Talk about just about anything else that is non-gaming here, but keep it clean
User avatar
prfsnl_gmr
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 10978
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:37 pm

Awesome! This is the best feature ever. I’ve already added the movie to my Prime watchlist, and I’m really looking forward to watching it later this month. It looks awesome. Thanks, Michi!

......

Last night, my wife and I watched The Vanishing (1988) (which I thought I had seen, but now am pretty sure I had not seen). It is a very solid, slow burn horror/thriller film similar to something you might see from Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick. (Stanley Kubrick was, apparently, quite a fan of this film.) It involves a young woman who disappears suddenly and mysteriously during a trip with her young husband; her husband’s obsessive search for her; and the results of his search. Everything happens precisely as you expect it to happen, and the ending is particularly chilling (and, again, entirely predictable). The movie’s “villain” is terrifying in his banality and sociopathy, and everything about it is just really, really well made. It’s not the sort of horror film that will have you peeking out from between your fingers or that will leave you unable to sleep at night. It’s not even that scary. It is chilling, however, and it really sticks with you in a way other horror films do not. Highly recommended.

EDIT: Tonight, we watched The Return of Doctor X (1939), the black-and-white semi-sequel to Doctor X, which, you may recall, is in color. (Only their titles and the presence of both a character named Doctor Xavier and an annoying newspaper man connect the two movies. The plot lines are completely unrelated, and even the annoying newspaper man is a different character. Also, what is it with annoying newspaper men in movies from the 1930s? It is such a weird trope.) Doctor X is also a good film, unlike The Return of Doctor X, which is really dull. The only thing that makes it worth watching is Humphrey Bogart, who plays the titular Doctor X...by doing his best Peter Lorre impression while wearing a white streak in his hair, donning a lab coat, and stroking a rabbit he holds in his arms. It is really, really campy and really, really awesome. According to Wikipedia, Humphrey Bogart was really embarrassed by this film, and I can see why. His performance is the only thing that pulls it up, though, which should tell you something about the rest of the film.

DOUBLE “YOU PEOPLE NEED TO WATCH MORE HORROR MOVIES” EDIT: Tonight, my wife and I watched REC (2007). It’s a Spanish found footage horror film about the outbreak of a zombie plague in an apartment building. The building is quickly quarantined, and the “survivors” are trapped inside. They spend the second half of the movie running up and down the apartment building, screaming, getting killed by zombies, and inexplicably, not putting down the camera or attempting to find any sort of shelter. This is really the movie’s weak point. It’s all action, and while it’s a lot of fun, with plenty of solid jump scares, it’s never spends any time building tension. (This is what, in my opinion separates good zombie films from great ones. The great ones spend a lot of time establishing a “safe” place for the protagonists, and we are forced to watch in horror as the forces of chaos slowly break it down and the protagonists desperately seek to hold onto the illusion of safety. That doesn’t happen in REC.) The mysterious ending is really solid and creepy, though, and like I said, the movies a lot of fun. Accordingly, I enjoyed it quite a bit despite its weaknesses.

prfsnl_gmr’s Halloween Movie List 2020 - Outbreak Edition
Slither (2006) - :)
The Creeping Flesh (1973) - :|
Man-Made Monster (1941) - :|
Doctor X (1932) - :)
Audition (1999) - :|
The Vanishing (1988) - :D
The Return of Doctor X (1939) - :(
REC (2007) - :)
User avatar
Ack
Moderator
 
Posts: 21497
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:26 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by Ack Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:58 am

Image

3. Savage Weekend

The US theatrical release date for this film is 1980, but it was actually filmed in 1976 and then had trouble securing release until it was picked up by The Cannon Group after a near disastrous showing at Cannes. Turns out the photo lab had put it in the wrong aspect ratio, so director David Paulsen and his wife had to manually tape over individual frames to get the film to be the correct aspect ratio. Don't you love low budget filmmaking?

That 1976 production date is vital to keep in mind for another reason however, because Savage Weekend is a proto-slasher. Proto-slashers are generally considered slasher-esque movie released before the horror subgenre's defining release of John Carpenter's Halloween in 1978, though you'll often see this delineation dropped for the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas, and occasionally even The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Why is this important? Because Savage Weekend doesn't fit all the standard tropes of the slasher film. The "final girl" role is a middle-aged woman who has sex, the "heroes" are not necessarily good guys in their own right, and the case is a larger older group than the teens and college co-eds who typically run around. That's not to say there aren't some heavy puritanical vibes, but this movie instead tries to present adults dealing with adult problems as well as hicksploitation red herrings.

