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My Month of Movies: Nov/2015

Movie list created by Michael S Avatar

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People who added this item 133 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.5
11/1
First viewing


Synopsis: An English anthropologist, on expedition in Manchuria, discovers a creature frozen. While transporting his find, via the Trans-Siberian railroad, the creature revives and people start to turn up dead.


A captivating B-movie gem which boasts a fine cast, colorful characters and far more atmosphere than other movies of it's kind. Of all the pairings of Lee and Cushing on film, this is a delight in itself, as they both don the heroic mantle instead of being in opposition to one another. As rival scientists (albeit friendly ones), they head a cast of characters which include a Rasputinesque monk (Alberto de Mendoza), a Polish countess (Silvia Tortosa), a spy (Helga Line) and a colorful and intimidating Cossack officer (Telly Savalas).

Horror Express is an interesting mix of Murder on the Orient Express and The Thing (or The Thing From Another World, if you prefer) and despite it's low budget, being shot cheaply in Spain, it is a lush, moody, period-piece of note. One could certainly do worse, while in search of classic 60s/70s horror fare, than this.

Sidenote: Cushing almost backed out of production, due to being in mourning over his wife's still-recent death but was convinced to stay on by his friend, Lee. The film seems to have helped him past this and, as well, the enduring friendship between these two horror icons of film truly shines through in numerous instances during the movie.

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People who added this item 176 Average listal rating (118 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
11/1
First viewing


Synopsis:Four unsuspecting travelers find their way to Castle Dracula and themselves at the mercy of Count Dracula and his manservant.


Hammer's third offering in the Dracula series (and the second to star Christopher Lee) was a delight to see and an admirable addition to the series by director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster. It's a fitting follow-up to it's predecessors Dracula and Brides of Dracula...and quite nearly their equal. This is the film which is famously (and controversially) known for Lee not uttering a single word of dialogue. Yet whether Lee refused to speak onscreen or (far more likely) he hadn't any dialogue written for him, it matters not; he doesn't need to. Lee is as menacing here as anywhere and along with the lovely Barbara Shelley (as Helen Kent) and Andrew Keir (as Father Sandor) heads a fine cast.

Sadly, the series grows weaker as it goes along but Prince of Darkness is a solid film throughout and a must-see for any Hammer or Christopher Lee fan. There's a reason that so many (myself included) hold Lee as the epitome of the dread Count Dracula.

A Final Thought: Of all the films in the series, this one offers up my favorite method as to Dracula's resurrection and eventual destruction. The Count's servant, Klove (portrayed menacingly by Philip Latham) suspends one of the travelers above Dracula's crypt and slashes his neck...the blood reanimating the remains. In the end, Dracula sinks beneath the icy waters of Castle Dracula's moat, as Father Sandor fires repeatedly into it's icy surface, causing it to shatter beneath Dracula.

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People who added this item 80 Average listal rating (43 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
Twins of Evil (1971)
11/1
First viewing


Synopsis: Twin sisters come to stay with their uncle, a 19th century witch hunter, and fall victim to the vampiric predations of Count Karnstein.


I've heard, for years, that this was one of Hammer's finer films and, after finally seeing it, I can see why. While I thoroughly enjoyed this, the third and final installment of the Karnstein series from Hammer, I don't think it left quite the mark upon me as it has on others. It is a well-made film and the Collinson sisters, real-life twins and former Playboy Playmates, are a delight to watch. There were a few things about this film that I found off-putting though. Cushing, while performing up to the standard of excellence that he is known for, is...disturbing in his role of religious zealot, as opposed to earnest hero. Likewise, the method of turning one into a vampire throws the standard to the winds, in favor of a simple bite which turns them instantly into a vampire.

Twins is a solid film though and should be sought out by anyone with a wish for Hammer's better offerings.

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People who added this item 162 Average listal rating (99 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7
11/2
First viewing


Synopsis: When the Duc de Richelieu and Rex Van Ryn unexpectedly call upon the son of their deceased friend, they discover him to be in grave danger of devilish proportions, at the hands of a satanic cult, and determine to save him.


Yet another classic that I've heard much about, over the years, The Devil Rides Out more than lives up to expectations! It is one of the more interesting films dealing with devil worship that I have seen and proved to be a showcase for Christopher Lee, in the role of learned hero. As much as I have loved watching him portray the villainous creatures and adversaries of horror films from Hammer and others, I find that I quite like him in the role of hero. He flourishes in his role here and, I think, it may be one of his best!

