Here are two more very short “reviews” of a couple of old horror classics that I watched this year.
Carnival Of Souls (1962)
Directed by Herk Harvey
Starring:Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) Carnival of Souls is a 1962 American independent horror film written, produced, and directed by Herk Harvey, and starring Candace Hilligoss. Its plot follows Mary Henry, a young woman whose life is disturbed after a car accident. She relocates to a new city, where she finds herself unable to assimilate with the locals, and becomes drawn to the pavilion of an abandoned carnival.
My Brief Opinion:
I’ve wanted to see this for years (FYI – it’s on Amazon Prime UK). Mainly because of the title: CARNIVAL OF SOULS!!! Seriously – that’s an awesome title. The movie itself? Low budget and extremely slow-paced. I love the idea of the story, though, and can see that this probably influenced many later horror films such as Romero’s brilliant Night Of The Living Dead. There’s some great stuff going on in this movie, including creepy & atmospheric organ music and zombielike people who seem to be after the main character’s soul following her car accident. I want to give this a higher rating. It deserves higher. I may up my rating at some point… I do think it’s worthy of its cult status and that all film lovers, especially horror film lovers, should see it. But it IS very slow. The story is dragged out for too long but, to be fair, the ending won’t have been blatantly obvious in 1962. This film was probably a bit of a shock back then! But it could’ve made for a kick ass half-hour episode of The Twilight Zone instead.
My Rating: 6.5/10
A Bucket Of Blood (1959)
Directed by Roger Corman
Starring: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, John Brinkley
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film is a dark comic satire about a dimwitted, impressionable young busboy at a Bohemian café who is acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor when he accidentally kills his landlady’s cat and covers its body in clay to hide the evidence. When he is pressured to create similar work, he becomes murderous.
My Brief Opinion:
Amazon Prime seems to have a lot of cult classic horrors at the moment so, like Carnival Of Souls, I was happy to finally check out this Roger Corman horror comedy starring Dick Miller. I can’t say it’s a “good” film but it’s memorable and I loved the 50’s beatnik setting. Not enough movies focus on that sort of culture – it made it feel more unique. Here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’ve not heard of it: “A dim-witted busboy finds acclaim as an artist for a plaster-covered dead cat that is mistaken as a skillful statuette. The desire for more praise soon leads to an increasingly deadly series of works.” I enjoyed it plus it’s only just over an hour long so I appreciated that (I rarely have enough time to watch an entire movie in one sitting).
Happy July, everyone! I’m WAY behind on my June Roundup. How is it July 2018? Where’s the time going?! Where’s my life going?!? Well, here’s the stuff I watched & read in June 2018. Once again, I was disappointed with most things. I seriously need to see a really great movie soon…
• Thief – Been wanting to watch this for a while as it’s Michael Mann’s first major film and I think Heat and Collateral are great. I got even more excited when the movie started and I saw that Tangerine Dream did the score. Yes!!! I love Tangerine Dream! This film is good & worth a watch if you’re a fan of either Mann or Tangerine Dream or late 70s/early 80s crime dramas. It feels like this probably inspired movies such as Drive looks-wise. It did drag a little, though. The characters were also a bit weak – I didn’t care too much about anyone although James Caan did do a decent job as a professional thief. Not as good as Heat but has the same great sort of look to it. It looks & feels like the best of Mann’s other work. – 7/10
• The Florida Project – This was an odd one and I wasn’t sure while watching it if I liked it all that much. But I think I did. It grew on me and, weirdly, it was more entertaining than a lot of similar films that explore characters in situations where “nothing really happens”. I did really like Willem Dafoe in this although I don’t know if the role was “Oscar nominee” material. The main mother in this was annoying as hell and impossible to like but she felt like a real person, which not all movies are able to achieve. I ended up really liking her daughter & the other kids, although they seem bratty at first. They aren’t really, though – they’re just a product of their environment (a rundown motel just outside of Disney World). Actually, I thought the main girl (Brooklyn Prince) was a fantastic actress for her young age. Again, she felt like a real person. The setting was great (I love the look of that purple motel) and it was an interesting look at how there are people struggling to get by all over the world, including just outside of the happiest place on earth. I think I like this even more after writing this review… – 7/10