A handful of city slickers from New York City decide to go visit upstate New York. This group includes a a recently divorced woman, her younger sister, her openly gay best friend, a stockbroker who is now dating the divorcee, and his scummy stockbroker buddy. They arrive for a weekend of relaxation and working on a boat that the stockbroker owns, but eventually (and I do mean eventually) a guy in a mask shows up to kill nearly everyone off. It takes him over an hour to get started, but once he does, he comes up with a few creative ideas. Of particular note is one involving a buzzsaw and a light switch, but I won't go into the gory details on that one.

Of course, along the way we have to get our share of ruses to mislead the audience, the main one being some of the local rural people, particularly one guy who has some kind of mental problem. Because these poor, prejudiced, dirty, backwoods people are obviously the murderous type. They must be if they don't live in New York City. All except one, who is the kind of tough, farm-smart, rugged sexual mastodon that is of course the apple of the confused divorcee's eye. Sure, the New Yorkers got street smarts, but this guy knows how to pull a fish hook out of your foot and milk a cow, so he must be an Adonis. Yeah, that's the kind of movie we're in. We're watching a divorced woman in her 40s swoon over the local help and not enjoy her pudgy, soft stockbroker boyfriend. It's a cheesy romance novel plot.

Yet the movie takes some pains to avoid certain stereotypes too. For instance, Nicky, the openly gay and flamboyant best friend, has a scene early on where he's getting harassed in a bar (admittedly after doing his best to antagonize the locals) and then kicks the asses of two dudes who were going to pick a fight. And I mean he wipes the floor with these guys and then declares he grew up in the South Bronx. Nicky's inclusion was berated at the time for being a stereotype and somehow trying to set back the Gay Rights movement, but he's easily one of the best characters of the film, wiry and tough, always an outsider to the point it hurts him. The sister seems to be his friend but also seems at times to openly flirt with him as if challenging him in his sexuality, and these moments bring a pained expression of cruel understanding and perhaps even loathing to his face. He has a quiet depth that makes him the most interesting character to watch. When he dies (because of course he does), I nearly gave up because so many of the other folks were so uninteresting.

Of course, all of it falls back on the familiar mental illness trope: the killer is revealed as someone who had a nervous breakdown but also had held political power and can't give up the idea of being in power. Yep, he's a closet narcissist who got hospitalized for depression after losing his political power. Ah, mental illness, the grand excuse to kill a bunch of horny teenagers.

Considering it struggles with the tropes, had a late release, and probably wouldn't interest most of the teenage fans slashers were usually geared towards, Savage Weekend has only achieved a small level of cult status over the years, which doesn't really surprise me. There are things to like about the movie, and there is some creativity, though it doesn't hold up against genre heavyweights.

Still, I've seen worse.

31 Horror Films So Far:
3/31

1. The Minion
2. Phase IV
3. Savage Weekend
Image
Image
I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
User avatar
prfsnl_gmr
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 10978
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:37 pm

Tonight, my wife an I watched The Devil Doll (1936). It is about a financier, Played by Lionel Barrymore and falsely accused of embezzlement and murder by his partners, who returns to Paris to exact revenge after 17 years in prison. Fortunately, for him, he escapes with a scientist who, along with his scientist wife, have developed a method for shrinking living things to 1/6 their size. Unfortunately, the shrinking process leaves the subjects very susceptible to suggestion, and neither of the scientist ever developed a remedy for this side effect of the shrinking process. Also unfortunately, the male scientist randomly dies, his dream of shrinking everyone in the world to 1/6 size unfulfilled. The financier, enlists the aid of the female mad scientist (who, like Humphrey Bogart’s mad scientist in The Return of Doctor X, has a very dashing, very 1930s streak of white in her hair), to use miniaturized people to exact his revenge and clear his name. Is it directed by Tod Browning? Yes. Does most of the film feature Lionel Barrymore in drag? Yes. Are the vintage special effects pretty fantastic? Yes. Does it have a remarkably touching ending despite its ridiculous premise? Yes. Is it pretty great? Yes. I enjoyed this movie thoroughly, and while it’s not as iconic as Dracula or as interesting as Freaks, it is, IMO, easily Tod Browning’s best. Highly recommended.

prfsnl_gmr’s Halloween Movie List 2020 - Outbreak Edition
Slither (2006) - :)
The Creeping Flesh (1973) - :|
Man-Made Monster (1941) - :|
Doctor X (1932) - :)
Audition (1999) - :|
The Vanishing (1988) - :D
The Return of Doctor X (1939) - :(
REC (2007) - :)
The Devil Doll (1936) - :D
User avatar
Ack
Moderator
 
Posts: 21497
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:26 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by Ack Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:48 am

Image

4. Day of the Animals

This movie is not to be confused with the never released Grizzly II. It may seem strange that the two get compared, but Day of the Animals and Grizzly both featured much of the same crew, including the same director and producer, as well as both actors Christopher George and Richard Jaeckel. Only instead of fighting a single giant bear in this movie, they're now up against every animal living upwards of 5000 feet in the mountains of Northern California. And I do mean every animal.

