31 Days of Horror (Halloween) 2021
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Note: Today is the first day of October and I always like to kick off the first 31 Days of Horror with a silent film. I recently bought the Criterion Blu-ray of Haxan and I have looked forward to revisiting it. Haxan is nearly 100 years old, and it's still a masterpiece. Haxan is not my #1 favorite Silent Horror movie, but it is pretty high on my list. Haxan is unique in that it tells a story that is half documentary and half narrative. The film explores the history of demons and witchcraft while also telling a dark and tragic story set in the 15th century.
Haxan is a true piece of art by having great creepy imagery, and amazing special effects. The makeup, the set designs, and the costumes are groundbreaking for their time. Imagine watching this movie on the big screen back in 1922 and being shocked at what you are watching on screen. Haxan even has nudity, torture, and sexual imagery which was something most films never had before. The atmosphere in this film is dark and spooky that captures the tone of the story perfectly. One of my favorite scenes in the film is where they are at the graveyard with the other witches and demons. The atmosphere in that scene is so chilling that it sends shivers down your spine.
The story does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of humanity and demons. Benjamin Christensen is scary as The Devil with his creepy facial expressions. Back in 1922, seeing him try to strangle someone would have given people nightmares for the rest of their lives. There is an English version of Haxan narrated by William S. Burroughs (the author of Naked Lunch) and it's not very good. If you're going to watch Haxan, watch the original 1922 version. The English version has a strange soundtrack and William S. Burroughs sounds really bored when reading his lines.
Overall, Haxan is a masterpiece that I strongly recommend everyone to watch.
Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)
Note: Back in the early 2000s, I remember when Blood: The Last Vampire was a big deal with anime and manga fans at the time. Manga Entertainment released it in theaters despite having a short run time and I remember James Cameron really liking it. I was lucky to see it on the big screen along with X: The Movie (1996) as a double feature at the time with my friends. As time went on, Blood: The Last Vampire has been forgotten and people only know about the spin-offs. The Blu-ray is out of print, but I'm lucky to still have my old DVD copy. After watching it again 20 years later, Blood: The Last Vampire is still a fun anime in my opinion.
My favorite things about Blood: The Last Vampire are the breathtaking visuals and the dark atmosphere. The animation is fantastic that still looks good by today's standers in my opinion. The characters move so smoothly and the large amount of detail that was put into the animation is excellent. I love the atmosphere in Blood: The Last Vampire because it creates a feeling of the supernatural that exists in our modern urban society. You can feel the presence of vampires lurking around. Blood: The Last Vampire takes place on Halloween which is fitting for the tone of the story. The action sequences and the gory kills are awesome. There is enough bloodshed that will make the gorehounds happy.
The story is the biggest flaw in Blood: The Last Vampire in my opinion. Blood: The Last Vampire only runs at 45 minutes and I wish there was more to the story. You don't have enough time to care about the characters and not everything is explained to the audience on what is going on. It feels more like a pilot for an OVA series than a full-length movie in my opinion. If Blood: The Vampire had a runtime of 90 minutes, I could see myself giving it a higher rating.
Overall, Blood: The Last Vampire is a decent anime and I recommend checking it out if you're curious.
Evil Spawn (1987)
Note: Growing up as a kid, I would always remember seeing VHS copies of Evil Spawn on display at Blockbuster, Suncoast, etc. and the cover art was amazing. For some odd reason, I never had the opportunity to watch it. Better late than never, I finally got a Blu-ray copy of Evil Spawn from Amazon and decided to watch it ASAP. I'm glad that I bought it because I enjoyed it. Evil Spawn is a fun trashy movie in my opinion. It has everything that you would find in a typical direct-to-video movie from the 1980s. It has bad acting, blood, gore, and nudity in one little neat package.
I like the general vibe that this film has because it has a sleazy tone to it. It's the type of movie that you find yourself watching on TV at 2:00 AM on a Saturday night. Evil Spawn has a 50s B movie vibe which is another reason why I enjoyed it. It feels like a movie that Roger Corman would have made in the 1950s or 1960s. The story reminds me of The Fly (both the original and remake) with a human protagonist becoming a bug monster and losing her humanity over time. It's an interesting story of a woman trying to stay young and beautiful with the bug monster representing her inter selfish desire. Evil Spawn also does a good job of being self-aware that is a low-budget horror movie. In the film, you have the actress pointing out that she does not want to star in some low-budget movie from Italy.