Devil offers up a fine cast, among them Charles Gray (as the villainous Mocata), who heads up the coven of Satanists. While The Omen, which has long been regarded as one of horror's finest films, is more of a drama with horrific elements (and a bit slow-moving for me), The Devil Rides Out is far more fast-paced and the reveal of the Goat of Mendez is a shocking moment and proof that you can have your cake and eat it, too. Suspense doesn't have to be sacrificed by showing the monster.

It's a thrilling film altogether and certainly one that I will watch again, at some point!

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People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.9
I, Monster (1971)
11/2
First viewing


Synopsis: A scientist develops a serum that reveals man's inhibitions in this adaptation of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.".


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the most adapted of tales for the screen and Amicus' version of the Jekyll/Hyde tale is often overshadowed by those featuring the likes of John Barrymore, Fredric March, Spencer Tracy and even Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick in Hammer's own Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde. Yet I, Monster is certainly worthy of remembrance. Once again pairing the likes of Lee and Cushing as adversaries (and friendly acquaintances), this film actually offers a more inquisitive look into the mind of Jekyll than say...Sister Hyde, by Hammer.

Lee shines here, as he does in most of his roles, as a scientist who is willing to delve into the deepest recesses and sacrifice himself for his research, convictions and uncovering the truth. It also, to some extent, portrays quite nicely his descent into both madness and doom.

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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.4
11/3
Rewatch


Synopsis: A trio of Victorian thrillseekers are lured into resurrecting the Count but balk during the ritual, killing the Count's acolyte. Dracula rises and proceeds to mete out his revenge upon them and their families.


This picks up where Dracula has Risen from the Grave left off, with a traveling salesman who is thrown from his carriage, happening to witness the demise of Dracula. Keeping his wits about him, he collects the remains of Dracula and takes them with him. These things he later sells to three hedonists who are lured into a ritual by the Count's helper, Lord Courtley (played by Ralph Bates).

There are standout performances here by Geoffrey Keen and John Carson as two of the hedonists, especially Carson, and Michael Ripper as the Inspector. Of course, there is the prerequisite eye-candy in the form of Linda Hayden and Isla Blair, who fall prey (naturally) to the Count's wiles. It's a solid film with a decent plot and a fine cast. It's also the last of the franchise where Lee (as Dracula) gives a standout performance, too. But Taste is not to be missed, especially by Dracula fans!

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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.6
It! (1967)
11/3
First viewing


Synopsis: After one of their storehouses burned down, a museum director and his assistant find everything destroyed with one exception, a statue withstood the fire undamaged.


It! or Curse of the Golem is an interesting film and certainly entertaining, especially as a showcase for the talents of Roddy McDowell, as the museum director's assistant. It's a strange blend of Psycho and some 50's sci-fi piece, with McDowell in fine form in a quasi-Norman Bates role. Indeed, it is his performance that truly makes this film worth seeing, as the golem itself looks laughable and the story, which starts off well enough, just seems to go off the rails. The last thirty minutes or so of the film are almost ridiculous but there is still enough of substance to the film that I felt it deserves 3.5/5 stars.

A final thought: With a bit more money thrown into the special effects and a slightly better story, this film really could have been something!

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People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (67 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.2
11/4
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Synopsis: Bats drip blood on Dracula's ashes and he rises again to prey upon the unsuspecting.


Scars has it's share of pros and cons yet while the good is very good, the bad is (unfortunately) very bad. The film sets itself outside continuity in the series right off the bat (pun intended!). It picks up right after Taste but instead of being in England, it's mysteriously set in Transylvania. The special effects are dismal, especially with the bats, and the acting and storyline are both quite weak; there's very little plot at all. Worst of all, for me, was seeing Dracula kill a woman with a dagger...why?!?! In a later scene, he is using a sword. I just don't get it!

Yet on the bright side, Lee is given more dialogue than he had even in Dracula and he exudes power and violence in every scene...even the one where he's killing someone inexplicably with a dagger! They've amped up the violence and gore, tossed in some random nudity (always a good thing!) and hearken back to the novel (finally!!!) to show Dracula's coffin kept in a room without a door - the only egress a window; likewise they show him actually scaling the wall, from window to window. As well, Patrick Troughton (of Doctor Who fame) is wonderful as the servant Klove.

