And as I mainly only review movies that I watch for the very first time instead of revisiting old favorites, the majority of reviews that I posted for October Horror Month this year were for pretty rubbish films! Disappointing.

And I wanted to love these two but, meh……..

***DISCLAIMER: Hopefully I’ve grabbed images from the correct movies below as I don’t remember much of either of them now. Shit – the images are kind of impressive, especially for Inferno! I think the TV channel I saw it on had a dodgy copy or something because I don’t remember it looking that pretty. Maybe I need to give these another try?***

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (4 mosche di velluto grigio) (1971)

Directed by Dario Argento

Starring: Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Francine Racette, Bud Spencer

Music by Ennio Morricone

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film concerns Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon), who accidentally kills a man and is then tormented by someone who witnessed the event.

My Opinion:

Was excited to see this Dario Argento film available on Amazon Prime as I’ve been wanting to explore more of the Italian giallo horror thing since finding Phenomena interesting then thinking Deep Red was pretty damn great. Was super disappointed that Four Flies was only available dubbed in English. Argh! I hate when films are dubbed. It’s distracting & definitely ruins the film but, meh – I was in lockdown so I watched it anyway.

It’s certainly nowhere near the level of Deep Red or Suspiria. As usual, there was some imagery I liked (like that doll thing up there – I love a creepy doll thing & Argento clearly does too). Shit, I dunno – I remember almost nothing about this five months later whereas I remember all of Deep Red plus its brilliant score. And, damn, I saw later that this score was done by Ennio Morricone so I wish I’d been paying more attention because I love Morricone. I’ve added the score to my playlist to properly check it out sometime.

At least the story was ALMOST coherent in Four Flies, which I can’t say for all of Argento’s stuff (especially Inferno). It also had a truly silly but fun way in which the killer got discovered so I guess I’ll give it an extra point for that. But if you’re new to Argento just watch Deep Red, which is his most accessible film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Inferno (1980)

Directed by Dario Argento

Based on Suspiria de Profundis by Thomas De Quincey

Starring: Eleonora Giorgi, Gabriele Lavia, Veronica Lazar, Leopoldo Mastelloni, Irene Miracle, Daria Nicolodi, Sacha Pitoeff, Alida Valli, Leigh McCloskey, Feodor Chaliapin, Ania Pieroni

Music by Keith Emerson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a young man’s investigation into the disappearance of his sister, who had been living in a New York City apartment building that also served as a home for a powerful, centuries-old witch.

My Opinion:

Again, I was excited to see a Dario Argento film was going to be showing on TV on Film4. I don’t have a way to record anymore so, as it was the start of lockdown & everything was shit, I was determined to stay up to watch this at its 1:30am showtime. Not worth it!! Damn.

First of all, this was ALSO dubbed. What? Why?? Let’s be honest – only proper film nerds are gonna watch foreign films in the middle of the night and film nerds want subtitles. So, again, this will have hurt my enjoyment of this one. When I mentioned that Four Flies was somewhat coherent (as far as Argento films go)? Inferno was an incoherent mess. I don’t know what the fuck was going on, but of course it didn’t help that I was exhausted & worried about viruses at that point (well, I still am now).

Anyway – I don’t think anyone watches Italian horror for a good story so I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the imagery & bright red blood & supernatural weirdness. Again, there’s some good imagery in this one but not nearly enough to make up for how weak this movie is compared to Suspiria. Here’s a bit about it from Wikipedia: A thematic sequel to Suspiria (1977), the film is the second part of Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, though it is the first in the trilogy to explore the idea of the Three Mothers. The long-delayed concluding entry, The Mother of Tears, was released in 2007. Yeah, so this is sort of a sequel to Suspiria. Too bad it sucks. But it doesn’t sound as bad as the third film! Released in 2007? I’ll skip that one. Give me good old Seventies/early Eighties horror.

At least this one is worth a try if you like Argento’s style as it’s still almost a 70’s film but with a weird ass early 80’s prog score from Keith Emerson. But at least that gives it a cheese-factor that often works for me personally. I kind of hated yet liked the score – I think I’ll add it to my playlist now & I bet it grows on me along with all the other horror scores I like to have creepily playing in the background while I work from home. Give me a Goblin score instead, though! Goblin are a huge part of the reason for Deep Red & Suspiria being the superior Argento films I’ve seen so far. Watch those. Only watch Inferno if you absolutely love Suspiria and want another witchy Argento fix but go in with very low expectations. And don’t watch it dubbed. I’m just too broke to watch films in the way I prefer.