• 20th Century Women – This was actually pretty good! I really knew nothing about this going into it but I enjoyed each of the characters & their different personalities. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.” I couldn’t fully relate to any of the women but I did really like Greta Gerwig’s music-loving photographer and I especially loved all the Talking Heads music that they listened to. Good drama with strong performances from everyone (Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann & Billy Crudup) but has maybe too much of an indie-feel for a mainstream audience. Glad I checked it out. – 7/10
• Christine (2016) – This is based on the true story of Christine Chubbuck, a TV news reporter who killed herself live on air in 1974. I’m surprised I knew nothing of this story and had never even heard of this woman. The story is, obviously, tragic and horrifying but I think the film handled the subject matter as well as it could. Rebecca Hall did a good job as Christine (though I can’t say how accurate the performance was). Not an easy watch and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone going through a hard time emotionally. It’s a solid drama & well acted but with a very slow pace and a TV movie feel to it. – 6.5/10
• A Bucket Of Blood – Amazon Prime seems to have a lot of cult classic horrors at the moment so, like Carnival Of Souls last month, I was happy to finally check out this Roger Corman horror comedy starring Dick Miller. I can’t say it’s a “good” film but it’s memorable and I loved the 50’s beatnik setting. Not enough movies focus on that sort of culture – it made it feel more unique. Here’s another IMDb synopsis if you’ve not heard of it: “A dim-witted busboy finds acclaim as an artist for a plaster-covered dead cat that is mistaken as a skillful statuette. The desire for more praise soon leads to an increasingly deadly series of works.” I enjoyed it plus it’s only just over an hour long so I appreciated that (I rarely have enough time to watch an entire movie in one sitting). – 6.5/10
• Cargo – Loved this movie’s concept and thought the short film it’s based on was pretty great. Like Lights Out, however, I thought the longer format didn’t really work. Sometimes less is more! The movie is okay and it’s still a very good concept but I found it a little boring (and I fell asleep for a while in the middle of it – don’t tell hubby because I can’t be bothered to watch what I missed). It’s nice, though, that they’re still somehow finding ways to make zombie movies that feel original! Watch it if you want a decent zombie film that’s more about drama & family and less about blood & guts but PLEASE watch the short film first. – 6.5/10
• In Time – This was fine. A bit forgettable. Again, I liked the synopsis so finally decided to check this out. From IMDb: “In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage – a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.” The story was okay & I liked the way that people could “buy time” but a better movie could have been made from this story. Fun but probably a bit too glossy and full of pretty young people to take it very seriously. – 6/10
• The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane – I watched this odd 1976 Jodie Foster film partly because I was sick of seeing it in my Netflix Watchlist (it’s been on there for years). I think I was under the impression that it was a straightforward horror but it’s more of a drama that almost feels like a play. Actually, the story would work quite well as a play (maybe it was a play – I’m too lazy to look into it). It drags & I found it a bit underwhelming but the young Foster did a good job as the mysterious 13-year-old who seems to live in a house all on her own. – 5.5/10
• Swiss Army Man – Okaaaaaaay. This pretty much sucked. I was never really a fan of Weekend At Bernie’s because I thought the “drag a dead guy around and pretend he’s alive” gag was stupid. This is the same gag multiplied by one million. With farts. LOTS of farts. But… I guess it’s superior to Weekend At Bernie’s since it’s current & everything more than ten years old is shit in the eyes of the current generation? Anyway, I’d give it a lower rating but I have to admit that riding a dead guy like a waterski as his farts propel you is, um, original? And I always moan that there’s no originality these days. So I’ll be nice and give an extra point for some unique stupid gags that even Weekend At Bernie’s couldn’t have dreamed up. – 5/10
• Dig Two Graves – Why do I occasionally watch random movies on Netflix that I’ve never heard of?? Well, I luck out sometimes – I thought Circle was fantastic. But the random ones in the horror genre are always shit. I’ll say that the acting in this was decent, though. Far better than the story itself, which didn’t hold my interest. Overall, it was yet another modern horror that was a waste of my time but it’s probably not as “bad” as my rating suggests. It showed some promise. It wasn’t as dumb as most the horrors that get a full cinema release. It was just dull. – 4.5/10
• The Dark Tower – What in the actual fuck WAS this?! I love King but never got around to reading The Dark Tower series. I did read The Gunslinger (review HERE), though. The first book. This movie is NOT The Gunslinger. I know people have said it takes elements from the other books. Ugh. Whatever. I’ll keep reading the books as people do rave about them and they all trash this terrible adaptation. Just read The Gunslinger. Avoid this movie – it doesn’t resemble the story I read in any way whatsoever. – 3/10
• Re-Watch: Mrs. Doubtfire – Never did love this movie but finally watched it with the kid. She liked it okay but didn’t love it. I do love Robin Williams, though. Miss him! – 6/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH
BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)
• Odd Hours by Dean Koontz – I love Dean Koontz. I recently did a post of My Top Ten Dean Koontz books HERE. The Odd Thomas series is great, mainly because the main character is so good. The first book is the best by FAR of what I’ve read so far, though, although I did enjoy book 3 (Brother Odd). I found this one (book 4) disappointing. Maybe it’s like the Star Trek movies but the opposite – only the odd numbers are good?? Ha! ODD numbers. Anyway – I’ll keep reading as I love the character. – 3/5
Currently Reading: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera & Strange Weather by Joe Hill
TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)
• Girls – I needed a short show to have on while exercising & saw this one was available & realized I’d watched all but the final two seasons. So I watched the final two seasons. The characters were as fucking hateful as always. Seriously – are these the most hateful people in a tv series ever or WHAT?! Yes. Yes they are. If these people were a part of my real life, I’d do everything in my power to avoid them. They never felt at all realistic. Are there really people like these?!? I used to think there weren’t but, thanks to Twitter, I’m thinking there really are people as nauseating as these four girls. But, fuck it – anyone who says this show wasn’t well written and wasn’t funny at times is a liar. Because it’s hard to admit. These people are so hateful that we don’t want to give the show any credit. However, that final episode may be the worst finale for a show that I’ve ever seen. What on Earth were they thinking?! What a let down.
• 13 Reasons Why – I’ve now seen two episodes. It’s fine. I read the book (my review is HERE) and the adaptation is decent so far. But I do have issues with the story being told at all. It’s a very sensitive topic and I don’t think the book necessarily handled it well so don’t know if the show will either. Seeing what season 2 is about, though, makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe they went there… I’ll only be watching season 1, which is the story in the book.
• The IT Crowd – Again, I finally started this as I need a short show on while exercising. I watched the first episode. I wasn’t really feeling it… Maybe I’ll give it another go at some point.
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
Upcoming Movies I Want To See:
(Well, the month is half over so I’ve seen some of these now)
• The First Purge – Saw it. Liked it but it’s the weakest of the four. My review is HERE.
• Mary Shelley – I’ll probably wait for Netflix.
• Skyscraper – Looks dumb but fun. Anyone know if it’s appropriate for a 9-year-old? She weirdly seems to like The Rock. She did love Rampage, which was pretty intense…
• Incredibles 2 – Saw it! Loved it. Will try to review it this week.
• The Secret Of Marrowbone – Looks okay but I know that 90% of modern horrors disappoint me so who knows? May wait for Netflix.
• Hotel Artemis – Hmm. Looked fun but hasn’t had great reviews. Feels like a John Wick ripoff anyway.