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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:29 pm

Last night, I watched:

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The Haunted Strangler (1958). (My wife fell asleep.) It is a well-acted, but pretty dull mid-century horror film set in Victorian era England. Boris Karloff gets possessed (...or does he?!) by the ghost of a serial murderer. He makes a very funny face, and large swaths of the movie are dedicated to him making this funny face while beautiful women go about their business unaware of his presence. (These stretches gave me a great opportunity to push through the last few sections of Alone in the Dark (iOS).) Apparently, it was originally released as a double-feature with the vastly superior Fiend Without a Face. If you are picking between the two, the choice is easy, and I can't really recommend The Haunted Strangler to anyone. (If you are looking for a vastly better film in the same genre, seek out Karloff's The Body Snatcher instead.)

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prfsnl_gmr's 2016 List of Unspeakable Horrors!

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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by Ack Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:42 pm

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13. The Milpitas Monster

Milpitas, California, has a terrible relationship with its trash. They dump it all into a big nasty landfill, which has polluted and poisoned their waterways and left a nasty smell about the place. Now their trash is striking back in the form of a 50-foot-tall mothman monster that steals garbage cans and leaves huge footprints everywhere. It's up to a special committee put together by the mayor, a bunch of teenage hoodlums, and the town drunk to stop it...or at least it would be if the filmmakers were halfway competent. Sadly no, they really aren't, so even though the town drunk saves everyone in the end, they can't save me from hating this film.

Well, ok, perhaps hate is too strong a word. I respect that this movie was made and how it was made. The entire project started as a student film by a few high school kids in Milpitas and apparently managed to capture the attention of the general populace, eventually leading to the whole town chipping in. It's Z-grade material, sure, but it's Z-grade with love from a bunch of people who had never worked in films but suddenly felt the need to join in together to make one. Yeah, the acting is terrible, and the best work is done through horribly dubbed in voice over. Character personalities often appear to be in-jokes for the local community, and at times the film moves into completely outlandish and bizarre territory when scientific minds get involved. Scientific minds which just so happen to be represented by one Bob Wilkins, host of the show Creature Features. This guy:

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So yeah, it's not a competent production. It pretty much couldn't be. The locals play themselves, and they have no training in any of this. But it was apparently made with a lot of love, and that I do respect. I also respect the attempt at building a formidable creature, one which is effectively a giant humanoid moth made of garbage. Through the use of a few miniatures, a giant claw hand, a big suit, and the occasional bit of stop animation, the townsfolk of Milpitas actually managed to come up with something not quite Godzilla-worthy, but still better than things like A*P*E:

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Nice. It's like if small town America made a knock-off of Godzilla vs. Hedorah, which yes, also includes an eco-friendly message and a giant trash monster. Only now it's far more personal and doesn't include any of the weird Japanese 1970s nightclub scenes.

Do I recommend watching The Milpitas Monster? No, I really don't. But I'm still impressed by it as a curiosity piece.

13/31

1. Late Phases
2. Ghoulies
3. Nightbeast
4. Tombs of the Blind Dead
5. Return of the Blind Dead
6. The Ghost Galleon
7. Night of the Seagulls
8. Chopping Mall
9. Bad Moon
10. C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D.
11. Dead Heat
12. Varan the Unbelievable
13. The Milpitas Monster
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by Michi Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:36 pm

Ack, I hope you're watching some good movies mixed in with all the bad. At this rate, I'm afraid if you don't, you might hurt yourself.




Puppet Master III
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In this installment, the titular puppets and their master take a break from the dull Bodega Bay Inn in favor of 1941 WWII era Berlin. Here, we find the Nazi’s, led by Dr. Hess, hard at work on experiments aimed at reanimating their dead soldiers so the corpses can be used as human shields. So far, they’ve only been partially successful, the bodies jumping up and acting like something out of 28 Days Later before collapsing again. Hess is close, but missing a vital component to his formula.

Meanwhile, Andre Toulon is putting on a puppet show for a group of children. At this time we’re introduced to the films newest puppet, Six Shooter, a little cowboy with six arms, six guns and a smirkey little attitude. Toulon is using him in a show to shoot at Puppet Hitler....in Nazi Germany... in front of a crowd of people.

He may have figured out how to animate his puppets, but no one said that made him smart.

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Dude, the f*&$ you thinkin’?

Naturally, one of the spectators works for the Nazis. To make it worse, he also witnesses Toulon’s little friends coming to life and walking around without strings. This news makes it way back to the Nazis in charge of the reanimation project and they descend on Toulon’s studio. In the ensuing scuffle Toulon is taken into custody and Major Krauss, the man in charge of the operation, shoots and kills Toulon’s wife, Elsa. Toulon manages to escape custody with the help of his puppet friends, then goes on the run, vowing “No mercy!”

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It doesn’t end well for the Nazis.

If forced to choose between the first three films, Puppet Master III is the one I’d recommend to first time viewers. Despite the ridiculous premises of the plot, this is the one with the best established story. There are no surprise character or plot elements introduced mid-movie and the characters are reasonably fleshed out. The puppetry continues to be pretty top-notch. Yes, continuity issues still plague the series, but the addition of a huge chunk of backstory makes up for it a bit (while also causing some problems, but I get the impression that’s a continued issue that plagues these films.)

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But to distract you from the inconsistencies they give you a cowboy version of Spider Man. So, win?

The third entry into the series gives us the best series villain to date, Major Krauss, played by veteran bit actor Richard Lynch. Lynch plays evil Nazi ass to a tee. Krauss is feeling pressure from the higher-ups regarding the zombie-soldier project, but even that doesn’t dissuade him from wanting to put Toulon’s head on a pike, despite Hess’s protests. He plays a convincingly evil hardass and his inclusion in the film, as well as the rest of the supporting cast, adds some much needed acting chops to a series that was lacking it for two installments.

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Toulon’s character has once again changed from the previous installment. It’s like the creators didn’t know what they wanted him to be. In the first film he’s the kindly, old grandfather figure. In the sequel, he turned into an obsessive madman. Here, he’s remolded again into vigilante anti-hero. As such, the movie comes across as less like a horror/slasher as the other two did, and instead turns into a revenge film. Toulon proves his ruthlessness by quickly sending his puppets out to the mortuary to kill the two attendants so that he can extract the brain liquid from his late wife and inject it into the doll we recognized as Leech Woman from the earlier films.

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If you’re wondering if that means that some part of the personality of the individual whose brain was, well, extracted is maintained in the new puppet, than yes, yes it does. At some point, Toulon even reveals the names of some individuals that gave life to some, though not all, of his puppets.

This brings up some very disturbing connotations. It’s never really explained whether or not the individuals whose brains were harvested gave their consent for such a procedure. We certainly never see Elsa do so. Plus, we don’t know how much of the original personalities are retained, even if we do know that some of it is. At one point, while Toulon sleeps, Leech Woman walks over and brushes a lock of hair off his forehead, but that’s as far as the suggestion for any memory retention goes.

But wait, if Elsa’s soul (or part of it) is in Leech Woman, why was Toulon chasing after Carolyn in the last film because he thought he’d found Elsa’s reincarnation? Did Toulon forget? Was his brain really that rotted? Alas, tis but another plot hole the series throws under us without ever explaining.

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They didn’t say who this guy was, either. That’s the burning question I want an answer to.

Despite what I’d read, so far (emphasis on so far) the sequels haven’t been that bad. In fact, even with all the continuity issues, some of them have improved upon elements from the first. Having this part of Toulon’s backstory makes some of his actions in Puppet Master II make a bit more sense. It has some genuinely disturbing moments, including a scene where a reanimated, suicidal zombie tries to recreate it’s final moments of blowing its own head off, and it’s plot is more solid compared to the previous two. The quality of the acting has improved by leaps and the puppetry continues to impress.

All in all, it’s not a bad sequel, and it’s probably the most memorable of the three due to the inclusion of the Nazis. Or, well, most memorable for being the good one with the Nazis (there are two more). Parts 4 and 5 (they thought roman numerals were silly after III I guess) look to be up on Amazon Prime. So far, I have not been dissuaded from watching them....


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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by J T Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:05 pm

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I finished Under the Skin by Michel Faber the other day. Exhuminator recommended the movie, and I realized my brother had sent the book to me as a gift a year or two ago, so I finally got around to reading it. I have the movie in my Netflix cue and it should arrive in a few weeks. The book was good. It got pretty gross at parts. One day my wife and I were reading on the porch and she was commenting on what pretty weather it was and I had this horrified look on my face because I was deep in the processing plant at that point and quite disgusted. It's funny how your experience in a novel can put you at odds with everyone around you.

Without spoiling anything, what I liked most about this book is how it never lets you rest on stable moral ground, and it forces you to do a lot of perspective taking. The basic premise is that the main character is a woman who picks up hitchhikers, but she is the predator, not the other way around. The writing will switch from her internal monologue to theirs, while they also carry on a conversation. This perspective flipping lets you see where the assumptions they make about each other are right or wrong, and you can see their character flaws very easily when allowed into their thought process. There are no real good guys or bad guys in this book, you just understand all of these different strange characters for all of their flaws and moral misgivings. This makes for a thought provoking read, though it is also a quite gruesome novel.

One minor spoiler thought:
This story makes me glad I'm a vegetarian. :lol:
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by Jagosaurus Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:48 am

@pfrsl gmr, I love that old movie poster art!

I know there's a game thread but...
You should try Alone in the Dark 2.

The game takes place in the day time to start. There's an evil Santa, a pirate ship, puzzles you'll have to Google, and you'll have to blow up some one through a chimney. It's like a bad horror movie in a game. I beat it in one weekend and was seriously baffled when I finished it. Very odd follow up.
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by noiseredux Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:11 am

Jagosaurus wrote:The game takes place in the day time to start. There's an evil Santa, a pirate ship, puzzles you'll have to Google, and you'll have to blow up some one through a chimney. It's like a bad horror movie in a game. I beat it in one weekend and was seriously baffled when I finished it. Very odd follow up.


how are the controls, though?
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by Ack Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:31 am

Michi wrote:Ack, I hope you're watching some good movies mixed in with all the bad. At this rate, I'm afraid if you don't, you might hurt yourself.


Wait, there are GOOD movies?!?!
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by Jagosaurus Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:50 am

noiseredux wrote:
Jagosaurus wrote:The game takes place in the day time to start. There's an evil Santa, a pirate ship, puzzles you'll have to Google, and you'll have to blow up some one through a chimney. It's like a bad horror movie in a game. I beat it in one weekend and was seriously baffled when I finished it. Very odd follow up.


how are the controls, though?


Ok... I think of this game as a "so bad it's good" horror movie so don't feel too bad discussing here...

You will die.... a lot. About half the time because of the controls. I immediately died running out of the first building. Aiming the gun is tough. If you've ever played the original Resident Evil (not Directors Cut) with no auto aim, it's tough.

There is a stealth scene on a pirate ship requiring some percision. It made me turn off the console when Mrs Jago laughed at me dying over and over.

I played the Saturn version which runs with some slowdown. Reportedly a little worse than other ports, buy they all look laggy to me.

The menu requires pausing to switch items which is the same for Resident Evil so not a huge gripe.

You will have to FAQ this one puzzle. It involved exact time between 2 floors IIRC. Not joking, there was something about a statue throwing a weapon at an evil running kitchen midget... a trident. That's campy horror gold.
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Overall, glad I beat it but an interesting experience. Think of it as a bad horror movie.

For being an iconic series, it's not very good lol.
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by noiseredux Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:53 am

this just made me think of that SNL skit where Will Ferrell is interviewing a guy and in the middle of the interview he kills an employee with a trident.

Good times.
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Re: The 2016 October Horror Marathon

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:14 am

Keep up the good work everyone! I am really digging the reviews this year.

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Last night, my wife and I watched:

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Fright Night (2011). I loved it. It shares it predecessors title and premise, but it is almost a completely different movie. It moves at a breakneck pace, and since it is a remake (and since we all know Jerry Dandridge is a vampire) the movie very quickly - and, IMO, very wisely - resolves the "investigation" plot lines that occupied so much of the original. It replaces them with drastically more blood, ribald humor, and inspired action sequences. (Jerry's response to the protagonist's refusal to invite him inside, and the ensuing scenes, are simply fantastic.) Basically, Fright Night is a 1980s, hard-R, horror comedy, in a thoroughly modern setting. It is incredibly fun, and I highly recommend it.

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prfsnl_gmr's 2016 List of Unspeakable Horrors!

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