My Rating: 6/10

My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies

After doing two horror movie lists years ago (My Top Ten Horror Comedies & My Top Ten Body Horror Movies), I decided to do more this year to attempt to get all my favorite horror movies together.

I posted My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies yesterday. Tomorrow will be My Top Horror Movies 1970-1999 then My Top Horror Movies Of The 21st Century.

I knew this Pre-1970 list would be interesting as I’ve not watched nearly enough classic horror. So I’ve listed all I could think of that I’ve seen. It’s embarrassing as I’m missing ALL the classic “monster” movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, etc etc (most of which will be on the Horror Channel this weekend in the U.K. FYI! I badly want to watch them all but no way will the family let me watch movies all weekend). I’ve seen one Vincent Price movie and NONE of the Hammer Horror stuff. Pathetic for a movie blogger!!

In my defence, though, I didn’t catch this stuff while growing up for some strange reason & I now have no disposable income to support this hobby. And I’m very against stealing movies so I slowly watch what I can if it becomes available to me at no extra cost. I need to get off the boring mainstream streaming services – They have a terrible selection, especially when it comes to horror or anything more than ten years old. So that’s my excuse!

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies:

Top Twenty:

20. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962) (but really need to rewatch this)
19. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
18. Repulsion (1965)
17. A Bucket Of Blood (1959)
16. Seconds (1966)
15. House On Haunted Hill (1959)
14. Cat People (1942)
13. Carnival Of Souls (1962)
12. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) (could do with rewatching this too)
11. The Innocents (1961)

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Eyes Without A Face (1960) & Dead Of Night (1945)

9. Les Diaboliques (1955)

8. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

7. Nosferatu (1922)

6. M (1931)

5. The Birds (1963)

4. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (1920)

3. Psycho (1960)

2. Freaks (1932)

1. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

Some I Need To Rewatch:
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (as mentioned above)
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (this too)
Village Of The Damned
Spider Baby
Gaslight
The Bad Seed

Cat People (1942) & House On Haunted Hill (1959) Reviews

It’s almost Halloween! Here are two old classics today for October Horror Month…

Cat People (1942)

Directed by Jacques Tourneur

Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of Irena Dubrovna, a newly-married Serbian fashion illustrator obsessed with the idea that she is descended from an ancient tribe of Cat People who metamorphose into panthers when aroused. When her husband begins to show interest in one of his coworkers, Irena begins to stalk her.

My Opinion:

I’m loving all the classics on BBC iPlayer, especially old classic horror like this & the one below as I shamefully haven’t explored pre-1970 horror much (besides Alfred Hitchcock). This is a great story & I suppose a bit saucy for its time (1942). Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland’s fables if they are intimate together.

I did actually see the 1982 Cat People with Nastassja Kinski years ago but don’t remember a thing now other than I think it was a lot more “sexy” (obviously). Anyway, the girl in this is great (actress Simone Simon playing Serbian immigrant Irena) and I enjoyed the story and there was some cool creepy stuff going on with a panther stalking people (IS it a panther or is it actually Irena? Hmm!). Guess I should watch the sequel, The Curse Of The Cat People, sometime soon.

My Rating: 7/10

House On Haunted Hill (1959)

Directed by William Castle

Starring: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Elisha Cook, Carolyn Craig, Alan Marshal, Julie Mitchum, Richard Long

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Vincent Price plays an eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren, who, along with his wife Annabelle, has invited five people to the house for a “haunted house” party. Whoever stays in the house for one night will earn $10,000. As the night progresses, the guests are trapped within the house with an assortment of terrors.

My Opinion:

I have another shameful confession to make: I’m not sure if I’ve seen an old Vincent Price movie before? I may have many years ago but too long ago to remember now. Which is odd, as I loved scary & creepy stories from a young age (my two favorite TV shows as a kid were the Alfred Hitchcock TV show & The Twilight Zone). But I missed out on these sort of films on TV as a kid, I guess. Being my age, Vincent Price to me is the cool voice from Michael Jackson’s Thriller & the awesome inventor in Edward Scissorhands (adore that film).

Anyway, to show my age even more, the main reason I’ve wanted to see this for years is because I knew it was the movie the horror-loving character in my favorite Amazing Stories episode was playing on his TV. That was called Go To The Head Of The Class, FYI, and it RULES. It’s a short horror comedy starring Christopher Lloyd & Mary Stuart Masterson (I reviewed it very briefly HERE). I always assumed I’d had the ending of this movie ruined for me but it turned out the scene they used in Amazing Stories wasn’t the ending (phew).