The hole in the o-zone layer is terrible, and the ultra-violet radiation that is able to enter the earth's atmosphere now has a new side effect: making things ultra-violent. While people may or may not be affected, animals aren't so lucky, and they become able to coordinate across species and tactical in their bloodlust. Unfortunately, nobody has figured out this is what's going on, so it seems like a perfect time for local guide Steve Buckner to take a bunch of city slickers on a multi-day hike where they don't pack their own food. Soon enough, the animals being their assault, human nature gets the worse of the group, and different folks end up splitting off from each other, with relatively few survivors. And the locals don't fare much better, with everyone evacuated and the few staying behind ending up dead.

Oh yeah, it's eco-horror at its most blatant. The film even begins with a direct message about how the film is a possible scenario if damage to the ozone layer continues. The movie does seem to waver on whether people are directly impacted on a mental level, but by the end a lot of dirty folks have some nasty sunburns along with their dirty animal bites and stings. Oh, and Leslie Nielsen fights a bear.

Yes, you read that right: Leslie Nielsen plays a racist asshole advertising exec who turns into a murderous, rape-hungry sadist with no shirt on and who tries to fight a bear with his bear hands. In terms of great moments in killer bear movies, it's not quite as good as the exploding yellow sleeping bag of Prophecy, but it's up there. Unfortunately, it's also the only place the bear gets used. Everyone else is killed by birds, dogs, snakes, attacked by wolves, and mauled by mountain lions. They saved the big guy for Nielsen.

While the film does as best it can showing folks get attacked by animals with limited gore (this sure ain't Roar, folks), at times it is laughably bad at what it does. A particular scene of a woman falling off a cliff while being attack by hawks uses some really bad superimposition shots; a falling dummy with fake birds attached would probably have been more realistic. I guess this soured them, so nearly all the other deaths are handled offscreen. But this doesn't get into the awkward treatment of the one Native American character, played by Michael Ansara. While Nielsen's character makes a lot of racist jokes towards Ansara's, we also get the stoic, nature-understanding, wise Native stereotype too. At least most of the characters defend against the jokes when they hear them.

While I mentioned Grizzly earlier, there are some other great movie connections with this one. Susan Backlinie plays a character in this who is the first to die...much like she was the first to die to the shark in Jaws. And while Leslie Nielsen is here, so is Michelle Stacy; both appeared later in Airplane!, and Richard Jaeckel appeared in Airplane II: The Sequel. Is any of this important? God no, but it sure is weird.

Day of the Animals ends with a golden eagle swooping at the camera to attack. Yeah, it's that kind of movie. Fantastic.

31 Horror Films So Far:
4/31

1. The Minion
2. Phase IV
3. Savage Weekend
4. Day of the Animals
Image
Image
I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
User avatar
PretentiousHipster
64-bit
 
Posts: 430
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:10 am
Location: Canada

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by PretentiousHipster Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:36 pm

Gonna sound like a broken record (didn't mention it in this thread but I'm sure I did before), but now would be a good time to see Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning if someone wants to see 80s hammy action films deconstructed into a horror film.
Last edited by PretentiousHipster on Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Michi
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 4599
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:47 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by Michi Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:37 pm

And the second film in my very specified theme this month is:

The Black Belly of the Tarantula


Image



Why did I think prfsnl_gmr would like it? Cause he already watched it :D ....

Okay, so I cheated a little and it probably won't be the last time (and it won't be all the times, I promise). But it was in my que and I wanted to watch it. Sue me.

Anyway.... I know prfsnl_gmr likes stylish giallo, so I can very much see why he found this appealing. It is deceptively beautiful, is filled with a slew of good European actors, and it has a stylish 70s fashion sense. Sure, the dialogue can veer into the hokey and there are several plot points that are introduced that don't end up going anywhere, but overall it's a nice example of the Italian giallo, placed comfortably in the timeline of the genre between the more subtlety of the earlier films and the more exploitative aspect of the later years.

