Wait Until Dark

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Rating: ****.5 (4.5 out of five)
Year: 1967

Plot: Mission: stick a bunch of heroin in a doll in Canada and smuggle it into the states. Outcome: doll is given to stranger in airport, and when you get to the states you have difficulty retrieving it… and when I say difficulty I mean that you are murdered. Murderer’s new mission: try to finesse the blind girlfriend of the guy who has the doll into giving it to you willingly. Keep yourself untraceable by conning the Keystone Cops into doing some softshoe for you, and keeping the whole murder thing on the hush-hush. Murderer’s outcome: success on many fronts; marked lack of success on others.

Review: I’ve never been a fan of old movies. In fact, I’d never even seen a movie starring Katherine Hepburn, but the g/f wanted to alleviate such a deficiency by showing me this film. I now realize what all the hubbub’s about. There’s only about a teaspoon’s worth of blood. No aliens, no demonic children, and no naked, screaming sorority girls. And yet, somehow, the movie provides eminently compelling gripping suspense. Remember how much you loved old NES or Genesis video games? Have you ever noticed how the newer games, while 1000 times prettier, simply don’t have the same draw as the old ones you fell in love with? Well, one could argue that this phenomenon is due to the fact that the old stuff relied completely on substance. The same argument can be made here. There was no Weta Workshop back then, so the scares had to be genuine. They had to come from real characters and eerily plausible plot-lines. It is obvious that the writers have attended painstakingly to every detail. The plot and dialogue are masterfully crafted. While this movie might fall more into the suspense category than straight-up horror, it packs more creeps than a childless, solo, mustached man in a raincoat at a little league game.

Notable scene: When Hep describes “important things” to be “picking out a wallpaper or choosing a necktie”, you see just how successful the feminist movement has been over the last 40 years. Oh, and specifically, when the refrigerator door opens
Gore :            Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:     Screams
Campiness:  Donald Pleasances
Creepiness:  Cellar Doors
Munchy Suggestion: A box of chocolate flavored Oreos Your poo will be black as night.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.
31Nights on October 25th, 2008 | File Under 4 Stars, 5 Stars, Classic | No Comments -

The Fearless Vampire Killers
or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck

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Rating: **.5 (2 and a half out of five)
Year: 1967

Plot: A moribund professor takes his bumbling assistant to the frozen reaches of Transylvania in an effort to confirm some of his controversial ideas about humanoid bloodsuckers. Turns out he’s right about all of them! ‘Cept the bat thing. They don’t turn into bats. Anyway, they arrive at a claustrophobic tavern where vampirific stuff happens. They follow one of the rascals to an old gothic castle. There they meet the count, his hunchbacked servant, and his bisexual son. The assistant has the hots for the innkeeper’s daughter, who also turns up at the castle. Professor and assistant attempt a rescue of the cute red-head, and pull it off much like Scooby Doo and the gang woulda.

Review: Rosemary’s Baby is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, so I was very excited to see Roman Polanski’s stab at a Dracula movie. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the intent for this flick – it was marketed as a slapstick farce in the U.S.. So, it wasn’t very scary… but it wasn’t really funny either. Perhaps it’s just all the reminders about his pedophilia in the news lately, but I had a chill up my spine throughout most of the film. The sets are completely believable. Among them is one of the most genuine spooky old castles you’ll ever see. Although many elements of the Bram Stoker story show up here, Polanski’s version is different enough to be original, and it’s hard to tell just where the scene is going to take you. Overall, this is just a luke-warm rendition of a vampire movie, but certainly different than the rest, and definitely worth watching.

Notable scene: When the vampire Jew is arguing with quasimodo about sleeping arrangements, it seems like something right out of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Gore :             Buckets
Sex/Nudity:  Nipples
Scariness:     Screams
Campiness:  Donald Pleasances
Creepiness:  Cellar Doors
Munchy Suggestion: Steak with wine.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.


admin on October 22nd, 2008 | File Under 2 Stars, 3 Stars, Classic, Comedic, Creature, Vampires | No Comments -

Candyman

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Rating: *** ( 3 out of 5)
Year: 1992

Plot: From acclaimed horror Guru Clive Barker comes a modern twist on the urban legend genre. Set in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing projects, he brings you the tale of a well-to-do bouncy blond whose thesis project takes her to the belly of the twetieth century beast. Perhaps she can escape the ghetto with a mere beating, but how will she fare against a supernatural, baritone negro with a hook for a hand and a belly full of bees?

Review: Candyman was released right on the heels of the Rodney King beating and the subsequent riots. The country’s racial tensions had never been higher, and this movie capitalizes on that anxiety without crossing the line into racism. One of the devices that works best in this movie is Candyman’s ability to make it appear as if his victims were actually killed by the woman whom he is stalking. Barker’s story writing succeeds in part because it’s just so damn weird. The movie goes in directions that the viewer really doesn’t expect. Perhaps it goes too far towards the end, but the flick’s flat-out weirdness increases the suspense. You think to yourself, “What’s this movie going to do to me next?”

Notable scene: Helen (played by Virginia Madsen) awakens in her apartment drugged and disoriented to find her dog decapitated, her best friend sliced and diced, a butcher knife in her hand and cops yelling it her to put it down and her hands in the air… harder to explain than when your wife finds lipstick that she doesn’t own on a pair of your underwear.
Gore :         Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
(there’s a good, old-fashioned strip-search!)
Scariness:   Screams
Campiness: Donald Pleasances
Creepiness: Cellar Doors


Munchy Suggestion: Go ahead and dig into the Halloween candy you just bought for the big night… and eat it all! There’s plenty of time to restock.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.


31Nights on October 15th, 2008 | File Under 3 Stars, Classic, Exploitation, Slasher, Supernatural | No Comments -

Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Made For TV)

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Rating: ***.5 ( 3 and a half out of 5)
Year: 1980

Plot: Icabod Crane comes to the teensy, snowy town of Sleepy Hollow to try out the job of schoolmaster. He discovers that the last 3 or 4 schoolmasters had all ‘gone strange’, but this fact doesn’t sway his empiricist’s attitude towards the town’s odd goings-on. He fancies Katrina Van Tassel, but Brom Bones is going to do everything in his power to prevent their union.

Review: This low-budget, made-for-tv version far surpasses Burton’s blockbuster. Jeff Goldblum is perfectly cast as the gangly, eccentric Icabod. Dick Butkus hams it up as the villain; it’s bad, but works well for the part. Despite a virtually non-existent budget, the writing is decent, some scenes are rather spooky, and the viewer is treated to fuller, more complex version of the story than he or she might be accustomed to.

Notable scene: You gotta love the stills played as the station comes out of commercial break… maniacal laughs and all!
Gore:          Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:   Screams
Campiness: Donald Pleasances
Creepiness: Cellar Doors


Munchy Suggestion: A slice of Butterfinger pie dropped into a melted pint of Mayfield’s “Cupcake” ice cream.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: IMDB. (No Wiki entry)


31Nights on October 10th, 2008 | File Under 3 Stars, 4 Stars, Classic, Creature, Demonic, GoreGalore, Possession, Supernatural | No Comments -

Poltergeist

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Rating: ****.5 ( 4 and a half out of 5)
Year: 1982

Plot: Daddy is a premiere real estate salesmen for Cuesta Verde development; so good, in fact, that he and his family get to live in one of the units. Problem is, when the community was built, the devs didn’t think it necessary to respect the dead people in the cemetery by not building houses on top of them. The ghoulies are pissed, and are salivating at the opportunity to take out their hostilities on the home’s current residents.

Review: Do you remember the good ol’ days when mom and dad smoked pot before going to bed, t.v. stations played the national anthem at the end of the day’s broadcast, and Stephen Speilburg had skill and integrity? Seems like a long time ago. Speilburg and director Tobe Hooper manage to take this 15 cent plot line and turn it into one of the most dynamic, intriguing, and terrifying horror flicks of all time. The completeness of the family’s backstory and the genuine nature of their interactions bring you in close to the action, giving you reason to care whether or not they are pulled into a hell dimension. With ahead-of-its-time special effects and a really creepy ghost hunter, you’ll find yourself holding your breath time and again. Craig T. Nelson also brings some acting chops that he must have left on the set before going on to star in “Coach”.

Notable scene: For those who haven’t seen it before, you’ll finally understand the oft-parodied lines, “They’re heeeeeere” and “This house is clear”.
Gore         : Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:   Screams
Campiness: Donald Pleasances
Creepiness: Cellar Doors


Munchy Suggestion: Mellow Mushroom pizza with pesto base, extra cheese, bacon and pepperoni on top.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.


31Nights on October 8th, 2008 | File Under 4 Stars, 5 Stars, Classic, Demonic, Possession, Supernatural | No Comments -

The Boogeyman

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Rating: ***.5 ( 3 and a half out of 5)
Year: 1980

Review: Creepy. Weird. Bizarre. The movie opens on this horrifying milieu of pre-teen, incestuous voyeurism and and bondage. As any young lady with a head on her shoulders would do, the little daughter stabs daddy to death. It’s the kind of unsettling thing that makes the viewer think, “Jesus Christ! Where is this going next?” It’s a good thing too, because the next half hour is slow enough to be just boring without that added edgyness. Keep your guard up though! You’ll have to navigate through a HEAVILY EMPHASIZED mirrors theme, a killer glass slippers, a haunted eye-patch, and an exorcism. Good watch – gritty and nostalgic.

Notable scene: Do you constantly struggle to think of a way to combine the activities of making-out and prepping shish kabobs? After watching this movie, you won’t have to!
Gore:           Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:    Screams
Campiness:  Donald Pleasances
Creepiness:  Cellar Doors


Munchy Suggestion: A big bowl of Mayo, pickle, smoke-flavoring, pepper, and tuna (sounds a lot more gross in that order, doesn’t it?)
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.


31Nights on October 5th, 2008 | File Under 3 Stars, Classic, Demonic, Possession, Supernatural | No Comments -