This was a fun story with a lot of twists and back stabbing and you don’t know who can be trusted & what’s going on. Good stuff. I’d happily take recommendations of other old horrors to watch (I’ve always been curious about Hammer Horror films as well…).

My Rating: 7/10

My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies

I decided it was time to try to put together a bunch of “My Top Horror Movies” lists. I already did these two lists years ago:

My Top Ten Horror Comedies
My Top Ten Body Horror Movies

So I plan to post these the rest of this week:

My Top Horror Movies Pre-1970
My Top Horror Movies 1970-1999
My Top Horror Movies Of The 21st Century (I did a list for this here several years ago which I’ll update)

Then I might do an overall all-time My Top Horror Movies list (but the majority will be from the 1970-1999 list, I’m sure!).

I’ll probably call them all “Top Ten” to stay consistent with my other lists but, especially with this one, I was curious as to how much foreign horror I’ve seen & have listed everything I could think of. I will definitely be missing movies from these lists, though, and am sure I’ll be kicking myself for forgetting something.

I had to put some rules on this list:

1. It has to not be in English (not counting the silent films! Ha!). I disagree with the lists I saw online with The Babadook & loads of British horror listed as foreign. Not foreign to me.

2. I at first spent ages looking up each film on IMDb to see if “Horror” was one of the genres listed. It starts getting complicated as people may have different ideas of what makes a film a horror. If it’s horrific in any way, I usually consider it horror. But then there are other movies people consider horror which I never have (Jaws, a thriller and Alien/Aliens, sci-fi). So you can argue with my choices if you want. 🙂 But I did look up each for this one list & only one isn’t classified as horror on IMDb: M (1931). I’ve left out Battle Royale, though, which I had very high on this list at first then decided it’s not really horror. But M is a horror to me.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies:

Top Twenty:

20. Troll Hunter
19. Dead Snow
18. The Wailing
17. Tetsuo: The Iron Man
16. Audition
15. [REC]
14. The Platform
13. The Host
12. Eyes Without A Face
11. Les Diaboliques

Top Ten:

10. Ringu (but I could do with rewatching this)

9. The Orphanage

8. TIE: A Tale Of Two Sisters & Hausu

7. Let The Right One In

6. Nosferatu (1922)

5. M

4. Pan’s Labyrinth

3. TIE: Deep Red & Suspiria (Included these together but I really need to rewatch Suspiria, which I think looks & sounds great and is iconic, but I enjoyed Deep Red more)

2. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari

1. Train To Busan

Honorable Mentions:
The Grudge (I remember liking this but really need to rewatch it. Same as with Ringu, although I did include it in the list as it’s so iconic)
Four Flies On Grey Velvet
Inferno
One Cut Of The Dead
Goodnight Mommy
Sputnik
Veronica
Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead
Ils

Some I Want To See (and I’d happily take more recommendations!):
Pulse
High Tension (aka Haute Tension aka Switchblade Romance)
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Ones I Need To Rewatch:
The Grudge & Ringu (as mentioned above)
The Devil’s Backbone (don’t remember at all)

Splinter (2008) & Escape Room (2019) Reviews

Splinter (2008)

Directed by Toby Wilkins

Starring: Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner, Rachel Kerbs

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Trapped in an isolated gas station by a voracious Splinter parasite that transforms its still-living victims into deadly hosts, a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together to survive this primal terror.

My Opinion:

Was recommended this one (thanks, Film Miasma!). Didn’t really know anything about it but think I may have avoided it at the time as the poster looked so nasty and I’m a wuss with really gross stuff. Well, it is pretty gross to be fair. But it’s kind of borderline body horror gross in that sort of fake-looking way that I like from old Cronenberg movies so I was fine with this.

The characters are also strong, which is important to me (especially as horror movie characters are so often rubbish & hateful). We even have a baddie who ends up not being such a baddie after all & I liked that. And the girl is pretty kick ass. It’s also mostly set in one place while they’re trapped in a gas station by this weird, um, parasite thing and I’m always impressed with movies that manage to stay interesting in pretty much just one location. Thought they did a good job with this film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Escape Room (2019)

Directed by Adam Robitel

Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Jay Ellis, Yorick van Wageningen

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of deadly escape rooms.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this, even though it was a bit f*^king ridiculous. Especially the very end, but most horror movies like these have stupid endings. I don’t know what to say about this… It’s the usual sort of shit but at least it has a fun idea & the different escape rooms the characters find themselves in are entertaining. And I liked some of the characters, especially the two girls.

When it comes to horror, I lower my expectations a lot as most modern horror sucks. I prefer the classics from the ’70s & ’80s. There have been some good ones in recent years, though (The Babadook, It Follows, and especially the delightfully bonkers Mandy which is very much my type of thing). But the good ones are rare so I’m happy to watch these lightweight & utterly predictable ones to pass the time in between the good ones. This was a bit like the recent Countdown and both have a Final Destination vibe (though not as good as that one, of course).

Whatever. I actually quite liked this. The characters were decent & the story was entertaining. I expect nothing more from this sort of thing.

My Rating: 6/10

The Platform (2019) Review

The Platform (El hoyo) (2019)

Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Starring: Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale, Alexandra Masangkay

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A vertical prison with one cell per level. Two people per cell. Only one food platform and two minutes per day to feed. An endless nightmare trapped in The Hole.

My Opinion:

I’ve been extremely disappointed with the majority of movies I’ve seen the past couple of years. The Platform was a nice surprise after a crappy year of films. I really liked this – it was my favorite I watched at home in 2020.

I always appreciate a good concept & seeing something that feels truly original as so many movies are cliché & predictable. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The Platform is a 2019 Spanish social science fiction-horror film directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. The film is set in a large, tower-style “Vertical Self-Management Center”. Its residents, who are switched every 30 days between its many floors, are fed via a platform which, initially filled with food at the top floor, gradually descends through the tower’s levels, stopping for a fixed amount of time on each. The system inevitably leads to conflict, as the residents at the top levels get to eat as much as they can, with each level getting only the leftovers from the previous ones.”

Yeah, it’s a bit of a grim dystopian tale but I’m still a fan of this genre despite the real-life dystopian Covid year so I realise it may not be the sort of thing people wanted to watch in 2020. But it’s a great story that poses some interesting questions & is well worth the watch on Netflix if you appreciate this sort of story. I liked it a lot.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Halloween Horror Music: Ice Nine Kills

I first discovered this band in early 2020 when a guy from work recommended them to me as he knows I like heavy metal music as well as horror movies. I admit I’ve not listened to their other albums as it was The Silver Scream album that appealed to me. It’s a heavy metal album with each song being about a different horror film. It couldn’t be more perfect for me & my interests & this blog! I’ve been meaning to write a little something about them & now seemed like the perfect time just before Halloween. Plus, they’ve just released The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood!

Well, my main focus here is movies but I do love music too. I’ve never written about music, though, so I’ll be very brief. This post is mainly just to maybe introduce these albums to others. I don’t know how the hell to write about music. Well, I don’t know how to write about movies, either… Ha!

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream

I really like this album, although it’s heavier (well, “screamier”) than the classic type of metal I tend to go for. A lot of the movies they did songs for on this first album are favorites of mine (A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Shining, The Crow & even the not-so-horror Edward Scissorhands). Now, with both of these albums, I don’t love every song. Some are definitely better than others but I absolutely love the concept & it’s a lot of fun having two albums based on some of the best horror movies. (I should point out that they also did an album of songs based on books, Every Trick in the Book, which I’ve not checked out yet.)

From this album, my favorites are probably The American Nightmare & Stabbing in the Dark. Here’s the full list of songs & the movies they’re based on (from Wikipedia):

1. “The American Nightmare” – A Nightmare on Elm Street
2. “Thank God It’s Friday” – Friday the 13th
3. “Stabbing in the Dark” – Halloween
4. “Savages” – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
5. “The Jig Is Up” – Saw
6. “A Grave Mistake” – The Crow
7. “Rocking the Boat” – Jaws
8. “Enjoy Your Slay” – The Shining
9. “Freak Flag” – The Devil’s Rejects (not seen this. not bothered)
10. “The World in My Hands” – Edward Scissorhands
11. “Merry Axe-mas” – Silent Night, Deadly Night (not seen this either but want to)
12. “Love Bites” – An American Werewolf in London
13. “It Is the End” – It

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood

I’ve only just found out about this new album so have only listened to it a couple of times while working. I believe that some have videos as well? Will check it out more this week but the first one to really catch my ear was the Child’s Play one Assault & Batteries. It seems to be a take on the old Toys R Us jingle (in America), so I thought that was clever. Here’s the track listing for this one from Wikipedia:

1. “Opening Night…”
2. “Welcome to Horrorwood”
3. “A Rash Decision” – Cabin Fever
4. “Assault & Batteries” – Child’s Play
5. “The Shower Scene” – Psycho
6. “Funeral Derangements” – Pet Sematary
7. “Rainy Day” – Resident Evil (not seen this)
8. “Hip to Be Scared” – American Psycho
9. “Take Your Pick” – My Bloody Valentine
10. “The Box” – Hellraiser
11. “F.L.Y.” – The Fly
12. “Würst Vacation” – Hostel (not seen this. not interested)
13. “Ex-Mørtis” – The Evil Dead
14. “Farewell II Flesh” – Candyman

Willy’s Wonderland (2021) & Saint Maud (2019) Reviews

Happy “Halloween Week”! Here are two horror movies that I thought were pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed one but didn’t love the other, although I thought it was a good film. Probably obvious which was which…

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Directed by Kevin Lewis

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Christian Del Grosso, Caylee Cowan, Terayle Hill, Jonathan Mercedes, David Sheftell, Beth Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It follows a quiet drifter who is tricked into cleaning up an abandoned family entertainment center haunted by eight murderous animatronic characters.

My Opinion:

I was never a huge fan of Nicolas Cage but he’s finally growing on me since Mandy. Mandy grew on me a lot too – I wasn’t sure how I felt right away but now I love that film & its look and its amazing score. I now want every Nicolas Cage movie to live up to Mandy but I don’t think any ever will. I did enjoy Color Out Of Space & it certainly gave Mandy a run for its money on “weirdness”. I love weird. It was no Mandy but I’m loving that Cage chooses such bizarre films with cult movie potential.

He’s done similar again with Willy’s Wonderland but in the horror comedy genre this time (a favorite subgenre of mine). I was so damn excited to see the trailer for a film starring Cage battling demonic animatronic characters. Love this idea! The film sadly didn’t quite live up to its amazing potential but I still had a lot of fun with it. And Cage was as bonkers as always, even while remaining silent through the whole film. It has a good ’80s slasher sort of vibe to it as well, so I appreciated that. The ’80s had some of the best “bad” horror movies & I’ll always happily watch this kind of thing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Saint Maud (2019)

Directed & Written by Rose Glass

Starring: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

My Opinion:

Watched this British psychological horror as so many went on about it but it’s one of those films being raved over for the performance. And I agree that Morfydd Clark was very good so this was worth watching for that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The story follows hospice nurse Maud (portrayed by Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care (Jennifer Ehle), believing she must save her soul.

The movie is fine but does drag a bit. I did like the slowly building tension, though, and thought the ending was good. Not one I’d watch again but am glad I checked out. I recommend it only if you like the more serious type of horrors with good acting. Oh! And was I going crazy or did her face do a weird Soundgarden Black Hole Sun video thing a couple of times when she was having one of her God orgasms?? That was kind of freaky fun.

My Rating: 6.5/10


Black hole sun, won’t you come? And wash away the rain?

The Hunt (2020) Review

Today’s horror reblog is one I really quite liked…

Cinema Parrot Disco

The Hunt (2020)

Directed by Craig Zobel

Produced by Jason Blum & Damon Lindelof

Written by Nick Cuse & Damon Lindelof

Starring: Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Amy Madigan, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Hilary Swank

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen – for a very specific purpose – The Hunt.

My Opinion:

I can’t believe I thoroughly enjoyed two Blumhouse Production films in a row! I reviewed The Invisible Man last week & explained how their films have been very hit or miss for me but I liked The Invisible Man a lot. Well, I liked this one a lot too. I think I actually liked this even more than that one, although I’d say the The Invisible Man is the better “film”.

Now I…

View original post 1,180 more words

Army Of The Dead (2021) Review

A recent movie for my October Horror Month reblog today…

Cinema Parrot Disco

Army Of The Dead (2021)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Story by Zack Snyder

Starring: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a group of soldiers who plan a Las Vegas casino heist amid a zombie apocalypse.

My Opinion:

I re-posted my review of Zack Snyder’s fantastic Dawn Of The Dead remake yesterday (HERE). I love that film despite hating reboots/remakes and despite the original Romero film being an all-time favorite of mine. It’s a shame that Snyder hasn’t done a film as good as Dawn since (well, Watchmen was pretty good). In fact, I’ve pretty much hated all I’ve seen of his movies other than those two. Don’t tell anyone I said that. Oh god. I’m scared now.

Well,

View original post 864 more words

Ten Horror Movie Mini-Reviews

Since I mainly just do really short reviews the last couple of years in monthly posts, I have quite a few “reviews” of horror movies that are way too short to re-post alone. So here are all the mega short horror mini-reviews from the last two years. They’re in order from best to worst (the last few were dreadful). Love And Monsters isn’t exactly a horror movie, either, but it has monsters so I included it since it was more enjoyable than the rest.

Love And Monsters – This was a lot of fun but I weirdly have very little to say about it. Don’t know why. It’s a fun idea and the main character is sweet & likeable and OH MY GOD I loved the cute dog in it and there’s a fun robot and I LOVE robots (and cute dogs!) and there are funny big monsters and there’s honestly nothing to not like about this one. It also feels very original, which I can say about very few films these days. It’s a fun family film (well, not for really young kids but fine for slightly older ones). But I didn’t quite connect with it when I thought I’d really love it. I liked it. It’s good. Maybe I just need to watch it again sometime… Cool Robot above, Cute Dog at top of post! – 7/10

Run – This one was “fine”. Man I’m bored with movies that are just “okay”! But I do love a good ’90s-style thriller and do love a CRAZY MOM (Margaret White is the best!). So I did enjoy this movie despite it not being very good. Actually, I should maybe give it a slightly higher score. Meh. Maybe not. The young girl, Kiera Allen, was good but Sarah Paulson was a bit silly. I liked the story and the couple of twists at the end were fun. Okay, I’ve kind of talked myself into liking this one. Wish it was a better film overall. – 6/10

Sputnik – I was excited about this. Foreign sci-fi!! A Russian Alien!! Sadly, I was disappointed. I think it had a good idea (even though, yes, it’s very similar to Alien), the alien dude thing looked good, and the acting was decent. There’s even a mini twist at the very end. But… I dunno. It just didn’t quite work. I can’t explain why, though, as this is totally my type of thing. Maybe my expectations were just too high as one of my favorites last year was a foreign dystopian sci-fi film (The Platform). – 6/10

I See You – This was decent. Preferred how it started out to how it ended but liked the completely unpredictable turn it took. I appreciate that as the majority of horror films’ plots fail to surprise me in any way. But this is one of those movies that sort of switches genres halfway through & the mysterious horror at the start is more my type of thing. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis: “It follows a suburban family beset by unexplainable events that may be linked to the recent disappearance of a young boy.” And that really tells you nothing about this movie… Worth a watch if you like a crime horror that keeps you guessing. – 6/10

The Borderlands – I love a good horror. We get so few good horror films these days. This one was… Okay. Not even close to being a great modern horror (like It Follows, Train To Busan or The Babadook). But it was a perfectly decent example of the found footage & religious horror subgenres & had a good creepy atmosphere. I also kind of liked the ending as it got a bit weird. I like some weirdness! The whole thing could have done with more of that. I have NO clue why but this one made me think of horror movie The Ritual. That was an odd one. Oh, probably just because they’re both British. Anyway, The Ritual has gone up a bit in my estimation since I first saw it. That one was better. But if you like that, you might like this. And vice versa. – 6/10

The Haunted Mansion – Finally decided to check this one out. It’s… Fine. I’m sure it’s a favorite film for some who were kids at the right sort of age when this came out. But I only saw this two months ago & am already forgetting it. Safe & fun but forgettable family film. – 6/10

Dark Places – Oh, look – it’s young Beast from X-Men! Holy shit – I barely remember this movie either. It was only three months ago! My mind has clearly been elsewhere during this pandemic. What’s sad is that I also read this book. From what I remember of the book, this was a faithful adaptation. It just wasn’t my favorite story from Gillian Flynn. Flynn also wrote Gone Girl, which was a very enjoyable book (review here). But what I liked even more was her novel Sharp Objects (sort-of review here). That book was fucked up! And the TV adaptation with Amy Adams was decent. Dark Places was okay but meh. The characters are all pretty hateful (but that’s the case with all of Flynn’s books that I’ve read). Here’s the synopsis from IMDb: “Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.” – 5.5/10

Brahms: The Boy II – Well, this was a massive disappointment after really enjoying the first film (which I reviewed HERE). The first film had a solid story (as far as horror goes) & a very ’80s vibe to it. Two things I love: ’80s movies & creepy dolls! The story in this sequel gets really dumb & kind of undoes the simplicity of the story in the first movie. Yet another pointless horror remake. – 5/10

Tales Of Halloween – Wow. This was absolutely dreadful. It’s a collection of short “Halloween” tales (obviously). I love a good horror anthology (Trick ‘ r Treat & Dead Of Night, for example). Watch those instead. Besides the very first story (I think) being a fucked-up but fun tale of a boy wanting his Halloween candy back, the rest are silly & ridiculous. A waste of time. – 3/10

Unfriended – I absolutely fucking hated this movie. I’m not gonna even bother to re-post my long rant about it here or add an image. Yuck. Hated these characters so much. – 4/10

As Above, So Below (2014) & Dark Skies (2013) Reviews

A couple of movies today that probably aren’t anyone’s favorites but I quite liked the alien abduction movie. Aliens freak me out. Don’t experiment on me!!

As Above, So Below (2014)

Directed by John Erick Dowdle

Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It is presented as found footage of a documentary crew’s experience exploring the Catacombs of Paris and was loosely based on the seven layers of Hell.

My Opinion:

This was disappointing. I have a fascination with the catacombs in Paris. I’ve been there and walking through row upon row of skulls & bones is a pretty freaky experience so I can see why it has inspired horror movies. But they have yet to make a good horror movie set there. There was a truly dreadful 2007 movie called Catacombs, starring Shannyn Sossamon & Pink, that I would never recommend to anyone. I actually bought that stupid DVD just because I’d been wanting a horror movie to be set in the catacombs. From what I remember, though, it did at least manage to be a little creepy.

As Above, So Below is certainly the better film of the two but it’s such a weird mishmash of genres that it just didn’t work for me. And it’s not creepy enough. I think a movie with this setting needs to be pure horror but this movie had a sort of Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider thing mixed in with the horror. And then some weird supernatural stuff which is something I normally love but was just too dumb in this case. And the characters were okay but extremely underdeveloped while our lead girl was a tad unlikeable (although the actress was fine). Oh, it’s also a “found footage” film, which not everyone likes (I don’t mind found footage). Oh yeah – there’s also some weird religious stuff going on & ancient artefacts & that kind of shit. I wanted to like this movie but the weird Lara Croft thing going on with the main girl was just awkward. I guess I was expecting a more straightforward horror film but I also give the movie credit for trying to do something a little different.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Dark Skies (2013)

Directed & Written by Scott Stewart

Starring: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, J. K. Simmons

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
As the Barrett family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them, one which may have arrived from beyond the stars.

My Opinion:

This was fine for a horror about aliens. We’ve not had a horror movie involving aliens experimenting on us in a while. This sub genre was a big thing at one point! I’ve always found the alien abduction movies pretty effectively creepy & thought this movie was an okay example of this type of film. Maybe I liked it as the whole alien abduction thing really scared me as a young kid. I honestly thought I’d be abducted & experimented on. Seriously. I think I watched way too much old sci-fi and original Twilight Zone episodes as a kid. I also like Keri Russell as an actress (love the film Waitress). The family were likeable (as far as horror movies go – it’s not the best genre for character development) & the story was fine & it was fairly creepy. Good enough.

My Rating: 6/10

The Bachman Books by Stephen King aka Richard Bachman (Book Review)

I re-read The Bachman Books this year (a collection of four Stephen King stories originally published under his pen-name Richard Bachman). I don’t normally re-read books but it had been over 20 years since I read these. I remember absolutely loving one & really liking another but couldn’t remember anything very specific from either. The other two stories I had zero memory of whatsoever. Weird how memory works. Here they are in the order they appear in the collection…

Story 1: Rage

I can’t believe I didn’t remember a thing about this story as it later became very controversial. In fact, it is no longer being published (which King requested) so I was lucky to get an old copy of The Bachman Books at a charity shop which still includes this story. The topic is one that makes me as angry as the whole social media & bullying thing I went on about in my review of that dreadful Unfriended movie: Guns. The massive gun problem in America in general but especially in schools.

Anyway, King wanted this to stop being published after it was too strongly linked to five school shootings. I won’t go into censorship here (oh boy, another fun topic!) but I’m mostly very much against it. It depends on the situation, though, and King made the right choice. In the story, a troubled teen boy brings a gun to school & holds his class hostage. As far as the topic of guns & school shootings go, that’s not really the focus of this story and the story doesn’t go how you’d expect. I’m trying to stay spoiler free but it’s more about the struggles of growing up & the things that shape you & mental illness & fighting back against authority (maybe – it’s not made all that clear).

I kind of made the story sound better than it is. I don’t think King quite gets his point across in this story as to why this boy does this. At least he doesn’t make you sympathise with the character, which would be very irresponsible as no one should think they have the right to bring a gun into their school. The ending also goes off the rails and I didn’t see the point of that either but at least it ends in an unpredictable way. It’s terrible to think it may have inspired real shootings as it’s not the point of this story (although I’m not sure what the point is) and probably not something King would have expected to come from this short novel. Overall, the story could’ve been better had it made its point a little more clear.

My Rating: 3/5

Story 2: The Long Walk

This was the story I remembered loving. My opinion hasn’t changed. This is a great story and could make such a fantastic movie. I know Frank Darabont had the rights to it for years & I’d been desperate for him to adapt it as he did such a brilliant job with The Green Mile, The Mist and especially The Shawshank Redemption. But I just looked into it and he’s lost the rights (oh no!). There’s a plan for it to now be made by Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark & Trollhunter director André Øvredal. I’m not happy! Did like Trollhunter but was very excited at the thought of Darabont making The Long Walk. Damn.

Anyway, the story is so simple yet so horrifying: In a dystopian reality, each year 100 teenage boys have to walk until only 1 of them is still walking. The final boy wins the big final “prize”. You get to know a few of the characters pretty well, which is what I most care about in a story. This is a short novel, though, so there’s less character development than I’d like and I think this could be one of those occasions where the movie could improve on that if done by the right person (Darabont would’ve been great with the character development!). Oh well. It’s still a great story & I still hope they finally make it into a movie.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Story 3: Roadwork

I can see why I didn’t remember Roadwork as it’s not one of King’s more memorable stories. It’s about a guy who goes off the deep end when a new road being built means both his house & his company will be torn down. I’ll be honest – I haven’t quite finished reading it but I’m almost done & am gonna just review it anyway. (FYI – as I’m re-posting this I’ve of course finished it now & my opinion hasn’t changed).

I think the story is far longer than it needed to be. It does drag on & I wasn’t eager to pick it up & keep reading, which is why it took me over a month to read a novella. While the reader does have some sympathy for the guy, especially as he had a tragedy in his past, he’s really hard to fully sympathise with overall (especially as he doesn’t care at all about ruining his wife’s life along with his). The story is okay, I guess. I always enjoy reading King’s writing but this certainly isn’t a favorite.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Story 4: The Running Man

The Running Man is my second favorite of these four novellas. I think it’s a good story & am looking forward to the new film adaptation from Edgar Wright (if that’s still happening??). But I did also really like the Schwarzenegger film which, if I remember, was nothing whatsoever like the book anyway?! Need to rewatch that now to refresh my memory of that too.

What can I say? I like dystopian future stories and I liked this world where people have to “play for their lives” on game shows. I didn’t find this story very far-fetched when I first read it over 20 years ago & I find it even more plausible now. The ending is maybe a little silly but, whatever – it’s Stephen King! Who cares. I’m a fan. I feel like I’ve read only Stephen King books in 2021, though. Hmm. Oh well – libraries were closed thanks to the pandemic & I mainly only buy King’s stuff these days so it’s pretty much all I have to read in the house. 🙂

My Rating: 3.5/5

The Innocents (1961) Review

The Innocents (1961)

Directed by Jack Clayton

Based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Starring: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Pamela Franklin, Martin Stephens

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a governess who watches over two children and comes to fear that their large estate is haunted by ghosts and that the children are being possessed.

My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this for years. It’s one of many adaptations of the famous 1898 story The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I’ve not read the story, although I really want to now, and I had somehow managed to completely avoid having it spoiled for me in all this time. I had an idea in my mind of what it would be about and I was way off!

This sort of story is so my kind of thing. I love supernatural and I love creepy and I especially love creepy kids (and they’re always extra creepy in old movies). Here’s the very simple IMDb synopsis: “A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.” I should say that I watched this live on Talking Pictures TV (U.K.). They have a really interesting selection of old films so I recommend checking out their schedule or following them on Twitter (thanks to the hubby for telling me about the channel!).

I don’t really know what to say about this one. For one thing, I want to stay spoiler free for anyone who’s interested in watching this. Secondly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s a great film. It’s eerie, I loved the scary kids and not knowing what was going on, and Deborah Kerr was very good (that’s two movies I’ve seen her in this year, the other being the beautiful Black Narcissus).

I want to read the story now as there’s some psychological stuff going on here and I’d like to see how it’s presented in the novella. This being an old British film, there’s some f*^ked up sexual repression going on here (old British films are the best at that). I think the story can be interpreted in different ways and I’m still thinking about the ending and its meaning. It’s probably why this story remains so popular and is still being adapted to this day (the latest being Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor). I’d watch this one again as I missed some of it (the joy of having to watch live TV! First world problems, I know).

My Rating: 7.5/10