Plus it stars a bunch of Bond girls. What's not to like?
User avatar
prfsnl_gmr
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 10978
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:07 pm

Solid pick, Michi! I’m a fan of giallo films, and I’m looking forward to reading your review later tonight.

I’m out of town at the moment, and without the ability to stream movies to a decently-sized TV, which is why I’m working through a lot of random DVDs. When I’m back, though, I’ll be hitting the Prime Video horror films hard.
User avatar
Ack
Moderator
 
Posts: 21497
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:26 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by Ack Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:11 pm

Image

5. Lake Mungo

For some reason I spent years getting this movie confused with Lake Placid, so I kept wondering when the killer alligator would show up. No such luck, this is a ghost story, through and through.

Lake Mungo is a mockumentary, though I have some trouble with that term. The term 'mockumentary' has always made me think of comedies, such as This is Spinal Tap or Zelig. However, Lake Mungo is a supernatural horror movie, and it is presented as a straightforward documentary with all the twists, turns, and roundabouts one might find in your average episode of Dateline. As a result, I don't consider it a found footage film. Those generally imply that the footage was recovered later and possibly edited into some level of coherency. That isn't what this is. This is interviews interspliced with still photography, family films, cell phone video, and so forth. The Blair Witch Project it ain't, nor does it need to be.

The Palmer family, a typical middle class household in small town Australia, is rocked by the sudden and tragic drowning of their daughter, 16-year-old Alice. The family eventually comes to believe it is being haunted by her ghost, but as events continue, they learn that some supposed footage of her is fake, that they are working with a psychic who is withholding a crucial piece of evidence, and that their daughter had a secret double-life that almost no one was aware of. The documentary follows a thread through these events and discoveries, eventually resulting in the family visiting the titular Lake Mungo, where Alice had visited on a school trip some time before, and confronting the crucial event that may have ultimately led to her death, possibly by suicide. As for the ghost...well...

...yes.

The mocking of documentary filmmaking here is that the story feels believable, in that the narrative is constructed in such a way as to make you find the realism. The sometimes painful interviews, the defensiveness of various actions, the discomfort that some people have in front of the cameras, the timeline that evolves and becomes more complicated...it fits the model of a true crime show that would run in prime time television. About the only thing missing is Lester Holt doing an introduction at the beginning of the film. Only this one happens to be an entirely fake ghost story, and that is what makes it great. It's a fake ghost story with enough of a real world, secretive edge, it's just salacious enough, that it's believable. The actors all appear to be genuine, and that's what holds it together. When you add in the disorientation of the variety of film qualities, the eerie soundtrack, and the editor's willingness to hover on specific images in the way that your typical true crime show likes to do, well, you have a recipe for success.

Look, at times it's rough watching; even if the events are false, there is enough reality at times that will make you feel sick to your stomach, and the "ghost" footage is portrayed as hauntingly creepy, even when later that footage is exposed as fake and the interviewees explain how it was faked or how something is misconstrued accidentally and why. But the camera can also misdirect, and during the end credits, we find just how much misdirection the audience is experiencing. It almost made me want to go back and rewatch the whole film, just to see what little hidden details I had missed. Adding to this are a few events which do remain unexplained, just enough to make things interesting.

I believe this is why I see Lake Mungo often hailed as a hidden gem of horror cinema from its decade. Places like Dread Central and Bloody Disgusting rave about it. However, I suspect that because it's associated with the found footage dumping ground that so often translates to cheap and hokey, it's likely getting ignored. It shouldn't be. It should be held up as a fantastic horror film, perhaps one that could sit firmly alongside the heavyweights of the 2000s. Don't be driven away by the strange and inventive nature of the story's presentation, because that is what makes things worthwhile and interesting.

31 Horror Films So Far:
5/31

1. The Minion
2. Phase IV
3. Savage Weekend
4. Day of the Animals
5. Lake Mungo
Image
Image
I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
User avatar
Michi
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 4599
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:47 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by Michi Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:34 pm

And my third movie for my Halloween theme of "Movies I think prfsnl_gmr will like" is:

Shock

Image

Why did I think prfsnl_gmr would like it? It is by famed Italian director Mario Bava, a man greatly renowned for his interesting visuals, horror, and arresting giallo style. Sounds right up his alley.