This could have been the best film in the series, if only it had a better storyline and a few more participants with acting chops to rival Lee and Troughton. If only...

Final thoughts: I suppose time has been kind to Scars, for the last time I watched it, I rated it 2.5/5 stars and I've since upped that by a full star. The pluses do outweigh the minuses here!

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People who added this item 127 Average listal rating (82 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 5.9
11/4
Rewatch


Synopsis: Count Dracula is resurrected by his acolyte in modern-day London and runs afoul of Van Helsing's descendant


This is far from the finest hour of Hammer's Dracula franchise but it's a favorite of mine. The reunion of Cushing and Lee amidst the dying gasps of the hippie scene and the captivating beauty of Stefanie Beacham and Caroline Munro...I've always enjoyed this one, though I'll be the first to admit that, as a movie, it's not all that good. Christopher Neame as Johnny Alucard is one of the film's highlights and Peter Cushing as Lorrimer Van Helsing is as commanding as ever.

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People who added this item 102 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.6
11/4
Rewatch


Synopsis: Dracula has been revived into the modern world and is functioning as a reclusive wealthy industrialist set on introducing a deadly plague into the world. The actions of the cabal set up around him draw the attention of the government who, in turn, request the aid of the descendant of Van Helsing.


I've never cared for this one, the last film Lee did as Dracula for Hammer. It picks up some time after AD 1972 and Cushing plays the same character in both. There are shades of Fleming's Bond here to be had though, as the Secret Service are drawn to the sinister goings-on and begin to investigate. It's they who bring Van Helsing in, as a consultant, and he, of course, sheds far more light on their plight than they'd imagined possible. Joanna Lumley picks up where Stefanie Beacham left off in the character of granddaughter Jessica Van Helsing and is quite pleasant in doing so.

Still, it just lacks something and plods along throughout much of it. I've watched this three times now, over the years, and each time I have to force myself to sit through it. It just doesn't grab me.

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People who added this item 71 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.5
The Gorgon (1964)
11/5
First viewing


Synopsis: In the early 20th century, a Gorgon takes human form and terrorizes a small European village by turning its citizens to stone.


Yet another film directed by the venerable Terence Fisher and one that, once again, stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The Gorgon is, frankly, more of a gothic romance/mystery than a horror but there is enough of the prerequisites to qualify. It also assembles a fine supporting cast with the likes of Barbara Shelley, Patrick Troughton, Richard Pasco and Michael Goodliffe.

There's a reason that Barbara Shelley was acclaimed Hammer's number one female star, throughout the fifties and sixties. Her beauty, poise and onscreen grace is just as apparent here as in her other films and she, just as much as her co-stars, serves to lift up what could have been a forgotten B-movie and make it a cherished memory from the Hammer pantheon. As the players are assembled, one by one, the corpses pile up and the mystery deepens, The Gorgon serves to weave an enticing spell upon the viewer. It's one drawback is the poor crafting of Prudence Hyman as The Gorgon, Megaera, herself.

A Final thought: I wonder just how shocking the reveal would have been if Hammer had been able to sink a bit more money into the monster's crafting and makeup. Surely it could have elevated this film to even loftier heights, as the script and cast truly delivered in every other aspect.

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People who added this item 85 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
11/5
First viewing


Synopsis: A medical professor and his daughter come to the aid of his former student and link a Cornish epidemic to a village squire's voodoo practices.


The influence behind the influence! Everyone cites Romero's Night of the Living Dead as the film that changed the landscape of zombie films but it was Plague that influenced Romero (and others). This is a stylish and highly atmospheric venture and a truly solid film throughout! Andre Morrell (as Sir James Forbes) and John Carson (as Squire Hamilton) are commanding in every scene and the cast that surrounds them is quite good, as well.

Plague of the Zombies fires on all cylinders and hits every target it aims to. It's a fine chiller and surely one of Hammer's best!

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People who added this item 41 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.4
11/5
First viewing


Synopsis: Lost on the way to their honeymoon, a young couple are lured into the castle of hypnotic Dr. Ravna, plunging them into a nightmare of horror and deception from which there may be no escape.


