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Ack
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Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by Ack Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:30 am

Hey folks,

Unfortunately, my October schedule is filling up. Beyond just work, I'm going to be leaving the country for a week's vacation in the middle of the month. I'm applying to a new sketch comedy team at the theater I operate out of, but my old team is now moving on to do shows around Atlanta. Our Halloween show is going to be the first paying gig I've ever had for comedy, which is a nice feeling. And I'm looking at volunteering for the Georgia Radio Reader service, but I may push that to November along with additional VO work and training since I'm getting full up.

What does this mean? It means that I'm probably not going to get to do my 31 horror films in October...so instead, I'm watching horror movies now! Once October rolls around, I'm then going to roll this up into our traditional affair and just keep watching movies whenever I can. There are now no set limits, I just keep watching horror movies until the month is over. Let's see if I can get 31 and beyond!
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by noiseredux Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:41 am

Isn't it annual tradition that you email me a giant list of possible viewing choices?
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by Ack Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:32 am

noiseredux wrote:Isn't it annual tradition that you email me a giant list of possible viewing choices?


It is. But I'm doing a grab bag, so it's pretty much whatever I can find.

That said, I'll still email you.

Onto the movies I've watched so far:

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1. DeepStar Six

1989 had multiple underwater horror/sci-fi movies come out, the most popular of which was The Abyss. I've always been partial to the movie Leviathan, which isn't as good but sports Peter Weller, Daniel Stern, and Meg Foster. DeepStar Six is probably middle-of-the-pack for this set of movies; while it's an obviously cheaper production with less star power than the likes of The Abyss and cheesier effects, it's still a serviceable production that I found myself enjoying. Plus it has Miguel Ferrer. Yep, two RoboCop alums ended up in separate underwater horror films. Of course I'm going to watch both.

The general premise of DeepStar Six is a bunch of Navy personnel and researchers are living in a small underwater facility to do research and construct a missile platform. They cut corners to get said missile platform built and accidentally release some sort of giant primordial crustacean, which then proceeds to mess them and their facility up. What follows is people getting crushed, eaten, drowned, and popped. Yes, popped. Ocean pressure is a bitch.

What does it have going for it? Well, it doesn't take itself too seriously, which is perfect for a low budget title like this. Miguel Ferrer is believable as a low-rating Navy sailor who is steadily losing his shit, and while he doesn't start cutting himself like certain folks in The Abyss, he definitely starts making bad decisions that compound and compound and compound; while he's not the main reason everything goes to shit, he's definitely what keeps it going to shit.

I liked it. It's not great. It's not even good. But I was entertained, and that's what counts. Now I need to track down the other underwater movies from 1989: The Evil Below, Lords of the Deep, and The Rift.


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2. Harbinger Down

I heard this movie was created specifically because the practical effects guys wanted to showcase their work. What's funny is that there is some CGI involved here, and it looks terrible, so kudos to the practical effects folks; their stuff looks amazing here. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie comes down to being a poor man's version of John Carpenter's The Thing. They toss out ideas from The Thing but never really incorporate them, and as a result, at times this movie feels more like Deep Rising. That's not a good thing. Fun fact: I hate Deep Rising.

What happens? An Alaskan crab fisher takes on some grad students and a douche professor. The captain, a mighty sailing man, is Lance Henriksen, and one of the grad students is his granddaughter. The crew are a motley bunch, while the grad students are...grad students. Kinda nerdy but also kinda hot. The professor is full of himself and probably couldn't make a radio out of a coconut. That's ok though, because they're dealing with ice anyway. The captain's granddaughter finds a soviet moon lander in the ice and pulls it aboard. Microscopic mutated critters in the satellite come to life, grab all the living tissue they can to help them build, and kill the crew off one by one. Also, there's a Russian spy.

What kills it? It wants too much, tossing out possible plotlines left and right but never capitalizing. Also, while the 3 minority actors aren't the first person to die...they're the next 3. I always pay attention to this in my horror movies now. There's also a pseudo-romance blossoming that never actually blossoms, while the critter can supposedly turn into people but only seems to give it a try once in the film and badly at that. Lance Henriksen is awesome though; watch it for him and the effects, but that's pretty much it.

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3. Island Claws

It's a giant crab movie. Seriously. Yes, they do attack its weak points for massive damage in the end.

Here's the plot: it's the beginning of the 1980s, and radioactive heated water causes crabs to become psychotic, and one crab to grow to a giant size on a small island off the coast of Florida. The drunken fishermen, local researchers, and Haitian illegal immigrants must band together to fight killer crabs, including the giant one in the end. In the meantime, the crabs just kind of walk around in some attempt to be creepy and never actually attack anyone, everyone just gets scared whenever they're nearby.

Yeah, this movie combines elements of 1950s atomic fears, 1970s eco-horror killer animal movies, and a surprising plotline about fears of illegal immigration into what is a made-for-tv quality film. People get "attacked" by crabs...which means they see crabs, never go near them, and scream like they have been attacked. I particularly enjoyed how they would "fight" the crabs by swinging near them but never actually hit any of them to not harm the animal. When a giant one finally shows up, it destroys the town bar, which is the worst thing it could do.

So what's the highlight of this movie? How bad it is. It's laughably bad...until the islanders get riled up about a bunch of Haitians that have illegally come to the island. One fisherman forms a lynch mob to go after the Haitians, and a bunch of other drunk fishermen join him. It's sad how quickly this one uneducated local immediately blames the illegals for what's going on and refuses to accept any other possibilities until a giant crab monster shows up. Also, warming causes giant crabs. Like global warming? Holy shit, this movie is still relevant. What the hell?

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4. Rabid

I love a good Cronenberg movie, and while Rabid is a little slow to get going, it's a creepy mix of STD awareness, body horror, and zombie film. What did I learn? Women's bodies are weird, and never get plastic surgery.

A tragic motorcycle accident outside of a plastic surgery clinic in rural Canada leads to emergency surgery for a woman, but the experimental procedure leaves her with a weird stinger inside her armpit and a hunger for human blood. Anyone she stings becomes a violent zombie who will die within a short time, but anyone they bite will in turn become a zombie, leading to a massive quarantine. So the boyfriend of our vampiric Typhoid Mary must now find her, not realizing that she's the cause of the building epidemic.

What can I say? It's Cronenberg! If you love his particular brand of sexualized body horror, Rabid is definitely a movie you should look into. I enjoyed myself, and it's a very different take on zombie films that merits watching for fans of those. Rabid was a great sign of things to come with this director.

It's funny; even in the zombie apocalypse, the Canadian hazmat teams will do things like take out the trash and wash off your windshield. Aren't Canadians nice?

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5. Attack of the Killer Donuts

Remember Troma? Remember the quality of Troma films? That's basically what Attack of the Killer Donuts is, but worse and with more bad CG. If you're into fart jokes, watching people attack donuts that are being thrown at them, and seeing people puke and shit themselves, well, you're probably going to still find this movie terrible.

Basically, a handsome loser's uncle accidentally gets his Re-animator reagent into the fryers at a donut shop, which causes the donuts to mutate and become violent killing machines. So it's up to the loser, his best friend/blatantly obvious love interest (the hero is a little dense), and his loser friend who is totally sleeping with the loser's mom (ok, the hero is really dense) to fight off a bunch of donuts, along with inept cops, the loser's fake girlfriend who is just using him for money, a homeless guy, the crooked dude that owns the donut shop, and the mad scientist uncle. End result? Donuts with teeth kill people, and I feel dumber for having watched this movie.

And yet, this movie has heart in the way so many Troma films did. Everyone involved knows its bad, and they just keep hamming it up and having a blast. This was probably a lot of fun to work on, and I just can't knock them for that.

1. DeepStar Six
2. Harbinger Down
3. Island Claws
4. Rabid
5. Attack of the Killer Donuts
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by noiseredux Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:06 am

oh I LOVE Rabid. It's probably my fav Cronenberg after Videodrome. Amazing movie. On that note, have you seen Shivers? Also recommended.

Interestingly I watched The Abyss not too long ago, and it's kind of a mess. Some great ideas - many of which would be revisited in much better form in subsequent Cameron films. And it's just wayyyy too long. The pacing is rough. But the bits of it that I enjoyed, I really enjoyed.
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by Ack Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:13 am

I haven't seen Shivers. This is my first time venturing into Cronenberg's pre-Brood work.

Have you seen Leviathan yet? I think you'd get a kick out of it.
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by noiseredux Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:16 am

Ah, okay. When my wife and I first met we actually marathoned everything Cronenberg had made up until that point - which was either Spider or A History Of Violence. I forget. Anyway, Shivers isn't as good as Rabid. Rabid is incredible. But Shivers is totally worth seeing, and shares some Rabid vibes for sure.

I haven't seen Leviathan. I'll make note.
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by Ack Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:51 pm

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6. Demon Wind

The tagline for this should be, "It blows."

In the 1930s, somewhere in rural America-totally-not-the-English-moors, a demon possesses a dude and makes him murder his wife. In present day rural America-totally-not-the-English-moors, the dead folks' grandson shows up at a run down gas station with his girlfriend, who promptly shows him her butt. Then his friends show up, which consist of a jock douchebag who sexually assaults the hero's girlfriend, the nerdy guy who seems ok but has a rat tail hairstyle, a couple of magicians, and the girlfriends, who aren't important enough to have personalities. These folks are going to the hero's dead grandparents' farm, which of course the locals don't like, so the gas station owner acts like a jerk and pulls a gun. Long story short, hero and friends end up at the ruins and discover it's being attacked by demons, which steadily turn everyone into demons one by one. The DEMON WIND is also some kind of fog that rolls in whenever it feels like.

What follows is demons that bleed yellow from small squibs, puke a lot, and have bad acne and dental hygiene. They convince people to come out of the house so the demons can kill them. People know they shouldn't leave the house...and then they do. They flat out admit they're being tricked, and then they leave. Also, more friends show up: fodder a) who has a skeleton earring, and his girlfriend, fodder b), who dies even faster than fodder a) and whose only line is to talk about how beautiful a shrine to Satan is right before it grabs her with its tentacle tongue and then chews her to death with a cow skull. That sentence doesn't make sense, but it is exactly what happens.

After all this, our hero uses a spell book to turn into a character from Alien Nation and fight the son of Satan by...making fun of him apparently? Oh, and then his girlfriend casts a spell which makes him explode. The hero and his girlfriend return to the gas station to kill the evil gas station attendant's demon daughter, and then they drive away, leaving behind a child demon and the possibility of a sequel. I'd rather they have backed up to run this thing over, but whatever.

Demon Wind sucks. It's laughably bad. I had a good time hating myself for watching it.

1. DeepStar Six
2. Harbinger Down
3. Island Claws
4. Rabid
5. Attack of the Killer Donuts
6. Demon Wind
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by Jmustang1968 Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:46 pm

Ack, I remember watching Deep Star Six as a kid. I rented it with my grandpa, the cover art sold me on it. Was pretty cheesy, and low budget effects, but I liked it.
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:07 pm

Boss thread.
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Re: Ack's pre-gaming October thread

by Nemoide Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:27 pm

Oh man Ack, I'm glad you watched Demon Wind!
I was randomly gifted the movie on laserdisc a couple years back and was astounded by how terrible it was and it amused me immensely. It's a really special piece of garbage. (So of course I've since bought the blu-ray that came out...)

I'm not sure what horror movies I'll be watching for October, but I'm sure I'll find some gems and visit some big titles I've never seen before (eg It Follows). I make no aspiration to watching 31 horror films in October because I don't want to burn myself out, but I'm sure I'll watch a bunch and read a stack of horror comics too! I have a volume of the Creepy archives just ITCHING to be read...
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