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KRYPTIC ARMY 2012 MISSIONS

January - It's the End of the World

February - Hammer Rises from the Grave

March - Let There Be Blood

April - Descubren el Horror¡

May - Remember the Soldiers

June - Sequels, Prequels, & Remakes

July - Happy Canada Day

August - Attack of the Giant Monsters

September - Beware the Child

October - World Pasta Day

November - Revenge of the Turkey

December - Let It Snow

 



JANUARY - IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!

Steve Weakley

BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER (1960)
Summary

A jet pilot flies through a wormhole and ends up in a post-apocalyptic future

Observations:

Audio-only internal flash back: 10:15

After the opening credits & a fat joke, we enter a briefing session with USAF pilots & ground crew going over the day’s mission. The mission has 3 objectives:

  1. Take off

  2. Fly Straight

  3. Land

I swear I’m not making this up. That was the mission briefing.

A lot of stock footage of planes flying was used in this film so the type of aircraft our hero was piloting changed often from scene to scene. Sometimes he would be in what appears to be an F-4 Phantom or F-102 or sometimes a kid’s toy.

So, our hero takes off. After some trouble with the communications with ground and aircraft, there’s some theramin music. Our hero lands and finds the airbase desolate and deserted. Additionally, there are some really weird matte paintings of futuristic looking cities in the back ground along with sound effects from War of the Worlds.

Our hero goes off to investigate and is captured by people of the future who really like triangles and put him in a giant test tube. There’s scuffle (not quite a ruckus). No one speaks except him. Everyone wears a uniform. The men wear one piece jump suits & the women wear midi-skirts and high heels with stockings. The bad guy has the biggest goatee I’ve ever seen.

Our hero is pulled before the leader and blah blah blah. He’s in the future where everyone except the leader and the leader’s henchman (goatee man) are deaf mutes. He’s accused of being a spy & is thrown in a cave full of mutants (I hate it when that happens).

Mutants are identifiable by their badly applied bald wigs and their ability to speak. Our hero learns from the mutants that there was a plague that his kind caused “a long time ago”.

The leader’s daughter falls in love with our hero and he’s granted his freedom and given a nice postmodern 2 room apartment with a view & some house plants & full access to the community pool.

Our hero meets up with some other time traveler scientists who are being held by the uniformed guys. Turns out it’s the year 2024 and everyone is sterile. There was a plague in 1971 and now they need our hero for “re-generation”.

The scientists, having no knowledge of any time travel fiction, figure that they can send our hero back in time to prevent the plague that dooms mankind to a future of triangles and jumpsuits (not to mention bald sterile mutants).

The rest of the movie follows our hero’s exploits as he attempts to return home.

This movie reminded me of Phantom Planet which was released a year later and was 7.3% better.

This is not a good movie, but it’s watchable and does have a “Twilight Zone” type surprise ending - Still, it was better than Transformers.

CONTAGION (2011)
Let me just state that I really liked this movie. I had been looking forward to seeing it and this month’s assignment was the perfect excuse to do so. Thank you, Commander Kitley.

If you expect to see the film depicted in the trailer, you will be disappointed. This is not an action packed, edge of your seat thrill a minute block buster.  It’s a somewhat thoughtful and realistic portrayal of the impact of a deadly worldwide pandemic. It’s more of a study of how people react to the contagion than to the contagion itself. The acting was good, the effects were good, the science was solid and the overall package was on the mark. But don’t take that to mean it wasn’t frightening because it was. It’s the kind of movie that gets scarier the more you think about it. The movie drags a little towards the end, but not enough to take away from the overall impact.

While the disease itself is frightening, the collapse of society and the behavior of the citizenry are more frightening (and probably accurate). I highly recommend this movie. Give this movie 20 minutes to see if you agree with me.

Observations

Internal Flashback(s)

Since the entire movie was a series of overlapping or unrelated story lines, the movie included many flashbacks so I turned my flashback counter off after the first 10 minutes.

Best quote:

During autopsy after opening victim’s skull & examining the brain:

ME 1: “…let’s look at the base….Oh my God...”
ME 2: “You want me to…um… take a sample…or…”
ME 1: “I want you to move away from the table”
ME 2: [stepping back] “Should I call someone?”
ME 1: “Call Everyone.”

Ten things I learned from this movie:

  1.  Other people are filthy, dirty germ-ridden bags of disgusting contagious muck and everything they are and everything they touch (or get near, or sit on, or eat with) is contaminated with deadly viral matter and will infest me with their nasty microbe laden scum and they and their disease ridden effluence should be avoided at all costs not matter what and no amount of Purel will defeat the murderous grimy bacterium or virus that is determined to turn my body into a pile of oozing jello.

  2. See Number 1.

  3. See Number 1.

  4. See Number 1.

  5. See Number 1.

  6. See Number 1.

  7. See Number 1.

  8. See Number 1.

  9. See Number 1.

  10. See Number 1.

This movie is so much better than Transformers that Transformers went to see this movie and went home and crawled under its transforming bed and cried transforming tears of bitterness and remorse until it fell asleep.


Lance Ford

DARK STORM (2006)
Man-made storms threatening the world. Electrical storms that could eradicate all life on Earth.  Two scientists need to stop it - one (Stephen Baldwin) has the power to control the weather due to a freak accident.  Decent, low budget end of the world flick. I liked it.

THE HAPPENING (2008)
Don't know why people didn't like this one. I really enjoyed it.  I'm glad I don't listen to other's opinions on movies.  I think its my favorite M. Night Shamalayan film since The Sixth Sense.  Recommend it.

DEAD WEIGHT (2012)
Excellent film made by my friends, John Pata and Adam Bartlett.  Saw the Private premiere with cast and crew and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!  Can't  say too much about it until its official release date but I will say it exceeded my expectations. After it was over, I immediately wanted to see it again.  Very highly recommended.


Aaron Christensen

END OF THE WORLD (1977) (1st viewing) d. Hayes, John
As a stranded alien and the priest whose body he replicates, Christopher Lee pulls double duty in this turgid early Charles Band production, lording over six alien nuns while blackmailing nosy brainiac Kirk Scott and bride Sue Lyon into procuring the mysterious elements necessary for their return trip home.  Of course, once they’ve got the goods, Lee and his sister act reveal their darker purpose:  they’re really here to exterminate the Earth’s population via a series of natural disasters.  Cheapjack effects, stock footage, yawns and annoying weeo-weeo electronic music score abound, although there’s a pretty great practical car explosion in the second act that clearly was done the good ol’ fashioned way of finding a junker and blowing that baby UP, flaming gas splashing all over the asphalt and terrified actors running for cover in the foreground.  Aging screen veterans Dean Jagger and Lew Ayres show up to collect a paycheck, which couldn’t have been much.  The “surprise” ending is a doozy, followed by some of the slowest crawling end credits on record.

THE DAY THE SKY EXPLODED (1958) (1st viewing) d. Heusch, Paolo
When the first manned space expedition goes awry, Paul Hubschmid’s rocket ship is abandoned and exploded, resulting in a rogue collection of asteroids being diverted from their orbit around the sun.  Naturally they start heading towards Earth, wreaking all kinds of weather-related havoc (tidal waves, forest fires, etc.) en route to our certain extinction.  A not-bad sci-fi programmer from Italy, despite its heavy reliance on stock footage (the aforementioned natural upheavals, control rooms, an infinite number of missile launches).  Mario Bava served as director of photography (although he’s credited as “Mario Baja”) and spaghetti horror buffs will spot his *KILL BABY, KILL* star Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as one of the frantic technicians attempting to save the world through mathematics and thermonuclear warheads.  There’s an amusing little aural snafu about an hour into the flick – as the panicked crowds break through the military barrier, it becomes clear that the English dubbing team laid down a 15-second clip to cover a 2-minute scene.  As a result, we hear a woman cry “My baby!” with the same inflection about eight times in a row.


Lee Marohn

THE LAST WOMAN ON EARTH (1960)
When a movie starts off with a cockfight, what could possibly go wrong?  A married couple and the guy's lawyer go scuba diving in Puerto Rico.  When they come to the surface, evidently the oxygen in the air is gone.  They leave their scuba tanks on and make their way to shore.  Once in the rain forest, they are eventually able to breathe.

They discover that everyone else is dead.  They start to make a life, but the lawyer and the wife are suddenly attracted to each other.  Obviously, the husband is upset by that.  Enter drama.  Fairly cheesy, but it's Roger Corman.  The plot is eerily similar to a film released a year earlier, called THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL, which is a film I love.  This film was not nearly as good.

IN THE YEAR 2889 (1967)
Sweet Mother of God was this a horrible movie.  Survivors of a nuclear war congregate in the home of a former Navy captain in a sheltered valley.  The captain's dialogue mainly consists of exposition about their situation, frequently without any scientific basis in reality.  Outside, a mutated human (aka, a guy in a really bad papier-mache mask) creeps closer and closer to the house every night.

As expected, survival is the last thing on the mind of most of them.  The house has numerous French doors and no attempt is ever made to fortify the place, even when they know there are freaks outside.  The captain wants his daughter to start breeding with a fairly random guy who shows up out of nowhere.  The stripper and her "manager" show up.  The manager obviously wants the captain's daughter, because it's not an apocalypse until you have a love triangle.  Kryptic Army life sucks this month.


Patrick McCarter

ZOMBIELAND
What can I say, I thought this movie sucked in terms of being a horror movie. It had good acting and the plot had potential, but that's really about it.  I really loved the way they went about setting up the rules of how to survive in a zombie-infested wasteland, and I can honestly say I was always entertained; I simply did not see it as being very scary.  And I have to say, that if it was the end of the world, I would be hunting down the last twinkie, too.

28 WEEKS LATER
When I was first told about this movie, all I heard was, "great zombie movie, man, you have to see it!"  Then I saw it and I was very disappointed.  But I blame my expectations, seeing how it was NOT a zombie movie.  It was similar but not the same.  It's the rage virus, people, NOT the zombie virus.  Other then that, if I looked at it as just another horror movie, I suppose it was pretty good.  Excellent acting in most roles, and a great story.


Scott Finnegan

VANISHING ON 7th STREET
Thoughts:  Interesting concept, tedious execution. Some of the performances are pretty good, but the tension never seems to build enough to match the situations.  Disappointing.

MONSTERS
Thoughts: I thought this was a horror movie, but it feels more like a road trip movie.  Action picks up about an hour in ,for a few minutes, and it is a good watch, just a little slower than I expected.


Wayne Teeter

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH
Vincent Price is the last man on earth, at least the last one who hasn't succumbed to a disease that is turning the world's population into vampire like creatures.

Price plays Robert Morgan a former scientist who has lost both his daughter and wife to the air borne disease. Morgan has a theory that when he was younger and working in Panama, he was bitten by a bat. The bat was carrying the disease but developed immunity towards it, and also giving immunity to Morgan as well. Now Morgan goes through his lonely life making stakes, hunting and killing the creatures during the day and listening to his jazz records at night as the creatures come out .

Price gives an exceptional performance showing his despair and loneliness especially during a screening of his family home movies. Morgan is so desperate for companionship he follows a stray dog for miles, before getting it back home. Only to find out it too is affected by the disease.

The film becomes even more interesting when Morgan discovers a woman in a park, and she returns home with him. Morgan then learns of her secrets.

I found this version to be more entertaining than both the Charleton Heston and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air versions. The acting and direction may have been a little wooden, but the over all tone was a helluva lot more creepier. I have no excuse why I haven't watched this sooner. The ending is quite the downer, I found myself feeling more sorrow towards the woman  than I did Morgan.

DEAD END DRIVE-IN
In the near future, the world is facing economic chaos when Wall street collapse, nuclear accidents occur and rioting brings death to tens of thousands.

Jimmy A.K.A. Crabs desires to bulk up and drive a tow truck just like his big brother Frank. Crabs and his girl Carmen borrow Frank's 56 Chevy for a date at the Star Drive In. After the rear wheels of the Chevy are stolen by the police, they become trapped inside the electrified fences of the drive in theater. Actually they are now prisoners, along with young punks, hoodlums and other derelicts of society the government deems unfit.

With a steady diet of junk food, government supplied drugs and nightly screenings of action films, the prisoners are contempt with their new lives. Except for Crabs, who has nothing else on his mind but his escape.

When watching Dead End Drive In it isn't difficult to make comparisons of the make shift prison  to the concentration camps of World War ll to house those of the Jewish faith. A star very similar to the Star of David is  almost always present. The police officers also sport a similar looking cap like  a member of Hitler's SS.

When a load of Asian people are brought into the prison, social comments on racism are brought into the story line.

Dead End Drive In is a very dated film with it's bad 80's hair, bad 80's music and bad 80's fashion senses, but it's interpretation of a broken down society shows no experation date.

This is an Australian production that is in no way in the same league, but I found it trying awfully hard to keep up with it's big brothers Mad Max and The Road Warrior. I think it's an interesting film, but not one worth of repeated viewings.


Ashley Polnow

DEAD WEIGHT
Words can not describe how incredibly awesome this movie is. I feel very fortunate to have attended the private premiere this month. A lot of amazing people put so much into this movie. I don't want to give anything away, so that is all that I am going to say about this independent film.  I can not wait until the DVD release!


2012: ICE AGE
No matter how terrible the movie, I always seem to find myself watching an Asylum flick. It's like watching a train wreck, and I just can't seem to look away. This movie was awful. A volcano erupts and sends a giant glacier hurtling toward north America. Some people are flash frozen while others are running around in hooded sweatshirts. I was waiting for some giant CGI ice monster to come attack everyone also. That didn't happen, though. I'd rather watch Mega Piranha any day.


Erich C. Polnow

DEAD WEIGHT
Thoughts: I thought it was a great film.  Very intense and took a more realistic look at survivors during a post apocalyptic life.  And more so the dangers of each other in addition to the dangers of what destroyed the world.

28 WEEKS LATER
Thoughts:  Wow, this one started off really strong and had a very potent and interesting middle.  But, somewhere toward the end everything fell apart.  I didn't like how their infected dad kept showing up over and over to create more chaos.  It just felt hokey by the end.


Kristin Wicks

CONTAGION (2011)
Had been wanting to see this for a while. Reminded me of many other flicks, but it was interesting in how we were allowed to care about characters not meant to survive. One blow after another. While the plot isn't anything new, I think it's important to continually roll out flicks like this in order to keep the public aware. People just don't think about the seriousness of bacterial horrors. This isn't something that's going to go away. There are some REALLY weird things going on everywhere. They *still* can't figure out wtf is up with Morgellon's disease. People having strange red, black or BLUE fibers growing out of their skin, plus unexplained lesions? Blargh!

No one is safe from any sort of viral outbreak. I almost died from an infection myself, which literally ate my vertebrae faster than you can say, "Holy shit!" Oh, yes, antibacterial bottles are my best friend when leaving the house. You never know what you may have touched that will end up devouring your spine. Just sayin'. Airports, hospitals, libraries, computer labs, public transportation and restaurants being the worst offenders. It's maddening.

Loved this movie. Paranoia at its finest. Wash your hands, folks. Don't use the pen at the register. Carry your own. :)


SOYLENT GREEN (1973)
I'm not certain how well this counts except for the fact that it feels apocalyptic to me. Dystopian society brought to panic and starvation from droughts, raised climates, depleted resources and many other terrible things that could very well be in our future down the road. All it takes is one large natural disaster to bring us to a similar situation.

The people in this film (an exception being the elders) never knew a world filled with fresh farmed goods, bodies of water to swim in, or lush, green pastures to play in. Their lives were bleak, oppressed and without hope. They did what they could to survive and acquire sustenance.

I had only seen snippets from when I was a child. Funny, I'd always remembered this film as being in black and white. I guess its bleakness formed that image into my memory.

Very well done. Not many actors like Heston anymore. Like Vincent Price, he could perform the most bizarre roles with utmost sincerity and seriousness, making it all the more believable to viewers. Great work.


Justin Allison

MAD MAX
It was exactly what I thought it would be & exactly not what I thought it would be. There was not near as much violence or vehicular stunts as I expected, but the feel & look of the film are exactly what I would expect from a young director. I don't know if I would revisit it, but I am glad I can finally say I have seen it.

THE ROAD WARRIOR
I will admit to seeing pieces of this film over the years, but never in one sitting from start to finish. This is what I expected from the first film. Loved the whole thing. I just wish I had seen it when I was younger so I could have been a fanboy for longer. Enjoyed all of the stunts. & the general badassery of Mel.  This one I look forward to watching again, & introducing my boys to the Road Warrior much earlier than I was introduced.



FEBRUARY - HAMMER RISES FROM THE GRAVE

Steve Weakley

SCREAM OF FEAR
Really good early 60's black and white thriller. You'll be disappointed if you watch it only due to Christopher Lee's name in the credits though. He's got a minor supporting role that does not come close to justifying his name being used so prominently. But Hammer obviously knew who their box office draws were at this time. For most of this I thought it was a pretty passable "Let's drive the young heiress crazy" film. Except the story doesn't end when and where you think it's ended. Keeps on going, throwing one plot twist after another at you. Some of it doesn't quite add up or mesh well with some of the character's actions earlier in the story, but you're not looking for stone cold logic in a film like this. Just some good shocks. You might wonder why they bothered making the female lead confined to a wheelchair. The situation makes her pretty sympathetic without it, and it doesn't add that much to her danger. Just keep watching. There's a reason for that wheelchair to be in the film. And it's awesome.

THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES
Always wondered why Hammer's zombie movie never got the attention that their other takes on the classic monsters got. Now I know. It's not bad, it's got everything you want and expect from a Hammer film. I guess it's just that the only real surprise you're waiting around for it why people are being turned into zombies, and once they do the reveal it's sort of....really?......that's it? The zombies are well done but most of the stills you've ever seen portray them as being much scarier than they appear in the film. I just kept getting the feeling that the hero/professor was meant to be played by Cushing, and the voodoo practicing Lord was meant for Lee, and when they couldn't get those two to play the parts, the whole film was downgraded into the bland.


Craig J. Clark

THE WOMAN IN BLACK (James Watkins, 2012)
Thoughts: I expect a lot of people will use this month's challenge to check out Hammer's latest screen venture. I look forward to reading what others have to say about it. Personally, I thought it was pretty good, if not quite the classic ghost story for the ages that it tries to be. Watkins's over-reliance on loud noises for jump scares, aided by Marco Beltrami's jittery score, provoked more giggles than screams in the matinee audience I saw it with, but there are a number of scenes where he allows the suspense to build more organically. And he gets tons of mileage out of the inherently creepy wind-up toys Daniel Radcliffe keeps stumbling over. My favorite moment, though, was the opening, where three little girls having a genteel tea party spontaneously decide to pre-enact the disturbingly gory opening of Sion Sono's Suicide Club. Too bad they skipped the gore, but they did want the all-important PG-13 rating (which wasn’t enough to win them the weekend; maybe if they hadn’t pulled so many punches and gone for a hard R, they might have).

HYSTERIA (Freddie Francis, 1965)
Thoughts: The last of writer/producer Jimmy Sangster's "mini-Hitchcocks" that Francis directed, this was an engrossing thriller, detailing the adventures of an American amnesiac in London (Robert Webber) as he tries to unravel the mystery of the anonymous benefactor who has paid for his hospital care and, upon his release, set him up in a jolly well-furnished penthouse flat. Sangster does his level best to keep Webber and the viewer guessing, and Francis ratchets up the suspense like a master (or, at the very least, a "mini-Master"). They even throw in a few shower scenes, which I imagine were somewhat compulsory, but they manage to put their own spin on them. Since it's pretty obvious that Webber's being set up (because that's what you do with amnesiacs in these kinds of films), it only remains to be seen who's setting him up and why. Since the film has a fairly small cast, the who might be easy to guess, but the why is another matter entirely. What matters is whether the 80 or so minutes leading up to the reveal are entertaining. In the case of Hysteria, they are.


Erik Martin

QUATERMASS 2
Professor Quatermass rescues a couple in distress alongside the road and discover that the guy has a strange mark on him, the result of finding a strange object in the field. Bringing the object back to his lab, Quatermass determines that the object is one of several hundred that his crew has been monitoring, everyone falling to the Earth from space. Investigating where the meteorites landed, Quatermass discovers a massive, secret factory, heavily guarded. Receiving no help from the local authorities, he digs a little deeper, and finds out that this plant is claiming to be engineering artificial food. Joining an authorized team to explore the plant, he discovers a secret so terrible that the whole of humanity is threatened by it.

Interestingly enough, I had only recently watched The Quatermass Experiment for the first time, and loved it. It had a strong "Incredible Melting Man" meets "Missile To The Moon" feeling. Now having the perfect excuse to follow up with Quatermass II, which has a more "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" vibe to it, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by how well done this series is. Hammer always does a phenomenal job, in my opinion, and this one is no exception. Quatermass 2 sees the return of Brian Donlevy as Professor Quatermass (why does this guy remind me a little of Lon Chaney Jr.? Does anyone else see this?), and I found the movie genuinely suspenseful, if not altogether frightening. Good Movie.

QUATERMASS AND THE PIT
While digging in a London subway, the excavators find several skulls and human remains. Dr. Roney and his assistant Barbara are brought in to examine them, and they find a strange emtal shape also buried there. Digging further, an object is revealed to be a strange, missile-like object, unable to be heated, cut, or damaged in any way. Colonel Breen and Professor Quatermass are called in, and while the Colonel believes this to be an unexploded bomb leftover from WWII, Professor Quatermass believes it to be of alien origin. Digging deeper, he discovers that the excavation site is underneath a street called Hobb's Lane, formerly Hob's Lane (that is, the Devil's Lane), a place known historically for sierd happenings and phenomena. Professor Roney explains to Quatermass that he believes that the remains are up to five million years old, and when the inside of the spacecraft is finally breached, all Hell breaks loose . . .

This would have to be my favorite of the Quatermass pictures, due largely (though not completely) to Andrew Keir taking the role of Quatermass. His strong presence and gruff demeanor (remember him in Dracula: Prince Of Darkness?) bring such power to the role, you can't help but be on his side from the moment you lay eyes on him. The story is a great one, one that it is obvious to see has been "borrowed from" and copied too many times to count, and the age-old battle of narrow-minded military and intelligent thinking scientists is portrayed flawlessly. Roy Ward Baker directed this one, and it shows. Great movie. Great series. Long Live Quatermass! Long Live Hammer!


Steve Sapsford

THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT - 1955 (AKA: The Creeping Unknown) US Release
Having seen Five Million Years to Earth (AKA: Quatermass and the Pit) about 300 times, I was surprised to find that I had never seen this movie.  It was based on a 1953 BBC television serial written by Nigel Kneale.  It starts out with the first men in space in a rocket of Quatermass’s design crashing in the English country side. Only one of the astronauts survives and it turns out that he is infected with something NOT OF THIS WORLD (cue Theremin music).  The astronaut escapes from the hospital and starts wreaking havoc (he also raised some Cain, causes a rumpus, rocks the boat, stirs the pot, and throws a kerfuffle). The makeup effects of the infected astronaut and his deformities as he metamorphoses into whatever he becomes are very impressive and still hold up after 60 years.  The actor who plays Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) makes the character come across as an arrogant, grumpy, irritable old coot. But he’s fun to watch and reminds me of myself when I forget to take my medication.

Overall, this movie is classic Hammer. Good (for a 1950’s B movie) acting, sets, script & effects.  Enjoyable & Xponentially better than Transformers.

THESE ARE THE DAMNED – 1963
You know something’s odd when the opening titles prominently include “Sculptures by Frink”. Sculptures play an interesting role in this film.  An American on holiday (escaping the stress of a bad divorce and a job loss) in England in the early 1960s meets up with a young girl (escaping the stress of being in her brother’s street gang).  After an awkward start (whereby he tries to pick her up and she tries to have him mugged) our heroes head of on a boating trip. When they finally come to shore, they end up in a military installation after being chased by her brother’s gang. It’s there that they stumble upon some rather disturbing things (weird children and sculpture). Imagine “On the Beach” meets “Children of the Damned” meets “Mosquito Coast”.

One thing to watch for is the peripheral characters picking up and examining sculptures that have nothing to do with the plot.  This was an interesting movie with a lot of moral ambiguity. You really couldn’t justify the all of the actions of the “good” guys and yet, you could often understand why the “bad” guys acted the way they did. There were many grey areas. This is a reasonably good movie and definitely worth checking out – more Sci-Fi than horror though. There are some creepy moments and it’s much better than Transformers.


Wayne Teeter

WAKE WOOD
Patrick and Louise are a loving, caring married couple with a beautiful eight year old daughter Alice. Both are in the medical field, he is a veterinarian and she a pharmacist. On the morning of her birthday Alice is viciously attacked and killed by a dog her father had been treating.

Grieving the two move into the quiet town of Wake Wood. Louise becomes suspicious when a strange young girl and her "aunt" makes a visit to her store. Things get even stranger when the locals are seen banging wooden sticks together parading through the streets. When Louise witnesses a bizarre ritual of some sort at the mayor's farm she demands answers. Discovering that their little girl can return to their lives, but for only three days which brings joy and happiness back to their marriage. Of course anytime you resurrect the dead, things don't always go as planned.

Wake Wood is a bit of a slow cooker, letting you get to know the characters and the love they share as a family. But you will also share a parent's worse horror imaginable, the death of a child and the different ways they cope with their loss. Wake Wood is also about birth, specifically how painful it is. Whether it be the cesarean birth of a calf as it falls to the ground or the spine severing required for the ritual of the rebirth.Wake Wood also raises a question about responsibility to parents, you are responsible for who you bring into this world, even if it is a second time. I thought it was clever to have the parents medical professionals, these are people of science yet they abandon the laws of science, and turn towards back woods magic for one more chance to be with their little girl.

It's not difficult to think of Pet Semetary with it's similar theme, but The Wicker Man is more closer in tone and atmosphere even though the people of Wake Wood are not necessary the antagonists. Patrick and Louise are their own worse enemies.

STRAIGHT ON TIL MORNING
If it wasn't for the Hammer name seen I wouldn't in a million years believe this was a Hammer production. Brenda a naive, unattractive young woman who writes fairy tales and pretends to be the princess of her stories. Lying , she tells her mother she is pregnant and moves out to the big city of London. Looking for her Prince Charming. After losing a potential boy friend to her room mate, Brenda steals a dog named Tinker, takes it home and pretties him up. She returns him the following day to the address on his collar,claiming to have found him. But Peter knowing the truth as he had been watching Brenda carry his dog away. Confronting her , he asks what do you really want from me? She claims she wants to have his baby. Peter compromises if she stays to clean, cook and take care of him, he'll think about it. Brenda moves in and she is happy to be living out her fairy tale dream.

Turns out Peter is not living in the real world either, first of all his real name is not Peter and he prefers to call Brenda by the name of Wendy. He really does live in his own Never Never land as he doesn't have a job but does have a drawer full of money. A result of an unhealthy childhood upbringing by his mother forced him to run away at a young age, now he despises pretty things which as a rule end up dead. And now Brenda's plain Jane looks may be the only thing keeping her alive.

Straight on til Morning is a psychological thriller so the blood and gore is minimal as it's not important to this story. the film makers are more concerned with the mental anguish Peter inflicts onto Brenda/Wendy. I thought this movie could have been more terrifying as I felt there was a couple of missed opportunities to amp up the tension. Especially the scene where Brenda returns home after her visit to a beauty salon to pretty herself up....for Peter. Another scene that should show more of an impact is the one where Peter locks Brenda into a room and forces her to listen to the big reel to reel tapes of his recorded murders. this was a disturbing scene but not as powerful as it should have been, kind of low key for the big " revelation". This film proves not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

I was put off with the editing style for the first third of the film or so. I believe it was supposed to be innovative but I just found it annoying, messing up the pacing and giving it a kind of hiccup effect.

This is not a bad film, it just lacks everything that I'm use to seeing in a Hammer production, things I'd rather see. What I found most interesting about this film , is the fact it is a Hammer film, very uncharacteristic of them.


Lance Ford

DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966)
Excellent movie with an excellent music score - which gave you the idea of something fore-boding just about to happen. Pretty cool how Dracula got resurrected after being killed in an earlier film by having his ashes drowned in human blood. Different ending that what I expected - but satisfying. Very good vampire flick.

DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)
Blood sure has a way of resurrecting Count Dracula. (P.o.D. and Risen from the Grave both used it to awaken the king of the vampires) Good acting, great suspense-filled story, so I'll forgive the resurrection repeat. And gazing into those awesome blood-shot eyes is enough to give a grown man shivers (not me, of course) Christopher Lee is the (undead) man!! Awesome ending!!! Thought both of these were better than Horror of Dracula.


Damien

THE MUMMY
Yup I have no excuses for never seeing this before. And after finally watching it, I have to say it is better then Universal's Mummy film. As iconic as Karloff is, Hammer's was much more intense, atmospheric and had ore Mummy. Looking at Christopher Lee now, it is amusing to see him under all that make-up sludging around in the swamps, doubt he would do that again given the chance. And Cushing as always is a master at his craft. Two thumbs up.

THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF
Awesome awesome movie. I think what I loved most about it is the origin story, that they used the old legend of being born on Dec. 25 makes you a werewolf instead of just being bitten and carrying on the curse. I don't think I recall any other movie that used this before. And they really spent a lot of time with the backstory of Oliver Reed's real parents of how he was the bastard child of a mute women raped by a beggar in prison, classic stuff. Werewolf make-up was also top notch, if it isn't going to look like the Howling, this movie was the next best thing.

Thanks for finally making me cross these two off the list.


Patrick McCarter

HORROR OF DRACULA
Jonathon Harker goes to Dracula's mansion on a mission to kill the Count, and fails, only to be turned into a vampire himself, leaving the task of killing Dracula to his trusted friend, Dr. Van Helsing. This is one of the most brilliant movies that I have ever seen. I must admit that at first I was a little nervous since this was going to be my first Hammer film. However, I was not disapointed at all, and have nothing but praises for this movie. I did not know at first that Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee were going to be in this movie, and I thought that they both played their characters extremely well. My favorite scene is Dracula's death. The way that he just melts away was almost to much for me to bear.

CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
A story that follows the work of Dr. Frankenstein from when he was a child to when he first gained an interest in the subject matter that would soon after become his work. Yet again another excellent movie. And I again have nothing but good to say about it. I thought Christopher Lee played the monster realy well, and I loved how the story followed the Doctor instead of the monster, since the Doctor was the part I am the most interested in. This movie is second only to Horror Of Dracula, but still a great movie.


Kristin Wicks

THE RESIDENT
A lukewarm entry for Hammer, though not entirely terrible. It has its creepy moments, particularly the idea of Jeffrey Dean Morgan laying under your bed, licking your fingers while you sleep. Creepy. However, the show was majorly weakened by the treatment. Why did they make the lead character (played by Hilary Swank) so incredibly brainless? Her character was meek and behaved unlike any woman I've ever met. Who stays in a house knowing someone is sneaking in night and day, doing icky things? Who is just going to whimper and take it? She gained some steam in the last act, but it doesn't make up for the rest of the movie. I thought the writers should have had some sort of respect for women. Your lead character can be submissive without being an idiot. No fault of Swank's, of course. Just a head-scratcher, really.

SCARS OF DRACULA
This was fun. I don't know that it stands out any differently than the rest of the Hammer flicks with Christopher Lee as Dracula, but like the others, it was a fun ride. Lee is definitely my favorite Dracula. Been hunting down this one for a while, so it was great to finally watch it, thanks to the mission being the push!


Jay Dossantos

THE WOMAN IN BLACK
Thoughts: I was able to see this in the theater. I thought it was very good. It didn't really rely on special effects to sell it. I also thought that Daniel Radcliffe did very well. This is the first movie I have seen him in since I have never seen any of the Harry Potter movies.The ending was in a way something that could have been sad, but instead you were almost happy for him.

LET ME IN
Thoughts: I watched this on Netflix. I took it as a vampire although she never says that that is what she is. It shows that she was somewhat thoughtful in her victims. I didn't realize that this was the girl from Kickass. Or that the boy was from The Road. These are two movies that I plan to watch based on the talent that I saw on this one.


Scott Finnegan

THE WOMAN IN BLACK (2012)
Thoughts: Glad that there was a Hammer film I could see on the big screen this month. This film actually had some nice scares, and was beautiful to watch. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but for a tortured soul such as Arthur, there probably was no other outcome. Definitely worth a watch

COUNTESS DRACULA (1971)
Thoughts: Nice twist on the Dracula mythology. Decent performances, even though it does drag a bit from time to time.The ending, though, does make up for the shortcomings.


Lee Marohn

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)
I should note that I'm a HUGE fan of the Universal monsters. I'll take their classic horror films over modern slasher stuff ANY day. I haven't checked out much of the Hammer backlog at all. WHY?? This was a great film. The Christopher Lee version of the Monster is so completely different than Karloff's. Not just the makeup. Peter Cushing as Frankenstein was amazing. I love the way it's set up as a flashback, with Frankenstein relating his tale to a priest as he's waiting for the guillotine. This version is now my favorite.

THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958)
I liked this even better than the previous film. Frankenstein (now calling himself Dr. Stein) has relocated and is continuing his work. But he's also working as a "regular" doctor, which provides him with fresh body parts. He gets a new assistant, who seems almost TOO eager. Once again, a wrench is thrown into the works by the actions of a woman, however well-intentioned. After watching these two films back-to-back, I almost got the feeling that someone at Hammer really hated women. Also, the patients who attacked Frankenstein really brought back the "villagers with pitchforks" concept. Loved it.

Special Thanks to fellow Kryptic Army soldier Lance Ford for the loan of the tape. There are 2 more Hammer Frankenstein films on the tape, which is not being returned until I watch those as well.


Erich C. Polnow

THE HORROR OF DRACULA
Thoughts: As much as I love the Tale of Dracula through a lot of it's tellings and counterparts; the pacing was a bit slow for me. I did enjoy the effects during the end sequence and I've always enjoyed Lee and Cushing.

DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS
Thoughts: I should have maybe picked another in the vast array of Hammer films other than the direct sequel to "Horror" but it was neat watching them back to back. Although the first 5 min. of this was the last 5 of the previous. The characters were kind of ignorant not to suspect anything amidst. The way they "resurrected" Dracula was simple but interesting. But Lee was only in this one for maybe 7 minutes. Again, the effects were pretty impressive. Especially for the that time. But it seemed filled with a lot of slow, dragging scenes in between the actual story. And lot of long scenes of people running up and down stairs.


Ashley Polnow
All the way up until this month the only Hammer film I have ever seen is LET ME IN, so Erich and I thought we'd take this opportunity and watch some old Christopher Lee Dracula movies.

THE HORROR OF DRACULA
I thought it was an interesting spin on the Dracula story. I enjoyed Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. (as always) The sets and costumes were pretty elaborate and very well done. I enjoyed the story, but I shouldn't have watched it so late at night. I think it had a pretty strong ending. (Don't want to give any spoilers, but it did surprise me.)

DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS
I agree with Erich. It was neat watching these two back to back. I think I enjoyed Horror more than this one. Christopher Lee wasn't in it as much. I will probably check out some others now that I've gotten a taste of what these movies are like.


Justin Allison

THE WOMAN IN BLACK
Honestly I was weary of seeing this movie. It looked interesting, but I was not excited to see it. I am glad I did not trust my instincts on this one, because I really enjoyed it. The set design & cinematography created a great atmosphere, and I really enjoyed a slower pace that allowed for tension and suspense to build. The only detractor would be that as I have reflected on the film, the basic story is not much different that say Dark Water, or an number of Japanese ghost/horror films, but it just shows that when done right even something that you have seen before can prove to be scary and entertaining. Oh that, and the 2 girls who talked behind us the whole time, but that just shows why good ghost stories are a tough sell. They require the audience to be quite and pay attention to the nuances on the screen.

THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT
Another one I did not know what to expect, but Ken recommended it and he has a pretty good track record, so I tried it out. Loved Quatermass' cold scientific attitude was great. Surprising how human the astronaut/alien came off, I really felt bad for him as he evolved. Though I really enjoyed is final transformation and the final shot of Quatermass walking into distance through the three of four overhead lights, very noir in its high key lighting. Fun flick, and I think I will have to search out the others in the series.


Aaron Christensen

I anticipate these are going to be regrettably sloppy as I'm writing them at the 11th hour (literally, it's after 11:30pm on 2/29) and in the throes of a migraine. But we must, as they say, "soldier" on...

THE WOMAN IN BLACK (2012) (1st viewing) d. Watkins, James
Daniel ("don't call me Harry") Radcliffe stars as an epically grieving widower called to handle the legalities of a recently deceased mansion owner from a remote English village. But upon arriving, he encounters much hostility from both the hamlet residents and long-dead vengeful spirits haunting the mansion's confines. It's a good ghost story based on Susan Hill's novel, and director Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goldman do a nice job with it, although it felt like the most effective moments were not the ones seemingly designed to appease a modern day audience (CGI ghosts, big aural jump scares) but the "classic" slow burn spooking sequences (gazing down a long hallways or silent climbs up and down foreboding staircases). Ultimately, I admired the period effort more than loved it, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Is it likely to leave lasting memories and have you looking under the bed? Probably not, but it's among the better studio-based genre efforts and ranks just below LET ME IN and WAKE WOOD as far as Hammer's recent output. (I'd rank them 3 for 4, with THE RESIDENT being the only true disappointment under Simon Oakes 21st century stewardship.)


STOP ME BEFORE I KILL! (1960) (1st viewing) d. Val Guest
This early Hammer's b/w thriller centers on Ronald Lewis' (MR. SARDONICUS, SCREAM OF FEAR) race car driver who, after suffering a near-fatal crash, finds himself entertaining murderous impulses toward his fetching new bride. Guest's spirited direction is commendable; ditto Diane Cilento's (THE WICKER MAN) lively French-accented turn as Lewis' devoted if increasingly frustrated bride. But the whole thing takes WAY too long to get where it's going (at 107 minutes, it's one of the longest Hammer films out there; apparently the original UK cut is a full 120), especially considering the "twist" is telegraphed miles and miles ahead such that only those who dozed off halfway through would be surprised by the outcome.


FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE (1953) (1st viewing) d. Fisher, Terence
Surprisingly underrated pre-QUATERMASS XPERIMENT sci-fi effort from Hammer and its most prolific director concerns itself with two young scientists (Stephen Murray, John Van Eyssen) who collaborate on a fantastic new invention - a device that can replicate simply anything. (I have to say, I absolutely loved the simplicity of this fanciful notion, hearkening back to a more innocent era of sci-fi when you could chalk up pretty much anything to this mystical thing called SCIENCE.) This astonishing innovation also provides an interesting solution to an ancillary problem between the two brainiacs: they're in love with the same woman (Barbara Payton). With her affections blowing Van Eyssen's way, Murray decides to reproduce his l'amour, which his succeeds in doing...with some unexpected side effects. Certainly a trifle, but interesting enough to merit your attention. (If Van Eyssen seems familiar, it's probably from his turn as Jonathan Harker in 1958'S HORROR OF DRACULA.)


Non-horror bonus pic:
CASH ON DEMAND (1962) (1st viewing) d. Lawrence, Quentin
Marvelous suspense yarn pits Andre Morrell's charmingly sinister con man against starched shirt scrooge Peter Cushing, the former seeking to relieve the latter of his bank's holdings. Watching these two titans square off in adversarial fashion is pleasure enough (especially for those who've seen their excellent previous teaming as Holmes and Watson in 1959's HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES), but David T. Chantler & Lewis Greifer's script - based off Jacques Gillies' play - is tight and effective, providing Lawrence plenty of opportunities to heighten the tension. The Christmastime setting only sweetens the deal - this may need to become a holiday tradition.



MARCH 2012 - LET THERE BE BLOOD!

Scott Finnegan

QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966)
Great cast, with Basil Rathbone, Dennis Hopper and John Saxon. The story had some promise, but the slow moving story is kind of a stinker. It took more than half of the film to just get to the real action. It was enjoyable, though, to see the cast. They made it worth the 1:18 running time.

BLOOD FEAST 2: ALL U CAN EAT (2002)
I saw the original back in the early 80s, a rental in a big cardboard VHS box. Never bothered with the sequel until now. Pure silly gore goodness. Definitely more realistic than the original, with the same spirit.
 


Steve Weakley

BLOOD HARVEST
Thoughts: I hope this makes the cut since while the case label's the film as "Blood Harvest", it also lists that it was originally released as "The Marvelous Mervo", but then the print on the DVD is titled "Nightmare". And now a sentence I thought I'd never write. Tiny Tim is REALLY good in this. No seriously. He plays a guy names Mervin who's had an 'accident' and now isn't all there upstairs, dressing in outlandish clothes. wearing clown makeup and calls himself The Marvelous Mervo. It's amazing how he comes off not only as incredibly creepy, but also endearing at the same time. Which is some ways was always Tiny Tim's thing, even when he was just on stage strumming his ukulele, but it's played to the max here. Unfortunately his scenes seem to have been filmed all at once, so sometimes they don't blend in as well with the scenes before or after them. Kind of jarring. The plot centers on a young woman who returns to her rural home to find her parents missing, strange unsolved murders in town, and people she knows start disappearing. It takes her the entire movie to go the 50 feet from her house to her old barn to find all the missing people hanging upside down, drained of their blood. Pretty obvious as to who the real killer is from the start, and the rest of the actors are fairly amateurish. But as long as Tiny Tim is on screen, this is a film worth watching.

BLOOD THIRST
Women in the Philippines start ending up in trees, dead, and hanging upside down drained of blood. Just like the last movie! Maybe they'll call in Tiny Tim to solve this crime too!!!!! Oh no, it's just some swaggering he-man who's suppose to be an expert in sex crimes. During the film he forces a kiss on a woman twice, slaps her and then all but drags her to bed. Making you wonder if he's an expert in solving or causing sex crimes. The killer is a guy with a big puffy, blobby face, like the guys in Attack of the Mushroom People before they went full mushroom. There's a connection to a blond exotic dancer at a local club who will suddenly start finding something going wrong with her face and run off. Not all that exciting but some really good black and white photography at times. I really liked the character of the one legged undercover policeman, should have made him the star. And of course it costars Vic Diaz. Can't have an exploitation film made in the Philippines from the late 50's onward without Vic Diaz being in there somewhere.

BLOOD OF THE VIRGINS
Thoughts: OK here's the deal. I know only two movies count towards the mission, but I actually watched this first. While it fit the requirements for this month's mission, I just knew I could do better than this. It's no where near good but, it's not bad enough to be fun either. Most of the real vampire story takes place before the opening credits. Then it just sort of sits there being dull. There is blood but as for it's source mentioned in the title.....yea, right.


Anna McKibben

I dropped the ball for the last two months, so now I am resolved to get back on track with this year's Challenge! Derf!

BLOODY BIRTHDAY
Thoughts: These three little ****-ass kids who were born during a lunar eclipse and thus have no conscience go on a murder spree to kill any adult that crosses their path. Leave it to the 1980s to come up with a one-off slasher film like this. Really stupid, yet somehow fun, movie.

BLOOD BATH
Thoughts: Jack Hill strikes again! I couldn't tell if Netflix streaming was chinky for this one or if the movie was supposed to look like it was shot in stop-motion, but it was hard to watch. Anyhow, there's a lot going on here with vampirism and wax works and Sid Haig as a beatnik.  Welp.

BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB
Thoughts: Wahoo! Hammer mummy film, which is kind of like a lot of other mummy flicks where an old dead Egyptian person is resurrected into the body of a hot young thing who kills people. Astral bodies? Hotchi matchi!


Steve Sapsford

BLOOD CAR (2007)
I can’t recommend that you watch this movie. In fact, I actively discourage you. It is chock full of offensive dialog, unnecessary nudity, gratuitous & unappealing hillbilly sex, non-contextual swearing, racial slurs and sophomoric potty-humor.

I do have to admire what the filmmakers accomplished visually with such a “tiny” amount of money ($25k reported budget). I’ve seen movies with 100 times the budget that were far worse on the eye.  But enough about you, let’s talk about me…“Let me set things up for you. It’s the future, like 2 weeks from now.” Gas prices are at an all-time high. Nobody drives anymore, not even truckers. And a trucker that doesn’t drive? Well, you know…”

In order to provide an alternative to our dependence on fossil fuels, our protagonist Archie is working on an engine powered by wheatgrass. (I once owned a Saab with nearly 300k on the speedometer and based on its performance, I would swear it ran on something like that).

Archie’s life is complicated. He’s a geeky vegan who is being pursued by the hot nerdy chick (Wheatgrass Girl) who runs the vegan food kiosk and the hot trampy chick (Denise) who runs the meat kiosk. Both of which appear to be the only businesses in the middle of the parking lot of an abandoned flea market. He may (or may not) be dying of cancer. He teaches a kindergarten class of duckweeds who answer questions about volcanos with “What is photosynthesis?” a la Jeopardy. One day while working on his engine, he accidentally cuts himself and his blood mixes with the wheatgrass. Human blood is the missing ingredient and… Eureka! The engine works. Now he has to deal with the whole fuel supply chain issue…

Although this is a terrible, terrible movie it does have one redeeming feature. It was filmed in my hometown of Atlanta. So, that means that the cast and crew put a few dollars into the local economy when they went to the Waffle House™ to get their hash browns smothered & covered or the Varsity™ for their neked dogs & peach pies walkin’.  Trust me, don’t watch this movie – it is pure bull squeeze. Still, it’s better than Transformers (but not by much).

BLOOD CREEK (2009)
This is a dark movie. Not dark in a “creepy, scary” way. It is dark in a “could someone please turn on a light so I could see what in the blue blazes is happening?” kind of way. Seriously, why spend millions of dollars making a movie that is so poorly lit you can’t see what’s happening? I can hear people talking and moving around so I know SOMETHING is going on.

The movie starts with a little back story. In the late 1930s a poor German family living in West Virginia has built their barn on an ancient rune stone they found in their field. They receive a letter one day telling them that they will be paid to board a famous scientist or scholar (I forget which one) who wishes to study the stone. This is, of course, total horse-piddle. Occult nazi deviltry is afoot. (Spellchecker wants me to capitalize “nazi”, but I always feel like it should be in lower case so I’m not going to).

Cut to present day.  Our hero Evan is a paramedic whose brother Victor has been missing for two years. One night Victor returns and demands that Evan comes with him to exact his revenge on the family he claims have held him captive all this time.  The brothers soon discover however that there is more going on with this family than what appears. It turns out that they were the family to whom we were introduced earlier. The “scientist / scholar” was actually a nazi officer and the family ended up trapped with him once the war is over. His occult practices require the blood of the living, and the family is forced to supply him with blood in order for them to remain alive.

The movie is slow, dark, and seems to be full of pieces of other movies. The acting is B- at best and the plot is full of more holes than my favorite boxers.  The make-up & creature effects were pretty good but they were destroyed by really amateurish CGI. See the “horse in the house” scene as an example.  I guess the worst thing about this movie to me was the fact that it was boring. It was neither really good nor really bad. It was just dark and bland. Still, better than Transformers.



Erik Martin

SANGRE DE VIRGENES (BLOOD OF THE VIRGINS)
Ofelia is in love with Gustavo, but is scheduled to be married to Eduardo. Gustavo will not met with her parents to try and change their mind, so she ties the knot with Ed. On her wedding night, Gustavo appears and it is revealed why he didn't want to meet her parents; he is a vampire. He kills Eduardo and turns Ofelia into a vamp as well. Content that they will be together forever, he leads her away. Fast forward to present-day (1960's), a group of young people (of course) are traveling in the mountains when their van breaks down. They take refuge in an abandoned house, which happens to be Gustavo's, and spend the night. Ofelia makes an appearance and seduces one of the young men, and when everyone wakes up, the women are all gone . . .

This, the only vampire film made in Argentina, is a mix of disappointments and pleasant surprises for me. To start off with the bad and get it out of the way, This film is just simply not bloody enough. For a film that was banned for so long in it's native country, and for a DVD cover that promises such copious amounts of the red stuff, this one just doesn't deliver. The vampire action, although strong in the beginning, is not enough. It almost seemed as fi the filmmakers were squeamish about showing too much vampire violence, or something.

Now, the good parts. While lacking in violence, this film delivers a wonderful moody atmosphere with some very effective gothic set pieces, giving it an almost Hammer-like feel. Though the vampire scenes are not often enough, what scenes they do show, they make count (pun intended). Plus, on the carnal side, there is a LOT of female nudity. And some of the special effects are of the Scratch-your-head-and-say-HUH? variety, with my favorite being the red-tinted shots of sea gulls which were supposed to be, I guess, bats. Not my favorite vampire movie, but I enjoyed it.

SILENT NIGHT BLOODY NIGHT
After many years, the Butler House is finally going to be sold. It has a long, dark history, being a former asylum for the criminally insane, with murders, rapes, and burnings being a staple. The county has plans to tear it down. But now, one by one, all those who enter the house are being stalked and murdered by a maniac . . .

Not bad, not bad at all. Pretty straight-forward stuff, with some nice axe-murders, some creepy stalk scenes, and of course the long flashback where we learn the truth about what happened in that house, all those years ago. I saw the Paragon Video release, so the quality wasn't spectacular, but it was an entertaining movie, and it did have John Carradine in it, even though he didn't talk much.
 


Hoby Abernathy

HARD REVENGE MILLY: BLOODY BATTLE
This is a Japanese horror movie that is actually a sequel to a short movie called simply Hard Revenge Milly. It was actually pretty entertaining with a nice revenge theme and lots of fountains of blood from severed limbs and heads. Besides the usual gore, there's a couple of weird twists that I didn't see coming. The basis for the revenge is pretty brutal.  That is, if you call setting a baby on fire and smashing it into a wall brutal. That was a little out of character for the rest of the movie, which actually had more of a cartoon-y feel than that part. Anyway, I've spent much less entertaining 90 minutes watching movies than this one. It's obviously low budget but not bad.

LIPS OF BLOOD
This is a Jean Rollin movie that I'd never seen before. It was much as I expected, with lots of French actresses playing vampires in flowing see-through gowns and seemed very uncomfortable with their fake vampire teeth as well as the camera. Very little dialog in this, which was good, as a lot of the subtitles were off the screen. Also as expected was the fact that very little of it made a lot of sense, but lots of attention to style. It had been a long time since I'd seen a Rollin movie, so I enjoyed it more than I expected, but it didn't measure up to his best. It's not for all tastes.


Lance Ford

CLIVE BARKER'S BOOKS OF BLOOD
I usually like adaptations of Clive Barker's novels into movies and this one did not disappoint Although a little slow-paced, I still liked it. A few scares, some decent FX and good acting made this one a treat.

A BLOOD PLEDGE
Korean horror film with hot Asian chicks (how can you go wrong?) that was freaking awesome! That is all.


Patrick McCarter

BLOOD THE LAST VAMPIRE
A live action tribute to the old anime, this film is about a young girl who spends her life hunting vampires. I thought this film sucked donkey dick. The vampires were not vampires. They were more like demon possessed people. The story could have been way better, and I lost my patience at about the twentieth time the main character kicked the bottom of her sword sheath so the sword would fly out, and didn't impale her foot. Now, I'm all for seeing a hot asian school girl swing a sword around and decapitate bad guys, but I hated this film.

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (the original).
A movie about a man that was trapped in a mine with his team on Valentine's Day and forced to turn cannibal to survive. He then goes on a killing spree, and warns the town against celebrating the holliday again. Then twenty years later the fun starts again. This movie was one of the greatest things ever created by man. Need I say more? My favorite scene was the death of the crazy old man and his prank gone horribly awry. Awesome.


Craig J. Clark

BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW (Piers Haggard, 1971)
Thoughts: An atmosphere of dread and foreboding infuses every frame of this film, a period horror set in a 17th-century English village that is beset by an evil force after a ploughman unearths a "fiendish" skull. This triggers a series of inexplicable events, including a young man's fiancée being driven mad the night before their wedding, his aunt disappearing mysteriously soon after, and the young man cutting off his own hand in his sleep. Furthermore, the youth of the village, led by the ironically named Angel (Linda Hayden), begin sacrificing themselves (or at the very least parts of themselves) as part of a "game" which will eventually conjure up their "master," who I'll admit is a bit furrier than most depictions of Satan, but that doesn't bother me. I only wish he had been photographed well enough to be seen. (For the most part cinematographer Dick Bush does an excellent job, so I'm guessing an effort was made to minimize the exposure of what turned out to be a duff demon costume.)

As one would hope, writer Robert Wynne-Simmons has a few wrinkles to add to what was already something of a shopworn premise at the time. (This film came midway between Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man, both of which it resembles much more than the Hammer horrors that dominated the market.) For one thing, the period setting extends to the dialogue, which is full of thees and thous, and the costuming makes it look like a proto-Peter Greenaway film. Call it The Draughtsman's Compact with the Devil, with Patrick Wymark's haughty judge in the role of the skeptic who comes to realize that there's more going on than meets the eye (although not as quickly as ploughman Barry Andrews) and studies up so he can put a stop to it before it's too late. I can guess how that would have gone if Michael Reeves had been in charge.


BLOODY PIT OF HORROR (Massimo Pupillo, 1965)
Thoughts: Filmed in PSYCHOVISION (one of one films shot in that format), this Italian horror jumps right in with a scene of the dreaded Crimson Executioner -- a hooded muscleman who liked his work a little too much -- being put to death in a flimsy-looking iron maiden, which is promptly sealed shut. Hundreds of years and one credit sequence later, the crimson one's seemingly abandoned castle is infiltrated by the entourage of a book publisher (Alfredo Rizzo, credited as Alfred Rice) in search of the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot for a series of horror anthology covers. The castle's reclusive owner (Mickey Hargitay) reluctantly allows them to get to work on the condition that they stay out of the dungeons, but within minutes one of them has broken the seal on the iron maiden, thus releasing the Crimson Executioner to maim, torture and kill once again. Of course, we know all along that it's Hargitay, partially because the credits say so, but mostly because it's clear he's batty from the word go. Still, this doesn't prevent lunkhead author Walter Brandi/Brandt from taking several reels to put two and two together, thus allowing Hargitay plenty of time to ply his trade, surreptitiously at first, but more and more brazenly as the cast thins out.

As one might expect, the film's raisons d'être are the torture sequences, which put Carlo Rambaldi's special effects makeup front and center. Too bad little of it is particularly convincing, but that does allow the film to be enjoyed on the level of camp. How else is one to respond to scenes like the one where one of Rizzo's models is caught in a giant spiderweb and menaced by a ridiculously fake-looking giant spider? Or Hargitay's ravings that he had to withdraw from society (and leave fiancée Luisa/Louise Baratto/Barret high and dry) in order to preserve the purity of his perfect body? In his defense, I will say that his body is quite impressive, as is the way he fills out a pair of red rights. Which raises the possibility that maybe the real reason the Crimson Executioner was put to death way back when was because his rivals were jealous of how cool he looked in his ensemble. I wouldn't put it past them.


Ken

DOCTOR BLOOD'S COFFIN (1961)
Synopsis: People are disappearing from a small English mining village and prodigal son, Dr. Peter Blood, may know more about it than he's letting on.

Stars: Kieron Moore, Hazel Court, Ian Hunter, Kenneth J. Warren and Gerald Lawson

Directed by: Sidney J. Furie

"Research in a laboratory is very different than practical experience."

A Hammer clone by rival Caralan Productions, this horror "thriller" has a nice setup, disappearances in a remote coastal, tin-mining village, but it's shuffling, somnambulic pacing kills any real suspense.

Hammer Scream Queen Hazel Court is a welcome diversion as Nurse Linda Parker, but sadly she isn't given a lot to do. By the time the story staggers to its resolution I'd all but given up. I usually have more patience for films like this, but there just wasn't enough happening to make this something I could recommend. The climax is somewhat disturbing, but even during it's initial release it'd have to be considered lightweight fare.

Doctor Blood's coffin may be of interest to Hammer fans curious about what rival studios were up to at the time, or for the more devoted fans of Hazel Court. Sadly, bloodshed was kept at a very respectable British Board of Film minimum, so I can't even recommend it for that. Maybe if you're in need of a sleeping aid...

It's currently available on Netflix Instant Watch

*1/2 (1 1/2 stars out of 5)

BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (1958)
Synopsis: A doctor, accused of medical heresy, is sent to a remote castle prison run by Doctor Callistratus, a scientist with his own horrifying secrets.

Stars: Donald Wolfit, Vincent Ball, Barbara Shelley, Victor Maddern, William Devlin

Directed by: Henry Cass

"Start digging! Not too deep or you'll disturb the present occupant."

Another Hammeresque clone, this time by Artistes Alliance, with a few more scares, a bit more blood and some pulpy adventure.

Donald Wolfit owns the film as Doctor Callistratus a genuinely creepy vampire (mad scientist) who looks like a cross between Bela Lugosi and Charles Laughton. He, along with mute man servant Karl rule the prison with an iron fist and a ready syringe, stopping at nothing to find a cure for a rare blood disease, among other things. (It should be noted that Karl's disfigured face looks so much like Disney's take on Quasimodo in their mid-90s version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, that you have to wonder if it was an inspiration.)

Vincent Ball as dashing, forward-thinking Doctor Pierre held in bondage to Doctor Callistratus' schemes is servicable as the lead, and Hammer Scream Queen Barbara Shelley proves she has brains to back up her beauty, as Pierre's wife, infiltrating the prison to find out what happened to her wrongly imprisoned husband.

This film has plenty of old style action with the blood flowing in keeping with the Hammer films of the period. The real thrills await in Doctor Callistratus' secret lab, especially a climatic reveal that had me wondering if this was a prequel to a certain mid-60s nazi zombie film and cult favorite, featuring Dana Andrews (I won't name it here, because it's title will spoil one of Blood Of The Vampire's bigger surprises).

There's plenty here to recommend for Mad Science fans, Hammer fans and Barbara Shelley fans too. Though not a "vampire" film per se, it sets up an intriguing bridge between superstition belief and the the fact-finding goals of medical science. There's also a "blink and you'll miss it" cameo by strongman Milton Reid (BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME) early on in the film.

It's available from Dark Sky Films on a Drive-In Double Feature flipper disc, partnered with THE HELLFIRE CLUB (starring Peter Cushing). Worth seeking out if you're so inclined.

*** (3 stars out of 5)


Aaron Christensen

BLOOD BATH (1966) (1st viewing) d. Hill, Jack/Rothman, Stephanie
Like several other Corman quickies, the story behind this b/w flick is more interesting than the muddled one that unfolds before us. Apparently writer/director Hill was fired by exec producer Roger Corman midway through the shoot, whereupon Rothman took over. (It’s not readily apparent who shot which parts, especially since footage from a Yugoslavian film, PORTRAIT IN TERROR, was also employed.) William Campbell stars as a tortured artist who believes himself to be a vampire, so much so that he runs around murdering young lasses to appease this fantasy. On the other hand, the question is whether it really is a fantasy, since we see him fang out on several occasions. On the other other hand, the question is who really cares? The whole thing only takes an hour, but I’ll be darned if I didn’t keep nodding off and having to rewind. As Anna said above, I’m not sure if the Netflix streaming print that is wonky, but the opening couple reels are shot in this weird jerky Keystone Kops style that is surprisingly atmospheric at times. There’s a pretty nifty swimming pool attack, you get to see Jack Nicholson’s ex-wife Sandra Knight as the pretty young damsel in distress, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS’ Jonathan Haze, and a youngish Sid Haig (with hair). Other than that, it’s pretty slim pickings.

BLOOD RIVER (2009) (1st viewing) d. Mason, Adam
I was one of the few who genuinely appreciated Mason’s 2006 two-hander BROKEN, as it managed to pull off the difficult task of “torture porn with a point.” I’d been curious what he’d been up to, but in looking at his filmography, I’m the one who’s been slacking, as he’s cranked out four films since then with a fifth in post-production as we speak. Again employing a small ensemble, BLOOD RIVER starts off on a very promising path: a husband and wife (Ian Duncan, Tess Panzer) traveling across the southwest encounter Andrew Howard’s mysterious charismatic drifter en route. But what seems to be a simple cautionary tale about not talking to strangers evolves into something far more mystical and/or metaphysical – it’s just too bad that Mason and co-screenwriter Simon Boyes aren’t willing to be a little less obtuse in revealing just what the hell is going on. Truthfully, this probably should have been about 20 minutes shorter because it travels the same ground over and over, with characters hitting the same histrionic notes until they lose their potency, and when the big reveal is no reveal at all, the viewer can have two reactions: They can say, “oh, wow, man, I didn’t get it so it must be really deep, man…” or they can say, “Um, **** you, pal.” There’s no denying the strength of the performances (Howard is the poor man’s Michael Rooker, and that’s meant as a compliment), the terrific cinematography or the compelling nature of the first half of the film – Mason just needed to deliver more steak with all that sizzle.


Lee Marohn

BLOODLUST! (1961
Okay, I disliked this movie right from the start. The four main characters seemed especially moronic right off the bat. They hire a drunken boat captain (always a wise move) to take them on trip. As he's passed out drunk, then take a rowboat to a small island nearby. Without letting him know.

On this "deserted" island is a creepy guy who likes to bring people to his island to hunt them. Within minutes of the four couple meeting this guy, all I could think about was how this entire thing was ripped off from "The Most Dangerous Game," one of my favorite short stories of all time. Surprisingly, by the end of the film I found myself actually enjoying it, though I can't really explain why.

A BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959)
Yet another that I'm surprised I've never seen. Poor Walter just wants to be cool. Unfortunately, he thinks beatniks are cool. (He's so misguided). He wants to be an artist, thinking that will make him cool, but he lacks any kind of artistic talent. Through a curious happenstance, he starts to become viewed as an artist. Unfortunately, that happenstance involves killing. I really liked this. It wasn't one of the best I've seen, but I really enjoyed watching it. It had a real "Twilight Zone" feel to it. Dick Miller was great. I love that guy.

On a side note: When I looked it up online to find the date, I discovered there was a 1995 remake with Anthony Michael Hall? What planet have I been living on?

I had fun with these two films.


Wayne Teeter

THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD
I had a real blast with this one. Released in 1981 this is an early slasher film that is no doubt influenced by Friday the 13th and Halloween. Unfortunately for my teen years, this one slipped under the radar but happily I was able to catch it now.

This film contains many of the elements that make up a good slasher, even though by today's standards these are considered cliché. But I still have fun watching to spot these so called " rules " that many slashers still follow.  The Dorm that Dripped Blood showcases some good old fashion foam rubber and latex gore effects such as a battered head done in with a spiked baseball bat, another head at the wrong end of an electric drill, a strangulation by wire and Daphne Zuniga as a speed bump.

There are also a couple of red herrings thrown in to keep you from guessing the killer's identity, which I have to admit I didn't guess but in my defense the killer's motive came totally from out of nowhere. In this regard, a big disappointment for me. However the film makers made up for it with it's unsuspecting ending. Nice job.

It's funny how important a film's title can make all the difference in the world. The Dorm that Dripped Blood , now that to me is a must see film. Where as the the film Pranks does nothing for me. Turns out these two films are one and the same.

So yeah, I would recommend this film. It also has Christopher Young's first score which adds to the tension immensely.

LIPS OF BLOOD
Frederic a thirty something mama's boy is both fascinated and drawn towards a photograph of a castle ruins. The photograph is being used to advertise a new perfume.

Once when Frederic was twelve he became separated from his parents and spends the night at the castle with a beautiful young girl dressed all in white. Unsure if he had imagined it, like his mother has suggested. Frederic becomes obsessed in finding the castle ruins again.

Although this film makes more sense than some other Jean Rollin films I have seen, it's best to check your logic at the door and just go with the flow. Lips of Blood is surreal, like a dream but not your own. It's almost like watching someone else's dream from a safe distance, not that it's overly terrifying. For myself I believe Rollins is all about atmosphere, filming amongst castle ruins, creative use of lighting and framing. The acting is a little amateurish but it works, and contributes to the dream like quality of the film. From the opening scene of a swathed covered body being carried to a casket, to the final scene of two naked lovers drifting to sea in a coffin. Guaranteed, there will be an image or two etched onto your brain.

Lips of Blood, like any of Jean Rollin's films is not for everyone. But if you can handle your vampires naked with big plastic fangs and a couple of moments that I'm sure only Rollins himself knows why it's in there, I suggest giving this a try.


Erich C. Polnow

BLOOD BEACH
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. Not only was really well executed, but the concept was not only original, but I loved how they carried it out with the sand pits. Really effective. Plus, when they finally did show the creature, it was well worth the wait. Plus a classic open ending. I liked it a lot.

THE BLOODY APE
Thoughts: What a terrible piece of garbage. I don't think Lloyd Kaufman himself could find one redeeming quality. (It was not a Troma flick, but he's usually pretty good at finding the silver lining in films.) This **** full of racist rants easily made it's way onto the top ten worst I've seen. To go into detail about why I hated it so much would be to put more effort into it than the film makers did.


Damien Glonek

SATAN'S BLOOD
Unholy coo coo for coco puffs Satan. Two people with the shortest attention span to things ever get duped into spending the night at another couple's mansion in the middle of nowhere and get sucked into the Satanic trickery. I say the couple have such a short attention span, because they find clues to things being odd but never follow up on them or question them as they get quickly distracted. The women gets assaulted by someone unknown in the house, but it is never mentioned again. They go into the kitchen looking for food as they have not eaten for a day, but quickly get distracted by finding a staircase instead. Countless hysterical incidents like this fill the entire film.

But overall this Satanic Spanish shocker is filled with nudity, satanism, a little blood and a good ending. And all the scenes with that **** creepy doll walking around were genuinely frightening. Two satanic thumbs up. I really enjoy the selection that Mondo Macabro has been releasing on DVD.


HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS
I am not exactly sure what I just watched. There seemed to be about three different subplots going on through out and none of them really tied up at the end. My biggest question would be what was the purpose of the scenes of the guy in the space station going home to have some sort of cyber sex with his wife? This movie was about 85 minutes too long, the Italian version was also included on the DVD, but I am sure that version just makes things more confusing. People can say what they want about Ed Wood, but at least his films were entertaining, Adamson's movies just really drag on and on. And he is king of the extended flash back sequence. I will say one thing positive about him though, he did have great titles for movies.

So if you really want to know, vampires from outer space are on earth. A rocket goes to another solar system and gets damaged in the process so they land on a planet to make repairs (did they even do any repairs while on the planet?), they discover the planet is the same as earth during the prehistoric era of dinosaurs including cavemen, even though cavemen and dinosaurs did not exist at the same time, but whatever. Then the stories follows two fighting caveman clans, one regular and one with vampire fangs. They battle for a large part of the movie and it is hard to keep track of who is who. The astronauts get their rocket fuel from a cave and go on their merry way. The end. Were the vampires from the beginning descendants from the cavemen vampires who have evolved? Who knows, I was just glad the movie was over. If you ever catch me watching another Al Adamson flick again, take my DVD player away from me.


Jairo Dos Santos

BLOOD SURF
Thoughts: This movie sucks. It is the type of movie that makes you glad that it doesn't last longer than 90+ minutes. I am grateful that I was able to watch it for free in Netflix.

LIFE BLOOD
Thoughts: I thought this one was really good for a low budget flick. The girls were really hot. It made good use of their "Hotness". Really good lesbian action going on too.


Kristin Wicks

BLOODLINE (2011)
Yaaaargh. Twin sisters chased in woods, one gets taken by "The Surgeon" and is never seen again. Fast forward to adulthood, the remaining sister is a journalist visiting a porn set that just happens to be the same location as where her sister was murdered. Add a ghost and zombie to the mix, and try to keep up with the chaos. It just didn't do it for me, though I won't say it wasn't entertaining. Many technical problems threw me out of the story, too. Company EuroObscura wanted to bring Italian gore back into the current horror scene. A decent comedic effort, but I personally found this incredibly goofy. I don't want to dissuade anyone from seeing it, as many of you may very well like it. 3/5 stars.

BLOOD, BOOBS & BEAST (2009)
Documentary on deceased exploitation/sci-fi/shlock horror filmmaker Don Dohler, who made NIGHTBEAST and many other crazy films that fell under the radar long ago. The film studies Dohler's career and hardships he dealt with in his personal life.  A smart guy with a good head on his shoulders, working until the very end of his life. Poignant and a bit inspiring. No, it's not as exciting as the Ozsploitation documentaries or the stellar "Corman's World" docs that came out recently, but I do believe this should be on everyone's watch list.


Ashley Polnow

BLOOD MOON (2002)
I borrowed this movie from a friend, and I am surprised that I've never heard of or seen this movie before. It has Tim Curry in it as the ringleader of a freak show. The main character is Tara the Wolf Girl; she is covered from head to toe in hair. She desires to be like everyone else and to leave the freak show. There is kind of a weak love story tied in also. She meets a boy, and his mother is a scientist. He uses some of the serum that his mother has been working on to help Tara, but the results are not what they expect. Not a bad movie overall. I enjoyed watching this one.

BLOOD SISTERS (1987)
This movie was terrible. It is about a group of girls who must spend the night in an old brothel as part of their sorority initiation. There is a killer in the house and ghosts of old prostitutes. I thought it would a have been a fun watch. Instead is was very slow paced and not a lot of gore. Some of the dialogue was amusing but not memorable. I liked the ending the best. Why am I such a magnet for bad movies?


Justin Allison

BLOODY BIRTHDAY
I have been burnt more times than not by "forgotten" slasher flicks, luckily Birthday is not one. I definitely wears its influences on its sleeve, the music is straight out of the Manfredini's Friday catalog, and the whole feel of the film is indebted to Halloween, but with all of that considered, it was a very enjoyable and surprising flick. The choice to expose the killers so early in the film was a nice change of pace, and the kills were creative, my favorite being the shovel to the face towards the beginning. There are plenty of shot on video slashers that have been forgotten for good reason, Bloody Birthday is is not one of them. Glad I checked it out, and honestly interested in watching it again in the future.

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE
I am a relative newcomer to Bava [surprise, this is like my mantra]. I have seen Twitch the Death Nerve, and enjoyed it even with the terrible audio my DVD had, but other than that I have not seen anything else. Well, after watching Black Lace, I see why everyone points to Bava as a precursor to Argento. Totally dug this movie. I was hooked right from the beginning with the awesome score, I love the juxtaposition of the jazzy/poppy score to the darker tones of the film. I thought the camera movement was top notch, loved how it moved through every scene, Bava really had an eye for deep space composition, it really created a feeling a dread as the film went on. Obviously the use of color was great, and Argento's dream like settings are right at home along side those shown in this film. I have really grown to love the use of architecture in Italian horror films, it really does become another character in these films. Looking forward to checking out more Bava soon.


John Pata

BOOKS OF BLOOD
Overall, this was okay. When all was said and done, I was left wanting more... But more of what? I don't know. Can't really put my finger on what I thought was missing. However, I will say that is a one gorgeous looking film! Even though I wasn't super into the film as a whole, I did not mind watching it due to the look. Great color palette, terrific lighting, strong compositions... One of the best looking films I've seen in a while. And the face rip in the opening scene... Yeah, f*cking awesome.

BABY BLOOD
Holy balls. This totally caught me off guard, what an incredible gore movie! Before I get into it, I will say that as a whole, I liked this one, but didn't love it. There was some issues I had with the pacing, and the first 20 minutes took too long to get through, Pretty decent take on the killer kid subgenre... But the gore. Oh, the gore! The blood sure flies in this one. The decapitation involving hacking and then kicking was absolutely amazing. Last year, Flesh for Frankenstein took home the award for best decapitation I saw all year, and I might have found my leading candidate. Good story, fairly wel filmmaking, superb gore makes for an enjoyable viewing.




April 2012 Mission: Descubren el Horror¡

 

Steve Weakley

LADRONES DE TUMBAS (GRAVE ROBBBERS)
Thoughts: Pretty good Friday the 13th inspired supernatural slasher film, with a bit of Freddy thrown in. Following the old "these people bury their relatives loaded down with gold" theory, a group of 20 somethings dig up a grave and find a long forgotten crypt beneath it. While there's plenty of gold, there's also a big dead Satanist buried there who not only wants his stuff back, but to finish his job of impregnating a virgin with Satan's baby. As he works towards his goal people are picked off one by one, more than often off camera than on. Kind of curious how his chosen victim could be considered a virgin since she seemed to be happily married and her husband didn't look the type to just, you know, one day get around to...you know. But it's none of our business and who are we to doubt. Once it gets past the killing the campers in the woods bit it starts to get more interesting, Good climax, good setting and some nice atmosphere really helps.

EL CEMENTERIO DEL TERROR (CEMETERY OF TERROR)
Thoughts: Also apparently known as Zombie Apocalypse, which is far more an exciting of a title than it deserves. One thing I hate about horror movies that feature pre teen kids as the focus of all the horror is that the film makers will rarely have anything bad happen to them. I mean, not that I want to see a bunch of kids get killed, buy you know they're not going to kill off any of the kids so you know nothing is really ever going to happen. And this movie did nothing to break that tradition. (I think the remake of the Blob has been the only film to surprise me along these lines) A group of, again, hip 20 years olds have a party in a deserted house and find a satanic book. Being Halloween and with their girlfriends not ready to put out yet they steal a body from the police morgue, take it to the cemetery and start reading from the book. Of course this isn't just ANY old corpse, it's a Michael Myer's clone, right down to the frantic Doctor who the Police will not listen to when he says the guy was more than just an average serial killer. Soon the partiers are dead and some kids are being chased through the cemetery by all the other dead people who have been brought back to life. Nicely filmed and the horror movie stand by Hugo Stiglitz plays the Doctor but over all, just fair.



Damien Glonek

FACELESS
This is the most unFranco Franco film I have ever seen. Coherent, lack of nudity, name actors? How can this be and more importantly how have I never seen this movie before? This was a great movie all around, the story, acting and gore were all top notch. Needle in the eye scene is almost up there with Zombie's splinter in the eye. Brigitte Lahie and Caroline Munro in the same movie? Adolescent me would have been in heaven, actually adult me enjoyed it as well, lol. I dug this movie so much I immediately went on ebay afterwards and picked up a set of Spanish lobby cards.

LORNA THE EXORCIST
This is more the Franco I am used to, a cool little story about selling out to the devil filled with nonsensical plot, lots of sex scenes and the ever lovely Lina Romay. Franco always seems to really get the most out of his location when shooting to build up point of reference and give a trippy atmosphere. The casino on the water's edge really worked well in this film. A young Romay was excellent in this film especially the maniacal laugh at the end. She is usually the one thing you can always count on as being good in a Franco film. Franco films are usually hit or miss with me, but this is two in a row now that I enjoyed from him.

NIGHT OF THE SEA GULLS
Luckily while traveling in Hong Kong I packed enough movies that wold fall under this month's mission, so why not watch all the Spanish ones I have right now. Yes yes I know, for shame I have never seen this movie before, especially since I love the Blind Dead series so much. As long as the Blind Dead are riding their horses there is not much that can disappoint me in one of Amando De Ossario's films and this one is no different. Looks like the beginning of the movie when the Templars get their eyes burned out was reused from the second Blind Dead film. One thing I did not care for too much in this film was the outside night scenes by the ocean all seemed to be filmed with a haze over the lens, I like to see my Blind Dead nice and crisp. The end when they collapse and the blood pours out of theirs eyes was a nice touch. All in all another fine film to end the Blind Dead series.

DRACULA VS FRANKENSTEIN aka ASSIGNMENT TERROR
I watched this at the end of March, but what the hell it was the last Spanish film I brought with me. Unfortunately what could have been a fun little movie was a very poor DVD transfer where a lot of stuff is too dark to see and as a surprise it looks like this was an entry in Paul Nashy's Daninsky series, but instead of being a main character he was only secondary. It was like someone was making a monster movie and just put his character in cause he happened to be on set that day. Always cool to see a movie combine all the monsters, this one had Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy and Waldemar Daninsky's werewolf, oh and the mad scientists and space men as well. Someone really needs to clean this movie up and give it a proper release.
 



Name: Craig J. Clark

LICANTROPO (Francisco Rodríguez Gordillo, 1996)
Thoughts: I used this month's mission as an excuse to watch one of the few Paul Naschy/Waldemar Daninsky films that I hadn't seen yet. (The Beast and the Magic Sword and Tomb of the Werewolf are both still out there, but even if they were readily available to me, neither of them would have qualified.) This one gives him yet another origin story and a new occupation as a bestselling novelist who has a wife and two children -- and apparently no idea that he sprouts fur and fangs every full moon and kills people. (If his lycanthropy has lain dormant all that time, there's no explanation given for why it has suddenly been activated after so long.)

As far as Waldemar is concerned, he's merely suffering from periodic chest pains and nightmares, which his comely doctor assures him will go away as soon as he stops overworking himself, a view echoed by his lawyer wife. There's little chance of that happening, though, when a rash of brutal murders breaks out, stumping the police. Meanwhile, there's a subplot involving Waldemar's teenage daughter, whose friendship with a horror aficionado is not looked kindly upon by his father, the local pessimistic priest. Then there's the ghost of a gypsy chief, who appears to Waldemar to warn him about his curse and later to his doctor when she begins reading up on lycanthropy.

Disappointingly, Gordillo keeps Waldemar's furry form out of frame for far too much of the running time. In fact, el Hombre Lobo doesn't get his first, altogether too fleeting, closeup until the film is nearly half over. (And the second one is just as brief.) Perhaps the greatest crime of all, though, is the CGI-aided transformation in the final reel, which I should have realized was a distinct possibility, but somehow I had hoped that they would have stuck with the old ways. Then again, when an actor is nearing retirement age (as Naschy was at the time of filming), they're less apt to want to spend hours upon hours in a makeup chair.

THE HANGING WOMEN (José Luis Merino, 1973)
Thoughts: My main interest in this one was due to the presence of Paul Naschy in the cast, but he only has a supporting role, which he makes up for by playing a greasy-haired necrophiliac gravedigger named Igor who has the run of a network of well-lit secret passages. Movie roles don't get much more memorable than that. The film's actual star is Stelvio Rosi, who plays the nephew of a count who has died and left him his entire estate -- a state of affairs that doesn't sit too well with the countess, who dabbles in black magic. Other interested parties include the count's business partner, a professor who has a fully stocked laboratory in the basement, the professor's daughter, who would do almost anything to ensure that he'll be able to continue his experiments uninterrupted, and the insolent butler, who is dismissed after getting into a fistfight with Rosi. Then, of course, there's the requisite police inspector, who gets involved when the count's daughter turns up dead, hung by the neck outside the cemetery where he has just been buried.

As befits a horror film from this period, there is a fair bit of gratuitous nudity (all female, of course) which the director doesn't even attempt to justify. He also throws in random story elements (like Naschy's penchant for collecting women's underwear) that have next to nothing to do with the main plot. Speaking of which, an alternate title for this film is Terror of the Living Dead, which makes sense since the professor's experiments run to the reanimation of the dead. Once Rosi uncovers the truth, though, he has a hard time convincing the authorities. "Your story about the walking dead will never stand up," the inspector says, skeptical to the last.

IT HAPPENED AT NIGHTMARE INN (Eugenio Martin, 1973)
Thoughts: In contrast, there's nothing too outlandish going on in this film. Just a couple of spinsters who take it upon themselves to relieve their guests of their lives when they're judged to be morally deficient. The first outsider who suspects that something is amiss is tourist Judy Geeson, who was supposed to meet her sister at the inn and becomes suspicious when she's told that her sister has moved on. And her suspicions are confirmed when two more young women go missing -- one for making a spectacle of herself in the village and the other for apparently having a baby out of wedlock -- prompting her to do some poking around in the wine vats in the basement.

Unlike the two sisters, who are more than willing to jump to conclusions based on little evidence, it's difficult for me to judge how effective this film is since the version I saw was edited down to the point of incomprehensibility. There's an 83-minute cut released under the title A Candle for the Devil that apparently represents Martin's original vision, but until I can see that I'll have to mark this one as incomplete.
 

Erik Martin

LAS RATAS NO DUERMEN DE NOCHE (RATES DON'T SLEEP AT NIGHT)
How could I fulfill this mission and NOT include a Paul Naschy flick? To do any less would be immoral. And actually, I didn't watch Rats Don't Sleep At Night, but a different cut of the movie entitled Crimson, which is an X-Rated cut of Rats Don't Sleep At Night. Except that after watching it, I wondered what the X-Rating was for, and after some research found out that I was watching a "cut" version of Crimson! D-A-M-N!!!

Anyway, this movie was still great! Paul Naschy (credited here as Paul Nash) plays Surnett, a jewelry thief who, after one of his comrades in crime bungles a job, gets mortally wounded in a shoot-out with the police. Having a bullet in the head is no small problem, and after consulting a doctor who refers them to his mad scientist friend, the only way to save Surnet's life is via brain transplant. So, Surnett's "friends" head off to kidnap and murder The Sadist, Surnett's most hated enemy, and after cutting off his head with a train (yes, a train), they transplant part of The Sadist's brain into Surnett's head. But during his recovery, Surnett begins to experience all of The Sadist's perverted desires, and meanwhile, the Saidst's gang is hunting them down . . ..

After finding out that I had bought and watched a cut version of this film, I am no longer so disappointed in the movie's teasing and lack ofhorror, but what I have seen is more than enough to send me in a frenzy to find the uncut version! Great film! Long Live Paul Naschy!

EL ORFANATO (THE ORPHANAGE)
Laura and her husband move back into the orphanage where Laura grew up with their adopted son Simon. Simon has a number of imaginary friends, and is also quite sick and needs daily medication. They plan to turn the place into a special home for children, but after Simon's disappearance, their plans fall apart. Months pass, and Laura cannot find her son. After inviting a medium into her home, she discovers that the orphanage has a dark history that she never knew about, and she needs to follow the clues to find her son..

This sounds like just another ghost story, and in some ways, that's exactly what this is. But as for right now, my words fail me when I attempt to say how powerful this movie is and how deeply it affected me. It was flawlessly made, beautifully shot, and the story-telling style is superb. It takes an old method of building up the suspense and letting the atmosphere and the circumstances create the real horror. If you want to see something special, this is the movie to watch.

 

Steve Sapsford Reporting for Duty

LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE
Now this one may be stretching the rules a little bit.  Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is actually a Spanish-Italian Joint set in the UK released in 1974 and boy, does it show.

This movie is drenched in 1970s goodness. Flair pants, knee-high boots, bad hair, full beards, and it even had a streaker in the opening sequence!
The movie opens with our hero George (Ray Lovelock with the most irritating British accent ever) taking a motorcycle trip to Windermere to work on a house that he has purchased. At a gas station, our heroine Edna (Cristina Galbo) accidentally damages George’s motorcycle so he demands she drive him to his destination. After some passive-aggressive banter the two are headed on a journey into the unknown…. well, zombies actually.

George promptly gets lost and breaks the man code by asking for directions from some men who are using an experimental device from the government that uses ultra-sonic sound to cause insects to become aggressive and fight each other to the death. As is the case with such things, unintended consequences ensue and the dead are brought back to life to hunt and kill the living (I hate it when that happens).
If you can get past the cheese and the George’s whining this is actually a pretty good movie. It’s much better than most of the zombie pabulum that is propagating all over the direct to video market today. Considering that it was made nearly 40 years ago, it still holds up fairly well (except for the bell-bottom pants and Peter Frampton hair styles).

George’s Fine Whines & Sarcastic Lines

“Don’t bugger me about!”

“Well you’ll take me there just the same won’t you, it’s the least you can do, right?”

“I’ll drive; I mean we don’t want to go all the way in reverse, do we?”

“Look darling, you don’t have to worry. I mean I’m not going to jump you or something.”

“When we all die, only the scientists will survive” (ED: works for me!)
“Oh, charming!”

Bonus: Here’s some of the cool vehicles I spotted in the movie – a Triumph TR4, a Norton Atlas motorcycle, a Morris Mini, a Lotus Elan Sprint, & a Landrover Series IIA.

[REC] & [REC]2
If you have seen Quarantine (the American remake of REC) you need to see the original. If you have not seen Quarantine; skip it and go straight to REC, it is vastly superior in every respect. In either regard, do not bother even considering thinking about pondering the possibility of watching Quarantine 2. It is utter crap.

I’ve never been a fan of the “found footage shaky cam” style (Blair Witch, Cloverfield) but with REC & REC2 it works. The two movies fit seamlessly together so from now on I’m going to refer to them as RECS. The final scene of REC is the opening scene of REC2.

The plot is fairly straight forward - From IMDB:
“A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.”
That something terrifying starts out as a highly contagious mutated form of rabies that causes its victims to attack and infect everyone. Not really zombies, but close.

As RECS progresses, we learn a little more and it becomes apparent that there’s (to quote Bugs Bunny) deviltry afoot.

In my opinion, the major flaw of the American version was the abandonment of the religious / spiritual / occult aspects of RECS.

The acting was excellent, the action was non-stop, the effects were very effective, and the frights were plentiful.

RECS is one (or two) of those movies that makes you jump AND makes you think.

 

Thomas Lee Jr.

HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB
Thoughts: This was my first Paul Naschy film I've seen hard to believe but true I highly enjoyed this film I found that Paul's love for Universal horror was very influential to him I saw him not rip off the style of Bela's Dracula but paying homage to him. I also enjoyed a part in the film when we saw just his dead Naschy made sure his head did not move, his eyes moved, his mouth moved but his head did not move even when his head was been move from the mantle to his body and the shots of Naschy head and not the fake head Naschy made sure his head did not move. I found this nice for when I seen other films when a head is the only thing left the actors (I'm not caring about sex) they still moved their head no matter how hard they tried not too. I found enjoyable not bad but not too bad ( above average). My problem with foreign horror films is dubbing I know a few Americans have problems with subtitles I do not but dubbing the people who do the voices for the film talk to bland not true emotions if I had heard them talk In their native tongue.

THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED
At first my thought was a basic soft porn film I mean a all girls reform school from the 1800's and all the girls are sexually frustrated. you get no nudity only bare backs form these girls. next a major film flaw. a 16 yr. old boy gets trapped in a vent but we don't see how he got out or how he be friends one of the girls. what I did like was the slow motion kills they showed on screen.

***SPOILER ALERT***

The way they made you think the head school teacher is the killer and finding out it was her son because he made a woman just like her. she was not the killer but she was the monster. these are my films and my thoughts hope they helped in a small way thank you.
 


Lance Ford

HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (1972)
"I'll be back." says Paul Naschy (the first Terminator perhaps?) Evil Paul Naschy gets his head chopped off centuries ago and vows to come back in the future and get revenge. He possesses people in 1972 and then kills them. Actually pretty good film. Disturbing, creepy, good fun.
P.S. Paul Naschy = chick magnet.

GHOST GALLEON (1974) aka HORROR OF THE ZOMBIES
Following is my version of the script -

Tagline - On a ghost ship- not even Sergio can hear you scream.
1st girl: "Remember that movie where we ran around in bikinis and high heels on a ship?"
2nd girl: "Yeah, yeah, yeah - good times."
1st girl: And all those fake looking skeleton/zombies chasing us around and chanting and don't forget that spooky music that was kinda cool sounding and someone should have oiled all those hinges on the doors."
2nd girl: "Why did we do that again?"

This one really didn't hold my interest (except for the bikini scenes and the one flesh-eating zombie scene) both of which saved the movie from total hatred.
 



Wayne Teeter

FRAGILE - Directed by Juame Balaguero
Calista Flockhart stars as a nurse, hired on for the night shift at Mercy Falls children's hospital. The building is very old and is in the process of being closed down, a handful of children are waiting to be transferred to a more modern facility. In the mean time Mrs. Indiana Jones and the children have to deal with the mechanical girl, a vengeful spirit that haunts the dilapidated second floor.

With it's use of a vengeful ghost as the antagonist, Fragile is similar in tone to the J- horrors like Ju-on and Ringu.

Fragile is aptly titled as there are minds, spirits ,bones and buildings that are all very glasslike and can break at any time. The characters are sketched out to the point where you are still wanting to learn more, but enough has been drawn for you to care for their outcome.

Other than starring as Ally McBeal and being the wife of Han Solo, I havn't seen much of Ms. Flockhart. As nurse Amy she gives a wonderful performance and it looks like a genuine connection between her and the children. The entire cast contributes a fine performance, but for me the century old hospital stole the show. It looked stupendous and added a much appreciated gothic atmosphere. With creaks and moans bellowing through the empty halls this is a place where one feels unwelcome. The mechanical girl herself is a disturbing character, too bad we couldn't spend more time with her.

Fragile does have some decent creepy moments concerning broken bones, wooden blocks and a bed sheet which can make your skin crawl, if you put yourself in the right frame of mind. But directed by one of the two who brought us the excellent REC and REC 2, I was expecting a little more.

THE SADISTIC BARON VON KLAUS - Directed by Jess Franco
I was beginning to get a little concerned, over an hour into a Franco film and no out of focus shots, no over use of the zoom lens and most disappointing no nudity.Technically this is one of his better films that I have experienced, with it's stunning black and white photography which only adds to the gothic atmosphere that is already present with the use of castles, towers and dungeons.

In the town of Holfen, beautiful young women are being brutally murdered. The superstitious townfolks believe it's a 17th century curse placed by the Baron Von Klaus before succumbing to his death in the swamps surrounding the castle. The local police inspector and a crime magazine writer are concentrating more on the Baron's decendants. Mrs. Von Klaus tells her son of a secret key that leads to a dungeon. She makes him promise to destroy the dungeon and never to return to the castle.

Franco handles the direction admirably as there is quite a lot happening in this film, his choice of lighting, props, sets and his love of jazz music contribute greatly to the tone that is set. Franco creates a tremendous amount of tension and suspense in one scene especially using nothing more than jump shots of a pendulum clock and creaking floor boards.

You know an actor has done his job well when he presents loathesome characters.I found many of the characters to be unlikable, but these were obvious red herrings to throw the viewer off. For some reason a pair of vagrants were used to bring a comedic underline to the story, which I did occasionally find funny but interrupted the over all darker mood that had been set. There is a couple of plot devices that I believe could have been handled better, but over all this Franco film gets my recommendation.

And yes , by the time the film comes to an end , Franco manages to squeeze in some vintage sleaze courtesy of a whip and heated swords.
 


Patrick McCarter

HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (El Espanto Surge De La Tumba)
A devil worshipper, Alaric De Marnac, is executed along with his mistress in the fifteenth century, but not before he places a curse on his brother and all his descendants. In modern day, his descendants return to find his resting place, and in doing so, Alaric is revived, and starts killing people.

This movie was good, not great in my opinion, but good. Excellent acting, it had a great story and a great plotline, but it seemed like it was held back a little. It was like the movie itself was too dry for the acting, if that makes sense. My favorite scene was when that gang was hanging that criminal; I enjoy seeing that backwoods justice ocasionally, and I did enjoy the zombies, too. This movie did pretty much have everything you would enjoy in a horror movie. In my opinion, though, the copious amounts of nudity began to annoy me. I don't mind that odd pair of breasts, but when it's nothing but that, it gets weird. This was my first Paul Naschy film, and I rather enjoyed it.

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (La Noche Del Terror Ciego)
The Knights Templar are excommunicated, hung, and have their eyes eaten by birds after it is revealed that they are engaging in black mass and satanic practices involving blood sacrifices. Now, they come out of their tombs at night, and hunt the living by sound to continue the drinking of human blood.
I thought that this was a great movie. The monsters were excellently done. I didn't like the fact that they traded logic for effect, but it was well-acted. My favorite scene was at the end, after the girl runs the entire distance to the train, and then won't stand up, making the young man drag her into the train, allowing the Blind Dead to board. Pretty bad. I didn't like the rape scene, but who does? Great movie.


 

Name: Ray Ray

SANTA SANGRE
Thoughts: A very surreal vision from Alejandro Jodorowsky that would really only qualify as horror because of the final third of the film. I found it a very effective and multi-layered little peek into the psyche of a serial killer. "The elephant is dying" ranks right up there with Yeats' immortal "the centre will not hold." I did, unfortunatly, see the R-rated cut from Netflix, so I'm not sure what, if anything crucial, I missed. Probably just a few seconds of Orgo's acid-destroyed groin.

ROMASANTA (WEREWOLF HUNTER)
Thoughts: It wasn't intentional for this film pairing to have a common theme as I was completely unaware that this was another serial killer procedural, but that's what I got. Julian Sands is excellent, and the film is easy on the eyes, but the dialogue felt way to contemporary American for my tastes. There are some who compare this movie to Brotherhood of the Wolf, but I found it to be more in the vein of The Honeymoon Killers or From Hell, but not as effective as either. I was also unimpressed with the fade-in/fade-out technique used during the transformation sequence. The Howling and An American Werewolf in London are over 30 years old, people! Get it together!


Anna McKibben

TINTORERA
Thoughts: Um. Sex in horror films is fine by me, but just don't forget you're a HORROR FILM OKAY?! Serious lack of shark attacks in this one, unless you want to see attacks on sharks.

SLUGS
Thoughts: Oh baby! Now this is what I want in a movie about killer slugs: gore, blood, worms exploding from people's faces, a guy named Mike Brady, boobs, gore, and blood. Giggety!
 


John Pata

ANGUISH (1986)
So, about Anguish... Huh. This was one weird ass flick. I really had no idea what to make of it after the stupidly long and bizarre "bird on the loose" scene in the beginning... And even more so as the film continued on. Zelda Rubinstein's character was so obnoxious, which kinda pains me to say. I really dug the whole film within a film aspect, in concept though, not in execution. And sh*t got way too arty for my taste. I appreciate the unconventional approach to the slasher film, but just didn't cut it for me. Eh, get it? "Cut" it... Slasher... Oh, never mind.

THE ABANDONED (2007)
Let's get this out of the way; this film looked great, and had great production quality. It was really a solid film in those aspects. However, everything else suffered. The story was pretty mediocre, and I found it slightly confusing, too (which kind of makes me feel stupid because it wasn't that the plot was all that complex). The acting was rough at times, and scenes went on far too long. Didn't know it was one of the 8 Films To Die For when I went into it, but it seems to fit with most of the other films of the series I've seen (aside from a few exceptions, primarily Frontiers and Mulberry Street).

 

Ashley Polnow

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD
I have been wanting to see this series for a long time, and I finally had the chance this month! Tombs of the Blind Dead was pretty awesome. The Knights Templar looked so cool. I love how they even made their horses look dead. I couldn't believe one of the main characters just jumped off a train and stayed the night where the buried ruins were. I would never do that personally, but it made for an interesting plot. The end was great, but I don't want to give any spoilers.

RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD
I was kind of confused at first. I thought we had 1 and 2 mixed up, but it was right. The movie starts out showing the knights being burned at the stake for witchcraft and murder. This movie gave a lot more back story on the knights which I thought was pretty interesting. I love how they reused the footage from the first movie of the knights rising from their graves. The group attacking the town was a great scene. I did not care for the ending, though. It wasn't as good as the first movie.

I swear in every movie a character always steals one of the blind dead's horses. I had a good laugh about that.
 


Lee Marohn

DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE (1974)
I've heard a lot about Paul Naschy for years, but I think this is the first time I've watched any of his films. This was a slightly warped (hey...boobs!) Dracula film. Several things were confusing as hell, but I don't want to bring them up and spoil anything. Actually, the plot in general was a little confusing. And the editing was (hey, boobs again!) choppy as hell, but overall (hey, more boobs!) I liked it. I did find it odd that for a vampire film, I think there were more bared breasts than bared fangs.

FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR (1968)
Who came up with these American titles? Another convoluted plot. Vampires, werewolves...but oddly no Frankenstein or his monster. I can't explain that. I liked this one too. It was a ton of fun. Except for the brief vampire ballet thing near the end. I have no clue about that.

Rest assured, I will definitely be seeking out more Naschy films, boobs or not.



May 2012 Mission: Remember the Soldiers

Thomas Lee Jr.

DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE ( 1980)
The title of the film I find miss leading the story is about a guy strangling women a Vietnam vet at that. He torments a radio psychologist who know how psychologist work. The killer may have been messed up at Vietnam but how do we know he is a vet, we do get a glimpse of child abuse from his time alone talking to himself but not the war.  The police hunting him down are stupid they take people who might have possible leads and make fun of them. The main cop played by James Westmoreland seems take the role half hardly. The only part I like is when our killer has the psychologist tied up and she is trying to help him with some kind of therapy he plays along for a minute then turn it around on her. The killer was played by Nicholas Worth who I found In other film to be an underprepared actor, I also liked that the film didn't make turn it off in the middle and get something else.

BLOOD SABBATH ( 1972)
The movie stared Anthony Geary a Vietnam vet returning wondering the country side comes across a woman and is willing to do anything for her. The film is not that bad but it was a basic early 70's film not bad but not great. The one thing I really liked about the film naked chicks lots and lots of naked chicks and Dyanne Thorne ( before the Ilsa films). Not much else I can say about the film without spoiling it so in the in end I liked it.


Steve Weakley

DEATHWATCH
Thoughts: Really good movie but I have to say, getting a little tired of ambiguous endings. Just rip the band-aid off and tell us what's really going on once in a while. Anyway, group of WW1 English soldiers lost in the fog come across a German trench. Thing is, the couple of Germans they find left in the trench seem more scared of something else down there than the enemy soldiers holding guns on them. Soon enough the men start getting killed off or kill each other off. Is it the gas that's making them hallucinate, is it a test, is it hell.....? Good acting, great setting. With all the mud and rain it looks like it must have been hell to film this.

SLAYER
Thoughts: Ok, let's see. There are these vampires in South America bred from the ancient Incas and the fountain of youth, sort of. Soldier Casper Van Dien has to lead his troops down there to bail out his buddy's troop already fighting the vampires, and to save his ex-wife who happens to be on a bug hunting expedition in the area. Except when he gets there the first troop has been turned into vampires and are using their fighting skills to make the vampires into a stronger force. That's a lot of plot for a movie that's just guys walking through the jungle, vampires attack, vampires run away, guys continue to walk through the jungle. In a movie like this you really can't expect a lot more than just good fight scenes, but even with Star Wars: Phantom Menace's Ray Park playing twin vampires and huge Kevin Grevioux from Underworld 3 leading the pack, it's fairly ho-hum. Although technically Wonder Woman does kill Darth Maul, and if I was 9 years old again that would be the coolest thing EVER.


Jay di Santo

DEATHWATCH
This is a movie set in WWI starring Andy Serkis. I was good. Different have very many effects. Next to no CGI if any at all. It still held my attention due to the story.

R-POINT
This is a Korean movie. Mostly subtitled to English. Except for scenes featuring American soldier then it subtitled in Korean. No CG. Still good special effects. Very good story. Surprised it wasn't remade into an English version.


Lance Ford

WAR WOLVES (2009)
Army soldiers somewhere in the Middle East on a mission are attacked by werewolves and 6 months later they're battling each other stateside to determine who will be leader of the pack. Michael Worth(director and star plays Lawrence Talbot - in a nod to the original Wolfman) does a decent job as the troubled ex-soldier battling to keep his inner demons (werewolf) from manifesting. John Saxon and Tim Thomerson add humor as werewolf hunters. Adrienne Barbeau also stars. Different take on the werewolf mythology with some excellent martial arts action sequences. I liked it (for a Syfy original film) Best line from the movie was uttered by John Saxon - "A woman like that can teach you a lot about yourself." - which is exactly the same line he said in the classic film Enter the Dragon back in 1973.

R-POINT (2004)
A Korean horror film that takes place during the Vietnam War. A rescue squad is sent to look for some missing soldiers and soon discover that it isn't a simple rescue mission.Very good character-driven narrative with some spooky stuff thrown in. I really enjoyed this one.


Aaron Christensen

THE GUARDPOST (aka GP 506) ( 2008 ) (1st viewing) d. Kong, Su-chang
When the titular South Korean Army bunker falls incommunicado, an investigative military team is sent in to assess the situation, only to discover a pile of hacked, dismembered corpses and a single deranged survivor. With only a single rainy night to get to the bottom of things and the clock ticking, team leader Cheon Ho-jin (with gravitas to burn) digs through tattered records and gore-streaked remains for answers; rest assured when they ultimately reveal themselves, it ain’t pretty. Kong, who impressively served up 2004’s military-minded R-Point, works overtime with his flashback-laden narrative, dropping viewers into past/present scenes with little or no warning. Unfortunately, this disorienting effect only manages to confuse more often than not, as the underdeveloped, similarly clad characters seem interchangeable, especially when factoring in the hallucinatory supernatural forces at play. Despite oodles of claustrophobic atmosphere, and an energetic ensemble whose enthusiastic shouts and screams fill the soundtrack as bunker walls run red, the amount of head-scratching elicited during the excessive two-hour run time ultimately proves a little painful.

THREADS (1984) (1st viewing) d. Jackson, Mick
For American viewers growing up in the 80s, the 1983 TV-movie The Day After was the ultimate in nuke scare flicks. Little did I know that the Brits had returned fire with an even more impressive response over their own airwaves the year following, as if to say, “No, this is how you do grim, bleak, apocalyptic terror and desperation.” With a superb cast of relative unknowns and a documentary style approach, director Jackson and writer Barry Hines unflinchingly portray the days leading up to a nuclear holocaust and its effect on the working class city of Sheffield, England. But it’s after the electrifying and devastating blast sequence that the real horror begins, as beloved characters disappear unexpectedly or suffer agonizingly slow deaths from radiation, starvation or exposure to the nuclear winter that befalls civilization. The long term effects extend 15 years into the onscreen future, with mankind reduced to a mumbling, fumbling, hobbled species; the children of the bomb inheriting a barren and fruitless landscape. One can only suspect that world leaders moved their hands a little further away from the red button upon seeing this. An undeniably impressive effort, available in its entirety on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MCbTvoNrAg

UNCLE SAM (1996) (1st viewing) d. Lustig, William
After his body is returned home, KIA Desert Storm vet Sam Harper (David Shark Fralick) rises from his coffin confines on July 4th to wage war against the citizens of his American-as-apple-pie hometown, to the disbelief of his idolizing nephew Christopher Ogden. Turns out “Uncle Sam” wasn’t such a good guy in life, and in his inexplicably resurrected form, he’s twice as nasty, bumping off former friends and neighbors right and left wearing a – you guessed it – red, white and blue top-hat-and-white-goateed costume. Working from a script by noted rabble-rouser Larry Cohen, Lustig paints a cartoonish and violent paean to the supernatural slasher subgenre, with all the nutritional value and culinary daring of a cinematic cheese dog on a stick. Wants to be good, dumb fun, but mostly just ends up being dumb and dull, despite the game efforts of Isaac Hayes, Timothy Bottoms, Bo Hopkins, and Robert Forster.


Patrick McCarter

THE TERROR
A movie starring Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff. Jack Nicholson plays a officer in Napoleon's army who finds on a beach next to a giant castle where bad things are said to take place.

I didn't really have a favorite scene. How ever I thought it was an excellent movie and it was well played.

ALIENS VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM
The second half of the first A.V.P. this film takes place when the aliens attack a city and the predators are kind enough to come and try to depose of the problem. Until our military gets involved and try's to nuke the hole city.

I thought this movie was very average. The acting was ok and the casting could have been better but they did ok with the story.

All in all I give this movie a two on a one to five scale. it had the potential to be a great movie but in the end I think they botched it.


Erik Martin

THE BUNKER
It is 1944. A group of Nazi's have taken refuge in a bunker from the advancing Allied forces. They are battle-weary, hungry, and nearly out of ammo. But then, they discover that the bunker is built on top of a labrynth of tunnels where there was a slave revolt. It turns out that the bunker is built on top of an unholy burial pit for victims of the black plague. Pretty soon, the Nazi's are divided by dissent and hatred, and begin killing each other. Is it merely battle-fatigue, or have the demons of the Nazi's past caught up with them?
Once you get past the delightfully campy fact that the Nazi's have English accents, this isn't that bad of a movie. It has a great set-up and premise, but unfortunately, the horror scenes were too underdone for my bloodlust; not enough of them, and not a lot in them. There's still a good deal to appreciate here, though, and it's worth watching, if only once.

Masters Of Horror: HOMECOMING
Four weeks before the upcoming presidential election, a presidential representative goes on television and publicly wishes that the soldiers would come back and tell everyone how important this war is to the safety of the United States. Then, a strange occurence happens: the dead soldiers of the current war rise up, intent on voicing their opinion of the war. Unfortunately for the current regime, it's not the opinion they were expecting.

Nothing like a good, old-fashioned zombie uprising. This movie wasn't very scary, as might be imagined, but it was chock full of the campy humour and poignant illustrations of the horrors of war that political satire is known for. Not my favorite of the Masters Of Horror series (that would be Cigarette Burns), nor my least favorite (that would be Chocolate). All in all, pretty **** good, especially Robert Picardo's performance of the behind the scenes political A-Hole. Love that guy!


Name: Craig J. Clark

CLOVERFIELD (Matt Reeves, 2008)
Thoughts: The military has a limited presence in this film since it spends the bulk of its time with a group of ordinary citizens as they try to escape from the rampaging monster that is leveling New York City, but the scenes where they do appear are among the most memorable. Not only is there the requisite firefight with the monster, but we also see an improvised field hospital where some gruesome scenes are witnessed, and an attempted evacuation by helicopter.

BELOW (David Twohy, 2002)
Thoughts: This one's less ambiguous since it takes place entirely on a submarine during World War II and nearly every single character is either a naval officer or a sailor. Instead of a hulking monster, though, the men are battling the ghosts of past misdeeds, which isn't too surprising when you consider the script was co-written by Darren Aronofsky. Maybe he would have brought some personality to the proceedings if he had also called the shots behind the scenes, but he had other plans (i.e. the even more horrifying Requiem for a Dream).


Anna McKibben

THE KEEP
Thoughts: I don't even know what this was about. I should have known it was going to be weird when I saw Tangerine Dream did the soundtrack. It was a movie that was made. Ian McKellan is in it. Scott Glenn wears purple contacts. Roll credits.

DEATHWATCH
Thoughts: Not bad, but pretty predictable a little too early on. Still, I always like seeing Andy Serkis in films where he isn't playing a motion captured character. Unless they did a motion capture Andy Serkis for this movie; in which case, best CGI ever.


Damien Glonek

DOGHOUSE
From the director of Evil Aliens, this film plays along with a similar style of comedy and gore. The buddies of recently divorced Vince, decide to take him on a weekend excursion of drinking to the small town of Moodley where the women outnumber the men 3:1. However upon arrival, they soon find out all the women have turned into zombie demon monster creatures hellbent on eating all the men they can get their hands on. After running into the last surviving soldier they soon learn that the military was conducting a top secret biological warfare experiment by infecting the towns laundry detergent with a virus that cause the women to turn into above said creatures. Of course they learn that that is only phase 1, once phase 2 gets implemented the women begin to mutate and get smarter and more savage. It is hard to not compare this film to Shaun of the Dead with the Brits running around trying to avoid being eaten. However this film is neither as smart or funny, but that isn't to say it isn't enjoyable in it's own right. Not really knowing what to expect walking in to this I was pleasant surprised and thoroughly entertained for 90 minutes. I guess you could say the tie in for this month's mission is in the words of the great James Karen, "typical army **** up" as all but one soldier have been devoured by the time our characters get to the town and it is the army's experiment for the soul purpose of this movie.


SELLA TURCICA
In a movie somewhat reminiscent to Death Dream, a sergeant comes home from war not quite the same man as when he left. Bound to a wheelchair and a deathly shade of pale he is out of sorts from the family he left behind. After a long 100 minutes of nothing really happening and worrying about Brad, the end finally reveals the twist that we have been waiting for from the beginning.

As a fan of Toe Tag, I am sad to say this film was a bit of let down. It's two biggest faults were the incredibly stiff acting, and sadly Camille Keaton is one of them, though the guy who plays Brad did a fantastic job of looking sick and convulsing and was one of the most believable zombie munchers I have ever seen. The other problem was the pacing. The movie carried on too long with nothing important happening and no strong character development, there were characters there that seemed to serve no purpose and I had no idea why there were there. Everyone just whispered about Brad looking so horrible and trying to make him feel accepted. It all just moved at a snail's pace. I think the movie was supposed to take place during a 24 hour period, but with all the mindless interaction and bad lighting, I had no idea what the timing was other then feeling like it was standing still.

On the plus side the make-up and effects looked top notch as would be expected from Toe Tag. I just wish the story and acting were up to par as well.


John Pata

DEVIL'S PLAYGROUD
Let's start things off by saying that this isn't a bad film. This is a pretty solid production. There are some very impressive compositions, the score is quite successful and effective, and the acting isn't total garbage... However, this isn't really a good film, either. Yes, it is true, I am super burnt out on zombies, and especially beginning of the outbreak stories. Let's face it, these type of films have been exhausted. Playground doesn't offer anything new whatsoever. Same old situations, same old cliches, same old sh*t. There is some good gore moments, and the fight choreography is very impressive. Sure, the infected are high flying and parkour-esque (not my cup of tea), and the performers do a hell of a job, but underneath that all lies a bland script with flat acting (remember, I said the acting wasn't total garbage). But most of all, what hurts this film is how dramatic it is, or should I say, how dramatic it wants to be. Holy sh*t, is this overly dramatic. And it fails, it falls right on it's stupid trying-to-be-dramatic face. I do give them credit for taking a serious approach with the film, instead of hashing out another wannabe campy romp, but god da*mmit was the dramatic tone obnoxious. Even the score, which I did enjoy, really tried to drive the emotions home, which was unfortunate. By no means would I say, "Run out and see this instantly!" At the same time, I wouldn't say, "Keep the hell away from this!" Guess I would say, "You can find something better."

Oh, how could I forget the best part?! A brief cameo of the truly awesome Sean Pertwee with a handlebar stache! Man, I really like that guy. But, his part was nowhere near enough pushing the film to a higher level. Sadly.


CHERNOBYL DIARIES
I will start out by saying I didn't find Diaries to be horrible. With that said, I also don't think it was good. I'm sure it will get many comparisons to Hill Have Eyes, and that's true to a certain extent. To sum it up, there's really nothing new here. There were a few fairly intense moments when things start picking up, which got me quite excited. But then they shat all over them fairly quickly. I could go on about what was generic, bland, and exhausted, but let's point out the good:

-GREAT locations. Amazing, actually. I could not stop thinking about how much I wanted to be there. Barren, broken down, and abandoned in ruin. So beautiful.

-The night scenes were lit really well. I was genuinely impressed with the lighting. The camera work, well, that's another story...

-Spoiler-ish: You never really get a good look at what is terrorizing the group. This made me happy, as I thought it was fairly non-Hollywood-esque.

Yep, that's about all the positive I have to say about Chernobyl Diaries. I was happy to go and support a non-remake horror film in the theater, although saying an original, non-remake film would be a stretch.


Wayne Teeter

DEATHDREAM
In this film's prologue we see two American soldiers killed in the jungles of Vietnam. The Brooks family is later interrupted during dinner with the dreaded hand delivered message. Their son has been killed. An unseen hitch hiker is seen getting into a tractor trailer type truck, the driver ends up dead and Andy Brooks is back home in Florida with his family.
I really enjoyed this film, although made with a shoe string budget it delivered a heavy handed message. Powerful stuff that hasn't lost any of it's impact today with the Gulf wars, Afganistan and the war on terrorism. But back in 1972 when this was made I'm sure it hit even harder.

Not once was the words zombie, vampire or ghoul mentioned, Andy was just dead, and trying to fit back into society like many young soldiers who made it back home they became emotionless empty shells of their former selves.

This showcases I believe the first make up effects of Tom Savini, a little crude compared to his later efforts, but very effective for the over all look of this film.I Highly recommend this one.


DEAD BIRDS
The opening of this film had a bit of a Sam Peckinpah's the Wild Bunch vibe to it, a violent shoot out erupts when a gang robs a bank as a group of civil war soldiers attempt to deposit gold pieces into the bank.

Henry Thomas, Elliot from E. T. is the leader of the gang who insists they head to a desserted plantation. We learn through flashbacks that he had been injured in the war, fell in love with his nurse Annabelle, ( who is also now part of the gang). A dying comrade had told him about the plantation, where they will wait out an on coming storm then head down to Mexico to divvy up their stolen loot.
This film has many cliches like the mentioned thunder storm, giggling children voices in supposedly empty bedrooms but they work to good effect here. There are also some good old fashion rubber and latex effects that you wouln't expect to see in a film set in 1863.

The film is set in Alabama and it makes good use of the swamp like settings and the plantation. A corn field is especially used to create a spooky and unsettling atmosphere. I must admit I did get lost a little bit, there is plenty going on with slaves, voodoo magic, demons, a father killing his kids, trying to ressurect his wife. But I still enjoyed this movie as it was kind of a puzzle trying to piece this together. I actually had to go back and replay a couple of scenes again to make sure I saw what I thought I saw.


Name: Ray Ray

THE KEEP
Thoughts: No amount of lens flare, fog, or Tangerine Dream can transform Michael Mann into Ridley Scott. It seems like every time I watch a Mann film, I watch helplessly while he wastes an awesome cast. The Keep has an interesting enough premise that I might eventually seek out the novel it's based on, but after the first set of tomb robbers are killed (the best scene in the movie), it goes downhill fast. I was hoping for a new horror mythology like Barker's Cenobites or Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, but the whole two supernatural forces battling through time thing was underdeveloped and flaccid. Very disappointed.

DEATHWATCH
Thoughts: Adding supernatural horror to the very real horrors of World War I is like chocolate frosting a twinkie. It's overkill here. Despite some excellent acting, this movie is a muddy hot mess with no real conviction as to what it's actually about. One could argue that the supernatural aspects are "open to viewer interpretation," but I think it's more likely a case of a writer/director who doesn't know what he wants to say. Instead, we get some creepy imagery and predictable kills. Snore. Also very disappointed.

I may, sadly, have already seen the best the war horror genre has to offer. Ironically enough, I did read a Captain America comic last night that had him fighting vampires at the end of World War II (the spawn of Baron Blood). It was creepier and more effective than either of these films by far. C'est la vie.

Thanks again and always for a fun little exercise,


Lee Marohn

PLATOON OF THE DEAD (2009)
A group of soldiers is ambushed while hunting a platoon of undead enemy soldiers. The survivors find a house and take shelter for the night, waiting for pickup in the morning. I can't really say much more about the plot, since I don't think they had a script. The acting was horrid. The effects were a joke. The painted toy blasters from Star Wars they used as weapons were laughable. This was very poorly put together. Whatever you do, do not watch this movie.

HUNTING GROUNDS (2008)
In the near future, people are all crowded in walled cities and not allowed to go out into the wilderness unless they're super-powerful and escorted by the military. Many people engage in some kind of virtual reality hunting. A small group of people decides to go out hunting, for real. One is the son of a high-ranking official and he's stolen a high tech weapon and suit of armor from his father's office. Evidently part (all?) of the reason people are not allowed out of the cities is that some kind of military experiment went wrong. Which sort of explains the random, intermittent scenes of shambling humans we've seen since the beginning of the film. I wanted to like this, but it was fairly confusing, partly because it seems to have been edited by an escaped mental patient.

Both films I watched had potential, but they pretty much sucked. I did have fun with them, though.



June Mission 2012: Sequels, Prequels, and Remakes

 

C. J. Horne

THE BLOB (1958)
Good cheesy fun with a too old Steve Mcqueen playing a teenager and the woman who would go on to play Andy's girlfriend on the Andy Griffith Show.

THE BLOB (1988)
Underrated late 80's remake with very good special effects that allows the blob to do more things. The downside is the origin of the blob is the old gov. project cliche.


Steve Weakley

DAY OF THE DEAD (2008 remake)
Thoughts: Is this a triple header for this month's mission, the remake of a sequel to a sequel? Kind of torn on this. As a remake, well, it does feature a lot of Army people, and there's a soldier named Bud who becomes a zombie but still seems to retain some of his old self, but beyond that..... As a zombie movie in it's own right, really the most interesting parts are when you can see hints back to the original. There is kind of a cool reference to The Andromeda Strain thrown in. Could stand on it's own if you didn't know the original, just not stand all that interestingly. Didn't hate this but I kind of miss the point.

THE CURSE OF THE FLY
Thoughts: While the mutations that make up this film's monsters could have been a little more interesting, I do give them credit for not coming up with a script that accidently switches out a guy's head with that of a fly's for a THIRD time. Once was a learning experience, twice bad, but three times would have just been sloppy work on the scientists' part. Brian Donlevy doesn't get to do much, but there's something about his authoritarian bluster that always perks up a film. Over all this is kind of a reverse gaslight story. Instead of trying to drive a sane woman crazy, they try to keep a crazy woman from going even crazier what with all the crazy stuff going on at her new husband's house. One thing I've always wondered about the Fly movies, why Canada?


Erik Martin

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
One fateful day, in the small English town of Midwich, every living thing falls into a deep comatose slumber. A few hours later, they all awake, and a short time later, it is revealed that all the females in the village capable of childbirth are pregnant, regardless of age or marital relations. Only a few months later, the children are born, silver haired and strange-eyed. As they grow, which they do at a phenomenal rate, they show intelligence far above that of their human parents, plus an amazing telepathic ability; they are of one mind, and have the ability to read the thoughts of those around them, and to even mentally force others to do their bidding . . .

I had seen John Carpenter's 1995 remake before, so I took this month's mission as an opportunity to finally watch the original. MUCH better. Engaging, entrancing, and brilliant in it's understated simplicity. The scenes where the children force adults to shoot themselves, burn themselves or drive into walls makes me wonder why I couldn't have been born in Midwich :) And that end scene (SPOILER) where the professor is concentrating as hard as he can on a brick wall to prevent the children from knowing that he has a bomb in his bag is hand-clenchingly tense, even when you know the outcome (END SPOILER) What more needs to be said? The ultimate in Evil Children movies.

CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED
It's happening again. Children are born in various towns throughout the world, and are all brought to a single location via their individual embassies in order to be studied for their military uses, and eventually destroyed. But the children gather together, take refuge in an old abandoned church and there they make their stand against the world . . .

Having just watched the original, I continued in the spirit of this month's mission to catch it's sequel. Not bad, not bad. I didn't like the fact that they strayed from the original in their physical depiction of the children; now, they all look more or less normal (yes, their eyes glow when they are angry, but that's about it). I also didn't entirely groove to the fact that in this one, the children are portrayed a little less sinister and a little more sympathetically, with regular man (once again) being shown to be the true villain. It also shows them as a tad less formidable, one having an emotional connection to a dog and their imprisoning an adult female to cook and clean and speak for them.
But what I did like was the whole international vibe to it; they are not all just white English children here; one is from China, one is from Nigeria, one is from Russia (sorry, the Soviet Union), etc. (SPOILER) And the end scene where they stand holding hands while the military blows them up was interesting, going along with the movies hinting that these children are not "from space" as the first one hinted at, but are really just a mutated leap forward in our own evolution, smarter and more powerful than us, killing only when being attacked, standing together despite their origins instead of against each other, even in the face of certain death . . . hey, maybe I did groove to that plotline after all! (END SPOILER) The fact that each one is desired by their embassy to give information about building a Hydrogen bomb, despite the fact that the other embassy's will have that information too, was an added layer of depth. My favorite line? "Kids? Have you ever seen them laugh? Or run? Or play? No! But by God, you have seen them KILL!" Great line from a good movie.


Lance Ford

PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING (1990)
Norman Bates is just a lonely, misunderstood psychopathic serial killer with mommy issues.Nothing wrong with that in my book...oh, wait, I mean...after seeing this movie and how whacko his mother was, I can see how and why he is the way he is. I almost feel sorry for him. I think someone needs to hug him and tell him it isn't his fault. I like that Anthony Perkins was in all of these films. Recommended.

HELLRAISER 5: INFERNO (2000)
Craig Sheffer's (Night Breed) performance raises this sequel to a higher level in my opinion. He plays a troubled detective whose tormented by his past. And his descent into a hell of his own making is riveting to watch. Highly recommended.

HELLRAISER #6: HELLSEEKER (2002)
Suspenseful, sexy entry in the series. Dean Winters (Mayhem from all those funny All-State commercials) as usual is a treat to watch. I really liked it and thought it was a good story - even though the hooks through the flesh is repeated and know its part of the HELLRAISER franchise - I still enjoyed it.  Recommended.


Anna McKibben

CARRIE  (made for TV)
Thoughts: What. A. Load. Of. Crap. Only worth watching if you really wanted to see Carrie rain fire all along her path home after the prom, and even then, not so much. Weak casting all around, and presumably a set up for an ongoing series. Disappointing.

FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2
Thoughts: Not a great movie by any stretch, but sets the framework for the subsequent F13 movies. Amy Steel carries the tradition of the strong female lead well, after Adrienne King's standout job in the first.


Steve Sapsford

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011)
Thoughts:

The 7th Planet of the Apes / Monkey Planet movie

It’s the second prequel (Conquest was the first) and the second reboot (Tim Burton’s much maligned *unfairly, in my opinion* 2001 release was the first).

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have loved the Planet of the Apes movies since I was a kid. I remember when the original was released (yes, I’m showing my age) and being enthralled by whole ludicrous idea.

I honestly did not expect much from this movie but when I saw that it was on TV I recorded it in case it met this month’s Mission Criteria. I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there are some serious plot holes. Apparently, bio weapon labs only provide face masks since that’s the only protection one needs from a man-made virus that escapes from the test tube & only the guy that breathes in the high pressure steam delivery system (?) dies. Also, if my neighbor’s monkey (sorry, ape) attacked me and bit off my finger I would call animal control (at the least).

Still, besides the leaps in science and common sense, it’s a pretty good movie. The CGI works, the acting is good & the plot holds up. There are even a couple of subtle hints for the fans (There’s a lost space mission named Icarus & others).

Without giving away any important plot points, on its surface this is Sci-Fi but there are several real scares and horror elements.

Worth watching if you like this sort of thing and I do.

PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING (1981)
Thoughts:

You would think that a movie that starts out with sub aquatic Italiotes coitus interruptus due to serrasalmus aeroformes humeralis would be good enough for me. Piranha II: The Spawning (AKA: Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, The Spawning, Piranhas 2 - Assassinas Voadoras" – Brazil) is a poor follow-up to 1979’s Piranha.

Yes, the fish fly and eat people. Sorry, just gave the plot away. I love bad movies but this one’s a waste of time.

Meh.


Damien Glonek

PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING
Obviously James Cameron's finest work. From the opening dive scene of the wreck I guess it was inevitable that we would be doing Titanic one day. Crossing Piranha with flying fish? Brilliant idea! All logic thrown out the window and just a fun monster movie romp with Lance Henrikson to boot. Even the piranha themselves outside of having wings and breathing out of the water seemed to have grown to a much larger size then their previous brethren. The end could have been a little more dramatic, outside of exploding the wreckage and done. But I still enjoyed this movie immensely. I am a sucker for sea creature movies and no piranha movie has let me down yet. Though I still have not see 3DD. But it seems to have all the necessary items needed for a bloody fun summer exploitation film.

HOSTEL II
I wasn't a huge fan of the first film. It was OK, but I wasn't overly shocked by it or anything. The second one seems to be as predictable as one would expect with basically a similar story this time showing both sides the victims and the killers. But as expected you know everything that is going happen way before it does. That not to say it was a total wash, it had some great gore in it, the sauce ran deep red in this one. And the cameos from Ruggero Deodato and Edwige Fenech were great, so awesome to them on film being paid homage too. So I Hostel II is better then the first, but not a ground breaking film.


Jay di Santo

THE FLY (1958)
This stars Vincent Price. I liked the movie. It was good. It kind of reminded me of what was happening today with cloning. Although this movie was based on teleporting. Looks like Star Trek got it idea from this.

DAY OF THE DEAD (2008)
The first five minutes I kind of dreaded having to sit through this. It did get better with the action. The effects were kind of cheesy. I personally prefer "Romero" zombies and The Walking Dead one. Overall I don't think I would watch this again or really recommend it.


Aaron Christensen

In addition to watching the sequels listed below (which I had never seen), I also revisited the original films which I had only seen once before and to be honest, had not really thought much of. Basically, it was a big week of giant cockroaches and cornstalking n' slashing.

BUGGIN’ OUT:
MIMIC 2 (2001) (1st viewing) d. de Segonzac, Jean
The lone carry-over from the original cast, Alix Koromzay stars as an obnoxiously unlucky-in-love entomologist moonlighting as a public high school teacher who discovers her place of employ is ground zero for the latest infestation of the Judas Breed. For a straight-ahead “B” monster movie with limited funds and ideas, I actually enjoyed this more than I expected to. Not to say that it’s “good,” but still reasonably enjoyable cheese with far fewer pretensions and Oscar winners than its predecessor. Special effects makeup wiz “Gruesome Gary” Tunnicliffe whips up some wicked splattering, scattering and skittering sequences.

MIMIC 3: SENTINEL (2003) (1st viewing) d. Petty, J.T.
The most remarkable thing about this second sequel is how well it conceals its presumably meager budget constraints with a story that focuses more on suspense and what we don’t see than on big bug beasties romping through every scene. Writer/director Petty, who knows a little something about stretching a dollar via solid characterization and atmosphere (Soft for Digging, S&Man, The Burrowers), offers up a variation on Hitchcock’s Rear Window as much of the action is perceived from the window and camera lens of Karl Geary’s shut-in, a victim of his own weakened immunological system. The less-is-more approach may not appeal to those looking for a quick beer n’ pizza creature feature, but it’s hard not to admire Petty’s spin on the material and the big-bam-bloody-boom finale (ignoring, of course, the WTF happy ending coda).

NOT PAID FOR BY THE NEBRASKA TOURISM COUNCIL:

Okay, I knew I was tempting fate by sitting down to watch these, but MAN this was a chore. While parts 2 and 3 (watched last October at the coaxing of John Pata) yielded some surprisingly redeeming entertainment value, things go sharply downhill with the fourth installment (whose title drops its numbered position, sneaky sneaky).

CHILDREN OF THE CORN: THE GATHERING (1996) (1st viewing) d. Spence, Greg
Despite an initially intriguing plot about a mysterious fever afflicting the youth of a small Nebraska town and the teaming of future Oscar nominee Naomi Watts and bat**** bonkers agoraphobe Karen Black, there’s a whole lotta head-shaking going on amidst the sickle-edged bloodshed. I sense that there may have been a wealth of script revisions and reshoots, because some of the wackiness just comes outa nowhere.

CHILDREN OF THE CORN V: FIELDS OF TERROR ( 1998 ) (1st viewing) d. Wiley, Ethan
Co-ed road trip + wrong turn = kernel-popping eye-rolling yawn-inducing bloodbath. The fifth go-round continues the rather bizarre pattern among the CotC franchise, in that one younger star will go on to become a major Hollywood player … and one silver screen veteran will be convinced to swallow his/her pride in the name of a paycheck. The former category is filled out by Eva Mendes, shockingly bad here, while David Carradine sits in a chair spouting mysticisms before being turned inside out. (Alexis Arquette also appears, though I’d be hard pressed to call him a player.)

CHILDREN OF THE CORN 666: ISAAC'S RETURN (1999) (1st viewing) d. Skogland, Kari
John Franklin, the diminutive antagonist from the original, is back courtesy of a screenplay self-penned with Tim Sulka, but I’ll be jiggered as to what the hell was going on at any point in this looneyfest. I know sweet young thang Natalie Ramsey was supposed to have some kind of familial connection to the original Gatlin gang and there was a prophecy about her mating with He Who Walks Behind the Rows and Stacy Keach and Nancy Allen got paid to show up (and not much else). In a weird twist of Viewing fate, Alix Koromzay, star of Mimics 1 and 2, has a prominent supporting role as a duplicitous law officer. Probably the worst of the Corn-y bunch (though I still have two more to go).


Thomas Lee Jr.

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2
I have no idea why I have been avoiding this movie for so long.  As a sequel it was done as a comedy since the first one was a serious one I enjoyed the movie I found chop top scary and funny and leather face was given more depth, the female lead and more strength, brains, and courage then the woman in the first one this woman stretch was afraid but fought, thought. and worked her way out which I don't find often in a slasher films ( male or female). Dennis Hopper's character lefty was obsessed with revenge, I found perfect for the actor. I also found quite a few scenes disturbing.  All and all I do recommend this sequel as a must see film.

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3
Unlike the two number three I was disappointment, I found no surprises and no me it didn't feel like a sequel. Some similarities to number three with the first and second are family is important and dinner is a family affair.  I will not go out of my way to avoid it if I see it on TV Again.  But I don't have much else more to say about this film good or bad.


Name: Craig J. Clark

[REC] 2 (Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza, 2009)
Thoughts: Anybody who's seen the 2007 Spanish horror film [Rec] (or its American remake Quarantine) knows that it has what could charitably be considered an open ending. Unlike most modern horror films that seem to get sequelized whether they merit it or not, though, [Rec] was good enough that it actually deserved a follow-up. And this one hits the ground running, introducing us to a four-man SWAT team (one of whom is the designated cameraman, although they all have helmet cams as well) that is assigned to escort a doctor from the Health Ministry into the sealed-off building from the first film to find a certain blood sample so an antidote can be made for the deadly virus that is wreaking havoc inside. The characterizations are about as basic as you can get, but the action is well-handled, and Balagueró & Plaza have more than a few tricks up their sleeves. A worthy addition to the canon of zombie/possession films.

THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (John Frankenheimer, 1996)
Thoughts: What can I possibly say about this mess that hasn't already been said countless times before? On one side you've for Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer competing to see who can go the furthest over the top, and on the other you've got David Thewlis trying desperately to escape with his dignity intact and fighting a losing battle. Worst of all, Stan Winston's great-looking creature designs are consistently spoiled by the primitive digital effects that keep cropping up even though they look like ass. Hard to believe anybody -- let alone a seasoned professional like Frankenheimer -- took at look at them and said, "Yes, that'll do, boys. Good work!"

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931)
Thoughts: In this, the first sound version of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous tale, the challenge of portraying the main character in both of his guises was taken up by Fredric March, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his troubles (and was the only actor to win an Oscar for a role in a horror film until Anthony Hopkins repeated the feat six decades later). To accomplish March's transformations, Mamoulian employs just about every trick in the book, using different shades of makeup and colored filters -- which are undetectable when filmed in black and white -- to achieve some astonishing in-camera effects. Of course, March's appearance as Hyde, with his simian features and pronounced canines, is astonishing enough as it is. There have been a lot of variations on Jekyll and Hyde through the ages, but this is the one they all have to measure up to.

Extra credit: I also saw Ridley Scott's PROMETHEUS, which may or may not count as a prequel to ALIEN. I thought it looked great, but didn’t have enough thought put into the story or characters. Still, I appreciated the way Scott went with the tried-and-true method of having a guy in a suit stalking around the set. Some may call it a throwback, but I call it knowing better than to try to fix something that isn't broken.


Wayne Teeter

FEAST 2: SLOPPY SECONDS
Sloppy indeed. Director John Gulager loses the grip he maintained on the original picture and lets this one turn into a live action cartoon. Most of the main characters are nasty, selfish and lacking any redeeming qualities to care for.

Even the monsters have lost their integrity as they are dumbed down to acts of toilet humor and sexual relations with cats.

For a fleeting second we are given hope as one of the smucks steps up to the plate and tries to rescue an infant from the monsters. As he is being chased down the street with the child in his arms, it looks like the monsters are closing in on the pair, that is until the selfish S.O.B. sacrifices the infant to the beasts to save his own ass.

But having said that I did enjoy the offbeat characters and the irrational and sometime violent interaction between them.

FEAST 3: HAPPY ENDINGS
This is just a continuation of the toilet humor and the cartoon violence established in the sequel. Unbelievably the misfits from FEAST 2 have survived , who knew catapulting Mexican masked little people wrestlers from a roof was such a good idea? There are a couple of new characters introduced , but don't get too attached because they aren't going to be around long. Our gang of losers decide to take directions from a deaf self proclaimed prophet and find themselves trudging through the town's water pipes. Like the writer's of this script the characters come to a dead end and really can't decide on which direction to take.

The ending is a real doosey, the best way to describe it, is to think of the animated short Bambi vs. Godzilla. Then an el mariachi player comes out and sings the plot of all three Feast films. Bizarre yes, but I think I liked this.


Kristin Wicks

PIRANHA 3DD (2012)
The fact that it was directed by John Gulager sealed the deal for me. I am a huge fan of the FEAST trilogy (yes, all of them), so I welcomed this with open arms when it was available on VOD. Sure, it's not as great as PIRANHA 3D and the story isn't the best. Heck the majority of the film takes place at a small water park. Not nearly as exciting as being out in the middle of a large body of water. However, some of the one-liners had me unexpectedly cracking up. It was pretty entertaining, and I didn't consider it a waste of time at all. Hasselhoff was great to watch, playing a has-been whose best gig is working a water park. He did a great job of allowing jokes stabbed directly at his washed-up career, and was a good sport about it. Christopher Lloyd's talent was wasted, though. Enjoyed some very memorable, gross-out scenes! Certainly not the best movie of the year, but worth a watch.

THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)
Another of Corman's Gothic perfection with Vincent Price and Barbara Steele. I'd missed this at the Massacre, probably due to socializing. Wish I had watched it on the big screen. I'm hoping this counts, as there are 7 versions under this title on imdb, though I've not seen the others. I suppose most are reinventing Poe's story, but I'd have a hard time believing that later titles were not influenced by this striking film.


John Pata

HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (2011)
Congratulations, Tom Six. You can come up with an outlandish concept to stretch into two films (and sadly, soon to be three). But guess what. A concept can't carry a film, let alone two, or three. Your writing sucks. Your directing sucks. And from reading/watching interviews with you, you suck. Can you guess how I felt about HC2?

I was not a fan of the first one. Thought it worked way better as a trailer because (and this is the case with many good horror titles), your brain did the work. So many questions, so many possibilities… My brain wouldn't stop. Then two years or so went by, and I saw the film. Totally let down. Then I heard fairly good things about the sequel, and the fact it was black and white intrigued me enough. Yeah… Such a waste. Yes, I am a huge fan of gore-for-gore-sake films, I find them to be a total blast. But shock-for-shock-sake? P*ss off. What are you trying to prove? You can come up with crazy, disturbing scenes? Wow. I'm pretty sure anyone with a brain can do that. You have no substance. You are nothing more than a momentary disturbance, if that. I'm am quite p*ssed that this is (and I understand I am about to make a generalization) what people will think about when they think of horror from the 2000s. The "torture porn" films. That's not horror. That's trying to get under people's skin for just a few moments in time. Your film will be forgotten about once the next trash film comes out, and most importantly, your film will not be remembered and embraced decades from now.

Fuck you, Tom Six, and your pitiful excuses you call horror.

Now, even though I am quite worked up, I will say this: there was some incredible looking images due to the black and white. I'm not one to stop watching something, but I thought about it with HC2. The only thing that kept me going was the imagery. Shots were quite beautiful at times. Oh, but the CGI ran sucked immensely. There, couldn't be too nice.

MOTHER'S DAY (2011)
This is as much a remake of the Troma film (of the same name) as Dawn '04 is a remake of Romero's flick. This time around, instead of a backwoods, hillbilly family, it's a home invasion story in the suburbs. I would have never even batted an eye at this film had it not been for Rebecca De Mornay. Put her in any villainous role, and chances are, I will sit through it.

I'm not going to bother comparing/contrasting this to the original, because it would be a waste of time. However, I will say this, Mother's Day wasn't total crap. The script was decent enough (not great, I had my issues with how certain aspects played out, but not sh*t), there were some solid performances, and some pretty good violence, too. My biggest grip is that it's too d*mn long. Clocking in at 112 minutes, that's way too long for a home invasion film. The problem (in my eyes) with home invasion stories is that so much has been done before, it's hard to inject new life into them. MD doesn't offer too much new, if anything, the villains make the victims do a most of the wrong doings, so I suppose that's somewhat different.

De Mornay was as good as I expected her to be, presenting a very unnerving and terrifying character, even if she was slightly over-written. Jaime King surprised me with her performance, thought she did a terrific job. And very much to my surprise (and pleasure), director Darren Lynn Bousman had a strong presence behind the camera. I have not seen Repo, but have seen his entries in the Saw series. MD is a very fluid, clean, and precisely directed film, a high contrast to his Saw films. I am now curious to see what else Bousman is capable of.

The film opens with one brutal of a stabbing, which grabbed my attention right away. What follows never really compared to the intensity of the knife play, and was somewhat of a let down, but I could have watched something worse. Too long, though… Ugh, much too long.

Oh, and Briana Evigan is nice on the eyes. I was surprised and pleased to see her name in the opening credits.


Your Name: Erich C. Polnow

FINAL DESTINATION
Thoughts: I had already seen the second one and the last one.  And Ash had seen 1, 2 &5.  So, we sat and watched all of them. I have to admit, the concept was different and the deaths were really interesting. The characters I didn't really care about. But, for a popcorn horror, it wasn't terrible.

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD
Thoughts: This one I've wanting to watch for quite some time. As Carpenter's take on the story is one of my favorites. Luckily, I was able to borrow this one from a friend. I have to start off by saying that this is a great example where an original and a remake can coexist because they are both a great film making take on the original story. Enjoyable and fun. I can't compare this to Carpenter's, though. Two completely different concepts carried out by great story telling and artistic film making. All the while being original and true to the source material. I liked it a lot and will probably make this a regular viewing as well.


Ashley Polnow

There are probably a ton of other awesome movies I should have watched, but I thought I would take the opportunity and finish the Final Destination series. (I only saw 1, 2, and 5 before this mission)

FINAL DESTINATION 3
This movie seemed like it would be better than the first two. Who isn't afraid of a roller coaster derailing? I don't know if it's just that I've seen too many movies or what, but right away I noticed something that throws the whole movie off. In her premonition the dork with the video camera drops it, and it wraps around the rails causing the accident. The dork with the video camera gets off of the coaster when she freaks out, and the roller coaster still comes apart. Whatever, I'm not going to nitpick a Final Destination movie. Good kill scenes. That's about it.

FINAL DESTINATION 4
Great opening credits. I loved how they recapped all of the previous deaths in x-ray vision! The main accident in this one was a disappointment. I've never been to a race track before, so I have no frame of reference. It seems highly unlikely that a bunch of race cars would flip into the crowd. The main character didn't just have one premonition about the main accident. He was apparently psychic and knew when everybody was going to die. This one was my least favorite of the series.



July Mission: Happy Canada Day

Steve Weakley

DEATHDREAM aka DEAD OF NIGHT
Thoughts: This has almost made it into a couple of missions, starting back with the Aug 2010 Slasher film. But for some reason I kept thinking I wouldn't enjoy it. MAN was I wrong. Great movie. Not exactly a slasher film, but if you have to categorize it, it would be closer to that than a normal zombie film, or even vampire. A Vietnam vet is reported killed in action to his family, but then shows up that night at their house. He's acting strange but they just pass it off as being the result of him being in the war. It's not. This builds the suspense really well. Great progression on the make up, with the final outcome being worth the wait. Maybe a little more low key than you'd expect, it's not like he goes on a major killing spree. Can't express enough how surprised I was at how much I enjoyed this.

BLOOD AND DONUTS
Thoughts: Always saw this on the shelves of the local Mom and Pop video stores, but never rented it. Good little low budget vampire movie. A vampire named Boya who has been asleep in a bag since the night of the first Moon landing awakens and gets involved in the lives of some people he runs into at a local donut shop. Kind of vague as to what Boya is doing, is he trying to get back into the world or trying to find a better place to sleep reality off. The ending made no sense in relation to the rest of the story. The guy playing Boya the vampire is really good, but his costars include a woman from the Brooke Shields era of gigantic eyebrows and a cabbie who decided not to act and just do a Christopher Walken imitation the whole movie. David Cronenberg has a small part as a gangster behind all the trouble that's being caused in the area.


Tom Knizner

THE BRAIN (1988)
I had a bootleg DVD of this lying around for a few years that I never watched...Now was my chance. Cool little monster flick in which a TV Doctor (played by the awesome David Gale) manipulates teenage minds by messing with brainwaves. One kid is smarter than most and realizes what is going on. The brain monster is pretty cool and it was one of those fun 80's horror flicks. Not great, but not bad either. Some real corny lines, including one from Gale which made me laugh out loud...not sure if that was intentional or not, but it worked for me.

FIDO (2006)
Billy Connolly plays a zombie.  Nuff said!! This one surprised me and totally flew under my radar. In the 50's the Zombie Wars were won and zombies were domesticated. Think like the end of Shaun of the Dead...they do tasks and whatnot. They are controlled by a neck contraption, and if that malfunctions, the zombie returns to its zombie ways. While horror themed, there were lots of comedic bits and a touch of drama. The little kid bonds with Fido with, then without the controller. Eventually, the zombie is more emotionally attached to the kid than his own father. Some bigger names in this one, with Dylan Baker as the father and Carrie Ann Moss as the mother. It was kind of cute and it had a rather strange happy ending. Really enjoyable and thought it was well made.


Name: Craig J. Clark

PONTYPOOL (Bruce McDonald, 2008)
Thoughts: I used this month's Kryptic Army mission as an excuse to finally check out this film, which sounded rather interesting when I heard about it a few years back. Kind of a thinking man's zombie movie, it takes place in the titular small Ontario town where "take no prisoners" morning show host Stephen McHattie has landed, having apparently burned his bridges elsewhere. And that pretty much describes the film as well because beyond the opening scene, in which McHattie drives to work through a blinding snowstorm and has a strange encounter with a dazed-looking woman on the side of the road, the action never leaves the converted church basement where he broadcasts from, aided by producer Lisa Houle and engineer Georgina Reilly, who field his incoming calls. There's little they can do to insulate him from the unbelievable reports that start filtering in from all over town, though, just like Houle's efforts to rein him in meet with a great deal of resistance once he takes the unsubstantiated stories and begins embellishing them.

At the outset, the film plays a bit like a Canadian variation on Talk Radio, but McDonald and screenwriter Tony Burgess (adapting his own novel Pontypool Changes Everything) eventually tip their hand as Houle, Reilly and McHattie continue receiving and broadcasting calls about the mounting violence that is raging outside, as well as the strange behavior of those perpetrating it. (Leave it to the Canadians to make a zombie film and keep virtually all of the zombie stuff off-screeen.) No explanations are forthcoming, though, until a doctor (Hrant Alianak) who seems to know a little about what's going on finds his way into the studio. Whether that will actually make a difference in the long run is another matter. Definitely one to check out.

DERANGED (Jeff Gillen & Alan Ormsby, 1974)
Thoughts: As well-regarded as it is in horror circles, I haven't sought this film out before now because of its reputation as something of a stomach-turner. (After all, Tom Savini helped out with the makeup effects, and even that early in his career he knew what he was doing.) Well, as it turns out, the version I rented -- the MGM "Midnite Movies" double feature with Motel Hell -- is missing one of the film's more notorious scenes, but I'm not exactly crying foul since I don't generally go out of my way to disgust myself. (This is why I still haven't seen A Serbian Film or either of the Human Centipede movies, nor do I have any plans to.) Make no mistake, whatever form it's in Deranged is still plenty disturbing, but shorn of its nausea-inducing moments, the viewer is better able to appreciate the rich vein of jet-black humor embedded within it.

Much of the credit for Deranged's strange intensity goes to Roberts Blossom, who plays Ed Gein stand-in Ezra Cobb like a boy in a man's body, left with a strong mistrust of women after his Bible-thumping mother (Cosette Lee) passes away. Of course, as far as Ezra is concerned his mother isn't really dead, so when she tells him to bring her home he digs up her decomposing corpse and does just that. If that sounds at all familiar, that's because Robert Bloch based his novel Psycho on the Gein case, which also inspired Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Neither of those variants stuck very close to the facts, though, which gives Deranged's screenwriter Ormsby a leg up over them. Sure, Ormsby takes his own liberties -- for example, inventing a newspaper columnist (Leslie Carlson) who narrates the gruesome tale -- but Carlson's presence is justified by the occasions where he audaciously steps in front of the camera in the middle of a scene he's commenting on. That's the kind of creative gamble that shows Gillen and Ormsby had more on their minds than simply cranking out another exploitationer. Mission accomplished, fellas.


Aaron Christensen

CANNIBAL GIRLS (1973) (1st viewing) d. Reitman, Ivan
“They do EXACTLY what you think they do!” Before he acquired the golden touch with smart, snappy winners like Stripes, Meatballs and Ghostbusters, director Reitman toiled on this uneven horror comedy, featuring future SCTV stars Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin as a groovy guitarist and his whinging gal pal who spend a romantic getaway at a remote bed and breakfast inn with a mysterious past. Because it never quite commits itself to a specific course (and because much of the dialogue was reputedly improvised), the comic bits never really catch fire and the loosey goosey ramblings leave the chills out in the cold. On the plus side, the titular trio of crunchin’ munchin’ Bonnie Nelson, Randall Carpenter, and sexymama brunette Mira Pawluk keeps interests alive whenever they’re onscreen doing their disrobing and disemboweling thing, and there is a certain freakish attraction to seeing the American Pie franchise veteran sporting an impossibly lush white-guy ’fro and ’stache. (The unrecognizable Levy’s voice even seems dubbed at times.) In the end, this is more curiosity piece than forgotten gem, a glimpse at better things to come.

GRAVE ENCOUNTERS (2011) (1st viewing) d. Vicious Brothers, The
What do you get when you cross THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, a Ghost Hunters-type reality TV show scenario and some lousy CGI? Yep, you get this. Has a few worthwhile moments, but mostly it’s a dragged out drag. It’s true: Canadians can do substandard "found footage" movies too.


Lance Ford

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD
Liked it ok. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD are still way better.

THE GATE
Always liked Stephen Dorff and as a young actor he shows he could always act. Special Effects were pretty cool as well.


Damien Glonek

VIDEODROME
I have probably seen less then half of Cronenberg's films and I have no good reason as to why, since every one of his movies I have seen has been amazing. VIDEODROME is no exception to this rule. Truly creative and imaginative in every aspect, I love every minute of this movie and it held my attention throughout waiting to see what was going to happen next. Of the Cronenberg I have seen, The Brood, Existenz, The Fly and Crash I rank this one high up there with The Brood. Awesome awesome movie. LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!

THE BURNING
Yup never saw this classic film before either. I was never a big fan of the 80s slasher so probably passed this over many times. First I was surprised by all the names in it, Jason Alexander, Ned Eisenberg, Fisher Stevens, Hollie Hunter, written and created by the Weinsteins, effects by Tom Savini. I would think this would be much more popular then it is with all the names attached and they would have somehow figured out away to make a sequel. Maybe it is more popular then I realize. Despite it's ridiculous premise and implausibility, I really enjoyed this movie. The DVD transfer was good and it felt like part 80s summer camp movie then before it got to far into that, bam it reminded you you were watching a horror film. Fun kills throughout made this a pleasant surprise. Glad I finally got the chance to watch it. Now I can tell everyone about this great movie I just watched.


Erich C. Polnow

HELLO MARY LOU! PROM NIGHT 2
Thoughts: I'll start right off the bat by saying, "After having seen the first Prom Night; I think Prom Night 2 was more of a sequel to the original Carrie, than it was to the original Prom Night." And I mean that in a GREAT way! It was lot of fun, plenty of good scares, good effects... and with an original back story to set it all up; it proved you can make interesting sequel with running it through the mill and just rape and pillage the idea of the original to pump out another. The production was super, the acting was pretty good. All around enjoyable horror movie.

SHIVERS
Thoughts: CRONENBERG!!! It's a battle cry... Or it should be. I loved Shivers. He doesn't spoon feed you every detail as the story unfolds. Because that's what "Stories" do. They develop along with the characters. Ah, how I miss movies like these. Original, over the top, pulling out all of the stops, and showing no mercy or signs of slowing. It wasn't a mind blowing film. But, a definite classic. I bet you could sit down and watch this back to back with the original Dawn of the Dead and walk away with a sense of film making that just isn't even thought of anymore. Especially in the horror genre. As much as I like Cronenberg's more mainstream film making these days, I always want to see these guys pull out an idea that might've been on the back burner for a while and just go nuts and scare the **** out of everyone with a return to horror.


Lee Marohn

First off, I need to thank John Pata for the loan of this trilogy.

GINGER SNAPS (2000)
I really liked this one. Sure, the whole "teen angst" thing has been done to death. Outcast sisters Ginger and Brigitte get tormented at school, so obviously, they need to have revenge. It's a familiar story, but this movie threw in a ton of lycanthropic fun.

GINGER SNAPS 2: UNLEASHED (2003)
Brigitte is fighting "the curse" with injections of wolfsbane, but she passes out in the snow and wakes up in rehab after being attacked by a werewolf.  In the rehab facility is a girl known as Ghost who is one of the creepiest kids in a movie ever.  I actually liked this one better than the first one, partly because I liked the character of Brigitte a lot more than Ginger and this film is focused on Brigitte.

GINGER SNAPS BACK: THE BEGINNING (2004)
Ginger and Brigitte travel though the North American wilderness in the early 19th Century and...wait...what? I was told ahead of time to just ignore that whole aspect (as well as the fact that they talk like modern-day teenage girls) and just go with it. They find a trading outpost that's under siege by a pack of werewolves. Then things get weird. Ridiculous? Yeah. But fun.


Wayne Teeter

WEREWOLF FEVER
Werewolf Fever opens with a cool sounding title song by the Young Werewolves, a rock-a -billy surf punk kind of vibe to it. So far so good. Quickly things begin to spiral down hill as undeveloped characters portrayed by mediocre actors spew their unconvincing dialogue. But some how even with these faults it manages to contain a certain charm and convinces you it has it's heart in the right place. Even the dark humor it strives for, falls short of the mark most of the times. But when it's on, it will win you over.

Where the film does deliver the goods is with it's gruesome and violent werewolf attacks, if only the make up and costume were as convincing. This could possibly be the worst werewolf design in cinema history. A terrible looking werewolf costume consisting of a paper mache like face, making it nearly impossible to make out any facial features. Rounding out the rest of the costume are the creature's hind feet protruding through the work boots the creature still adorns. And a doggy like tail, sometimes wagging. Still, this movie delivers the red stuff in buckets, unfortunately that red stuff could easily pass as cranberry sauce.

The idea of a werewolf returning to it's place of employment, a burger drive thru restaurant is a little different and made use of some interesting and gory sight gags. Contained to it's one location of the Kingburger drive thru, this is film making on a micro budget. And these film makers don't seem to mind one bit, instead creating a fun, sometimes funny but never a dull film made with limited resources. This is not going to be a classic anytime too soon, but with some friends and a couple of brewskies this could be a lot of fun, eh.

EXIT HUMANITY
Now here is something you don't see everyday, Canadian film makers creating a horror film with a civil war theme and using a rural Ontario as a mid eighteen hundreds Tennessee. Not a perfect film but Exit Humanity does an amazing job at disguising it's small budget. For instance, a small skirmish between the North and South is shown taken place in a forested area compared to a large open field with battalions, cavalries and cannons common to most civil war era films. Actually the war itself is more of a back drop as the film concentrates on Edward Young. A soldier returning home from war, only to find his wife dead and his son missing because of an epidemic. The dead are rising, zombies are the new enemy.

After dealing with the worst thing a husband and a parent could be dealt with, Edward gathers his son's ashes and returns home . He believes he has failed as a husband and a father and contemplates suicide. Upon discovering one of his old sketches, Edward finds a new purpose in his life and is committed to fulfill it.

EXIT HUMANITY, although a low budget film looks epic compared to director John Geddes film debut Scarce. Actually Geddes is credited as co - director. Scarce deals with a couple of stranded snow boarders squaring off against backwoods cannibals. This time Geddes has a bigger budget, allowing actors Dee Wallace, Bill Mosely and Stephen Mchattie to contribute.

Wallace plays a misunderstood woman ostracized to a cabin in the woods who may know more about the zombie uprising than she lets on. Mosely and McHattie portray a general and an army doctor respectively. Searching for a cure for the zombie epidemic using very unorthodox methods. I found both of these characters to be more of a characterize of a power hungry militant type and McHattie's likened to that of an evil scientist. Both displaying an over the top feel and bringing some unintentional humor to an otherwise somber mood. Stephen McHattie who was excellent in the brilliant PONTYPOOL, a movie about words ,is given very few to work with here. I'm not sure if it is the original Hannibal the cannibal but Brian Cox is credited as the narrator, so that is cool if it is him. He also had a memorable role on Trick or Treat..

I may be a little bit bias towards this film. I really wanted to like it even before I had seen it. It's not every day a horror film is produced in our neck of the woods. But as it is Exit Humanity is an intelligent, well made film with an inspirational message.  Definitely worth a look.


Erik Martin

END OF THE LINE
A religious cult believes that judgement day is here; rather than the traditional judgement day, however, this cult believes that Satan and his demons will arise to possess the souls of the dead. So, they decide to kill as many people as they can with cross-shaped daggers, because all they slay will have their souls saved.

A brief synopsis for sure, and sadly it does not do this remarkable movie justice. This flick sets up the story to be one thing from the very beginning, but while you are looking forward to that, it turns out that the story follows a different path altogether. Most movies that promise cake but deliver ice cream fail, but this one is so cool, so smooth, that it cannot help BUT succeed. Most of the action takes place in a subway tunnel, hence the title, and is rather misleading, as this movie could have happened in an apartment building, or a government installation, or whatever, but it just happens to take place down there. With such a cool setting, great gore, flawless acting from everyone involved, brilliant and original story, this is a horror flick which does justice to Canada's macabre side. WATCH IT.

THE BROOD
Frank Carveth is convinced that his nutso wife is abusing their daughter during their scheduled visits. Hal Raglan is the doctor in charge of the institute where Frank's wife is being kept, and has created a new therapeutic technique called "psychoplasmics," where he does a lot of roleplaying and which causes patients to release their madness through physical changes in their bodies. Meanwhile, Frank's mother-in-law, whom is accused of having abused her daughter, is murdered by a tiny, deformed child-thing. As Frank investigates, he learns that there are more than one of these little monsters, The Brood, and they are coming from . . .
I won't spoil it for you.

David Cronenberg really shouldn't count in this mission, because he is in a genre all his own. Still, I look for any excuse to see another movie of his, and The Brood didn't let me down! Oliver Reed as Hal Raglan shows why he remains one of the great acting giants of all time and the plot, equal parts disgusting and brilliant, is a magnificent example of David Cronenberg's sub-genre of "body horror." I don't know how else to put it; This Movie's AWESOME. Again, WATCH IT.


Kristin Wicks

EXIT HUMANITY (2011)
Really enjoyed this on most levels. Beautifully shot, well-crafted film that had an impressive use of graphic illustration woven into the film. The zombie makeup was pretty darn great. It was nice to come across a film where everyone who worked on it clearly had a passion for what they were doing. It wasn't a terribly exciting movie, but it was well-acted and the inclusion of art gave it a unique feel, which is really rare when it comes to modern zombie films.

THE GATE II: TRESPASSERS (1990)
Okay, this wasn't anything new for the most part, except that it was seriously lacking everything the original had that made people love it so much. This one is not funny. At all. The heart is gone, too. Largely forgettable.

NIGHTBREED: CABAL CUT
It was also nice to see the extra footage in NIGHTBREED, which was mostly filmed in Canada. Sure, I've seen that movie a zillion times, but 45 minutes is practically a new movie. Cheers to seeing some of you out for the event, and for meeting a few of you for the first time.


Steve Sapsford

Part 1, - Which is the first part during which I learn a new phrase; “Canuxploitation”. In the late 1960s the Canadian Film Development Corporation was established to take advantage of tax-shelters offered by the Federal Government in order to increase revenues. This created an explosion of low to mid-budget films that were not fiscally viable to be made in the US moving to Canada. The net result? Meatballs.

Part 2 - Which is the second part and during which learn of a dark slice of Canadian history; Duplessis Orphans.

During the 1940s and 1950s, it is estimated that more than 1,500 un-adopted children living in Catholic orphanages were given false medical diagnoses and illegally committed to mental hospitals. Under Premier Maurice Duplessis, the government was able to obtain funding for their care. These unfortunate children were exposed to atrocities including electroshock therapy, excessive medication, and lobotomy experiments. The test subjects have since become known as the Duplessis Orphans.

Part 3, - Which is the third part, but is really the 1st part during which I will mention the movie, MINDFIELD.

MINDFIELD (1989)
MINDFIELD taps into the paranoia and mistrust of the government medical establishment set into place by the Duplessis Administration. It stars Michael Ironside (yay!) as a good cop who is fighting the mob and weird flashbacks to medical experiments he can’t quite remember.

There’s a conspiracy with mind control using electroshock & LSD… or is there? Maybe it’s all in his head? The movie seems to go in about 13 directions at once at times, but it’s watchable in a B-Movie kind of way. And Mr. Ironside never disappoints, even when he’s playing a good-guy.

Part 4, Which is the part during which I will write about the 2nd movie, RABID

RABID (1977)
Marilyn Chambers “stars” in this early Cronenberg flick about a woman badly injured in a motorcycle accident. She is taken to the plastic surgery center where Dr. Keloid (get it?) tries an experimental procedure on her. Of course, when tamping in God’s domain, there are unexpected consequences. In this case, an orifice in her armpit with which she feeds on the blood of the living – and infects them with “something horrible”.

I know this will get me smacked around by most horror movie fans, but I just don’t get Cronenberg. I have seen most of his movies and always walk away thinking that they are just missing something. Rabid is actually quite good once you get past the dated look and feel. The effects are, well effective & the acting is above average for low budget schlock.
Worth seeing if you like this sort of thing.



August Mission: Attack of the Giant Monsters

Steve Weakley

VASSILISA THE BEAUTIFUL
Thoughts: Since I've seen every giant monster that took on Tokyo, or crawled out of the irradiated Nevada desert, I had to go so far outside of the box that I wound up in Russia with their supply of bizarre fantasy films. The first one, Vassilisa the Beautiful is a black and white charmer from 1939. You have to put up with a lot of "comedy" for the first half, lazy brothers picking lazy women to be their brides, but eventually we get to the classic story of a noble peasant trying to free the woman he loves from Gorynych the Serpent. The second half of the film is just cool to look at. Great sets, some impressive effects. The legendary Russian witch character Baba Yaga shows up and is just creepy as hell. You have to wait for the climax for Gorynych to show, where he's revealed to be a huge three headed dragon. While one head breathes fire, another lets out a hurricane type wind with the third letting out enough water for flood the country side. Unfortunately of all the film's special effects, the dragon is probably the least successful, but it remains in character with the rest of the movie. Not going to make you forget The Wizard of Oz, but I couldn't help thinking back to it while watching this. I wouldn't watch this just for the dragon, but if you wanted to give Russian fantasy films a try, this would be a pretty good pick.

ILYA MURMETS aka THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON
Thoughts: I watched the restored letterbox version of the original film, not the US edited/dubbed pan and scan. It really is an incredible looking film, but except for a couple of brief fantasy bits, including another three headed dragon at the end of the film, it's kind of a bore. The dragon is pretty cool, if also a little goofy looking. Looked like they came up with a full size dragon for the action sequences instead of a forced perspective model. This thing can really spit out the fire. The rest of the film? Another proud peasant who embodies the spirit of the Russian people goes off to fight the invaders of his country. Doesn't do that great of a job for the most part given he takes so long that his son is raised to be an adult by the invaders as one of their own and turned against his own father, Rotten kids, leave the room for 20 years and look a the mischief they get into. The love interest is again called Vassilisa and the dragon, Gorynych, just like in my first film. Don't believe this is another adaptation of the same story, just probably names from folklore than are reused here again. If you're looking for an epic type film, this one is pretty impressive. But if you want some fantasy or action, best move along.


Erik Martin

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
An H-Bomb test mutates a preserved underwater dinosaur into Gojira, a legendary sea monster, who proceeds to turn Tokyo into his dinner; and what he doesn't eat, he stomps, smashes, overturns, or burns down with a blast of dragon-like firebreath. Conventional weapons are useless against him, and it takes an overwhelmingly powerful weapon and some courageous self-sacrifice to put the King of the Monsters down for the count . . . or does it?

I love being in the Kryptic Army. It's because of this army I was finally able to sit down and watch the original King Kong, and now, I get to watch the original Godzilla! And like Kong, I loved it! I have always loved Godzilla, but the only exposure I have had to him has been the American version with Matthew Broderick (I know, I know) and Godzilla 2000 (which was awesome!). Seeing how it all started was fantastic! I saw the American version with Raymond Burr, and I have to say that it never occurrred to me that his scenes were shot later and then inserted (an excellent editing job). The metaphor for the Atomic bomb was obvious but well-done, and I never intended the movie to be as deep as I found it. An outstanding classic.

GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORA
A group of time travelers appear to modern day Tokyo (1992 or 1977, depending on whether you go by the dates on screen or the dialogue) and tell them that in the future, there is no more Japan, because Godzilla has destroyed everything. So, they've come back in order to prevent Godzilla from ever having been born. Taking a sci-fi writer, a dinosaur expert, and another woman back in time to the middle of WWII, they find the dinosaur that will eventually turn into Godzilla, and they teleport him into the present, leaving behind some cute, winged, vaguely draconic, futuristic bio-engineered pets, three of them in fact. After returning to the present, Godzilla has never existed, so when the H-Bomb went off, it was the pets who mutated into a three headed dragon named King Ghidora! Worse, the time travelers can control it, and it turns out they were lying the whole time; Japan not only exists in the future, but it is the most powerful nation on the planet! The time travelers have decided to get rid of Godzilla so that Japan will have no protector and replace him with a monster that they will use to destroy Japan! What's the only thing to do when King Ghidora begins leveling Tokyo with lightning blasts from three different heads? Expose radiation to the dead dinosaur carcass in the ocean and RE-create Godzilla! So, Godzilla comes back, begger, badder, meaner, to destroy Ghidora, which he does. Then, not finished yet, Godzilla starts destroying Tokyo himself. How do we stop him? Why, we bring back King Ghidora, of course!

Sorry that I practically gave the whole plot away, but I loved this movie so much, I just couldn't help myself! Just the whole monster on monster action over and over again . . . what's not to love? Plus, we have an android going all terminator on us (seriously. I don't see how this movie could have NOT been an inspiration for Arnold's shenanigans), a pro-Japanese point of view on WWII, and of course, Godzilla himself! Ghidora was awesome, but nobody beats the 'Zillah!


Name: Craig J. Clark

RODAN (Ishiro Honda, 1956)
Thoughts: Used this month's mission as the impetus to catch a couple of Toho's kaiju films that I had somehow not seen before. Their first to be shot in color, Rodan was also the first to include attacks on other countries, but at the start it's confined to the area in and around a coal mine where some giant insects (identified as Meganula) start causing havoc. An engineer investigates and develops amnesia after getting trapped underground, but soon enough there's another threat afoot, or should I say aloft since it's a prehistoric Pteranodon. Found to have a wingspan of 27 feet and capable of supersonic flight, the creature dubbed Rodan for brevity's sake spreads its wind-based destruction far and wide, although scientists are careful to only provisionally place the blame for its existence on nuclear bomb tests. Whether or not this can be read as a pulled punch, the fact remains there simply isn't as much to Rodan as there was to Honda's earlier film Godzilla. Even the vanquishing of the monster relies more on dumb luck than anything else, but the great Eiji Tsuburaya and his effects crew still manage to blow a whole lot of **** up before the closing bell.

MOTHRA (Ishiro Honda, 1961)
Thoughts: Filmed in glorious Tohoscope, this is a much more lighthearted affair than Godzilla or Rodan. It not only introduced the title monster (which waits until the film is halfway over before putting in an appearance, emerging in caterpillar form from a giant egg), but also the one-foot-tall twin fairies played by the singing duo The Peanuts. Beyond that, any lingering questions about the tone of the film can be cleared up by the revelation that it's headlined by comedian Frankie Sakai, who plays a persistent reporter working for news editor Takashi Shimura. The villain of the piece abducts the twin fairies so he can exploit them, caring little about the havoc that ensues when Mothra is unleashed. Strangely enough, when Mothra is in its caterpillar stage it moves kind of like the rampaging breast in Woody Allen's Everything You Always to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask), the main difference being that the breast never humps Tokyo Tower and then spins a cocoon in its ruins. (The breast also doesn't destroy a dam or a luxury liner, but given enough time it might have.) By the time Mothra finally emerges from its cocoon, it has barely a reel and a half left to topple the oddly named New Kirk City, but it bears enough of Mothra's wrath to know not to do whatever it was that it did again.


Steve Sapsford

This was a challenge for me since I think I’ve seen most giant monster movies. I had to dig deep to find some unwatched flicks.

THE BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES (1956)
Thoughts:
Really good monster movies only show you glimpses of the monster allowing you to imagine something horrible as tension builds (Think Alien, Jaws, or even Cloverfield). This movie isn’t one of those. The monster introduces itself to you within the first minute of the movie and explains the plot in an opening monologue. It’s a giant monster eye-ball that takes control of animals and humans in order to take over the Earth. A disparate group of white folk (high-wasted old guy, cranky-whiney housewife, peeping tom sexual predator handyman, rebellious teenage hot chick, and a German Shepard named Duke) get together and defeat the critter. The End… or is it? Well, yes it is. Why do you ask?

THE BRAIN FROM THE PLANET AROUS (1957)
Thoughts:
See above; replace “Eye-Ball” with “Brain”. This one’s better though because it has more explosions. In the spirit of full disclosure, it only has 1 explosion and it happens during the opening credits but the eye-ball movie didn’t have any explosions. So, in the area of explosions this movie has more. Other than that, it’s the same movie. John Agar’s in this one. So I guess it has more Agars and more explosions than the eye-ball movie. It also has a character named “Steve” – not good for the Steve Drinking Game™ because as often as they say “Steve”, I think I would be passed out by about the 20 minute mark,


Rebecca Osterfund, DVM and horror enthusiast

WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (1968)
Typical Japanese rubber monster suit movie. Unfortunately, the plot was very thin, and I couldn't even begin to explain where the monsters came from or why they were doing what they were doing. It wasn't even revealed there was more than one Garantua until 1/2 way through the movie, and when the two monters did finally fight each other it was more of a slap session. The best part of the movie was the very beginning- the giant octopus was very well done, but unfortunately never showed up again during the course of the movie. Miniature work was well blended with live action and made a lot of scenes fairly believable in their execution. A trip down memory lane for sure (been a while since I've seen a Godzilla-esque movie) but not one I would run out and see this one again.

TROLL HUNTER (2010)
Fairly recent Norwegian movie. While not a rubber monster suit movie, plenty of CGI monsters which were actually well done and easily believed. Although I feel the Blair Witch Project style has been over done, this movie was a pleasant surprise. As a practicing veterinarian it was nice to see a vet character, however I wish they would at least get their science right: Rabies cannot be detected using a blood sample (if it could, I wouldn't have to routinely submit whole animal heads for testing for Rabies). Yes, I know, its a story about trolls for goodness sakes, but I really wish script writers would do a little research on medical matters before just making stuff up.


Aaron Christensen

DINOSAUR ISLAND (1994) (1st viewing) d. Wynorski, Jim / Ray, Fred Olen (USA)
One look at the directors’ credits should tell you what you’re in for. Yes, the comedy team of Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski, those purveyors of energetic, bouncy low budget fun, ride the Jurassic Park gravy train with a bevy of bountiful babes who just can’t seem to keep their clothes on and “dinosaurs genetically engineered and trained by” f/x whiz John Carl Buechler (read as: hand puppets and a smattering of dodgy stop motion animation). (If the T-rex seems a little familiar, it’s because you probably saw it in 1993’s Carnosaur.) The anemic plot: a small military plane containing hard-nosed Ross Hagen and a shiftless trio of brig-bound bozos (Richard Gabai, Peter Spellos, Tom Shell) crash lands on an uncharted island inhabited entirely by prehistoric beasts and fur bikini-wearing beauts (namely Michelle Bauer, Antonia Dorian, Griffin Drew, Toni Naples and Nikki Fritz). After a series of (un)wisecracking misadventures – Gabai’s “witty” retorts will wear out your throwing arm – the boobs pair off with the babes and the film’s remaining run time trades between episodes of fleshy canoodling and flesh eating carnivores. Classic late-night Skinemax entertainment the way it used to be done.


GRABBERS (2011) (1st viewing) d. Wright, Jon (Ireland/UK)
Finally, an intelligent, well-executed CGI creature feature that earns worthy comparisons to Tremors, ably folding comedy into the monster mix without descending into campiness or bargain basement SyFy f/x. Hard drinking small town cop Richard Coyle is teamed with perky, by-the-book Ruth Bradley when his superior goes on holiday, a strained odd couple dynamic that only gathers steam after a school of massacred pilot whales wash ashore and a few residents go missing…incidents seemingly connected with a recent meteorite splash in the local loch. Screenwriter Kevin Lehane so effectively concocts his Irish island community – filled with colorful characters leveling witty, lived-in barbs at one another – viewers are thoroughly invested by the time the tentacled terrors from below show up, imbuing the fanciful premise with emotional stakes. The Paul Catlin-designed beasties are a fearsome lot, writhing, tangled masses radiating from a toothy maw (although in hatchling state, they’re actually quite cute, evidenced in a pub scene that evokes Gremlins in tone and hijinks), while the prospective human snacks’ counter-tactics are sly, inspired winks at the inebriated Irish archetype. Highly recommended.


Stacey Hanlon

TROLL HUNTER
Better than I expected. I was impressed by the creature effects and really enjoyed the main character, the "Troll Hunter" himself. I thought it was a great concept to have that character be a disgruntled government employee. Only complaint was the "found footage" format. I think that has been about done to death.

MEGA SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS
Wow! I expected a bad movie, but this was beyond words. I mean, just...wow.

Thanks for the challenge! This was a lot of fun. Looking forward to the coming months!


John Pata

SUBURBAN SASQUATCH (2004)
Okay, let's just get this out of the way. One does not watch a film like Suburban Sasquatch for quality. Well, at least no one in their right mind. I couldn't help but check out the film based on the absurdity of the title alone. I almost feel like a total moron for saying this, but Suburban Sasquatch (somehow) so much sh*ttier than I expected. I love monster flicks when the monster is a man in a suit, but this is just pushing that concept. It's a dude in a store bought gorilla suit slightly modified to look "different"… You know what, I could b*tch and moan about this title all day, but it's pointless. This had nothing going for it, it's one of the best turkeys I've seen (watching this with others would have been a riot). I ordered off the cheap menu and I got what I paid for, and then some. Sasquatch with teleportation. Need I say more?

GRIZZLY (1978)
I've been hearing about Grizzly for quite some time now. Why it took me so long to actually watch it, I have no idea. I'll admit, I went in with a bit of an attitude, "Let's see if this really is anything special…" I am amazed at how viscous and gruesome the deaths were. Wow. The film suffered a bit from running out of steam in spots, but overall, this was a great viewing. I haven't reacted to gore like I did from Grizzly in a long time, many laughs were had (in the best possible way). And, apparently helicopters are fully equipped with bazookas. I had no idea.


Gavin Schmitt

GODZILLA'S REVENGE
My understanding is that this is one of the lowest-rated Godzilla films. And yes, it is cheesy. But I think it's overall enjoyable. One, it was meant for kids, so it probably should not be judged by the same standards as the others in the series. And two, there is something about the cultural differences that give this film an unintended humor value for Americans (or at least for me). The dubbing and silly clothes? Awesome. Sure, there's some goofy stuff that doesn't really fit in with the other movies (the Alice and Wonderlandesque hole) but still a fun movie.

TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
It was upon watching this movie that I came to the (obvious) conclusion that Godzilla movies are something you either love or not. Because they all come down to whether or not you want to see two guys in rubber suits flail around. I, for one, do. There is also a human plot about a scientist and some aliens and whatnot, but who cares? Watching two guys in suits push each other around is all I need. (And apparently all the Japanese audience needed, too, since they made this same kind of film year after year.)


Lance Ford

EYE OF THE BEASTS
James Van Der Beek + A Giant Squid = Awesomeness!! Jaws-like happenings & James Van Der Beek from Dawson's Creek. Loved it!! It also has James Van Der Beek (I believe man-crush is the proper term for my infatuation with James Van Der Beek.) And with this movie, it's not about the special effects or storyline (which I liked a lot) it's all about James Van Der Beek.

BEHEMOTH
This one had cancer man from the X-files and something is coming from underground. Not bad for a SyFy original film. Decent acting, cool story, pretty good feel good movie. It was only missing one thing to make it even better - James Van Der Beek.


Jay di Santo

GHIDORAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER
Made in 1964. Not bad. I believe this was the continuation of Godzilla vs. Mothra.

GODZILLA VS MOTHRA
Also made in 1964. I don't think that this one was as interesting as the first one I saw.


Your Name: Phil Lindeman

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (1956)
Thoughts: I was surprised by the depth of the human drama and got what I expected from the rampaging monster. Godzilla really is the “end-all, be-all” of outsized cinema beasts – kind of cool to see the birth of an icon. Next step is to dig up Honda's 1954 original, with an intact love story and no Raymond Burr.

TROLL HUNTER (2010)
Thoughts: I'm a sucker for foreign horror films, primarily because they deal with mythologies and fears that aren't wholly American. I dug the troll legends and the gruff, world-weary government hunter, but the scares were relatively non-existent. Also, I've had my fill of the found footage genre, and given how gorgeous the Norwegian forests are, the film would've been ripe for some Terrence Malick landscape porn. Sadly, the camera is always bouncing around in the backseat of a car or some screaming kid's hand. I'd give it a B-


Wayne Teeter

GAMERA
For a stunt man/ actor in a rubber suit movie this was decent enough. It had all of the not so special effects and mediocre acting. Godzilla is still king though.

WAR OF THE MONSTERS
This time it is double the fun as two stunt men in rubber suits battle it out, Gamera vs. Barugan. I thought the best thing happening here was when an egg hatched releasing Barugan after one person believes he has an opal jewel. Treating athlete's foot with infra red light. This was also O.K. nothing overly special. Like the Godzilla movies, these both carry the anti nuke message.


Jeff Owens

MOTHRA VS GODZILLA
The last time I watched a Godzilla movie from the Showa series, I was a kid growing up in Enid, Oklahoma. I watched King Kong vs. Godzilla many times on TV and saw both Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster and Godzilla vs. Megalon first run at the Trail Drive-In.

My memories do not serve these films well. Until this month's assignment, I would have told you that any Godzilla movie from this time period would be cheesy, badly-dubbed, storyless rush-jobs with no lasting value. As an adult, I became a fan of the Heisei series, which to me seemed darker and more (dare I say) realistic.

I mention all this to express gratitude for the opportunity to discover Mothra vs. Godzilla. I can't remember the last time I've truly had so much fun watching a movie. It is not nearly as cheesy as the movies I remember. Yes, the story is ridiculous, with the Shobijin, the tiny twin girls who appear to retrieve Mothra's egg. However, I surrendered to it (and them) and was thoroughly entertained.

I believe Mothra vs. Godzilla works so well because it finds the perfect balance between humor and a serious story. For example, at least twice when scientists and reporters talk about Mothra's giant egg, they are eating hard-boiled eggs. And the final battle between Mothra and Godzilla is funny without being silly. You have to love when Mothra bites onto the tip of Godzilla's tale and Godzilla proceeds to whip him back and forth.

GHIDORAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER
In contrast, Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster is nearly humorless until the climactic battle involving Rodan, Mothra, Godzilla and Ghidorah. And then the humor in the battle is silly. I cringe thinking about Godzilla and Ghidorah knocking a boulder back and forth like they're playing volleyball. And, really, would Godzilla reach behind his back to grab his rear end after it got burned? This is not my type of humor and, if I'm correct in guessing, this is probably the route the later movies travelled.

As far as story, both movies actually have fully detailed plots that introduce the monsters and bring them together. In fact, the plot of Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster is a little too complicated. I never thought I'd say that about a Godzilla movie! Both scripts are awfully coincidental, but, like most everything else, it works in Mothra vs. Godzilla.

Finally, my memories of Godzilla himself are of a man in a rubber suit with an unmoving tail, stomping on badly-realized miniature sets. I was surprised that in Mothra vs. Godzilla, the "effects" are quite good! Godzilla moves less like a man, his tail is fully animated (like in the Heisei series) and, except for a few tanks that are obviously toys, the destruction is fully dimensional. The decline in quality is apparent in Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, though.

If I were assigning a rating to these two movies on a 5-point scale (5 being the best), I would rate as follows:

Mothra vs. Godzilla = 4 out of 5
Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster = 3 (only becuase Ghidorah is so cool)

I have one final note/question. The version of Mothra vs. Godzilla I saw seemed to be the original Japanese sub-titled version while the version of Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster was dubbed. How much difference did that make in my enjoyment of these movies?

Since watching these two, I revisited King Kong vs. Godzilla with dubbing, American credits and English scenes that appear to be added to the original movie. I'm curious about different versions and am almost certain I'd enjoy the original Japanese cuts much more than anything that has been Americanized. I know it probably wouldn't affect the visuals, but it would certainly affect the stories.

I have one final note/question. The version of Mothra vs. Godzilla I saw seemed to be the original Japanese sub-titled version while the version of Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster was dubbed. How much difference did that make in my enjoyment of these movies?

Since watching these two, I revisited King Kong vs. Godzilla with dubbing, American credits and English scenes that appear to be added to the original movie. I'm curious about different versions and am almost certain I'd enjoy the original Japanese cuts much more than anything that has been Americanized. I know it probably wouldn't affect the visuals, but it would certainly affect the stories.


Lee Marohn

THE CRATER LAKE MONSTER (1977)
Another fun, but utterly ridiculous movie. I plesiosaur-like lake
monster starts killing people in and around Crater Lake. The sheriff in his kickass station wagon police car) enlists the aide of the local doctor/medical examiner and a pair of all-purpose scientists. At one point int he movie, the scientists were investigating Native American cave paintings. Later, they were scuba diving int he lake, looking for a recently-crashed meteor. Later, they argues with the sheriff about whether to kill or capture the monster. Much of the dialogue was just crazy and the effects were fairly lame by today's standards, but they were in line with the times. The monster reminded me of the dinosaurs from the old "Land of the Lost" TV series. At one point, the monster was swimming with its head on the surface (like an alligator). The music was very obviously stolen from/inspired by John Williams' JAWS theme.

In following up on this movie on IMDB and Wikipedia, the stop-motion animator (David W. Allen) went on to a long career in Hollywood, as did one of the supporting actors, Mark Siegel, who is still a modeller and digital artist for ILM. Everybody's gotta start somewhere.

KONG ISLAND (1968)
What. The. Hell?  This came up on my "giant monster movie" Google search but there were no giant monsters. Either way, this movie sucked.

GAMERA THE INVINCIBLE (1965)
Yeah, I know: How could I not have seen this before now, right? Those
dirty Russkies sent fighters into American airspace, so we had to shoot one of them down. Evidently, it was carrying a nuke, which detonated and woke Gamera, a legndary ginormous turtle who breathes fire and hates everyone except small Japanese boys. This was pretty damn cool. I've seen a few (very few) of the Japanese giant monster movies over the years, but I definitely need to start watching more of them.



September Mission: Beware the Child!

Steve Weakley

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Thoughts - Having a lot of trouble writing this one up. Such mixed feelings about it. Didn't hate it but I can't say that I enjoyed it. I can see where people would find certain aspects interesting and innovative, but I can't talk about them without giving it away. The only ways I've been able think of to describe the plot gives away the ending since it's as predictable as they get. Just know that it meets this month's criteria by being about a young boy and a young looking vampire. There's a whole sub-plot that's a complete time waister that includes a cat attack that's down right the most unintentionally comical sequence I've seen in years. But it does have some good points. Certainly shows what it would be like if a real vampire lived amongst humans in a more believable way than TV shows like Vampire Diaries or True Blood do. I guess the best thing I can say about it is that I appreciate what it was trying to do. Which sounds lame but it's all I got.

IT'S ALIVE 3: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE
Thoughts - Two things hit me while watching this. First, expectations. You see, I think I didn't enjoy the first film because I'd heard so much about it that, maybe, I was expecting something else, or expecting too much. While going into this film, I wasn't expecting anything but dreck, so I found myself enjoying it more. I'm sure there's a lesson for me here, but since I'm learning it from the third in a series of killer mutant baby films, I'm going to ignore it. Second thing that hit me. Wow, did this remind me of Lost World: Jurassic Park 2. I can't put my finger on it, can't give you shot by shot comparisons between the two films. It's just that more than a few times I found myself thinking, Huh, just like in that second Jurassic Park movie. This third film find the mutant killer babies being sent off to a remote tropical island as much for our safety as for theirs. A couple of groups head to the island to hunt the babies down, and bring some back to LA. (Yea I'm wording that to further my Jurassic Park comparison.) Michael Moriarty's acting either ruins or saves the film, depending on how you feel about him. But the important reason to watch is the stop motion animated killer mutant babies. Isn't a movie out there that can't be made better by including stop motion animated killer mutant babies.


Erik Martin

SPIDER BABY, OR THE MADDEST STORY EVER TOLD
The great thing about horror is that no matter how many movies you watch, there is always something else out there waiting for you to find it, and when you do, it blows your mind.  This is the story of the Merrye's, a strange family afflicted with a rare disease called Merrye's syndrome, which appears in late childhood, causing a rotting of the brain's faculties, resulting in physical deformation (as para-phrased from Lon Chaney). There is Virginia, who is obsessed with spiders; Elizabeth, who keeps forgetting that it's not nice to hate; and Ralph, who has the mind of a child, but the sexual drive of an adult, and prefers the dumbwaiter as his preferred method of travel. They live in a big, decaying mansion at the edge of town, and are looked after by Bruno (Lon Chaney), the family chauffeur. When distant relatives show up, claiming that the house and children are rightfully theirs, madness, murder, and cannibalism ensue.

I want to say that this movie is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets The People Under The Stairs with a twist of Universal Horror, but the truth is, this movie defies description. It is apt, however, as it begins with the children slicing up Mantan Moreland (who is always funny, even when he's being murdered), even showing a close-up of a severed ear. We also get to see Carol Ohmart (remember her from House On Haunted Hill?) in burlesque-style lingerie. With such trappings as these, risqué for 1964, you'd think this movie is all about the exploitation, but it's not. It has all the mythic qualities of gothic poetry which makes the old Universal Monsters so effective. There also seems to be an element of innocence to the family, making it easy to identify with them, which only makes the proceedings that much more endearing. And come on, we have Lon Chaney Jr.? Sid Haig? Carol Ohmart? My mind is blown. Simply blown. All I can say is, if you haven't seen this movie yet . . . WATCH IT.


PINOCCHIO'S REVENGE
A Public Defender tries her best to get a convicted murderer off of death row, convinced that he is innocent, despite even his own protests to the contrary. After requesting the evidence found at the scene of the crime, which includes a hand-carved, wooden marionette, she is unsuccessful, and the man fries. Taking the marionette home, her daughter (who is going through psychiatric counseling) believes it to be a birthday present, and subsequently names it Pinocchio. Now, people who get in the little girl's way are turning up injured . . . or dead. But who's doing the killing?

This is a blatant Child's Play rip-off, but it is a good rip-off. The movie is well-done, looks good, and the viewer is never bored. Several scenes seemed to be taken right from Child's Play, including stalk scenes through the hallways of the house, and even a scene where the mother is trapped in a room while the dummy stabs at her through a door. What's also taken from Child's Play is that in the original script, the movie would play with the audience more, making them wonder if it was Chucky or Andy doing the killing. Here, that is put into effect, as the movie never clearly answers that question. We never know for sure until the very end if it is the doll or if it is a disturbed young girl, and even then, the answer is not clear cut. Questions about the nature of evil and whether or not psycho's who hear voices really are crazy or not are also raised. Nothing to race to eBay about, but catch it if you have a chance.


Lance Ford

THE NEW DAUGHTER (2009)
Kevin Costner in a horror film - pretty cool! Didn't realize this until I started watching it. Awesome flick, with a great ending sequence which reminded me a bit of The Descent (which I loved!) Recommended.

IT'S ALIVE (2008)
Thought with all the technology the way it is that they could have shown the baby devouring its victims more than what they did in this remake. Don't remember much about the original so can't compare it to that. This one was okay - not great, not terrible - just okay.


Jeff Owens

THE BAD SEED (1956)
I finally watched this movie that I've been wanting to see for years! And while there was a lot about it I liked, I also found it overlong and talky. Since it was based on a stage play, I guess that shouldn't be a surprise.

What I like most about The Bad Seed is that the plot differs from most evil children movies that came after by NOT having the situation of one parent trying to convince the other one that something is wrong with their child. In fact, in this case, the mother becomes an unwitting accomplice to her daughter's crimes.

What I dislike most about The Bad Seed is its conclusion. There's a perfect twist that is NOT milked for all it's worth and then the movie continues after that. The final note is just bizarre; I'm not sure it fits and it feels out of character with the rest of the movie.

I was surprised to discover that The Bad Seed actually received four Academy Award nominations, three for acting and one for cinematography. Patty McCormick is magnificent as Rhoda, the blonde, pig-tailed girl with no sense of what's right or wrong. But Nancy Kelly as her mother grates on my nerves with an exaggerated performance. And Eileen Heckart is even more over-the-top, but in a way that's comical rather than annoying.

It all adds up to something close to camp (as I understand it). but in a good way, like What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? It's definitely a classic.

THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE (1976)
This has the opposite problem at the end. Not only does it telegraph and expose its twist early on, but it also concludes rather suddenly with a satisfying payoff left only to our imaginations.

In this movie, Jodie Foster's evil intentions are at first accidental, then later, a means of survival. Her antagonists are the true bad guys and I'm not sure anyone wouldn't approve of the actions she takes against them.

No Oscar nominations here, but The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane apparently won two Saturn Awards: Best Actress (Foster) and Best Horror Film. It also carries extremely high user ratings on imdb and Rotten Tomatoes. I'm a little surprised because, while I thoroughly enjoyed it, it doesn't seem like it would necessarily be so well-received with the masses.

I'd say it's a well-written, no-nonsense thriller with tight pacing and good performances (Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith), led by Foster, who, even at 14-years old was a talented young actress. It's probably her sympathetic performance that makes it such a popular movie with those who have seen it.

To compare which child to beware, we have in one corner Rhoda, the bad seed who commits atrocities merely to get what she wants, even if it's something as minor as a penmanship award at school. And in the other corner we have Rynn, the resourceful young woman who commits atrocities only when forced to and only so that she can continue living undisturbed. I think Rhoda is more terrifying, but at the same time, I wouldn't want to ask Rynn for any jelly jars!


Gavin Schmitt

TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER
Despite critical dislike, low IMDB and RT ratings, and the personal disappointment of Our High Lord Kitley, I actually rather liked this film. The imagery was creepy and sacrilegious, Christopher Lee gives a terrifying performance as a devil-worshiping, defrocked child-raping priest. The rituals were downright eerie, especially after having grown up Catholic. Oh, and the demon baby? A very cool creature, it could have been Larry Cohen's child. I've always been found of films based around (fictional) old, occult books and movies. I love "Ninth Gate" and "Cigarette Burns", and I think the inclusion of the old church library and the Book of Astaroth really sold this one. Not Hammer's best, but still more enjoyable than most of the crap I watch.

FROM DUSK TIL DAWN 3: THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER
Hopefully anyone who walks into this film knows what you're going to get... a cheesy western-themed vampire bartender flick. If you have seen the first film (or the second), this really shouldn't be a shock. Nor should the drastic drop in quality be a shock. Danny Trejo makes a brief appearance and Michael Parks steals the show (as always), but otherwise there is little to speak of in the way of acting. I enjoyed the concept of putting (a fictionalized) Ambrose Bierce in a world with vampires, and giving him the pithy one-liners he is known for. And I thought some of the effects were decent, such as the stomach that bursts open, spilling out bats. But overall, it is an average film at best, and adds absolutely nothing to the overflowing canon of vampire films. The first film said it best -- this one is just a fading echo.


Craig J. Clark

THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE (Nicolas Gessner, 1976)
Thoughts: I realize the "little girl" in this film is 13 (and played by the preternaturally mature Jodie Foster), but I hope that's young enough to quality for this mission. A Canadian-French co-production, the film was shot in Québec but set in a small New England town where Foster has recently moved with her father, a poet who never seems to be available when any other adult drops by. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that he's deceased, but you'd never get Foster to admit that -- and she's ready and able to do whatever it takes to preserve the fiction that he's merely working in his study, or lunching with his publisher in New York, or sleeping upstairs. And such is the ingenuity of Laird Koenig's script (which he adapted from his own novel) and Gessner's taut direction that it's easy to imagine her getting away with it for a long time to come if not for a few particularly nosy interlopers, chief among them Martin Sheen's suspected pedophile. His presence alone is enough to tip the scales into horror, but luckily, Foster takes care of him before he can do anything really skeevy.

IT'S ALIVE (Larry Cohen, 1974)
Thoughts: Somehow I managed to see Larry Cohen's It Lives Again and its sequel, It's Alive III: Island of the Alive, without first seeing the film that launched the cycle, but that didn't seem to matter to me back in the day. After all, the core concept is simple enough that an infant could grasp it: for reasons unknown, mutant babies are being born that have fangs, claws and very nasty dispositions. While the authorities are trying to eliminate them, the parents do what they can to protect their homicidal offspring. What's different about It's Alive is that there's only one baby, and the father (John P. Ryan) is hell-bent on disassociating himself from it as much as humanly possible, which naturally places him at odds with his wife (Sharon Farrell), whose maternal instincts are strong enough to overcome her revulsion.

In addition to Ryan's off-kilter performance (a precursor of the ones Michael Moriarty would make his stock in trade in Cohen's films the following decade), It's Alive is also notable for featuring one of Bernard Herrmann's last scores (which Cohen would wind up recycling for It Lives Again) and one of Rick Baker's first professional makeup jobs. Overall, though, it doesn't capitalize on its killer premise as much as it could have, and it's rather ineptly put together at times. Still, if you want a horror picture that taps into the free-floating anxiety about parenting in the '70s -- and you've already seen The Exorcist -- then It's Alive is the one for you.


Steve Sapsford

THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE (1978)
Starring1: John Huston (Battle for the Planet of the Apes), Miguel Ángel Fuentes (Vadinho in The Pumaman), & some hot 70’s chick in a bikini. Yes, I didn't think it had anything to do with evil children either, then I watched it.

What's not to love?

A Mexican/Italian production with badly dubbed Italian actors stuck on a boat in the Bermuda Triangle while being tormented by an evil entity in the form of an 8-year-old girl and her possessed doll that she found in the ocean in middle of the Bermuda Triangle.
• Terrible, over-the-top, ham-fisted acting
• More plot holes than an episode of the Smurfs
• 1970's JC Penny catalog clothes
• Ridiculous & inappropriate voice dubbing
• Racial, ethnic, & cultural stereotypes abound
• Unnecessary stock footage
• "In Search of…" style vignettes of "True" cases of mysterious happenings (Flight 19, etc.)
• Spear gunning sharks for the heck of it
• A twist at the end of which M Knight Shyamalan would be embarrassed to use.

This was a truly bad movie in every regard & I loved every overwrought second it!

Movie #2 - The Night Gallery: The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes [1971]
(it’s actually a TV show, I hope that’s okay)

I remember up watching this show with my dad. A 10 Year old boy named Herbie (Clint Howard) has a “special talent”. He can predict earthquakes (amongst other things). He is given a TV show and goes on making random predictions that unfailingly come true. Unfortunately, not all of his predictions have happy endings.

This episode also stars1 Bernie Kopell (The Love Boat, Get Smart) & Michael Constantine (Voyage of the ****ed, Thinner,Peeper). I loved this show as a 10 year old. I can remember watching it with my dad who would invariably make puns and jokes that he thought were hilarious (something he continues to do today).

One of my favorites!
1) The use of the words “starring” and or “star” does not constitute a legally binding definition & is intended as a colloquial expression meaning “I really need the money so I’ll be in your crappy little movie”. Not to be taken internally. Keep away from children.

THE CHILDREN [1980]
Not to be confused with the 2008 movie with the same name (which was actually quite good). Surprisingly (to me anyway) were the similarities in the 1980 movie and the 2008 movie even though they were not related in anyway. But I digress; here are my thoughts on The Children [1980].
My doctor wrote me a prescription and on the bottle it clearly says “Keep Away From Children”, so I do. (I can’t remember from whom I stole that joke).
The opening scene has two schleps who work at some kind of refinery / reactor / chemical plant. They decide to skip a couple of safety procedures to go and grab a beer. This causes a chemical leak which turns into a green mist.

The next scene has a school bus load of children drive through said mist [while singing “Hail to the Bus Driver” over and over until it gets stuck in your head for days).

Before you know it, the empty bus is found - all of the town’s children have disappeared. It’s now up to the small town Sherriff to figure out what’s happened.

Soon we see Tommy (one of the missing) hanging out in a graveyard. His fingernails are blacker than an emo-kid’s soul. Tommy’s mom sees him and runs to catch him. In the process, she trips over a dead guy (I think it was the bus driver, bus driver. I think it was the bus driver, bus driver man) whose face looks like a bear claw from Panera Bread. You know the ones with the almonds? Those are so good! But I digress…

Suddenly, Tommy appears and gives his mom a hug. She starts screaming and burning – her desiccated corpse looking somewhat like the “They” in “They Live”. Apparently, Tommy can give THE HUG OF DEATH.

The only Star1 I recognized was Gil Rogers who plays the Sherriff. You may know him as Hawk Shane from The Guiding Light although I doubt it. I must have been thinking of someone else – maybe the great poet / musician Gil Scott Heron. Or maybe Buck Roger himself, Gil Gerard who was married to Connie Sellecca who was on the TV Show “The Greatest American Hero”. But I digress.

The Sherriff deputizes a couple of local morons, sets up roadblocks, searches door to door & helps some guy tune up his car, but he digressed.
Everyone in this movie seems to have something more important to do than try to locate a missing BUSLOAD of children. No one in this movie has any sense of urgency, the entire pre-teen population has gone missing and the general reaction is “meh”.

We come to learn that the mist has mutated the kids and turned them into HUG MONSTERS. They also gain super strength and a level of invulnerability and their murderous rampage (more like a murderous stroll through town) goes on unabated while the Sherriff distractingly tries to fight the horror.
Cars spotted:
• Early 70’s VW Beetle
• Mid 70’s Pontiac Le Mans police car
• 1976 AMC Hornet Sportabout
• What I think is a 1968-69 Lincoln Limousine

This movie had the potential of being fun to watch but it was held back by its pacing bad acting.


Anna McKibben

THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE
Thoughts: Well acted, especially from Martin Sheen as a creepy pedophile, but otherwise tame thriller.

WAKE WOOD
Thoughts: Spooky and entertaining until it loses focus near the end. Still, a fun Hammer produced film that borrows from The Wicker Man and the classic Monkey's Paw tale.


Aaron Christensen

DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL (1957) (1st viewing) d. Ulmer, Edgar G. (USA)
Betrothed lovebirds Gloria Talbott and John Agar visit her guardian Arthur Shields to tell of their upcoming marriage, but it turns out that he has a surprise in store for them as well. Seems that the bride-to-be is actually the descendant of the notorious Dr. Jekyll, although Stevenson’s source material has been tweaked more than a little – instead of mysterious elixirs, the good doctor’s alter ego is nothing short of a werewolf, complete with the full moon’s transformative effects. Sure enough, the first night that Talbott spends under the old roof, she is plagued by homicidal nightmares awakens with blood on her hands and dirt between her toes. Can it be the family curse has struck again? Very much a low budget programmer, but the always interesting Ulmer manages to spin a few straw segments into gold, particularly the dream and monster change-o sequences, the latter of which hark back to the groundbreaking in-camera effects from the Fredric March-starring 1932 version. Juvenile but fun.

SON OF DRACULA (1974) (1st viewing) d. Francis, Freddie (UK)
Ringo Starr co-produced this not particularly silly nor scary musical sequel to the Stoker classic. On the 100th anniversary of the death of the grand old bloodsucker (depicted in an intriguing opening sequence that shows Dracula off as a bald, clawed Nosferatu-like monster), undead offspring Harry Nilsson is poised to take his place as the supreme leader of the underworld. Only problem is he’s more inclined to pound the piano keys and romance lovely Suzanna Leigh than dive into a vein. As “Count Downe,” Nilsson seems to be in a catatonic stupor throughout most of his dramatic scenes, only coming alive during the bizarre, barely justified musical numbers. (“I like music” is pretty much as close as we get to an explanation for the Count’s spontaneous rock proclivities.) Starr is his usual avuncular self, buried beneath a giant white wig and beard as the old Arthurian wizard Merlin (don’t ask), though he’s pretty much the straight man here. Old pros Freddie Francis and Dennis Price seem to enjoy nibbling the scenery in their supporting roles, as power-hungry Baron Frankenstein and sage alchemist Van Helsing respectively. A curiosity to be sure, with a few memorable Nilsson Schmilsson musical numbers (“Without You,” “Down,” “Jump into the Fire” ) with the singer backed by an impressive array of musicians including Peter Frampton, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Leon Russell and others, but ultimately its relatively forgotten status seems perfectly justified.


Patrick McCarter

SILVER BULLET
This was truly a great movie. one of the best werewolf movies I have ever seen. It had good acting, good background, a good plot, and a really cool wheelchair. For the life of me I can't say a single bad thing about it. Its about a young boy in a wheelchair who discovers a werewolf is the real culprit in a series of murders, so when he wounds it he sees it as his chance to find out who the werewolf really is and set's out to try and stop it.

THE ALPHABET KILLER
This was a good but not great movie. It had great acting and a good story, but there was something about the feel and atmosphere of the movie that didn't fit in with the way the movie was played. (In my opinion.) Based on a true story, this movie is about a detective who mentally snaps trying to find a child killer so she is pulled off the case. Two years later she is pulled back into it again. Now she doesn't have much time to find the killer before her mind is lost forever.


Wayne Teeter

THE CHILDREN
Two sisters and their families get together for the Christmas holidays. When the children develop flu like symptoms, they turn into murderous little monsters and try to kill their parents. I had a fun time watching this, director Tom Shankland knows how to build up the suspense and keep it there. I liked the idea that these kids don't sprout the horns ,spit up pea soup or adorn blonde wigs but with very little make up pretty much looked the same. But you could still tell something was different about them.  I also like the fact that an explanation isn't given, I find too many movies these days think that an explanation for the horror is needed. The isolated house on an old country road and the wintery conditions contributed to the atmosphere, one that is dreary.

Hannah Tointon who plays teenager Casey steals the show, this is her movie. As a teenager , she has not developed the flu like symptoms so she is also a target for the killing kiddies. Being a teen ager she does have trouble convincing the adults that her siblings and cousins are trying to do them in.
Although there are a couple of loose ends that never do get tied such as the too friendly uncle and a mysterious looking tattoo, those are not good enough reasons to not recommend this movie.

CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS
First I must say I really dug this film, secondly this is a crude rip-off of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead.

A director of the theater with a cruel disposition and a penchant for practical jokes invites his entourage of actors to a remote island. With a fancy robe and a book of ancient spells he plans to raise the dead. Unfortunately for them, he actually succeeds. Like Romero's characters these too are trapped inside a building, nailing pieces of wood across windows and doors. Hoping to keep the Dead out. There is also heated discussions and a woman gone into hysterics.

Most of the dialogue is very flowery and eccentric sounding, almost Shakespearean. I suppose the world truly is a stage for these actors.
Alan Ormsby who plays the director- Alan, was also head of the make up effects. For a lower budget film these effects look stunning and compliments the over all look of the film. Speaking of Alan Ormsby I recall ordering a book from a book club when I was in public school. The title was Movie Monsters and I'm pretty sure the author's name was Alan Ormsby, can anyone in the army elaborate on this ?

If you haven't seen this one yet, I say check it out. There is some comparisons to Night of the Living Dead, but even Romero's classic never had any male bonding with a corpse.


Stacey H.

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)
Thoughts: Yes, It's true. I had never seen this movie before. I don't know how I got this far along in life without ever seeing it, but I have now experienced VotD thanks to The Kryptic Army. Yay!

I liked this movie a lot. I like films from this era because I believe that filmmakers tried to portray people as...people.  Not superheroes or weak victims, but just complex, confused people.

Bonus: I got this DVD from Netflix and they included the 1964 sequel to VotD, CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED, on the same disc, so I got to see them both. CotD took a much more political, cold war approach to the same basic story. I didn't enjoy it as much as VotD, but another very good movie.

EL ORPHANATO aka THE ORPHANAGE) (2007)
Thoughts: Wow, what a great movie! Through the Special Features, I leaned that this was the first feature film for the Director, the Screenwriter, and the Cinematographer. Impressive! Some of the shots were simply stunning. The film knew what story it wanted to tell and stuck to it. It had a message without being confusing or hitting you over the head. It also had a complex emotional ending, which is hard to get right and I feel the team on this film nailed it. Loved this movie!

Thanks for the challenge! I really enjoyed this one! Looking forward to next month.


John Pata

THE INNOCENTS
For starters, I really wish I wouldn't have viewed this at the end of a super long day. I was quite into the film, but my focus and concentration was slightly off. Towards the end of the film, I found myself getting somewhat confused, not due to the film or script, rather just it required more thinking than I could offer. With that said, I did rather enjoy myself, found the kids eerie when they needed to be, the sets gorgeous, the cinematography solid, and the film, overall, to be successful and creepy. However, I will be sitting down with this again, and I owe it to myself to watch this when in the right mindset.

THE WILLIES
So, a girl I know recommended this film to me months ago. I kind of hate to say it, but I question her taste in films, especially horror, so was slightly apprehensive. Fine, call me an asshole, maybe it's true. With that said, I most certainly am an asshole because this was one fun flick! I absolutely loved the set-up, three kids sitting in a tent trying to scare each other with town legend type stories, and then we see small little vignettes of each tale. The film opened with a few quick ones, then quickly settled on fleshing out two, each being approx. 25 minutes a piece. The first of the main two, I heavily enjoyed. Just a fun romp about a boy being picked on in school, and the bullies getting theirs. Toss in Clu Gulager and James Karen and you have yourself a nice little recipe. The other story, while a fairly entertaining, was more dry and, dare I say, serious, which was a tad too contrast with the rest. In other words, the second half petered out a tad but didn't ruin the picture overall. After all, The WIllies features a younger Sean Astin (with a great Goonies reference dropped in there), kids getting killed off (always a plus in my eyes), a fair amount of goo and blood flying (especially for a PG-13), dogs being micro waved, weird/awkward sexual innuendoes in scenes involving kids, and some cool looking creatures. Yeah, this was definitely a good time.


Rebecca Osterfund

SEED OF CHUCKY (2004)
I've enjoyed the Childs Play movies in the past, and was surprised to find that I hadn't seen the latest installment of the franchise. Turns out that I didn't miss much. The previous movies were mostly horror movies with a little comedy thrown in; this movie, however, is pure comedy, albeit a dark one. There are no real scares, and the comedy was a bit over the top. It was fun to see Jennifer Tilly play herself; it takes a strong personality to make jest of one's weight and general persona on camera. As to pertaining to the offspring of Chucky portrayed in the movie, he/she was severely lacking. I expected the child of Chucky to be truly monstrous, but instead got an annoying critter with a bad British accent. Definitely not a movie that I would watch again and would not recommend.

666: THE CHILD
This is a straight to DVD movie, and definitely an Omen rip-off. Poor set design, poor acting, poor plot. The only highlight of this movie is the scene in the garage where power tools come to life to annihilate a poor unsuspecting victim. The son of Satan is lamely portrayed, and comes off as being more of an Emo kid than anything. Once again, not a movie I would recommend.



October Mission: World Pasta Day

Jeff Owens

From these and the other Mario Bava films I've seen, I'm not that big a fan of his. There's no doubt he was a genius with lighting, shadow and color. All of his movies have a striking appearance and a fondness for using the "movement" of light (?) with flashing lights slowly and repeatedly creating shadow and darkness, like a giant neon sign always flashing just off screen.

BLACK SABBATH
I guess I saw the U.S. cut of Black Sabbath, which made me long to see the original. In this version, I liked only the first segment, "The Drop of Water". It's a familiar tale of being haunted by your actions, but is full of atmosphere and style. Part Poe and part Twilight Zone, this third of the movie is perhaps one of the creepiest segments I've ever seen in a horror anthology. The face of the elderly dying woman is truly horrifying and the scares are genuine.

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE
But no part of Blood & Black Lace thrilled me. It's not awful, but compared to the giallo I've seen, this one is relatively bloodless. Not that it needs gore, but it needs something to distinguish itself from any number of murder mysteries with multiple suspects and a twist ending that you see coming from a mile away.


Steve Weakley

THE WHIP AND THE BODY
Thoughts: First of two Bava films I picked for this month. Certainly style more than substance but man, what incredible style. Bava's use of deep black shadows with almost neon patches of color is just incredible. I swear there's a shot of a hand coming right at the viewer which almost looks like it's in 3D. Christopher Lee in his second Bava appearance stars as the ultimate black sheep of a family returning after many years. His earlier romance, and then rejection, of the housekeeper's daughter caused the young woman to kill herself. Now he's back to throw a wrench into his brother's marriage to a former girlfriend. A former girlfriend who likes it kinky, hence the whip in the title. Lee is killed off, which no one seems to mind or even wonder who did it, but starts to come back to haunt his former girlfriend/victim. The first half is a bit too soap opera and the second nothing more than a series of semi spooky encounters with Lee's ghost. But if there was ever a film just worth looking at, regardless of the plot, acting or bad dubbing, it's this one.

HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON
Thoughts: More substance and not quite as heavy on the style, but considering the story, I think too much style would have overwhelmed. The story is told from the point of view of a charming, good looking guy, runs a company that's made wedding gowns for years, which comes in handy for him since he tracks down young brides to kill them. His occult believing kind of shrew like wife puts a damper on things both before and after he kills her too. He even uses Bava's Black Sabbath playing on TV to help cover up his wife's murder. Kind of an even pace to the storytelling and not heavy on the blood, but this deserves a higher ranking in Italian giallo lists.


Lance Ford

BLOODY PIT OF HORROR (1965)
Filmed in Psychovision! The Crimson Executioner was extremely laughable as a man of vengeance, but at least he had the perfect body which he didn't mind repeating. So, yeah, he had that going for him. My only question is - why did they make this movie? I will say it started off promising, but then went downhill from there.

LADY FRANKENSTEIN (1971)
Cool makeup on the monster - looked like The Leader from Marvel comics Hulk series. It seemed to start off as a remake, but then became a film about a psycho chick who got her lover to kill for her. Plenty of action, violence, murder, mayhem, blood and nudity, all of which were enough to hold my interest. Enjoyed it.


Anna McKibben

STAGEFRIGHT (a.k.a. Deliria, 1987)
Thoughts: A fun slasher flick, with the kind of inventive kills you come to expect from Italian giallo movies.

THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963)
Thoughts: Sexy/kinky gothic ghost story from Mario Bava. Definitely shot in his distinct style. Too bad Christopher Lee's voice was overdubbed.


Gavin Schmitt

SPELLCASTER (1992). This one meets the criteria on a weak basis: it was filmed at Charlie Band's castle in Italy. I believe the DP was also Italian, but it would be a real stretch to call this an Italian film. But Lord Kitley said filmed in Italy, so this is what he gets! Anyway, it is more or less what you would expect from Band's Empire: a fun 80s flick written by Dennis Paoli and directed expertly by Rafal Zielinski. While not scary and certainly not one of Empire's best pictures, it looks like gold compared to the crap Charlie pumps out of his anus these days. Young people running around a castle, getting killed, plenty of blood... and Adam Ant as the murderous spell caster Diablo. I'll probably forget I ever saw it a month from now, but as a sucker for 80s horror, it appealed to me. A solid C+ or B-.

LISA AND THE DEVIL (Mario Bava). I freely confess I am not as well-versed on Bava as I should be. I've seen maybe 5 or 6 of his movies, but this was the first time for "Lisa and the Devil". I would say it probably ranks among his better films -- at least of those I have seen. Oddly, I was most attracted to the score. The filming looked great, the story was good, the horror "gothic" atmosphere was all there, but that distinctive Italian score stuck with me and I wouldn't mind tracking down a copy of it...


Steve Sapsford

CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) aka THE GATES OF HELL
Thoughts: The movie opens and ends with a scream, literally.
A bleary eyed priest hangs himself in a cemetery in Dunwich while a séance is taking place in New York. One woman at the séance has a vision of the priest hanging (or is she making him do it?). She screams and then drops dead (or does she?).

While the police are interviewing the séance attendees, the medium starts telling of “The Book of Enoch”. Apparently, the book was written 4,000 years ago and tells of events before they happen.

I really enjoyed this movie. Sure it’s a little dated & the zombies just aren’t that frightening, but the atmosphere is truly creepy. There are many surprises and weird things afoot. Mirrors mysteriously crack, fierce winds arise from nowhere, house pets attack for no reason, a premature burial, & a gateway to hell opens in a bar (been there, done that).

I was also impressed by the music. I couldn’t find out who did the soundtrack, but it has a minimalist, semi-classical & creepy vibe.


PHENOMENA (110 minutes) and CREEPERS (82 minutes)
Thoughts: Love it or hate it, see this movie!

These are 2 cuts of the same movie. Creepers is the heavily edited US release of Dario Argento’s Phenomena. If you’re going to enjoy this movie, you must watch the unedited version! So much of the plot was cut from Creepers; it seemed like an entirely different movie.

A girl named Jennifer (played by a very young Jennifer Connelly) is the daughter of a famous movie star or rock musician (I could never figure out which). Jennifer has issues. She sleepwalks and has bad dreams. Oh, and she can communicate with insects.

Jennifer is sent to a boarding school at which a serial killer is offing the students.

Learn that she can communicate with insects when she meets Professor John McGregor (Donald Pleasence), a wheel-chair bound Scotsman who is an entomologist with a helper monkey (that’s right, a monkey).
She decides to use her powers to find the killer and in the process there are many twists and turns.

Like the previous movie, the soundtrack to this movie is also great with music by Goblin, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Bill Wyman and others. Unlike the previous movie, the visuals are also really good.

Absolutely a “must watch”.


Jerry Downing

WATCH ME WHEN I KILL
A woman unknowingly hears the voice of a killer and soon finds herself being stalked by the killer. Pretty good movie from director Antonio Bido. The score was good but reminded me heavily of the Deep Red score, which I guess isn't such a bad thing.

THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TALE
A really good giallo from Sergio Martino about a woman who inherits a large sum of money after her husband is killed in a plane crash. As usual, victims and suspects start piling up. I've only seen a few Martino films and I would say this was one of my favorites.


Craig J. Clark

HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (Mario Bava, 1970)
Thoughts: It's been a while since I've watched anything by Bava, so I used this month's mission as an excuse to break out a pair of his later films. First up was this Spanish-Italian co-production, which he directed and photographed in his usual stylish manner. Written by Santiago Moncada, who later penned the screenplay for A Bell from Hell, the film is narrated by homicidal paranoiac Stephen Forsyth, the harried head of a Parisian fashion house specializing in wedding apparel who's in the habit of offing young brides on their big day. Of course, Forsyth probably wishes he had killed one on his own wedding night since his shrewish wife (Laura Betti) never lets him forget for one minute that it's her money that's keeping his business afloat.

In addition to his clients, Forsyth also murders his own models whenever they announce they're getting married, which is why there's an open slot for second-billed Dagmar Lassander to fill. And he's hounded by police inspector Jesús Puente, who actually has a bit more on the ball than policemen generally do in giallo (maybe because he knows as well as we do who the killer is from the start). The film really takes a turn for the bizarre, though, after Forsyth kills Betti (who was practically begging for it) and she proceeds to haunt the living crap out of him. Not that he doesn't deserve it -- he is, after all, a multiple murderer -- but as punishments go that does seem rather cruel and unusual.

BEYOND THE DOOR II (Mario Bava, 1977)
Thoughts: Apart from some un-credited second-unit work on Dario Argento's Inferno, Bava's last film as a director was 1977's Shock, which was nonsensically re-titled Beyond the Door II when it was released in the States despite not being in any way a sequel to Beyond the Door, an Ovidio G. Assonitis-helmed Exorcist knock-off which had been rushed into theaters three years earlier. The only connection between them is both films happen to feature creepy child actor David Colin Jr., who plays the son of high-strung housewife Daria Nicolodi, who begins to lose her grip on her sanity when they move back into the house she left seven years earlier when her first husband killed himself under mysterious circumstances. In fact, they've barely unpacked before she starts asking her second husband, oft-absent airline pilot John Steiner, if they can leave again, which he is understandably reluctant to do.

Even if one discounts the seemingly supernatural events that start occurring around the house -- like the backyard swing swinging by itself and other things moving of their own volition -- it's impossible to deny that Colin has begun acting strange, staring daggers at Nicolodi whenever he sees her being affectionate with Steiner and nonchalantly telling her, "Mama, I have to kill you." Things reach a fever pitch when she has an intense nightmare in which a dresser moves by itself, trapping her in the bedroom, and she's menaced by a decaying hand holding a box cutter, then by the box cutter floating in the air by itself. It seems like it should be hokey as hell -- and the reveal that it was just a dream a terrible cop-out -- but the scares are damned effective regardless. All in all, not a bad way for the maestro of the macabre to cap off his career.


Damien Glonek

THE PSYCHIC (aka Seven Notes in Black)
Until the title started I had no idea this movie was Seven Notes in Black. Being more familiar with that title I was even more excited to watch. I already knew not to expect any gore in this film, as Fulci didn't really discover the sauce too much, but from the opening scene of the woman falling off the cliff, which was very reminiscent of Don't Torture a Duckling, you could tell where his career was heading. The rest of movie played out like the giallo I was expecting, but the tension really started to build at the end of this and I totally didn't see getting bashed in the head and walled up. Great nod to Poe's The Black Cat ending really catapulted this movie for me as one of my favorite giallos. And really loved how fitting and integral the title was to the film, the Italian title anyway, not the US one.

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR 2: THE POSSESSION
Having not seen the original Amityville in quite awhile I remember it being quite boring. So why watch the sequel? 'Cause I heard it was actually quite good. This is one of the rare cases where the sequel is actually better then the original. I am a little familiar with the true Amityville story so it was nice that this was loosely based on the Defeo case then just a unrelated story. Great entertaining, creepy movie with great characters. Burt Young is awesome in it. And just when you think it is over, BAM, it gets crazy out in left field, I think this is where the Italian influence comes in. I can imagine the producers wanting to make a solid movie and the little pisan director sneaking in at the end to shoot some insane nonsensical Exorcist rip-off footage. This movie was so good, I am now wondering if I should watch part 3


Stacey H.

BLACK SUNDAY (The Mask of Satan) (1960)
I enjoyed this movie a great deal. The story captured me right away. As Asa (the main character) is about to be burned at the stake, her brother lays out the charges against her. I guess I was expecting the old innocent-person-killed-out-of-religious-ferver-getting-revenge type of story and I was really surprised when Asa spits a curse back at him about Satan getting revenge. Oh, it's on! Since this was the first scene of the movie, we have no idea what Asa's powers are or what she can do, which was a great twist and kept the movie tense.

The other element that added tension for me was that while the movie had a great score, there were some parts they either chose not to score or ran out of money to score. Sometimes the foley wasn't that great in certain sections either, so the movie had a quietness about it that was creepy.

The sets were perfect, the performances were great, and some of the cinematography was impressive.

SUSPIRIA (1977)
Hmmm...I have mixed feelings about this movie. It is a visually beautiful film and was definitely creepy and tense almost all the way through. However, I think the ending could have been paced better. I felt that it lost its momentum along the way as we were building toward the end. Also, I have questions. I found some of the plot points to be inconsistent. I feel that this movie does fit into a "style over substance" category, but not nearly as much as some other Italian Horror films I've seen, which, admittedly, are pretty few).

Thanks for the challenge! Italian Horror is not something I've been really into, so it was great to have a little push to see these two classic films.


Aaron Christensen

KILLER FISH (1979) d. Margheriti, Antonio
Lee Majors, Karen Black and James Franciscus are the headliners in this jewel heist flick, with the horror element being the fact that the latest big score has been stored in a South American lake stocked with piranha. Solid munching action trades screen time with Majors making eyes at Margaux Hemmingway, Hemmingway baring her claws at Black, and Black having ongoing snit fits with smug huzz Franciscus. There’s also a pretty wicked tropical storm sequence with things blowing up real good.

ARCANE SORCERER (1996) d. Avati, Pupa
From the writer/director of underrated Italian horror efforts The House with Laughing Windows and Zeder comes another smart and atmospheric chiller about a seminary student sent to serve as secretary to a mysterious monsignor who spends his days communing with the dead.

NAKED YOU DIE (aka The Young, the Evil and the Savage)( 1968 ) d. Margheriti, Antonio
Engaging little giallo set at a girls school, where strangulations are occurring via gloved black hands at an alarming rate. There’s no shortage of suspects, be it strapping Phys. Ed teacher John Hawkwood, sweaty groundsman Luciano Pigozzi, hunky flirt Mark Damon, or is it one of the comely female students? No nudity per se, but plenty of flesh on display as the girls change in and out of nightgowns on a regular basis. Reportedly shorn of 15 minutes and re-titled to run as a double bill alongside Vincent Price's Conqueror Worm (aka Witchfinder General). I will say that this is one of the least successful dubbing jobs I've seen - I'm still not entirely sure whether the actors were speaking Italian or English, because the sounds rarely synched up with the lip movements. (The DarkSky DVD offered only an Italian audio track with English subtitles.)

SPASMO (1974) d. Lenzi, Umberto
More psycho-terror than giallo, swinging sexy-guy Robert Hoffman thinks he sees a dead girl on the beach, but it turns out to be Suzy Kendall who proceeds to lead him on a wild chase through murder, intrigue and a really serious case of sibling rivalry. There are also any number of life-sized sex dolls scattered throughout the film, which really don’t seem to have much to do with anything. Oh, and they never really explain the title either.

ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (1972) (1st viewing) d. Martino, Sergio
The gorgeous Edwige Fenech stars alongside George Hilton as a couple recovering not only from a car accident, but also from her miscarriage as a result. She’s also been having some rather strange dreams in which Ivan Rassimov attacks her with a knife. When pills and psychiatrists fail to resolve the nightmares, she is persuaded to go all new age by lovely blonde Marina Malfatti, only to discover she’s been lured into a coven of lascivious Satanists. Truly, wonderfully bonkers with wicked visuals – like Rosemary’s Baby dunked in marinara sauce.

THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TALE (1971) (1st viewing) d. Martino, Sergio
Terrific giallo (complete with black sparkly masked killers, bottles of JB everywhere and hot babes getting knifed every 20 minutes) that genuinely had me guessing throughout as to whodunit and who was gonna get it next. Great fun.

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) (1st viewing) d. Martino, Sergio
Not so much based on Poe’s “The Black Cat” as it simply incorporates the essential story elements throughout its twisted tale of sadistic burnt out writer Luigi Pistilli, emotional punching bag of a wife Anita Strindberg, and trampy niece Edwige Fenech who comes to stay and play (doctor, head games, et al) with them both. Another marvelous guessing game of who’s the victim, who’s the villain and who will take their clothes off next.


Wayne Teeter

NAKED YOU DIE
The title alone shows so much potential, unfortunately what we have is one of the most boring and tedious giallo imaginable. The killings are unimaginative , lacking any kind of inventive thoughts.  Some even happening off screen. The red herrings which are a staple in this sub genre are quite obvious in this movie. And that pacing, the pacing is painfully slow causing me to nod off more than once.  The next time I try to beat Mr. Steve Weakley to the boards with a monthly mission, I must try to pick a movie that doesn't take most of the month to finish watching.

You would think a movie taking place at an all girl's school you might get the obligated shower scene, not only do we not get the shower scene but everyone who dies still have their clothes on.

There was not a single character I could latch onto and relate to or care about thanks to the dull script and uneventful direction. I cannot believe that this is the same director that guided Barbara Steele through the corridors in the excellent film Castle of Blood. Antonio Margheriti or Andre Dawson as he is also known as shows none of the flair from the earlier Castle of Blood.

Dead bodies begin to show up on campus after one of the students receive an inheritance, in between my nodding off I believe this is the gist of it. Whenever the police show up and begin to drill the students for details. only puts the brakes on to an already slow moving plot. One character, Jill a petit young student who is doing her own investigation brings a sense of humor to her role. But the character is out of place in this movie.

This also has to be the most anti climatic giallo, whatever happened to the great death scenes? How about when the antagonist falls down a mountain side and sparks fly from his face, or becomes asphyxiated when a necklace becomes snagged on an elevator, those were entertaining deaths. Compared to the killer's demise here, I have seen bloodier on the family channel.

If you are having trouble sleeping, throw this on. That's about the only recommendation I can give for this one.


DEMONS III: THE OGRE
Director Lamberto Bava steers the Demons franchise into a whole new direction. Where the first two films are metaphors for watching horror films at the theater and then at home. ( Home video invasion?) Demons III deals with the struggles of childhood nightmares.

Cheryl, an American writer of horror stories is trying to finish her latest novel. With her husband and young son, the family is vacationing in Italy. Upon arriving at the enormous villa, Cheryl discovers to her horror that this is the same castle that has been haunting her childhood dreams. She becomes frightened for herself and her family, when her suspicions of an ogre living in the basement are true.

Although only the title and director have any ties to the first two Demon films, I found this thoroughly entertaining but believe that without the Bava and Demons names this may have not even been green lighted by the studio.

Demons III has some nicely timed jump jolts and false scares, gotta love that one with the pudding cup. There are also some good genuine scares, which mostly have to do with the gothic atmosphere that is emitted from that enormous castle. As in Dario Argento's Inferno a character finds herself submerged in a basement cesspool, swimming frantically from terrifying images. My guess is this is probably an homage to rather than a rip off of Argento , since he was a producer on the first two films.

This makes for a fun watch, like most spaghetti splatter films the dubbing is a little off. Strange, eccentric characters make an appearance or two. And like Bob in Fulci's House by the Cemetery this also has an irritating kid.


Lee Marohn

BLACK SABBATH (1963)
This three-part anthology movie was completely great. The first part was a ghost story that I honestly didn't think I was going to like it.  It started off a little cheesy, but I eventually felt a couple chills go up my back. A woman goes to prepare a dead body for the funeral. She steals a ring and is then haunted by the old lady.

The second story was basically a stalker story with a slightly freaky twist. A woman comes home and starts getting harassing phone calls from an old boyfriend, who was supposed to be dead.  The third was a cool vampire story starring Boris Karloff, who also introduced each segment. This was a very cool illustration of the stupid decisions we would probably make if our own family members became vampires. I loved how this ended, but any discussion would be a complete spoiler.

After watching, I discovered that the original version had the stories in a different order and the story of at least one of the stories seems to have been very altered.

NUDE FOR SATAN (1974)
When I searched for "Italian horror movies" on a popular streaming movie website, this one popped up. With a title like this, how could I *not* watch it? I immediately pictured satanic cults and virgin sacrifices. Yeah, not so much. This movie has one of the most convoluted plots in history. A doctor "rescues" the victim of a car accident and takes her to a nearby castle (of course). He seems to leave her in the car all night as he goes into the castle. Inside, he sees a woman who looks just like the "injured" woman he left in the car. Susan, the woman in the car, wakes up in the morning and goes into the house, invited by a guy who may or may not be Satan. Susan sees a portrait of a man who looks just like the doctor. Things get *more* confusing from there. The doctor wanders around the castle and grounds for most of the movie and I'm not sure why. Susan walks around for quite a while with one of her boobs handing out. While I appreciate that, she had clothes. Why not put them on? There are discussions of Susan and the doctor being stuck in time. The scene with Susan falling onto a giant spider web and then attacked by the most ridiculously fake looking spider makes no sense whatsoever. I didn't care for this one very much.


Erik Martin

THE GHOST
Dr. Hitchcock, feared of his suspected dealings in the occult, is confined to a wheelchair while his gorgeous wife (Barbara Steele!) plots against him with her lover, the doctor "treating" her husband. After offing him with a good dose of poison, and burying him, they discover that most of the wealth has been left to a bunch of greedy orphans (her words), and when she and her lover try and steal it, they discover that the safe is empty. More than that, she begins to be haunted by the decaying vision of her late husband . . .

This sequel to The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock was, well . . . How do I put this? It was good. I mean, Barbara Steele, how can you go wrong? My only problem with this film had nothing to do with the movie, but myself; I have seen so many plot twists and last-minute ending revelations that it is hard to get one by me now, and I knew what was coming a good ways off. There was one part of the twist ending that I didn't see coming, but for the most part, it was fairly obvious. But the movie was very well done, atmospheric, and again, Barbara Steele.

KILL, BABY...KILL
A young coroner is summoned to a remote village to perform an autopsy. Upon arriving, he finds that the village is plagued by many mysterious deaths, the local authorities are unable or unwilling to help the corner or inspector Krueger (love that name), and they all attribute the deaths to the ghost of a seven year old girl named Melissa. Anyone who sees her is forced to kill themselves in deliciously gory ways, and the villagers don't want anyone with their weirdo science around to screw things up. The young coroner, a devout disciple of science, is not deterred by superstition or sorcery, and sets out to solve this mystery.
Mario Bava does it again. Wonderfully stylish and atmospheric (you have to love those fog-shrouded graveyards), with a strong touch of isolation and desperation (villagers do not appear in their own village out of sheer terror of leaving their homes) and some genuine supernatural dread. With such scenes of vertigo induced by shots of a spinning staircase and some nice bloody moments as well, this movie, I dare say, is perhaps one of Mario Bava's finest. Yes, I mean it. I truly enjoyed this movie, and am looking forward to a second helping.


John Pata

HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON
Mario Bava is a director I should have probably seen more films from, but I haven't. So I'm working on it. Hatchet is an odd little film, although it does have a pretty interesting story. Truthfully, the story is really the only thing about the film I liked. A wedding fashion designer doubles as a serial killer, killing brides on their wedding nights. Toss in a little supernatural twist, and it makes for a fairly interesting tale. I enjoy when the protagonist is also the villain, as it can make for a very intriguing film. Hatchet just lacks, it lacks all the way around. It's a slow burn, which I'm fine with, but I don't feel like it truly pulls through and offers a rewarding conclusion. The film is horribly dated, which isn't a fault of the film itself, but it did make it difficult (for me at least) to really get into the film.

KILL, BABY...KILL
Alright, Kill definitely is similar to the Bava I've seen previous. The visual style of Kill is much stronger than Hatchet, which I would say seemed a little more reserved. Decent story that is carried by a terrific score and overall atmosphere. That's what I enjoyed most about the film, was the score and atmosphere. Not that everything else (script, acting, etc) was weak or anything like that, I just felt that nothing else carried the film.


Rebecca Morris

RED RIDING HOOD - 2003, directed by Giacomo Cimini
Filmed in Italy but mostly in the English language, this movie was lacking on several levels. The soundtrack was eclectic at best, childish at worst, the acting was subpar and the dialogue was severely lacking. The use of peanut butter as a torture device was something I hadn't seen before, but that was about all the ingenuity this movie mustered. While it touted itself as a modern take on the Little Red Riding Hood story, it was sorely lacking. Please pass this Italian film by.

SHADOW - 2009, directed by Federico Zampaglione
Filming location (consisting of rolling hills and foggy meadows) was absolutely gorgeous. Once again this movie, while an Italian film, was mostly in English. It started out as the usual crazy murderous rednecks in the forest bit, then morphed into a supernatural flick and ended up as a psychological thriller. For me it was very reminiscent of the Ambrose Bierce short story "An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge." Fairly entertaining slasher flick, although the twist ending was a bit disappointing. Overall not a bad movie to waste 1.5 hours on.



November Mission - Revenge of the Turkey

Steve Weakley

GURU, THE MAD MONK - IMDB rating: 3.6
Thoughts: Andy Milligan's movies are just bad. Bad enough to be painful but not bad enough to be unwatchable. I highly recommend them. In this early non-epic Father Guru runs a prison/church on a small island long ago. He seems nice but once you turn your back on him, he's got an axe ready for you, or his vampire mistress Olga is attacking. Guru also spends a good amount of time arguing with himself in a mirror. (That's how you know he's not just evil but mad.) There's also a hunchback named Igor thrown in here for good measure. Guru's insane little world fall apart when the Holy Father shows up with Guru's replacement. Not wanting to leave Guru kills the two men, then decides he had to leave....which is what they were.... wait...... Anyway, it's just pathetic and badly, badly done. Bad location filming, cheap costumes, muffled sound, so dark you have to wonder if they used any lighting at all. For most of the actors, this was the only movie they were ever in, except for one guy who went onto be a semi regular on the sitcom Barney Miller for one season, which isn't saying much.

THE GHASTLY ONES - IMDB rating: 3.5
Thoughts: Have to admit, after watching "Guru" I thought to myself, "You know, while that was horrible, it wasn't as bad as Rats Are Coming..... or Man with Two Heads. Maybe there was some hope for this Milligan guy after all". Now that's I've seen "Ghastly Ones", no, there was no hope for this guy at all, ever. The story is as basic as it gets. In Colonial times, three sisters and their husbands must spend the weekend in their Father's old house in order to collect their inheritance. They start getting picked off one by one but not till WAY late in the film. Meaning you have to put up with horrible actors and MIlligan's lame attempt at cheesecake. Milligan even repeats himself by having another mentally disabled character, though not a hunchback this time, turn out to not only be actually kind and gentle but also return after you think he's dead to save the day. The screeching halt to the film is almost laugh out loud funny. Bad, awful, dull, amateur and everything else that I like about Andy Milligan's movies.


Lance Ford

THE CAVERN (2005) - 3.2 IMDB
This movie is too dark - and by too dark, I mean literally too dark. Like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which I didn't particularly care for all that much) it was too dark and you couldn't see a lot of what was going on. This movie is terrible. Camera work is blurry, jumpy and fuzzy. The Descent films are tons better than this. It deserved the rating it received. I found myself not caring if they got out of the cavern. Just wanted the torture to end. And it sucked that most of the creature attacks were so fast and blurry that you couldn't see anything that was happening. Watch it at your own risk and you will also feel my pain. It was only an 1hr. and 20 min. long but it seemed like an eternity.

VAMPIRES: THE TURNING (2005) - 3.0 IMDB
Martial Arts and Vampires! Don't know why this only got a 3.0 rating on IMDB. This one, in my opinion, is Oscar-worthy compared to that other piece of crap I watched for this mission. Thanks, Jon, for this "turkey." I loved it!!! Being entertained is what film-making is all about and this movie did exactly that. The martial arts sequences were awesome! And the vampire effects were pretty sweet, too. I want some sequels! And even though it wasn't technically a sequel to John Carpenter's Vampires or Vampires: Los Muertos it very much could have been - it was that good.


Jerry Downing

THE BAT PEOPLE - IMDB rating - 2.2
A man and his wife are on vacation and during a cave tour, they are attacked by a bat. The husband is bitten on the forehead and for some reason this causes him to start turning into a bat. He sneaks out at night and kills and in the morning he has no memory of it. It's basically The Wolf Man but he's a bat instead. This might not have been so bad if it was shorter. It's stretched out to a little over 90 minutes and it really doesn't need to be that long. There are many, many close up shots of the husband's face, eyes rolled back and shaking. This movie is most notable for being the first feature film that Stan Winston worked on. The makeup effects we do see are pretty good, but it's only very short glimpses.

ZOMBIE NATION - IMDB rating - 1.5
I knew this movie was going to be bad when I was laughing when the title appeared. It wasn't just the regular title screen. The title was so big it took up 4 separate screen changes. So it was Zom Bie Na Tion. I also had worries when I saw that the director, Ulli Lommel, had a character credited to him in the open credits. David Hess is also in the movie with a fairly useless cameo. It's about a crazy cop from Alabama (with a German accent) that is a serial killer. He pulls woman over for stupid reasons and takes them back to a warehouse while his rookie partner waits in the car. Here, he inspects inside their mouths, ears, noses with a flashlight before sticking them with a needle. It doesn't really make sense. Every time he does this the needle practically bends in half. He then takes the bodies out in a big bag and stuffs them in his car. His partner thinks something might be wrong but doesn't want to rat on another officer. This goes on for a while and eventually due to the use of voodoo, the girls come back to get revenge. This nation of zombies consists of 6 girls who look perfectly fine after being killed and buried, except for some black paint around the eyes. That is the extent of the "zombie" makeup. Some raccoon paint around the eyes. Not much else to say about this one. It stinks but I think I enjoyed it more than The Bat People just because I could laugh at how bad it was.


Erik Martin

ALIEN VS HUNTER - imdb Rating: 1.7
A near-retired journalist is jogging along when two spaceships come smashing down to the earth. Two aliens emerge and engage in the eternal struggle of predator and prey. The jogger rounds up his friends, heads to the local hunter, and they all exercise futility in trying to survive.

I'm trying hard to think of where I've seen this movie before. One alien (which is a spider-like centaur) appears very bony, no discernable sensory organs, and resembles something that bursts forth from someone's chest is being hunted by another alien which is a large, super-strong humanoid, dressed in technologically advanced armor which allows him to turn invisible which controls on his wrist and armed with powerful energy guns. Where have I seen this before? Where, oh where, oh where?

Okay, sarcasm's over. Really, it's not that bad. Alien Vs. Hunter makes no qualms about nor tries at all to hide which movie it's completely ripping off, I mean, the movie which inspired it, and tries it's d-a-m-n-dest to tell it's own story. The acting is nothing great and the writers really have no idea how to tell a story beyond trying to link one cool scene with another but the effects are good considering what the budget must have been (especially the spider alien), and of course, the true test: it wasn't boring. So try it if you run across it and have a couple of hours to kill (and a beer with some leftover Halloween candy doesn't hurt either).

ICE CRAWLERS - imdb Rating: 2.9
An Antarctic oil-drilling station has been drilling too deep for oil, and causing earthquakes. The U.N. is afraid that they are going to do some irreparable harm to the environment, and so, before they send an investigative team, the company that built the station has sent in a team of researchers fresh out of grad school to get it up and running. What they neglect to tell them is that they have unearthed from the ice a million year old trilobyte the size of a dog which likes to eat people.

This one wasn't bad. In fact, I thought it was pretty good. It started kind of reserved (bloodless deaths devoid of suspense) but quickly picks up. One scene in particular makes the movie worth watching (The young man rolls his girlfriend over to wake her up. Trust me.) Not all the acting was great, but one doesn't watch "turkeys" for the subtle application of the thespian art. There was a bit too much plot for my taste, but overall, Great movie.


Name: Scott Finnegan

TENTACLES (1977) IMDB 3.2 stars
Thoughts: Wow. John Huston, Claude Akins, Shelly Winters and Henry Ford! How could this suck, right? Well, it is really not good. At all. The few octopus scenes are actually the highlight of the movie. The rest of it is lame and boring dialogue, and lots of wasted talent, for sure.

MARES NEEDS WOMEN (1967) IMDB 2.8 stars
Thoughts: Yvonne Craig!!  Haha.  An underused Batgirl could not rescue this yawner. Martians that look just like earthlings, except wearing spandex? 83 minutes I will never get back...


Gavin Schmitt

SNOWMAGEDDON (2011)  IMDB Rating 3.7
The problem with this film can be summed up really easily: someone did not tighten the script. A small town (Normal, Alaska) is the target of an underground volcano, and they trace the source to a magic snow globe with a miniature version of the town inside. Now, had this just been a dormant volcano story, it might have been okay. Not great, but okay. But the snow globe part is really dumb because they make no effort to explain where it came from, why it targets this particular town, and it is really unclear how they know how to destroy the globe... so, I have to agree that it is a turkey. Could have been just bland, but instead became stupid.

KILLJOY GOES TO HELL (2012)  IMDB Rating 4.3
While right now this film is not a turkey by this month's standards, I would point out it only has 82 votes. I suspect by the end of the month it will drop below 4 easily. Luckily, it is only produced and not directed by Charlie Band, so it is not as bad as his recent shitstorms like "Killer Eye" or "Dead Want Women", but it still has very little to offer. I actually feel bad for Trent Haaga for appearing in this rubbish.

6 DEGREES OF HELL (2012)  IMDB rating: 3.6/10
This film actually arrived under the title "Corey Feldman's 6 Degrees of Hell". I have to say -- and it pains me to do so -- that Feldman was the best part of this film. He plays a psychic investigator with bleach-blonde 90s hair, and the film is basically his retelling of an incident that happened in a haunted hotel. There is nothing redeeming about the story. Nothing. No good gore, no good acting, nothing. The gimmick is it is filmed in an "actual" haunted hotel, which means nothing to me. The only enjoyable I got from this was seeing that pompous, ******** asshat Feldman slide even further down the slide into career oblivion.


Steve Sapsford

THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN (1968) - IMDB rating 2.3
This is the re-edited and “expanded” version of “Madmen of Mandoras” which was filmed in 1963 but not released for several years. New footage was added in the 1970’s to pad the film for broadcast TV. The additional footage is very obvious. The cinematography, fashion, sound are all glaringly out of place. Essentially, any time Vic or Toni are on screen, it’s new footage.
The plot is in the title of the move. “They” saved Hitler’s brain and are now ready to reanimate him in order to rule the world (because it worked out so well for everyone last time).

There are evil scientists, cars that explode, and more shenanigans. The investigators (Vic and Toni) are probably the most unappealing buddy cop duo I have ever seen.

Oh, at about the 13 minute mark, they kill an elephant.
It has nothing to do with the movie. I guess that makes it an irrelevant.
They just gas an elephant (actually, it’s just a film of an elephant going to sleep – I hope). I love elephants, they are amazing animals but this is the best part of the movie. It’s not that killing an elephant is in any way good, it’s just the rest of the movie is that bad.

If someone were to ask you if you wanted to see this movie, the correct response would be “I’d rather watch someone gas an elephant”.

In all honesty I would file this one as “so bad it’s good”. It really is fun to watch.

Cool car sightings:
VW Beetle (I think it’s a 1303 series which was launched in 1973)
Lincoln Continental (1965 or 1966?)

Now here’s something that’s driving me crazy. In the opening credits, there’s a weird truncated guitar riff that I KNOW from somewhere. But for the life of me, I can’t figure it out. Here’s the Youtube link to the movie. The riff is about 11 seconds in and only lasts for a second or two.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWCwKW94Ap4

If ANYONE has any idea what this is, please let me know. I can’t sleep.


FAMINE (2011) - IMDB rating 3.0
This is a Canadian High-School slasher and although normally that would be a good thing, this time it’s not. Derivative, boring, amateurish, & stupid.
So some “kids” (all of the actors were at least 25) participate in a lock-in at the high school. Then they get killed one by one. Oh, there’s a twist. And bad music.

Here’s how it went for me
00:00:02 – [bad rap song] Oh God I hate this movie
00:00:18 – [major cleavage] Oh God I love this movie
00:00:42 – [prat fall] Oh God I hate this movie
00:00:55 – [crap metal song] Oh God I hate this movie
00:02:05 – [creepy teachers] Oh God I hate this movie
00:05:23 – [major cleavage] Oh God I love this movie
00:06:05 – [lesbian innuendo] Oh God I love this movie
00:06:10 – [ham-fisted overacting nerdy girl] – Oh God I hate this movie
00:08:06 - [pervy old guy makes a Nazi joke] - Oh God I hate this movie
00:08:22 – [prat fall] Oh God I hate this movie
00:08:33 – [lesbian innuendo + major cleavage] Oh God I love this movie
00:09:03 – [Flashback!] Oh God I hate this movie
00:10:25 – [3 stooges style boxing] – Oh God I hate this movie
00:11:00 – [ham-fisted overacting nerdy girl, again] – Oh God I hate this movie
00:13:10 – [the worst gore make-up effects ever] – Oh God I love this movie
00:13:55 – [lesbian innuendo + major cleavage] Oh God I love this movie
00:17:50 – [more of the worst gore make-up effects ever] – Oh God I love this movie

And so on for 1 hour & 17 minutes. Just not worth it.


John Pata

GIRLS GONE DEAD
IMDb Rating = 3.6
To start things out, I did not choose to watch Girls Gone Dead because I thought it was going to be a true "turkey." I had strong suspicions it was going to be horrendous, however, I saw some fairly positive posts on the book of face which made me debate fully writing it off. And, as it turns out, it had the correct kind of rating for this month, so I figured what the hell?

Yes, there's a ton of boobs in GGD, no surprise there. Now that we have that covered (or should I say uncovered? Zing!), we can talk about the non-mammary parts of the film. There's a good amount of blood, which pleased the gorehound in me. There were even some pretty darn good jokes/jabs here and there. A couple of performances might have exceeded "decent" (and there were plenty that never came close). Linnea Quigley had quite the fantastic cameo (one of quite a few cameos, to say the least). Jerry Lawler busted out a wrestling move at a great time, which caused me to laugh out loud. There's some decent stuff in GGD, but please, trim all the excessive fat, for f*ck sake! This is a no-brainer slasher flick, why is it 104 minutes?! There is NO acceptable reason for that. Cut the f*cker down to 83 minutes and you'd have a fairly enjoyable (albeit dumb) slasher. Complementing the atrocious runtime are the annoying as f*ck characters that make up the main group. They're rich college girls who think they're hot as sh*t and have annoying voices with stupid faces. Essentially, they are the exact opposite of what I find attractive, and want to spend 104 minutes with. Barf. Then again, it's called Girls Gone Dead, I knew what I was getting into.

Wish they would have carried the sense of humor for the whole duration of the time. There's a prominent tongue-in-cheek sense of humor (which was successful most of the time), but it trickles off halfway through, then returns for the end credits. Bottom line, enjoyable stuff is scattered throughout, you just have to get through some pretty generic and pointless crap to find it.

THE NAIIL GUN MASSACRE
IMDb Rating = 3.7
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a turkey! I'm not even sure where to start, or what to say for that matter, in regards to Nail Gun Massacre. What an absolute piece of shit, but on the flipside, what a god damn blast. The amount of laughing I did on my own would probably only increase if I watched this with company. NGM has to contain the worst one-liners uttered by a killer. Ever. To make things worse (er, better?) is the horrendous voice changer she uses, and also the fact that she says all these terrible lines after each killing. The acting is nothing short of atrocious, the plot is... Um. Wait, was there a plot? Exhausting feels like a good way to explain watching this one. However, it's exhausting in a good way, lots of laughs due to the endless amount of failures all around.


Rebecca Osterfund

It wasn't easy finding movies with less than 3 star ratings on imdb.com, and that initially got me scared. When I finally found 2 movies that met the criteria, I started watching them with great trepidation. And boy, were they stinkers!

PARASITIC, 2012, rating 1.8 stars
Bad acting. Bad plot. 'Nough said. I'll give kudos to the actress that ran topless through most of the film with a parasite/alien super glued between her bare breasts, but that's about the only interesting thing I can mention. I'd hate to see a movie with less stars on IMDB. I don't think I would survive the experience!

DRACULA 3000, 2004, 2.0 stars
Terrible movie supposedly set a thousand years into the future, but the computer graphics are straight out of the 90's, people are still in wheelchairs and wearing nerdy glasses, and weapons appear to be made out of garden tools available at your local Walmart. I do have a soft spot in my heart for both Casper Van Dien (aka the character Rico from Starship Troopers) and Udo Kier (always the creepy German/foreigner that pops up in movies), but both of their performances were overshadowed by the absolutely horrific acting by Coolio. And the craziest thing about this movie is that it appeared to run out of script and just ended abruptly with no rhyme or reason to it. And don't get me started that Dracula's real name was revealed to be Orlock, and was really an alien from the Carpathian system. The best thing I can say about this movie is that it wasn't as awful as the movie Parasitic, but it was awfully close.


Name: Craig J. Clark

MONSTROD a.k.a. Monster (Kenneth Hartford, 1980)
IMDb Rating: 2.4 (290 votes)
Thoughts: This one was pretty pitiful. The fact that Jim Mitchum got top billing over John Carradine should have been all the warning I needed. Would probably play well on a double bill with John Frankenheimer's Prophecy. Oh, who am I kidding? There's no way in hell Monstroid could ever play well.

THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN (David Bradley, 1968)
IMDb Rating: 2.3 (462 votes)
Thoughts: A film that's so earnest about its ludicrous plot -- which concerns Nazis hiding out in a fictional Latin American country that take orders from Hitler's head in a jar -- that it never tips over into camp. I did like that its ending beat Raiders of the Lost Ark to the punch by 13 years, though.

Extra Credit: BLOOD SHACK a.k.a. The Chooper (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1971)
IMDb Rating: 2.3 (230 votes)
Thoughts: This was my second Steckler film (after The Incredibly Strange Creatures...). With any luck, it will be my last.


Stacey H.

STARCRASH (1978) IMDB Rating: 3.7
This movie only had 3 major issues. Unfortunately, those issues were the characters, the dialog and the plot. On the plus side, it had The Hoff and Christopher Plummer, so all was not lost. All in all, a fun little space romp if you were expecting a turkey of a movie.

BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR (2010) IMDB Rating: 1.9
Seeing Birdemic made me realize that Starcrash wasn't that bad of a movie. Don't get me wrong, Starcrash was bad, but at least it was a movie, made by professional movie-makers. Birdemic is like a bad joke that someone is trying to play on you, except they are serious. Oh my God. Oh...My...God. I also just learned that Birdemic 2: The Resurrection will be coming out soon. Boo!


Aaron Christensen

BRAIN OF BLOOD (1972) (1st viewing) d. Adamson, Al (USA) (IMDb rating 2.2)
Grant Williams (a long, long way from The Incredible Shrinking Man) teams up with another veteran from a much better film (Kent Taylor of 1942’s Cat People) for this bargain basement landslide of lugubriousness. With the benevolent leader of fictitious country Kalid dying, his loyal aide Williams and bombshell wife Regina Carrol enlist the skills of mad scientist Taylor to transplant the figurehead’s brain into a new healthy host body. Of course, things do not go as planned and the gray matter ends up residing in the hulking body of Taylor’s literally and emotionally scarred assistant John Bloom (the monster from Frankenstein vs. Dracula). This story is entertaining enough on its own pulpy merits, but Adamson shamelessly pads out the running time, forcing us to spend what feels like hours in torturous midget Angelo Rossitto’s cellar dungeon with helpless heroine Vicki Volante.

BOGGY CREEK II: AND THE LEGEND CONTINUES (1985) (1st viewing) d. Pierce, Charles B. (USA) (IMDb rating 1.9)
Disappointed with the appropriation of his Legend of Boggy Creek’s legacy by outsiders – the result being 1977’s Return to Boggy Creek – writer/producer/director Charles B. Pierce picked up the reins 13 years later and cranked out a sequel himself, setting the docudrama elements aside in favor of a straightforward fictional narrative. Pierce pulls quadruple duty by assaying the lead role of an anthropologist on the hunt for the hairy cryptozoological beast, while his son, Charles B. Pierce, Jr. plays one of three trusty student assistants on the expedition into the Arkansas swamps (with Cindy Butley and Serene Hedin holding down the fairer sex portion of the fort). Despite relying on formulaic plotting and some hilariously dodgy “computer technology,” one shouldn’t judge this book by its ultra-low rated cover. Not to say that it’s actually “good” or “entertaining” or “scary,” but neither is it the unwatchable dreck its #41 ranking on IMDB’s Bottom 100 might lead you to believe. (No way does this deserve the same ranking as Birdemic or Track of the Moon Beast, but there it sits.)

FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964) (1st viewing) d. Warren, Jerry (USA/Mexico) (IMDb rating 2.0)
Piecing together footage from both Rafael Portillo’s Attack of the Aztec Mummy (1957) and Gilberto Martinez Solares’ La Casa del Terror (1960), enterprising huckster Jerry Warren conceived a “story” of a mummified werewolf (Lon Chaney, Jr. – who else?) who is discovered via an archeological expedition thanks to a Bridey Murphy-esque hypnosis session (see also Roger Corman’s 1957 effort The Undead). That the material is derivative and clunky almost goes without saying and headliner Chaney utters not a single word of comprehensible dialogue during his limited screen time. A real chore to sit through, even with its abbreviated 60-minute running time.

MISSILE TO THE MOON ( 1958 ) (1st viewing) d. Cunha, Richard E. (USA) (IMDb rating 3.1)
Wonderfully high spirited, straight-faced sci-fi effort that features an experimental rocket ship piloted by the motley crew of inventor Michael Whalen, two escaped convicts (sensitive Gary Clarke, saucy Tommy Cook) and affianced white-bread couple Richard Travis and Cathy Downs. Upon improbably reaching their titular destination, the Earthlings encounter scores of fetching females (a dozen or so beauty queens ranging from Miss Minnesota to Miss Yugoslavia), a giant cave-dwelling spider, and some awesome rock monsters that rival From Hell It Came’s Tabonga tree creature for clumsy charm. Clarke and Cook also engage in some random romancing with the locals, while Downs catfights with alien femmes Nina Bara and K.T. Stevens over pudgy Travis. A definite highlight of the annual Turkey Day festivities, a first time viewing for all in attendance, although Mssr. Kitley remembered seeing clips of it from 1982’s It Came from Hollywood.

RATS - NIGHT OF TERROR (1984) (1st viewing) d. Mattei, Bruno (as Vincent Dawn) (Italy) (IMDb rating 3.7)
A post apocalyptic band of bikers happen upon a deserted city and settle in for the night, only to be besieged by the rodent populace lurking about, below and especially above. (There are a lot of aerial attacks in this film, with dozens of the furry pests descending upon their hapless human victims like some twisted waterfall effect.) Claudio Fragasso (of Troll 2 infamy) lent a hand in the script department, as well as some uncredited direction, while Demons’ Geretta Giancarlo (aka Geretta Geretta although she’s billed here as Janna Ryann) and Zombi 2’s poster zombie Richard Raymond (looking much hunkier here) lead the unruly group through their doomed paces. Enlivened by several choice sequences of ratattackery and a wackadoodle twist ending, but there’s also a lot of bickering and cautious (read as: time consuming) walking about en route.

RETURN OF BOGGY CREEK (1977) (1st viewing) d. Moore, Tom (USA) (IMDb rating 1.9)
For what it clearly a children’s fantasy film, albeit one starring Bigfoot as opposed to any goblins or elves, it was a curious choice to try to associate the finished product with Charles B. Pierce’s 1972 cult horror docudrama The Legend of Boggy Creek. One can only assume this is what has contributed to its unfairly low IMDb rating, since it’s a perfectly serviceable adventure about three youngsters surviving in the rural swamplands with their plucky single mom (Gilligan’s Island’s Dawn Wells) and cantankerous elders John Hofeus and Jim Wilson. Dana Plato, who would later achieve a momentary modicum of fame as Gary Coleman’s adoptive sister on TV’s Diff’rent Strokes, is the eldest of the trio, pursuing her Nancy Drew dreams in uncovering the mystery behind the stinky hairy brute that lurks deep in the shadows. Never really scary, or exciting for that matter, but a reasonable facsimile of live action ’70s Disney fare.

And here's the true agony. The worst turkey that I watched this month...isn't even technically a Turkey. Behold:

THANKSKILLING (2009) (1st viewing) d. Downey, Jordan (USA) (IMDb rating 4.0)
Yep, this is the killer turkey movie. Or more accurately, it’s the fowl-mouthed killer turkey puppet movie, which apparently gives writer/director Downey license to not even entertain the notion of actually putting forth the effort to make a cohesive or entertaining film. Which is truly a shame, since there are moments (such as the Turkie/Sheriff tea scene or the animated pilgrim flashback sequence, showing how the homicidal gobbler came into being) which indicate that a genuinely bawdy and outrageous horror/comedy in the Troma vein could have been achieved…if only Downey had cared enough to give his script another pass…perhaps with another, funnier writer. A killer turkey puppet spouting caustic one-liners has potential appeal, but only if the bon mots consist of more than tired profanities. (Example: “Nice tits, b i t c h !” ) I get that it’s supposed to be goofy and not taken seriously, but there’s stupid and then there’s just lazy – I get far more of the latter here and I have no patience for lazy filmmaking. Because if Downey doesn’t care, then why should we? Clearly, there’s an audience for this though, since the sequel Thankskilling 3 (no, there’s no T2, hardy har har) hit VOD earlier this month.


Damien Glonek

BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE-DEVILS - 2.2 IMDB rating
I am shocked buy this low rating. I have found Ted V. Mikels films always entertaining and this one was no exception. Ok grant it there was no orgy and very little blood, but it was completely compelling enough to sit through with no problems. If Mikels, gets a 2.2 then Al Adamson movies should be getting a negative number. Chalk up another win in Mikels corner as far as I am concerned, cause he has yet to disappoint.

BLOOD OF DRACULA'S CASTLE - 2.6 IMDB rating
Al Adamson - great movie titles, boring ass movies. This one was no different. Dracula, now going under the name Townsend, lives in a small castle(?) in the desert, where apparently the ocean resides right over a hill. Him and the countess and their werewolf buddy, Johnny, kidnap girls to drink their blood. When the castle is inherited by it's new owner...well nothing too exciting happens. I mostly learned that the Count and Countess who are very prim and proper go to sleep in their coffins every night and wake up the next day wearing the same clothes. Seems as they never change outfits. I can only assume they have been wearing the same clothes for the last 600 years. And that is the most interesting thing I took away from this film.

CRUEL JAWS - 3.4 IMDB rating
This movie was actually jaw (no pun intended) dropping in it's rip offs. I am pretty sure they lifted footage directly from Jaws, and for sure dialogue and scenes. Parts of the music I think came from Star Wars. The shark in the movie that they kept referring to as a tiger shark, seemed to mostly be a great white in the shark scenes used. The lead character who may or may not have been Hulk Hogan, was named Dag in the film, but we kept thinking people were calling him dad and were trying to figure out how many kids he had. Especially when some seemed to be dating each other. This is without a doubt the king of the Jaws knock offs, and you know what? I enjoyed it. Jaws 1 - 3 with spaghetti sauce on top. I'll bite every time.


Wayne Teeter

DEATH TUNNEL / IMDB rating 2.7
This movie lacked a couple of things including decent acting, interesting characters, and an involving plot, what it did have though was MTV style camera shots and flashy, quirky editing techniques that could literally set off epileptic seizures . The story's narrative was all over the map making for a some what confusing watch. The film makers in my opinion took everything they have seen in a horror film in the last ten years and then scaled it back to the point where it may scare a six year old.

Five female university students are invited to their initiation, they are asked to show up wearing Victoria Secret. Now they have to find their way out of a decrepit hospital where thousands have died in the 1930's of the white plague. I was thinking of using this disc for a beer coaster but the documentary of the actual events is quite interesting.


THE LAST SECT / IMDB rating 3.7
Another movie where the film makers seem to be more interested in showing off the fancy camera techniques rather than telling an intriguing story. David Carradine gets top billing playing Van Helsing on the trail of an internet dating service, run by vampires. Sounds like it could be kind of fun, right? Wrong, this is just so darn boring. Even Carradine blowing his flute and doing a couple of Kung Fu moves can't help this one. When I went to IMDB to find the rating I discovered this was Canadian made, so as a Canuck I just want to apologize to the rest of the world for this awkward spool of celluloid. And Justin Beiber.


Lee Marohn

EEGAH (1962) IMDB 2.1
Eegah is a caveman living in the desert near Palm Springs. He scares Roxy, who is out driving alone. Because it's a movie, instead of driving away, she faints. I love Richard Kiel, who played Eegah. I think this movie was better than a 2.1, but not much. The editing was horrible and it was fairly evident that the producer/writer/director wanted to showcase the bad acting and singing talents of his son, who was the male lead. The movie was filled with ridiculous dialogue and the crappiest dune buggy ever. Obviously, I would love to see this shown at Friday Fright Night.

NIGHT OF BLOODY HORROR (1969) imdb 3.7
Wes Stuart's brother was murdered years ago. Wes may or may not have done it. The story was decent, but it was poorly executed. It's more or less a slasher, but with minimal gore. Again, the editing was the worst thing about this movie. It was a little hard to follow at times. 3.7 might be a little generous.


Ashley Polnow

SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 4: INITIATION
This gem scored a 3.6 on IMDB. I think this movie should've had a different title. It didn't really belong with the SNDN series. There were a couple Christmas scenes, but they seemed forced in just to have the title. The main plot is about an evil ritual for eternal life. (In a nutshell.) Clint Howard is in it and Brian Yuzna directed it. (Two bonus points with me!) The special effects were pretty cool, and the story wasn't bad either. I'm not sure why it has such a lower rating on IMDB. It did remind me a lot of the movie Society. (Which came out the year prior and was also directed by Yuzna.)

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION
This movie was terrible! It scored a 2.9 on IMDB, but I would've given it an even lower rating than that. This movie had terrible acting in it, and it regurgitated a lot of key scenes from the prior movies. (Girl hanging on the meat hook, jumping out of the windows, being chased in the woods with a chainsaw, cutting himself with a straight razor, "get that ****** Leatherface!", "look what your brother did to the door", and the list goes on and on.) Most of the scenes in this movie were just silly. How did a bunch of city prom kids magically end up in the middle of nowhere? I liked it when Leatherface punched the door off of the hinges. That was great. Last but not least, I hated the conspiracy theory that they tried to shoehorn in at the end. I don't think they knew how to end this movie.


Erich C. Polnow

CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH 2
Thoughts: I though I had already seen this one. Turns out I saw 1 and 3. It was kinda fun. As with Troma, you get a lot of what you've come to expect. Chick, monsters, and plenty of ham. Some of the effects were really bad. And with the whole "mough-on-the-stomach" gag, I don't know why they didn't just do the screen fade mouths like all those still picture "cartoons" from the early seventies. At any rate, I think I liked the first one a lot more.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATION 3D
Thoughts: Where to begin? As much as I hate the idea of people slapping different covers on NOTLD and reselling it because of the whole copyright flaw... Now, filmmakers are realizing what a lot of independent comic creators did 8 yrs. ago. Just make some garbage zombie "story" and slap the moniker NOTLD on it to get an audience. This one in particular is upping the ante by adding "Reanimation" on it which is an obvious ploy to get even more people duped as it has Jeffery Combs in it.

Now, I love Jeffery Combs. And Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) is a pretty good actor too. But 99% of this movie was carried on the acting abilities of these two. And I don't just mean that their potent acting was the only thing going on in the film, but I also mean that there was nothing else going on in the film! The majority of it was these two talking and acting. Not a whole lot of anything I would call a story. The CG was beyond terrible. (CGI Flies?) Some makeup was ok while others were terrible. The obvious jabs at Sarah Palin were not clever or needed.

The rest of the cast was obvious filler as was their role in the film. The things that bother me much is that filmmakers can slap the title on their garbage and that somehow they can raise the money to get such talented actors and not be able to have a story for them. An atrocity to low budget film making. All of their priorities were &*<%ed.


Kristin Wicks

MONSTER BRAWL (2011) IMDb rating 3.8
Viewing this piece of garbage felt like I was truly taking one for the team. Classic monster icons getting in the ring to fight for their honor! The idea had so much potential. I remember seeing the trailer a while ago and looking forward to seeing this movie. Unfortunately, boredom immediately sets in after a mere few minutes. Thirty minutes went by before they were done introducing the players! Come on. By the time all of that filler was out of the way, I really didn't care what happened next. The monsters themselves looked pretty good, but the dialogue was embarrassingly weak, and I am still scratching my head as to how this movie was so astronomically boring. Humor could've saved the lengthy running time, but no such luck.

SADAKO 3D (2012) IMDb rating 3.4
This is essentially RING 3, following the other films in the RING series and being an adaptation of Koji Suzuki's latest book in the RING series, “S.” Suzuki actually wrote the screenplay for this, which really isn't horrible or difficult to watch, but it still doesn't work. This time around, the terror comes from newer technology like laptop computers and cell phones. A video error messages pops up, and when the teens click on it while alone, they promptly commit suicide. Or so the cops think. I'm sure it works just fine within the confines of the novel, but on film, the image of Sadako crawling out of the little screen is pretty corny and the scare factor instantly fades away. I still plan on purchasing the book to complete my collection, but this movie is simply mediocre.



December Mission - Let it Snow!

Gavin Schmitt

I watched "Silent Night" (2012), a loose remake. I enjoyed it... except that it had no snow in it, despite being Christmas in the Midwest. WTF?

SNOW BEAST (2011)
What we have here is a film with the light-hearted fun and poor acting of an ABC Family movie (or what I would assume they are -- I don't watch ABC Family... really). While the plot revolves around the family finding a yeti, it really seems to be more about father-daughter relationships. The yeti has maybe five minutes of screen time. This is, however, the film's strength. They id not have to rely on bad special effects and kept the bad costume on screen to a minimum. Not a great film by any means, but it doesn't overextend itself and comes in around average. Bonus fun: Jason London (the less-troubled London twin) as a deputy.

RARE EXPORTS
I had this film on my Netflix instant queue since October, when I was going to watch it as part of that month's non-stop marathon. Now I'm glad I saved it for later, as it fit perfectly in for this month, taking place on a snow-covered mountain near the Russian/Finnish border. I absolutely loved this film to no end, from the two kids, to the elves, to the giant Santa demon... it was beautifully shot, realistically gory, highly original... a few plot points were hard to understand (a few are still defying all logic in my brain), but this is more of a dark comedy than a straight horror, so I'm willing to let leaps of logic slide. One of the best films I have seen all year.


Steve Weakley

PONTYPOOL
Thoughts: I remember that back in July, when this was mentioned several times in our Canada Day mission, that I told myself I should go and watch it right away. Guess something else bright and shiny came along since I forgot all about it. Glad I remembered if for this mission and can't thank the people who recommended it enough. Great infection/zombie movie. Never shows you that much, but that's what makes it so good. Like great radio drama from the 30'w and 40's, it lets your mind create images for what you're hearing about, which can be SO much more effective. Not so much the ending itself, but the way everything is wrapped up seems kind of rushed, but that's minor. Going to add my voice to the choir, go find this. Well worth any effort put in to see it.

WENDIGO
Thoughts: I guess this is what would happen if someone tried to turn a 50's EC comic story into an art film. Family staying at a remote rental house for the weekend run into trouble with a local redneck. When the son is introduced to the legend of the Wendigo it's sort of a case of who's using who for revenge after the father is shot. The first hour or so is just way too many sequences of trees and snow and shadows and more trees to really justify. Has one of those ironic endings that people point out isn't really irony but then don't have a better word for it. Takes so long to really work in the fantasy elements that it's almost like they were added as an afterthought to make the film more commercial.


C. J. Horne

THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS
Great Hammer film that treats the Yeti as intelligent creatures with the great Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker (a very underrated actor).

DEAD SNOW
Good movie combining two good genres-Nazis and zombies.


Wayne Teeter

SHREDDER
My Thoughts:

This is a decent enough little slasher, which more or less sticks to the conventional stalk and kill flick. There is the tragic incident from the past that acts as a catalyst for the recent killings. There are sex and drugs obsessed characters, which the plot conveniently throws into an isolated location. Shredder sure has it's share of red herrings to keep you guessing the true identity of the killer. There is even warnings from the locals to keep away from that evil place.

All Cole wants is to get his new girlfriend, Kimberly alone at the abandoned ski lodge her rich father has recently purchased. Cole is looking forward to a romantic weekend, just the two of them.  But Kimberly has other plans which include her best friend Robyn, a couple of pot heads and Chad, the guy she really wants to shag. And Pike, who may or may not be a lesbian.

The ski lodge had become abandoned after a tragic ski accident.  Snow boarders were recklessly disobeying the rules and conducts of the slopes, causing a young girl's death. Now it's death to all snow boarders, as someone wants them all dead.  But who? It is sort of a silly premise, and the film makers keep it on the lighter side most of the time. But some of the gore gags can be a little nasty looking, especially a decapitation which is easily the highlight, and is on par with most of the effects with any of the earlier Friday the 13th films.

For the most part Shredder has a good vibe going for it, emitting a nostalgic feeling for the slashers of the 80s. But then just as quickly moves into the self referential territory many of the newer slashers tread on. Thanks to Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson and Scream dialogue such as "You can't kill me, I'm a virgin" and " You know you shouldn't go in the basement alone, when there is a killer loose" is delivered on occasions.

Once the killer is revealed, I found it to be a bit of a stretch for the imagination. But considering this movie was never boring, the wee bit of T&A and the fact that it entertained me for an hour and a half, I'll let my imagination stretch for it.

FROZEN
My Thoughts:

This film may just as well do to chair lifts as what Jaws has done to large open bodies of water for me. I felt this film to be extremely terrorfying and found myself literally sitting on the edge of my sofa on numerous occasions. The tension that is created by the characters, their situation and the music was unbearable. That tension is built upon in the most realistic manner possible with incredible performances by the three main leads. The acting is bang on, even managing to out real reality based television shows. The clever dialogue and it's deliveries are quite believable, the kind young twenty something's may actually use.

When we are introduced to the three central characters, they are scheming to bribe the chair lift operator to save money from the over priced lift tickets. Dan and Lynch have been best friends since grade one. Parker, Dan's girlfriend of almost one year sees herself as the third wheel on this ski trip.

After pleading with the lift operator for one last lift up the mountain, a string of incidents occur. Believing the lift to be empty, it is shut down for the week, leaving Dan, Lynch and Parker stranded high above the slopes. At first they are just annoyed, then the lights are shut down and they become anxious and desperate as they realize their fate.

Fighting against the harsh winter elements at such a high elevation and a growing presence of another danger on the ground. You can't help but sympathize with these characters. Figurtively speaking, one moment they are shedding their winter clothing to bare their souls to each other and the next showing their will for survival.

Director Adam Green pushes all of our emotional buttons with this one, even kicking the viewer in the guts more than once. I have been entertained by all of Green's films and appreciate the cameo Kane Hodder has made in this one. But if I was him, I would move out of the Bayou and concentrate more on projects like Frozen.


Scott Finnegan

DEAD SNOW (2009)
Nazi Zombies in Norway! Fun little horror film, with a slightly new twist on the zombies. Even though the reason they are zombies is never really clear to me, the blood and gore effects redeem the gap. It would have been more effective if the characters were fleshed out a little more. They are mostly interchangeable, and typical of generic young person in peril films. 7/10

NECROSIS (2009)
Terrible terrible terrible. Like an Asylum movie mixed with a Lifetime movie. I had a mixed reaction during the credits. Tiffany and Michael Berryman. Maybe there is a little hope? Wooden acting, no real tension, cliché dialogue... The list of bad things is endless. And too many redheads. ;-)


Jerry Downing

DEVIL TIMES FIVE aka Peopletoys aka The Horrible House on the Hill (1974)
A van transporting a group of crazy kids crashes and they escape to a resort where several people are on winter vacation. One by one the vacationers are picked off. I thought this was a good movie. Not the greatest but I was never bored and the time flew by while I was watching it. There is some fun, inventive kill scenes that kept me entertained. The first kill scene was a bit much though. The color of the screen gets washed out and everything goes into slow motion while each of the kids attack the first victim. This goes on for probably 5 minutes. Not sure what the point of that was but it did drag the movie down a little bit during that scene.

THE SNOW CREATURE (1954)
A group of botanists travel to the Himalayas to seek out new forms of plant life but instead stumble upon a Yeti family. One of them is taken alive and transported back to L.A where his immigration status is discussed. Is he a monster or a man? Well if he's a man he better have his papers in order! This movie was really pretty bad. My goal for this month was to find a good snow movie and a fun, cheesy snow movie. I succeeded finding the good one with Devil Times Five. The Snow Creature falls into that unfortunate category of boring. Even at 70 minutes, it trudged along with not much happening on screen to hold my interest. A real turkey that could have easily fit into last months challenge.


Lance Ford

YETI - CURSE OF THE SNOW DEMON - 2008
For the most part I liked this movie, except for the stupid writing about halfway through, which caused stupid behavior on the part of the actors and because of that I was disppointed by the ending. Would recommend the first half and then watch something else.

WIND CHILL - 2007
At first, I didn't care about the characters, but then when the ghosts came into the story, it got better as the backstory began to unfold.  I'd recommend this one.


Lee Marohn

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)
Yes, it's true: I've never seen this before, even though my future wife (Linnea Quigley) is in it. A young boy sees his parents murdered by a guy dressed like Santa Claus. He goes to live in an orphanage run by a somewhat psychotic and very abusive nun. Obviously, he's going to grow up and kill people.

I vaguely remember some of the public outcry when this was originally released and I'll admit that the use of a beloved icon like Santa as a slasher did bother me just a little bit. But most kids shouldn't be watching anyway, right? Pretty good movie.

JACK FROST (1996)
I liked this one even more. A convicted killer is on his way to be executed. He gets doused with some experimental chemical and evidently becomes one with the snow. He uses his new power to get revenge on the cop who arrested him. There were some pretty cool kills. This was a pretty fun and ridiculous film.


Erik Martin

THE THING (2011)
A young female scientist is hired to come to a Norwegian research station in Antarctica to help study the frozen remains of an alien being. No sooner does it wake up, however, than it begins to hunt down the humans, absorbing and imitating them.

It seems old hat nowadays to continue to rant and rave about remakes, so I won't bother with it here. Still, despite the name, this is not a remake, but a very well done prequel to the immortal classic The Thing. The CGI was actually very good, and there were some moments that were scary as Hell! It actually managed to evoke pleasant memories of watching the first Thing, and it was a hell of a ride! The bleak, snowy landscape worked wonders of establishing a feel of isolation, and even though it still very much followed the storyline of the original, it was also able to have some scenes of it's own and stand on it's own two feet as a worthwhile movie (the suspenseful "checking the fillings" scene was almost - though not quite - as edge-of-your-seat as the blood test from the first one). Great movie. I wish it had a different title, but I'm glad I watched it.

BARRICADE
A newly-made widower takes his two children up to a cabin in the mountains, as per his late wife's final wishes, to give their children their first white Christmas. As soon as they get there, they start doing traditional Christmas activities; lighting the Christmas tree, building fires, hot cocoa, etc. But then, just as a snowstorm sets in, weird things begin to happen: The man keeps seeing people walking around outside, steps in the attic, children go missing and then reappear, etc. Their car is buried in the snow within a matter of minutes, and with no way out, the guy barricades themselves in the house . . . but has he kept the evil out, or has he locked it in?

This one wasn't all that bad. I have to say that I'm still not exactly sure what all the fuss was about; what exactly were the kids scared of again? When exactly did everything start going downhill? One moment they are building snowmen, then they are inside and terrified of "something" coming to get them. Maybe I should watch the deleted scenes. Also, and the rest of this paragraph is a bit of a spoiler, there is a twist at the end which is so heavily foreshadowed and obvious that it really shouldn't classify as a twist ending. There are no real surprises.

Still, despite the confusion over plot devices and obvious scriptwriting, this one was built around an almost refreshingly nice premise; the story is basically about a man dealing with the fact that his wife is dead and he has to raise his kids alone. There were no skeletons in the closet with him and his wife, his kids don't resent or hate him, and he's not an abusive parent; he's a loving father who is lost and doesn't know what to do with his children. I found myself rooting for him and hoping he'd make it out okay (a rare thing for me). And while the scares weren't in full force here, there were some scenes that were genuinely spooky and unnerving. Nothing spectacular, but not too bad either.


Steve Sapsford

THE CHILDREN (2008)
Tag Line: You Brought Them Into This World. They’ll Take You Out.

So, a pair of white-bread whiney yuppie families go off a ski lodge/winter home to celebrate Christmas and or the New Year. They are surrounded by snow so any attempt at an escape would be difficult at best. Slowly the younger children start to become sick with flu-like symptoms and nose bleeds. The children get increasingly violent as the disease (I’m assuming it’s a disease – the movie never says) progresses.

There is much blood that is shed. I liked this movie not so much for the killing/gore (although there’s plenty of that) I liked it for the tension that builds as the children become more and more dangerous.

What would you do if you found out that your 8-year-old daughter killed and ate the family dog and now has her sights on you? I would recommend this movie to someone who likes a slow burn rather than a splatter fest.

WARNING: If you like clean cut explainable endings, you will hate the way this movie ends.


SUBJECT TWO (2006)
Tag Line: Death Has Its Side Effects

A guy (Adam) answers an email invitation to assist a famous doctor (Dr. Franklin Vick) with his ground-breaking research into healing the sick in his isolated, snowbound cabin (are you picking up the Frankenstein motif yet?).

Upon meeting Adam, Dr. Vick unceremoniously slits Adam’s throat and watched him bleed out until he’s dead. It seems that Dr. Vick has been working on a serum/nanotech/clone thing and is able to bring Adam back from the dead. Dr. Vick resurrects Adam only to kill him again and again, each time resurrecting him with the serum.

The snow-bound isolation made this movie all the more tense. I can’t say I loved this movie – it tended to drag a little in the middle (much like me after Thanksgiving dinner).

Subject Two is worth watching and comes to a very satisfying conclusion.


Damien Glonek

RARE EXPORTS
When you need snow in a movie, watch a movie from Finland. I have heard of this film for awhile and missed it's short theatrical run, but given the missions seemed like a perfect time to check it out. And I am certainly glad I did. A totally new twist on a Xmas horror film and very creepy while not going the homicidal guy dressed in a Santa suit, turns out the real Santa is homicidal enough. And then there are the elves. Not quite sure if I get the ending 100%, but I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a new twist on Xmas horror, hell this may just become a Holiday staple in the Glonek household now. One doesn't generally think of Scandinavian counties when thinking of genre films, but between this and Troll Hunter they should not be overlooked.

FROSTBITTEN
If there isn't enough snow in Finland, then there certainly seems to be in Sweden, at least when there is 30 days of night in this, Sweden's first vampire movie. More or less back in 19944 a SS captain is bitten by a vampire, flash forward to present day and he is now a doctor who developed a pill to turn people into vampires. It takes awhile for the film to really get going into the vampire realm after the prologue, but it eventually goes full scale blood sucking after a comedic/teen movie kind of introduction of the vampire pill is introduced at teen party. Not too bad of a film, and very different in every way from Let the Right One in.


Name: Craig J. Clark

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (Freddie Francis, 1972)
Thoughts: Two of the segments in this nifty Amicus horror anthology qualify it for this month's theme. The first, "And All Through the House," takes place on a snowy Christmas Eve and finds Joan Collins being stalked by an escaped homicidal maniac dressed as Father Christmas. And in the last, "Blind Alleys," the residents of a home for the blind rise up against their new superintendent, a retired army major, when he shuts off the heat in the middle of a chilly winter. I call that a bonus.

GHOST STORY (John Irvin, 1981)
Thoughts: Almost the entirety of this film takes place in a snow swept New England town, but I have to say I found Peter Straub's original novel infinitely more disturbing. The decryption of the first snow-related death was a lot more horrific than what wound up on film (which was toned down to a huge degree). Still, it's one of the few horror films out there about a group of old fogeys confronting a dark secret from their pasts. And don't miss Craig Wasson's full-frontal plunge out of his penthouse window, Jack Cardiff's superb cinematography, and Dick Smith's "Make-Up Illusions," which he deployed with the help of protégé Rick Baker. Call me old-fashioned, but the old-school practical effects in a film like this just work better for me.


Erich C. Polnow

SANTA CLAWS
Thoughts: Terrible. And as much as I like pointless 90's T&A "horror" movies, this one just didn't make a lick of sense. He lived right next to the girl he was obsessed with? The "weapon" made no sense. And there was a snow scene. An impossible one at that; you can't dig up the (frozen) ground to bury bodies. Especially, with a few feet of snow on it. Russo... WTF?

COLD PREY
Thoughts: WOW! I was impressed to say the least. I love it when someone gets the basic premise of a film like this and adds their own zing. I'm usually not a slasher fan per se, but this was enjoyable. A serious take on the genre and an original one. I did watch have to watch the sequel back to back. Nothing but praise for this one and it's accompanying partner.


Stacey H.

Some great entries this month! I've really enjoyed reading everyone's picks.

For some reason, my films also would have been appropriate for an "eye" themed month.

FROSTBITTEN (2006), which has already been discussed here. I enjoyed this movie a lot. Good humor and an interesting take on the vampire theme. Some really good creature effects, too, for the vampire-doctor. Also, the talking dogs were a hoot!

My second pick was Dead of Winter (1987). A psychological thriller starring Mary Steenburgen and Roddy McDowall. Unfortunately, Netflix had it on "short wait" and I was running out of month, so I ended up watching:

MY LITTLE EYE (2002). The tag line is "Fear is not knowing. Terror is finding out." Five twenty-something's are picked to live in an isolated house for 6 months as part of a web-based reality show. If anyone leaves before the time is up, no one wins the $1 million prize. The movie fast forwards through the beginning of their stay and focuses on the last few weeks, which occur in winter. This contributes to the isolated, boxed-in feel of the movie.

Definitely tense. This film did a good job of getting creepy quickly and not letting up. I was happy with the set-up and the "turn" of the film. Unfortunately, however, about 10 minutes or so before the "reveal" I had an idea about where the movie might be going. When the reveal finally came, I was disappointed as it was nowhere near the idea that I had and I actually liked my idea better. I didn't feel that the ending matched all the great build-up that they gave it.

As a side note, for any Xena fans, Jennifer Sky is in this movie. Bradley Cooper also makes a quick appearance.


John Pata

RARE EXPORTS
This is one of those that walks the fine line of "is it horror… or not?" At least in my opinion. The story is great, some rich dude discovers Santa's buried in a mountain and wants him. He brings in a crew to blow up the mountain and retrieve the jolly bastard… Thing is, he's not so much of a jolly bastard. This Santa Claus gives kids the gift of death. As expected, things go wrong, Santa and his elves are on the loose, and things in this small mountain town aren't so merry on Christmas. The casting was great, tons of great performances, the twist/take on Santa's mythology was fantastic, and there was plenty of humor sprinkled throughout the film that made it quite enduring. However, the last 15-20 minutes really cheapened it for me. What started as, and maintained, a grim, dark story quickly became more of a feel good, family holiday story. Sure, it's still different from norm, but I felt like everything they set up (very successfully, mind you) was crapped on with the happy ending. Perhaps I'm too much of a bitter jack*ss that doesn't like the happy endings. That very well could be.

SANTA CLAWS
I don't want to talk about it. Ever.

SAINT NICK
Those Europeans, I tell yah. They like portraying the bearded, gift-giving dude as a kid-killing villain… And I love it! This flick focuses on St. Nick's Day instead of Xmas, which I thought was a pretty nice change. Basically, Nick was like a Viking, going from town to town demanding the citizens give him what he wants. If they don't, the kids die. Parents seek revenge and torch his ship. Now, anytime there's a full moon on St. Nick's Day, he comes back to kill. Pretty great concept, right? When all is said and done, this was fun as hell. There's super funny dialogue (which completely caught me off guard), fantastic practical effects (there's plenty of flying and spewing blood going on), and a bunch of interesting characters. I was quite pleased with this one, not perfect, but well worth the viewing and one I'll revisit for sure.


Ashley Polnow

COLD PREY
This movie is a Norwegian slasher. A group of people go on a snowboarding trip, and one of them breaks his ankle. They take refuge in an abandoned hotel, but it isn't abandoned. Someone lives there and is after them. I liked the killer's look. It was very intimidating and creepy. He was big and fast like Michael Meyers. The hotel reminded me of the Shining. Huge place in the middle of nowhere with a lot of hallways. Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and it didn't have a weak ending.

COLD PREY 2
I think I liked this movie more than the first. You can watch them back to back and have it be one continuous movie. This one takes place at the hospital. The survivor is there, all of the victims that he killed, and the killer. (They had to bring all of the bodies in.) The killer isn't dead, though. The hospital revives him, and the killing begins again. This movie had more gore, and it reminded me a lot of Halloween 2.