Originally planned as a sequel to Brides of Dracula, in which they would expand upon the idea of vampirism as a social disease stemming from a hedonistic lifestyle. This stand-alone film is a worthy addition to the Hammer vault regardless and boasts one of the most memorable opening sequences of any vampire film. But it has it's failings, as well.

The vampires here, led by Dr. Ravna (Noel Willman) are more of a cult than the normal pack of undead and they come off as weak because of it. They lure in new members with hypnotic allure and ritual. There is little ferocity to be witnessed in their demeanor and actions. The recalcitrant Prof. Zimmer (Clifford Evans), who comes to the aid of the newlyweds is easily the most powerful character and dominates every scene he is in. Ultimately, Kiss begins quite well, falls short of it's goals and then finishes with a flourish that almost makes one forget it's shortcomings.

Final thoughts: The opening sequence is brilliant and shocking, fully establishing Prof. Zimmer as a darker, rougher but certainly Van Helsing-like antagonist. Gerald Harcourt's use of his own blood to make the sign of the cross and thus stave off attack is, likewise, ingenious and the finale where the vampires are vanquished is one-of-a-kind!

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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 5.2
11/6
First viewing


Synopsis: Members of a Greek treasure-hunting expedition are horrified to discover prehistoric eggs containing a powerful force.


The picture above, of Ingrid Pitt and Soledad Miranda dancing is, sadly, the highlight of this film. It's not awful...actually, it's not much of anything. A truly half-hearted effort that is, at best, simply boring.

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People who added this item 79 Average listal rating (43 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.5
Asylum (1972)
11/6
First viewing


Synopsis: A young psychiatrist interviews four inmates in a mental asylum to satisfy a requirement for employment.


Asylum is an Amicus anthology film, perhaps the best of them. I've always enjoyed this type of movie, perhaps because of the fact that if you don't care for a particular segment, all you have to do is wait a few minutes and another will be right along that you might like. This film though has no weak links and even the framing story of the doctor applying for position and having to jump through some strange hoops for the job is solid. The final tale though (Mannikins) is the best of the lot and Herbert Lom (as the patient Dr. Byron) just excels at playing this type of character!

Asylums are one of those perfect locations for a horror movie and Amicus uses theirs to put together a very nice film.

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People who added this item 1305 Average listal rating (824 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.8
11/7
First viewing


Synopsis: Freddy entices Jason, from the depths of Hell, to awaken once more and go to Elm street (where everyone has forgotten Freddy) to kill and spread fear...giving Freddy a way back, as well.


This might seem a complete departure from my theme for the month but my daughter wanted to watch a horror movie with me and this was it. I'm glad she chose this one though because I've never seen it, in it's entirety. It's a shame that I waited this long to do so, too! Freddy vs. Jason rocks!!!

A fanboy fantasy come true and an obvious marketing ploy but it works and it works very well! This is the best film in the Elm St franchise, after the original, and probably the best in the entire F13th run. Of course, F13 has never been known for having good acting or anything resembling much of a storyline, past the original flick...and perhaps the second one. It's the unstoppable force vs the immovable object...or something like that. Balls to the wall fun! I'll definitely be picking up a copy for my collection. This has catapulted into my top 100 favorite horror films with ease!!!

Final thought: Why haven't other franchises taken the hint and done something similar? Michael Myers, Pinhead, Ash, Chucky....the possibilities are almost endless!

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People who added this item 91 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
11/8
First viewing


Synopsis: Young college student Nan Barlow arrives in the sleepy Massachusetts town of Whitewood to research witchcraft and is never seen again. Concerned for her welfare, her brother and boyfriend investigate and find things in Whitewood devilishly sinister.


Of all the films I've seen this month, I think I've been most surprised and pleased by this one! I don't believe I even knew about this one until I stumbled upon in on Youtube. Christopher Lee and Patricia Jessel head a cast that hasn't a weak link in the bunch. This film is a perfect b&w macabre piece and from start to finish keeps the hook in deep! Witch burnings, hauntings, deals with the devil and more! I think I'll have to seek this one out to add to my collection.

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People who added this item 292 Average listal rating (165 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
11/8
First viewing


Synopsis: One day the peaceful village of Midwich is cast into a mysterious sleep for several hours, but with no obvious consequences, until soon all the women of child-bearing age turn out to be pregnant. Their children are all born at the same time and it soon becomes apparent that they are far more than normal.


This was my first viewing of the 60's version yet, having already watched Carpenter's 1995 remake, I couldn't help but compare the two versions. Each is a fine film, in it's own right, and I enjoyed them both a great deal, but the '95 version is the better film - it simply has more story. Still, I'm quite glad to have seen this, even moreso because of Barbara Shelley's inclusion. The performance of the leads here (Shelley, George Sanders and Martin Stephens) is superior to that of the later version but only by a bit and the children are certifiably spooky (in both films!). It's just that the latter gives us more and this earlier version seems like standard drive-in fare that's a bit above average - short and sweet. If only it had been...more to it.

A final thought: With more fleshing out of the story, and more length to this film, Village (1960) would have been a classic in every right. It also would actually deserve to be rated higher than the 1995 version by John Carpenter.
VotD (1960) 3.5/5 stars - VotD (1995) 4/5 stars

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People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 4 IMDB Rating 4.7
11/8
First viewing


Synopsis: A hunter is captured by a tribe of natives and soon finds himself in a another world, another time, and very much at the mercy of a tribe of women and their salacious queen.


Prehistoric Women isn't looked upon favorably by most Hammer fans; they seem to prefer One Million BC and the fur-bikini clad Raquel Welch...and I can perfectly understand that. But this film is actually good and was reminiscent of other such jungle/secret land epics of the time, like The Land That Time Forgot. It actually has more of a story than One Million BC, in my opinion, and (as a much added plus) the characters all actually speak a language you can understand, instead of a made-up one. Still, it's cheesy and certainly not one of Hammer's best...but one does have the luxury of seeing the gorgeous Edina Ronay and Martine Beswick in their own fur bikinis!

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People who added this item 214 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
11/9
Rewatch


Synopsis: Brilliant scientist Victor Frankenstein, seeks to unravel the mystery of life and death. His relentless quest reaches it's culmination in the creation of a man, pieced together from the parts of many, which Victor brings to life; yet his creation does not behave as he thought it would.


A classic in every sense of the word and nearly the rival of Universal's own Frankenstein. Peter Cushing was born to play Victor Frankenstein and brings something special to the role that no one before or since has been able to do. The Universal version was perfect because of Boris Karloff's portrayal of the creature and James Whale's direction; the atmosphere of that classic is almost impossible to reach or surpass. Yet Hammer's Terence Fisher nearly does so with Cushing as the focal point. It doesn't hurt at all to have Lee as the creature or the likes of Robert Urquhart (playing Frankenstein's friend/partner Paul Krempe) and Hazel Court (as Victor's fiance, Elizabeth.

A final thought: Lee's reveal of the creature's face and, later, Krempe's rifle shot to his eye (in a gush of bright, red blood) are two of my favorite moments in horror!

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People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7
Quatermass 2 (1957)
11/10
First viewing


Synopsis: Quatermass, in his attempts to convince the British government to colonize the moon, learns that thousands of meteorites are landing in the same location on Earth. His colleague, Marsh, joins him in a quest to uncover the truth, they discover a government complex built around the landing spot, a complex that bears striking resemblance to his own plans for a moon base and a staging area for an all-out alien invasion!


This sequel to The Quatermass Xperiment is a bit of a letdown but still an enjoyable watch, especially when it gets rolling. Still, it lacks the intensity of the first movie, as well as the horror element. This is more of a standard 50's sci-fi fare and nothing really special. Yet, for all that, it's still enjoyable and I could see myself watching it again at a later date.

A final thought: Quatermass and the Pit is still my favorite, though Xperiment comes close. I much prefer Andrew Keir in the role of Quatermass over Brian Donlevy, who came off a bit manic and annoying with his rapid speech patterns.

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People who added this item 239 Average listal rating (133 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
11/11
First viewing


Synopsis: Dr. Anton Phibes, a mysterious figure who is systematically hunting down and disposing of a team of doctors that he feels were responsible for the untimely death of his beloved wife.


I've heard people talk of this film for many years, always with favor. Yet, now that I've finally seen it, I can't help but wonder why... Normally I enjoy Vincent Price. The Last Man on Earth is one of my favorite films. This, however, is a far cry from that. I realize that it's an artsy piece but I found the sets, the incessant organ music and dancing about a bit boring. I also thought that Price looked a bit ridiculous in the blushy makeup.

Yet it wasn't all bad. The scenes with the police, throughout the investigation, and those with Cotten, were (by far) the most interesting to me and kept me going throughout the remainder of the showing. Still, it's not one that I'll watch again, I think.

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People who added this item 148 Average listal rating (91 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
11/11
First viewing


Synopsis: When people in a tourist group get lost within ancient catacombs, they meet the sinister Crypt Keeper, who tells them each their fate.


I've seen several of Amicus' portmanteau horror films and while Asylum is still my favorite, this one comes close; I've actually given both films 4/5 stars. This was definitely a solid and thoroughly entertaining movie! I've yet to see one of these that I haven't enjoyed though and am looking forward to seeing the rest of their films in this vein. None of the tales in this one really stands out over the rest for me though, unless it's Poetic Justice, simply for the inclusion of Peter Cushing among the cast.

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People who added this item 202 Average listal rating (117 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.8
11/12
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Synopsis: A team of psychic investigators is assembled to solve the mystery of the infamous Belasco House, supposedly haunted by the victims of its late owner, a notorious serial killer.


I couldn't resist watching this again, as it ties into my monthly focus on British horror, and this morning, over coffee in a quiet house, was the perfect time! This is, without a doubt, the finest film made on the haunted house theme that I have yet seen; certainly surpassing anything that came after it. The cast is a strong one, too. Roddy McDowell is perfect in the role of a 'haunted' psychic and the only surviving (and sane) member of a previous failed expedition into Hell House. As well, Clive Revell (as the rational scientist and group leader), Pamela Franklin (as a young mental-medium with faith leanings) and the beautiful Gayle Hunnicut (as Revell's wife) all put forth fine performances.

Legend is a ghost story, a haunted house tale, in proper British style, relying on the interaction of players and the drama and suspense that builds as the story unfolds...rather than gaudy, showy effects - though there is a bit of that, too. It's just not overdone. Long before the god-awful trend of found-footage films (which seem to adore the ghost genre) with their weak scripts and absence of believable acting, The Legend of Hell House did it right and proper, with no need of gimmicks.

Final thoughts: 1. This deserves a proper, long review.
2. I wonder how different (or possibly better) this film would have been had Matheson not drastically reduced some of the more extreme elements of the novel.
3. If you enjoyed Poltergeist (1982), The Conjuring, the Insidious series...and you haven't seen this, you should! The Haunting (1963) is another great one, too!
4. I'd originally given this 4/5 stars but, after watching again, I've decided that it deserves a bit more than that. So...4.5/5! It really is a nearly perfect film.

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People who added this item 397 Average listal rating (224 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
The Innocents (1961)
11/12
First viewing


Synopsis: Based on the Henry James story "The Turn of the Screw," a psychological thriller about a woman who takes a governess job for two orphans in a Victorian home. She begins to see what she believes are ghosts and suspects the children's bizarre behavior is the result of supernatural powers.


What can I say about this film that won't give anything away and still relay my feelings... It's a fine film, through and through, adapted from a certifiable classic of literature. It's got everything you need to keep the viewer interested and, while on the edge of their seat, ever leaning closer and closer to the screen, right up till the end. Yet it's not a ghost story, like I thought it would be, but the tragic descent into madness of a woman with too vivid an imagination. I'm not sure who to feel more sorry for, the governess or the children.

It's a fine film, certainly, but viewed as a ghost movie, I still find that The Legend of Hell House is the best I've seen as yet, because The Innocents is, technically, not a ghost movie.

A final thought: Freud

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People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
11/12
First viewing


Synopsis: A Freudian psychiatrist (Eric Porter) covers up for his patient, the homicidal daughter (Angharad Rees) of Jack the Ripper.


Not a bad entry into the annals of Hammer and a nice 'sequel' to the Ripper legend, too! Still, this is a relatively average movie with only the talent of Eric Porter and the twist-to-the-tale to lift it above the rest. I enjoyed it but I doubt I'll watch it again.

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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 5.3
11/12
First viewing


I'd never heard of this film before stumbling across it and it's quite a departure from the norm for the dynamic pair of Lee and Cushing. It's not a Hammer production either but it's still quite good. What seems to be a fairly straightforward murder mystery offers up some strange twists and turns as well. Plus there's the surprise of seeing an aging Diana Dors in a villainous role and the ever-capable Michael Gambon in a supporting role as a police inspector.

A solid film from start to finish and the finish is quite a surprise, too.

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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.2
11/14
Rewatch


Synopsis: A string of strange murders draws the attention of a police colonel and his pathologist colleague. Aided by an intrepid reporter, they soon find the mystery deeper and far more convoluted than it first appeared.

I'd forgotten that I'd watched this before but it didn't take long to start ringing bells for me. The Horror of the title is a bit misleading, as this isn't really a horror movie; more of a thriller really. Still it's a decent watch with an appealing cast and it serves to keep one interested throughout. Anton Diffring plays the unscrupulous Dr. Schuler, the focus of the tale. Yet there is quite the bevy of beauties here to be entertained by, too, Yvonne Monlaur and Yvonne Romain among them. As an added bonus, there's a cameo by the inimitable Donald Pleasance!

Circus is something of a continuation on a theme by Anglo-Amalgamated and is considered by some to be the third piece in the 'Sadian trilogy', following Horrors of the Black Museum and Peeping Tom; all three share the focus of sadism, cruelty and violence (with sexual undertones). It's quite a bit different from Hammer's supernatural vein of horror but it's still British horror and quite good!

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People who added this item 591 Average listal rating (390 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
Furious Seven (2015)
11/30
First viewing


Synopsis: In the wake of their defeat of international terrorist Owen Shaw, Torreto and his crew find themselves in the crosshairs of Shaw's older brother, Deckard, who is even more dangerous than his sibling and hellbent to avenge his brother.

The F&F franchise has gone the route of The Expendables and brought in Jason Statham and Kurt Russell, along with returning wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson. Still, even though the tale is far from credible, it's better than the last Expendables flick. As a sendoff to the highly enjoyable Paul Walker, who met his demise during the filming of this, it's a fine enough tribute. Chock-full of the expected high-speed chases, near misses, explosions, hailstorms of bullets, fistfights and one-liners, Furious 7 does what it set out to do - entertain.

Still, it's a somewhat tired ride and is lacking in the depth that we saw in the original film...but then most of the sequels, if not all, have as well. It's not meant to be high drama, it's summer blockbuster entertainment and it works.

My daughter brought this home from Redbox, along with pizza, and I have to say, as a departure from my monthly theme...it was a fitting ending. It also wouldn't surprise me if they made another one...after all, if there's money to be made...

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I've been gone for awhile and I'm hoping, now that I've returned, to begin keeping a movie journal once again. This month began strong but, as I had to move toward the end of the month, my watching came to a screeching halt! My theme for the month was British horror though and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, while I had the chance. The 60's are my favorite decade for the horror genre and the delightful offerings from across the pond by the Brit filmmakers is very much the reason why. Perhaps, no...surely, I will revisit this as a theme for the month at a later date. For now this is what I've got to offer up. I spent the last week, between moving, simply watching episodes of Arrow, which I highly recommend.

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Comments

Posted: 1 year, 11 months ago at Dec 2 3:03
Wow, what a fun run of films you had! And digging your thoughts on these as well...very well-written & interesting. I'm kind of surprised you didn't enjoy Dr. Phibes more though (on the upside that'll likely deter you from attempting its awful sequel which was so bad I couldn't finish it).

Looking forward to finding out what you watch this month. :)
Posted: 1 year, 11 months ago at Dec 2 12:09
@ the giraffe: Thanks! I've truly enjoyed this last month and I was happy to have found so many that I hadn't seen, even moreso to have discovered just how good they were. Especially City of the Dead and Devil Rides Out. I just wish that I'd had the time to watch more. As for Phibes, yeah, it just wasn't for me; I do love Price though and I'm hoping to find some others of his old classics to watch soon.

Glad to hear that you enjoyed reading my thoughts, too. I've always enjoyed reading your own takes on movies here!
Posted: 1 year, 9 months ago at Feb 17 19:24
Excellent list Micheal there's many of my fav horror movies here like The Kiss Of The Vampire, The Legend Of Hell House, Village Of The Damned and Twins Of Evil .
i'm sure you had a lot of pleasure watching these but i really surprise that you've prefer the story of John Carpenter's version of Village Of The Damned instead of the 1960 because for me the John Carpenter's version doesn't have a great screenplay like the original one even if it's similar... the 1960 version as a much more mysterious story with a better suspense . : )

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