CLICK THE LOGO ABOVE TO GET BACK TO THE MAIN SITE
Copyright © Kitley's Krypt
2013 RONDO AWARD
FOR BEST BOOK
CLICK HERE TO
KRYPTIC ARMY 2012 MISSIONS
January - It's the End of the
February - Hammer Rises from the
March - Let There Be Blood
April - Descubren el Horror¡
May - Remember the Soldiers
June - Sequels, Prequels, &
July - Happy Canada Day
August - Attack of the Giant
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!
BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER (1960)
A jet pilot flies through a wormhole and ends up in a
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:
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.
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.
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.
During autopsy after opening victim’s skull & examining the
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:
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.
See Number 1.
See Number 1.
See Number 1.
See Number 1.
See Number 1.
See Number 1.
See Number 1.
See Number 1.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Thanks for finally making me cross these two off the list.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!