Now that I've watched it, do I still think prfsnl_gmr will like it? I suspect so. I went into it expecting giallo, but it's more your standard haunted house film with some strong giallo elements. It's also inspired a bit by the works of Stephen King, so there's a strong theme of family disintegration going on as well, as opposed to straight-up exploitation. And while the visuals may not be as strong as Bava's earlier works, there's still a lot of fascinating things going on here.
User avatar
prfsnl_gmr
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 10978
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Re: Racketboy Month of Horror 11: The Pandemic Edition

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:19 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Awesome choice, Michi! My wife and I narrowed our movie choices down to two films tonight, Phenomena (1985) and...Shock (1979). We went with Phenomena, and I am literally watching it right now. You’ll have to wait until later in the month to find out, “Will prfsnl_gmr really like Shock?” The suspense is so thick, you could cut it with a knife! :lol:

.....

A few nights ago, my wife and I watched Captive Wild Woman (1943). In it, a mad endocrinologist steals a gorilla from a circus and, using the power of glands, turns it into a beautiful woman. He kills his beautiful long-term assistant to accomplish this task, while mumbling something about a new race of super-men. Not sure how turning a gorilla into a woman (who can communicate psychically with big cats, by the way) gets him any closer to this goal. It does, however, make him literally the maddest scientist I have seen in any film. Anyway...the gorilla woman helps a lion trainer with his show, but then turns back into a gorilla and kills the scientist. I don’t really remember why because the movie, despite its outlandish premise, is incredibly dull. (Also, the lion tamer protagonist has a secretary. Why does he need a secretary? What sort of appointments does he need to keep? To whom is he dictating correspondence? Sadly, the movie never answers these questions.) Amazingly, the film was a hit in 1943 and spawned a direct sequel. There is no need to watch it now, however.

Yesterday, my wife and I watched The Shout (1978), which was absolutely fantastic. In it, a vagrant, who claims to have spent the past 18 years studying aboriginal mysticism, invites himself to lunch with a young couple and, then, using his secret knowledge and mystic powers, destroys their marriage. One of his powers include the titular shout, which will kill anyone who hears it. The movie skillfully blends together mysticism and reality, madness and sanity, to the point where it’s difficult to know where one begins and the other ends. It’s not terribly frightening, but it’s unsettling and deeply thought-provoking. It’s incredibly well-made, and unpacking it entirely likely requires more than one viewing. All of the performances are great - the movie even features a young Tim Curry in a small part - and the film won the Grand Prix at The Cannes Film Festival the year of its release. Unfortunately, it seems to be largely forgotten now, which is a shame, and the Prime Video listing picture is just the film’s title against a dark background. I really can’t recommend it highly enough, however, and I hope someone else on here watches it this year.

Tonight, my wife and I watched Phenomena (aka Creepers) (1985). In it, Jennifer Connelly plays a young woman who...HOLY SHIT! IT’S A F*CKING MONKEY WITH A F*CKING STRAIGHT RAZOR!....I’m sorry...In this film, masterfully directed by Dario Argento and scored by Italian prog-rock band, and long-time Argento collaborator, Goblin,a young Jennifer Connelly plays a young woman who....AAAAHHHH!!!! A HIDEOUSLY DEFORMED, MURDEROUS CHILD JUST STABBED A GAS TANK WITH A SPEAR!! AND A BOAT EXPLODED!!! AND HIS MOM JUST RANDOMLY CHOPPED OFF SOME GUY’S HEAD WITH A PIECE OF SHEET METAL!!! AAAAAHHHH!!! WHAT THE F*CK AM I WATCHING?!...OK...Jennifer Connelly plays a girl who can communicate psychically with insects and goes off to a girls’s boarding school where a there has been a recent series of murder, and...SHE FELL INTO A PIT OF CORPSES RIDDLED WITH MAGGOTS!!! IT’S SUPER F*CKING GROSS! AND...is that MegadethI hear? IT IS! MOTÖRHEAD TOO! OH MY GOD, THIS MOVIE RULES SO HARD EVEN IF IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE! What I’m trying to say is...this movie is a totally awesome, dream-logic, borderline hallucinatory masterpiece, and I loved it. It’s now my second-favorite Argento film, and I highly recommend it.

prfsnl_gmr’s Halloween Movie List 2020 - Outbreak Edition
Slither (2006) - :)
The Creeping Flesh (1973) - :|
Man-Made Monster (1941) - :|
Doctor X (1932) - :)
Audition (1999) - :|
The Vanishing (1988) - :D
The Return of Doctor X (1939) - :(
REC (2007) - :)
The Devil Doll (1936) - :D
Captive Wild Woman (1943) - :(
The Shout (1978) - :D
Phenomena (1985) - :D
Last edited by prfsnl_gmr on Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Return to Off-Topic / Whatever

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests