Scream, My Halloween Movie Repertoire, Scream!

OK ghoulie gang, it’s my favorite time of the year again! The bare branches are scraping the night skies, the pumpkins are in bloom, and there’s a crinkly carpet of red, gold, and yellow underfoot. And oh yes, Mr. Cochran, you bet your candy corns everybody’s got their masks. More so than ever.

Time for the marathon! Not just thirty one first time watch horror movies, but as many as I can fit in. So come along as I find the time to plunk my butt on the old scary sofa and pin my eyes to the booooooob tube.

Bulletproof Vest | Scream Wiki | Fandom

Day #1 – Scream 3 – So I had previously seen Scream 1 and 2. This year, watching the whole series with my eldest daughter. First time seeing part 3. We’re on location in Los Angeles, the meta-levels five feet high and rising as we tour the set of Stab 3, the latest slasher flick in the series based on the Woodsboro killings of the first two movies. Irrepressible Deputy Dewey is on board as a consultant, ostensibly keeping an eye on Sidney, who has gone into isolation after the rampage at Windsor College in the previous installment and a series of anonymous prank calls. When the cast starts dying in the same order as their real-life counterparts, LA detective Kincaid joins forces with Dewey, Sid, and mercenary reporter Gale to unmask the latest Ghostface killer. The trilogy ending (until Scream 4) twist isn’t bad, but the reduced budget is really showing on this one. Still, I’m invested in the characters and they carry it. Bonus points for Sid wearing Derek’s frat necklace from the last movie through this one.

LA CASA NERA - Spietati - Recensioni e Novità sui Film

Scream 4 – In this improbably entertaining sequel, Craven ups the blood and madness significantly. Sidney returns to Woodsboro riding the tide of a best selling memoir of her horrific experiences. Dewey is now sheriff, and still married to Gale, who, looking for a comeback and jealous of Sid’s newfound success, teams up with a couple of the local high school cinema club nerds to suss out a new Ghostface killer stalking the local teens. New faces to the series Rory Culkin and especially Emma Roberts as Sidney’s cousin Jill give really entertaining performances. Always good to see Anthony Anderson too. The meta is strong with this one, the kills are brutal and interesting, and the opening Stab cameos are a hoot. Good soundtrack too. Sadly, Wes Craven’s last outing as a director, but he went out on a high note.

The Little Shop of Horrors | Music Box Theatre

Day #2 – The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). The unique crossbred plant of an amateur botanist causes a stir in a low rent floral shop in LA’s skid row district. Its peculiar diet leads to a serious of local disappearances. Of course I had seen the musical 80’s version numerous times (both the upbeat theatrical cut and the downers extended version), but I’d never seen Roger Corman’s original, only been vaguely aware that Jack Nicholson was in it (he plays the Bill Murray role of the sadist in the dentist’s office from the remake). The movie is populated with an ensemble cast of bizarre, broadly comedic characters. Dick Miller (of Gremlins and a host of other appearances), a regular customer of Mr. Mushnick’s floral shop, habitually eats flowers with a helping of seasoning, and hurries home because ‘the wife’s having begonias tonight.’ Hapless protagonist Seymour (Jonathan Haze) lives with his crazed and highly medicated mother (Myrtle Vain), who seems to keep nothing but medicine in the house in terms of food and drink, and serves chow mein noodles with epsom salt and TCM herbs. The cops, Sgt. Joe Fink (Wally Campo) and Officer Frank Stoolie (Jack Warford), are flat-affect-no-inflection Dragnet spoofs (at one point placidly commenting “How are the kids?” “Lost one. Playin’ with matches.” “Tough break.”). Somehow this lends the whole grainy black and white enterprise a feverish, nightmarish air. Characters act in the name of dream logic, and feel less human and more like stand-ins. It’s genuinely funny, but also genuinely disturbing at times, particularly when the plant buds open at the end.

Antebellum Review: Janelle Monáe Deserves Better | Den of Geek

Antebellum – Spoilers in this one. Sometimes being a history nerd undermines your entertainment. In this case, I figured out the central twist of Antebellum about fifteen or twenty minutes in when the torch bearing Confederates traipsed around shouting a Nazi German slogan (with clear allusions to the tiki torch fiasco in South Carolina). Told out of order, we’re presented with the horrors of slave life on a small cotton plantation guarded by a group of Confederate soldiers. Right off there were little hints that this wasn’t what was going on. Why are soldiers concerned with slaves? Why were there so many slaves on this little patch of cotton? Why do they cremate the slaves and why is the cotton burned? I couldn’t tell if this was inaccuracy, limited budget, or deliberate (of course, later we learn it is deliberate), so that kinda took me out of it for a little bit. The big hand tip is when the slaves are ordered to whistle a Negro work tune and choose Lift Every Voice and Sing (and later Always And Forever). Then a ringing cellphone brings us to the present (actually a flashback) showing how Janelle Monae wound up in this fix. Here the movie lost me a bit more, only because I couldn’t relate as well to the characters. They were a bit too bougie for me. Yet, their daily lives are peppered with a number of subtle racial confrontations – a dismissive concierge, a thoughtless waitress, a mysterious correspondent who peppers her conversation with undermining racial digs (you’re so articulate!) and a racist talk show guest, which, I can see is a commentary on the fact that although they’re successful, they’re still subjected to this strange and pervasive white ego at all times. Antebellum tries to show the viewer how the past informs the present and how outmoded dogma still manages to survive in modern day, like a masked maniac unable to die. I just wish the execution was a little better. The villains aren’t memorable, and besides Monae, we really don’t know what’s going on with the other captives either. Gabourey Sidibe is a hurricane and always welcome, and though I kinda disliked her character it was also refreshing to see her in a confident, self-actualized role for a change. Some striking imagery (Monae in the Union officer coat on the horse with her hatchet, dreds flying is particularly indelible), but never quite feels like it earns it for some reason.

Schlock & Awe: Cushing and Lee Take on THE SKULL — Nerdist

Day #3 – The Skull – An occult scholar and collector (Peter Cushing) purchases the skull of the Marquis de Sade and skull-related shenanigans ensue. Always good to see Cushing and Christopher Lee together (Lee plays a friendly rival from whom the skull was originally stolen), but this Amicus possession flick is so low key it doesn’t really blip above a flat line. I really dig the ‘skull vision’ POV, even though the dastardly Marquis is looking out his own nose hole for some reason.

Vampires vs. the Bronx – Review | Netflix Teen Horror | Heaven of Horror

Vampires Vs. The Bronx – A trio of West Indian kids discover the shadowy real estate company spearheading the gentrification of their beloved Bronx neighborhood is a front for a group of bloodsucking vampires looking to establish new hunting grounds. Maybe the metaphor is on the nose, but I liked the concept, and there’s plenty of clever vampire references in this for me to love. The evil company is The Murnau Corporation (its logo a woodcut of Vlad Tepis). The bodega owner shows the kids ‘Blade’ to kick off their anti-vampire training, and they go the rest of the movie calling them suckheads. It’s low budget, and it overstays its welcome, but I really enjoyed the first half, and I like Shea Wigham as an oily familiar (though his character turn’s a little weird). Method Man plays a Catholic priest and Zoe Saldana shows up. Best line: “I’m Haitian! My grandma’s been preparing me for this my whole life!”

Day #4 –

Bug – Bradford Dillman is an overly curious science guy on hand when an earthquake splits open a piece of land outside Riverside, CA, spewing forth a horde of foot long D&D flame beetles (ash-consuming cockroaches that can rub their buggy bits together and ignite fires). The bugs gruesomely burn up a cat, ride in the tailpipes of cars, blow up a pickup, and proceed to attack people and burn down half the town in their all-consuming need to produce and devour cinder. After Dillman’s girlfriend Joanna Miles is burned alive by the things, he mysteriously takes them in to study, first naming them (Parmiterians, after himself, Professor Parmiter), then successfully communicating with them (they arrange themselves to spell out their messages to him on his wall), and finally, weirdly, breeding them into flying hybrids when he finally realizes he may have gone too far. I’m a Night of The Lepus/Food of The Gods kinda guy, so I enjoyed all the macro-lens camerawork and rampaging nature stuff, but to anybody else it’s a clunker for sure.

Host Review | Movie - Empire

Host – Ingenious and very entertaining horror movie entirely shot on Zoom, about a group of girlfriends who get together to hold a virtual séance online and swiftly get in over their heads when one of their number doesn’t take it seriously and invites the manifestation of a malevolent entity. I was really impressed at the creativity on display here, working in the confines of the central conceit. It’s genuinely shocking at times.

Day #5 –

Stranded in the depths

The Pool – Survival horror from Thailand about a guy, his dog, and his girlfriend, a model, who get caught in an empty 9 meter swimming pool with an increasingly ravenous crocodile. Sounds very simple, but thanks to the depth of character development and the masterful, incremental upping of the tension, it’s high effective. Reminded me a bit of last year’s Crawl, which I loved.

Phantom of the Opera (1943)

The Phantom of The Opera (1943) – So I got this as part of the Universal Horror boxed set and was a little put out to realize it wasn’t the original 1925 Lon Chaney version, which I have never seen. It’s fine. Claude Rains is set up as a justified (if misguided) Phantom, and I recognized all the familiar plot lines from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical version. However, the numerous, inscrutable (to me) operatic productions go on too long and frankly feel like padding. Cool to see Leo Carillo as somebody other than Pancho from The Cisco Kid, and a young Hume Cronyn. The leads are all likeable, the romantic interplay between Christine and her two suitors is entertaining enough, but this feels like an MGM musical. The Phantom himself is almost an afterthought.  The Technicolor is very beautiful and bright. Too bright and beautiful for a gothic horror movie.

CHILDREN OF THE CORN: King of Corny | by Rod Machen | Cinapse

Day #6 – Children of The Corn – I was obsessed with the commercial and poster for this movie as a kid but never did see it. Read the story in King’s Night Shift, which was always on my dad’s nightstand. In the little Nebraska town of Gatlin, one day the children rise up and slaughter the adults, following the prophetic edicts of Isaac, the new kid in town, son of some preacher somewhere. A boy, Joseph, tries to escape Isaac’s He Who Walks Behind The Rows cult, only to have his throat cut by the tall, gangly, red headed enforcer Malachi (the very memorable Courtney Gains – OUTLANDERRR!), the right hand man of Isaac, the diminutive, screechy leader (who is apparently supposed to be 12 years old, but in my head-canon works better as the 25 year old he actually is, well-played by the diminutive John Franklin). Joseph stumbles out of the cornfield onto the highway, where a newly minted doctor (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend (Linda Hamilton) run him down. They put him in the trunk and drive around looking for someone to report the accident to, only to wander into Gatlin and the juvenile murder cult. There’s a lot of cool ideas here hampered by Horton and Hamilton who are just silly as a couple of bumbling yuppies wandering from point A to point B, barely concerned with the dead kid in their trunk, and some dopey incongruous comedy. He Who Walks Behind The Rows, once revealed, fails to impress. Due for a solid remake I think.

Throwback Thursday: “Squirm” (1976)! | Eric Robert Nolan, Author

Squirm – The worms go in, the worms go out….a violent thunderstorm causes a transformer to discharge 300,000 volts of electricity into the muddy ground as millions of earthworms surface to escape the rainwater, and gives them the ability to swarm and tunnel into the flesh of the back country yokes of Fly Creek. Meanwhile red headed and red blooded Georgia cutie Geri (Patricia Sanders) coaxes her long distance boyfriend Mick (Don Scardino) down from New York City, eliciting a lot of city boy fish out of water encounters and the jealousy of local suitor Roger (R.A. Dow). Slow to get going, but when it does…boy, there are a LOT of worms. They drop from the ceiling, they flow on a tidal wave into a bar, they push wriggle out of showerheads, and fall in a literal avalanche. Again, the macro-lens work of the earthworms yawning their maws dubbed over with screeching really compounds the skin crawling. And where’d they get these squirming noises? Sounds like uncooked hamburger patties on spin cycle. The worms en masse are the real draw, and the grisly makeup of Rick Baker.

Film Freak Central - Wishmaster Collection: 4-Film Set [Vestron Video  Collector's Series] - Blu-ray Disc

Day #7 – Wishmaster –  When a drunken dock worker drops and smashes a 2,000 year old statue of Ahura Mazda (crushing Ted Raimi in the process), a red jewel containing an evil djinn (Andrew Divoff) pops out and finds its way to an upscale auction house where an appraiser (Tammy Lauren) sees something inexplicable and awakens the Djinn. After leaving the gem with a colleague, the Djinn escapes and begins to wreak bloody havoc in an attempt to get its discoverer to wish for three wishes, the third of which will unleash his army of djinn to rule the earth. A unique, inspired concept and some really creative gore and laugh out loud cursed wish fulfilments buoy the sometimes cheesy presentation. I loved all the Zoroastrianism and the final act really soars. Love love loved the ending.  A couple of Wes Craven regulars make appearances; Robert Englund as a rich bon vivant and Tony Todd as a doorman who falls for one of the Djinn’s irresistible offers.

The Eye – A blind violinist (Jessica Alba) receives a cornea transplant to restore her sight, but finds herself plagued by visions of death and the dying being escorted out of life. Since she hasn’t seen a thing since the age of 5, everybody convinces her her eyes are playing tricks, until she sees another woman looking back at her out of her own mirror. A classic, solid concept perfectly well done, even if it doesn’t have many surprises. I kept thinking about how I wished I was watching Body Parts with Jeff Fahey (in the movie. Not like, on my couch or anything).

Z — Русский трейлер (2020) – iVideos

Day #8 – Z – Joshua, a lonesome eight year old boy (Jett Kline), befriends an imaginary being named Z who becomes an increasingly bad influence on his behavior, to the mounting chagrin of his mother Elizabeth (Keegan Connor Tracy), who is trying to deal with the impending death of her ailing mother. As Joshua’s behavior becomes more destructive, his mother turns to the advice of their family therapist (Stephen McHattie), and she learns that there’s more to Z than she thinks. Good performances and definitely watchable. There’s at least one well-earned, extremely shocking moment, but the ending is a bit too prolonged and unfocused, and as a result the denouement ends up less than satisfying. Unless I missed it, I don’t even fully understand what Z is. There seem to be some plot threads that are left dangling throughout. Was Elizabeth’s father sexually abusive and is Z some kind of manifestation of that evil? It’s something I wound up thinking, but never really figured out. The movie works best when it focuses on Josh, and loses much when that focus shifts in the third act.

Spiral (2019) – Movie Review | Shudder LGBT Horror | Heaven of Horror

Spiral – A couple (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Ari Cohen) and their daughter (Jennifer LaPorte) move into a secluded rural community where one, a writer and former victim of homophobic violence, ghostwriting a conversion therapy proponent’s biography, begins to suspect their neighbors of undefinable wrongdoing. I love these kind of Rosemary’s Baby stories, and the set up for this one is really intriguing, the paranoia palpable, but I feel like it doesn’t really deliver in the latter half. The threat of anti-gay violence looms large and I understand the metaphor for the antagonists zeroing in on vulnerable communities to prey on, but I wish the ‘rules’ of this and the nature of the evil was more clearly defined because I was left kinda puzzled. In this case, maybe message overran story a bit.

Film review: Paul Leni's 'The Man Who Laughs' | Apollo Magazine

Day #9 – The Man Who Laughs – Every year I end up watching something I think is horror but isn’t. This year it’s definitely The Man Who Laughs. As a child, Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt) the son of a political enemy of King James, has his face slashed into a terrible Chelsea smile grin so that he will always laugh at the folly of his foolish father, executed by Iron Maiden. The orphaned Gwynplaine saves a snow blinded baby from the frozen arms of her dead mother, and finally finds a home in the circus vardo of the kindly Ursus (Cesare Gravina). The girl grows up to be Dea (Mary Philbin), and she and Gwynplaine fall in love, but Gwynplaine is reluctant to marry her because he feels he’s taking advantage of her due to her blindness. Meanwhile, one of the men who conspired against his father Barkilphedro (Brandon Hurst), is working with a beauteous Duchess (the extremely sexy Olga Baklanova) to put the final touches on securing his father’s stolen lands and titles for himself….but then word of Gwynplaine’s nobility reaches the ear of Queen Anne (Josepine Crowell). Conrad Veidt’s rictus grin famously inspired The Joker from Batman, and Jack Pierce’s makeup really does the job. It’s quite ghastly, and I don’t know how it was done, but Veidt does an enormous job acting around that hideous smile. His eyes speak volumes of alternating sadness, pride, love and delight and I’m really glad I watched this, but it’s basically a melodrama in gorgeous expressionistic Gothic horror trappings with an incongruous third act dash of swashbuckling.

Nightmare Castle (1965)

Nightmare Castle – When a scientist (Paul Muller) discovers his wife (the beautiful Barbara Steele) having a tryst with the gardener (Marino Mase) in the greenhouse, he savagely beats, tortures, and electrocutes them both, cuts out their hearts, and uses the blood to rejuvenate his housekeeper Solange – Helga Line. When he learns that her inheritance is willed to her asylum patient stepsister Jenny (Barbara Steel, this time blonde), he marries her (Sure! No problem!) and then conspires to gaslight her into full blown madness. The ghosts of the murdered wife and her lover speak to Jenny in her dreams, reliving their demise, and bid her to be the vessel for their revenge. A little bit overlong, but lush atmosphere, some truly horrific occurrences, and a crazy grand guignol climax made this a creepy watch. 

Gonjiam Haunted Asylum Remake in the Works – /Film

Day #10 – Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum – A crew of spookhunting Youtubers vying for a million views and the revenue that engenders stream themselves live sneaking into and exploring a haunted, abandoned asylum. Self-explanatory found footage horror. A winsome cast and some goosebump-inducing imagery follow a long, but not unentertaining setup.

The Dark Half (1993) | Motion State Review

Day #11 – The Dark Half – A writer (Timothy Hutton) with literary aspirations is approached by a furtive blackmailer who threatens to expose him as the bestselling writer of a series of tawdry men’s adventure novels which he writes under a pen name, so he and his wife arrange the public funeral of his alter-ego. Then the bloody minded alter-ego decides he’s not ready to die. This is Stephen King at his most writerly. I love King, and I haven’t read this book, but it’s difficult to relate to an author poo-pooing his own success, and as much as I like Hutton, and as entertaining as his bad alter-ego is, this gets increasingly absurd as it goes along.

The Vampire Bat (Majestic 1933) - Classic Monsters

Day #12 – The Vampire Bat – Dr. von Nieman (Lionel Atwill) and police inspector Karl Breetschneider (Melvyn Douglas) investigate a series of murders plaguing a small German village. The victims are being found drained of blood, and von Nieman and several of the townspeople are convinced the culprit is a vampire; possibly local bat-obsessed simpleton Herman (good old Dwight Frye). As Inspector Breetschneider slowly begins to overcome his own skepticism, events take a surprising turn. I really enjoyed this oddball little mystery movie, which seems to be heading towards a Scooby Doo type plausible ending, but then veers into even weirder territory. Lionel Atwill and Dwight Frye are 30’s horror standbys, always reliable, and their characters are very quirky and memorable. Throw in Fay Wray and I’m sold.

Slacker Cinema: January 2020

Day #13 – The House That Dripped Blood – A host of familiar and delightful British actors populate this anthology movie, centered around the titular house and penned by Robert Bloch. The first story concerns a writer (Raiders of The Lost Ark’s Denholm Elliott) whose psychotic character Dominic (Tom Adams) begins to have a life of its own. In the second, Peter Cushing and Joss Ackland become enamored with a beauteous waxwork woman in a nearby museum. In my favorite, story, Christopher Lee plays the abusive father of a little girl (Chloe Franks) who gets her revenge in the end via a book on witchcraft in his library. In The Cloak, an eccentric horror actor (played wonderfully by Third Doctor John Pertwee), flabbergasted at his current project’s lack of realism, purchases a mysterious cloak which begins to turn him into a vampire. Stories are hit and miss, but when they hit they’re pretty good. I really liked Pertwee and Lee’s stories, didn’t care much for the other two. Very pulpy, EC horror type stuff. Got a giggle when Pertwee gets in a dig on Lee when he mentions Dracula and says “I mean the Lugosi one. Not the one with that new chap.” Also, Ingrid Pitt. Ye gods.

The Haunting of Bly Manor": Unlocking Secrets and Finding Hidden Ghosts  with Mike Flanagan - Bloody Disgusting

Day #14 – The Haunting of Bly Manor – The Haunting of Hill House was one of my top watches the year it came out, and yes, again, this is a miniseries, not technically a movie. When it began as what appeared to be yet another retelling of The Turn of The Screw (a la The Innocents), I kind of went half-lidded. It’s not as frightful as Hill House, but the ghost story (or is it a love story?) at its center eventually wrung tears from my eyes and won me over. I’m not familiar with James’ fiction, so I feel like this would play even better if I were. Either way, the threads eventually come together very masterfully, and the next to the last episode, told in the manner of a gothic horror story, is particularly well done.

Day #15 – We Summon The Darkness – Three rambunctious Indiana girls head to a rock concert in the middle of the 80’s Satanic panic and pick up a trio of horny guys, take them back to their father’s house, and without spoiling anything, the two groups find themselves embroiled in a cult murder-survival horror story. Charming cast and interesting twist halfway through, but once that’s out of the way, it doesn’t seem to have any place new to go. Still, a fun enough ride.

Alive #살아있다 (2020) Review - Casey's Movie Mania

Day 16 – #Alive – Oh Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in), a plugged in gaming slacker is home at his parents’ apartment when the zombie apocalypse hits the city of Gunsan. Joon-woo does his best to survive on his own, but his hopes begin to dwindle until he finds another survivor, Yoo-bin (Park Shin-hye) stranded in her unit in another arm of the building across the street. Likeable enough zombie thriller with an emphasis on drone and phone-savvy survivalism, but nothing too groundbreaking.

Day 17 – Humanoids From The Deep – The fishing village of Noyo is invaded by a slimy army of amphibious humanoids intent on slaughter and rape and Doug McClure, Vic Morrow, and a bunch of other schlubby fishermen (oh and scientist Ann Turkel) are all that stands in their way. Pretty trashy stuff. Apparently the nudity and lasciviousness was added in post without the original director’s knowledge. The monsters are truly gross and creepy and hey, it’s James Horner’s debut. The graphic childbirth scene is fairly gruesome, I gotta say.

Review | Raising Cain (Blu-ray) | Blu-ray Authority

Day 18 – Raising Cain – A child psychologist (John Lithgow) discovers his wife cheating, which triggers his repressed multiple personalities to emerge and wreak havoc. Ehhh Brian de Palma tries really hard to make some kind of Hitchcockian psychological thriller, but all the math is wrong and it just comes off kinda embarrassing. Stylishly filmed. Always nice to see Frances Sternhagen, but pass.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) Review |BasementRejects

Day 19 – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers – Michael Meyers is in the middle of being transferred to a new facility, having been comatose since the explosion at the hospital at the end of Halloween 2 and sleeping through the best entry in his series (Season of The Witch). Somebody mentions Laurie had a daughter, and this spurs Michael to break free and return to Haddonfield to go on a killing spree and get his young niece. Why, exactly? I have no idea. Apparently just cause he’s pure evil, mom and dad, don’t touch him. Ho hum. Michael Myers remains the most boring movie slasher ever, and Loomis the worst psychiatrist in history (though I still love Donald Pleasance). The characters are boring, the plot is boring, the kills are bloodless and boring, and Loomis’ facial scarring somehow changes throughout the course of the movie. I don’t even know why this was rated R. I guess the language.  I was gonna power through the rest of this series, but this was such a drag I had to go re-watch Friday the 13th 1-3 just to cleanse my palate.

Tearing Through Werewolf Cinema] 'She-Wolf of London' (1946) Marked the End  of the 1940s Werewolf Boom - KILLER HORROR CRITIC

Day 20 – She-Wolf of London – Talk about your bait and switch. So this was part of the Universal Horror Blue-ray collection, and I’m discovering some things about that collection that are pissing me off. First of all, you get three copies of Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein. You get it once in the Frankenstein case, once in the Wolfman case, and once in the Dracula case. You get three copies of House of Frankenstein, three of House of Dracula, and two of Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman. You get the Claude Rains Phantom (as reviewed above) instead of the Lon Chaney one, and you get She-Wolf of London….which has nothing to do with werewolves or the wolfman. I’m just gonna spoil this thing to save you the trouble of checking it out. Basically June Lockhart (of Lost In Space) is being gaslit out of her inheritance into thinking she’s a werewolf. It’s overly talky and it doesn’t belong in the collection or in this repertoire. Sorry!

Day 21 – The Long Hair of Death – Gothic horror about a count who wrongly executes a woman for witchery and kills her eldest daughter, taking in the younger daughter (Halina Zalewska) as his ward and eventually marrying her to his good-for-nothing son (George Ardisson), who instigated the whole affair in the first place with his treachery. When lightning strikes the mother’s grave, a woman appears, quite similar to the deceased elder daughter (Barbara Steele) and proceeds to seduce Karl, bringing about a long festering revenge. Very moody and sensual.

Birth of a Notion: A Clear Case of Mental Stalking

Day 22 – Fear – Ally Sheedy is a bona fide psychic whose expertise is called on to aide the police. When they come asking for help with a serial murderer, she discovers that the killer possesses abilities similar to her own, and can in fact draw her into his mind as he performs his crimes. Passable thriller with a neat premise, but not very noteworthy, beyond Sheedy, who’s always great.

Grave of the Vampire (1972) — Triskaidekafiles

Day 23 – Grave of The Vampire – A young couple is attacked by a vampire (OG Klingon Michael Pataki) in a graveyard. The woman comes away pregnant and soon gives birth to a bloodsuckling baby boy, who grows into Conan’s father, William Smith, who sets out to avenge his poor mother, dead and drained before her time (presumably by keeping him alive). This is not as lurid as it sounds and is actually a pretty decent proto-Blade kinda story (I wonder if Gene Colan and Marv Wolfman saw this), if a little plodding. Cool final confrontation.

Day 24 – Bad Hair – In 1989 Los Angeles, Anna (Elle Lorraine), struggling at a thankless job as an intern at an urban music video channel, is working hard to attain her dream of becoming a VJ host of her own show. She is repeatedly told she doesn’t have the right look however, due to her dark skin and natural hair. When a new programming director (Vanessa Williams) assumes control of the channel, she recognizes Anna’s diligence and creativity, and gives her a card for a beauty parlor to overhaul her look. Anna gets a weave (in a really excruciating sequence – Anna is notoriously ‘tender-headed’) and her new look turns head. Her life begins to turn around…..but the hair has a price. I. Loved. This. Movie. This year has been kinda bleak for Halloween, and it’s been reflected in my first time watches. Haven’t really seen anything that totally blew me away until this. I was smiling almost the entire time. It’s the perfect blend of horror and camp, incorporates African American folklore, and is wonderfully acted. Vanessa Williams especially gives a great performance. Totally unique. Very fun. Look fast for MC Lyte as a hair stylist and a small walk on by Nicole Byer.

Severin Sunday: The Uncanny (1977) - Morbidly Beautiful

Day 25 – The Uncanny – Peter Cushing comes to Ray Milland to convince him to publish his manuscript about the inherently evil nature of cats, and three anthology tales unfold in the form of his evidential anecdotes. The first concerns a wealthy heiress whose loyal clowder takes grisly vengeance on her murderers. The second involves a witch’s young daughter who goes with her black cat Wellington to live with her bratty, abusive cousin and winds up flipping through her mom’s old spellbook when the cat is endangered. The third is about a horror movie actor (Donald Pleasance) who orchestrates the accidental killing of his wife on set and moves his mistress into their house, only to have to contend with his dear departed’s disagreeable pet. I enjoyed this one. All three stories are pretty solid, and if you like cats, you’ll find it a fun watch for the season.

Day 26 – The Beast With Five Fingers – A wealthy man decides to leave his entire fortune to his nurse and is promptly murdered. Is it his doctor (Peter Lorre)? His greedy nephew (Charles Dingle)? And why has his left hand suddenly gone missing from his corpse? Neat little whodunnit with some pretty eye-popping creature FX.

Jamie Lee Curtis regrets Halloween H20: "I was going to get a paycheck" |  Consequence of Sound

Day 27 – Halloween H20 – Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) faked her death and is hiding out under an assumed name, working as a high school principal when her brother Michael gets wind of her survival and comes looking for her. LL Cool J is good as an aspiring writer of erotica moonlighting as a security guard, but goddangit I’m gonna say it again; Michael Myers is boring. Whenever I see him driving a car with that damn mask on I laugh.

Maniac Cop Still Holds Up Impossibly Well: Here's Why! - Wicked Horror

Day 28 – A towering, seemingly bulletproof uniformed policeman (the late lamented Robert Z’dar) is murdering innocent people on the streets of New York City, and Tom Atkins has to convince his superiors police officer Bruce Campbell is not responsible. Really nice slow-building mystery kinda gets worse as it goes along, actually lost me during the climactic car chase. I’m giddy over the possibility of a Refn remake.

Well – I doubled up on my early days so technically watched over 31 movies for the first time.

Top picks this year: Bad Hair is the clear winner. Then it’s Host, The Pool, Scream 4, Nightmare Castle, and The Long Hair of Death.

It’s a weird Halloween this year, but I hope you all find a way to make it a happy one.

Published in: on October 2, 2020 at 9:09 am  Leave a Comment