For a direct to video film, the rubber suit for the monster and the gory special effects are pretty good in my opinion. I do love how brutal and gross the film can be at times. Some scenes felt like it was filmed on a school play at someone's High School which gives it that bad movie charm to it. Evil Spawn is the last movie featuring John Carradine (The Ten Commandments) before he passed away. John Carradine looks like he is barely alive, and it wouldn't surprise me if they filmed it in his retirement house lol. The acting is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. I found myself laughing hard when the actors overact. Evil Spawn is way too short because it only runs at 71 minutes. Another 20 minutes would have improved the film with more content added to the story.
I have no idea who to give credit for when directing Evil Spawn because you had three directors that work on the film. The film has Kenneth J. Hall, Ted Newsom, and Fred Olen Ray as the director. There's also an alternate cut of the film that was released three years later in 1990. I'm curious to check out that version in the near future and do more research on the backstory on the production history.
Overall, Evil Spawn is a fun bad movie and I recommend checking it out if you enjoy so bad it's good movies.
Frankenstein's Army (2013)
Note: I had people recommend Frankenstein's Army to me over the years because they told me that it will be right up my alley. I almost forgot that this film exists until the news about the alleged plagiarism with Resident Evil 8 happen (that's a story for a different day). I finally sat down and watched it on Tubi for the first time. They were not wrong about it being right up my alley because I really enjoyed it. Frankenstein’s Army is a really cool and creative movie in my opinion.
I love the aesthetics of this film because everything feels authentic. You have awesome practical effects and the suits for the monsters look awesome. The monsters in this film feel like they belong in the Hellboy comic book series or belong in a Wolfenstein video game. The love and effort that was put into making this film is astounding. You can tell that the filmmakers had an artistic vision that they were truly passionate about. If this film was made by The Asylum or a big studio in Hollywood, it would have been way worse in my opinion.
Frankenstein's Army is a neat take on the found footage genre by having it be set during WW2. The idea of someone having an HD camera in World War 2 makes no sense, but sometimes you have to go with it. With these types of movies, you should use your suspension of disbelief because it makes it more enjoyable. Frankenstein’s Army is schlock, and it feels like a movie that Stuart Gordon would have made back during the days of Empire Pictures in my opinion. This film is far from perfect because the editing is not very good and the characters suck. The jump cuts really annoyed me and I didn't care for any of the characters. I had a hard time rooting for the main characters to get out alive because none of them had any character development. It was more fun to see these characters get killed by the monsters, to be honest.
Overall, Frankenstein’s Army is a fun movie and I do recommend checking it out if you want to turn off your brain for 80 minutes.
The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Note: I haven't seen this film in 20 years, and I completely forgot I own it on Blu-Ray. I'm glad I decided to rewatch it because I still think it's a fantastic film. The Lair of the White Worm is an underappreciated 1980s classic. Despite its cult status, I consider Lair of the White Worm to be an underappreciated film. It is deserving a higher grade than the majority of people give it. This film's strange nature appeals to me. The Lair of the White Worm stands out due to its weird nightmare imagery and erotic nature. This is a film that I don't think will be made today unless it's funded through Kickstarter.
The weird dream scenes that occur when the characters are bitten by Lady Sylvia Marsh (played by Amanda Donohoe) are fantastic to watch. They're chaotic, nasty, and bizarre. It's the kind of strange nonsense you'll see on cable TV at 4 a.m. The dark vibrant lighting adds to the film's atmosphere. You have solid special effects, which, in my opinion, still look fairly excellent by today's standards. I really like the makeup effects for Lady Syvia Marsh, and the practical gore is fantastic. Most people will find the giant snake creature at the end of the film cheesy, but I didn't.
You have a fun cast of characters that are memorable and likable in my opinion. The acting is pretty good with noteworthy performances by Hugh Grant (Cloud Atlas), Peter Capaldi (The Suicide Squad), Sammi Davis (Mona Lisa), and Amanda Donohoe (Lair Lair). I even like the music score because it was super catchy to listen to. The worst thing about The Lair of the White Worm is the ending. The ending feels abrupt because it feels like that they didn't know how to end the story. They also try to set up for a sequel that never happens.
Overall, The Lair of the White Worm is a fun movie despite the flaws that it has. I recommend checking it out with an open mind.
Note: I was curious to check out this film because I love the Japanese Guinea Pig movies. Usually, an American adaption of a film series from Asia can be a red flag, but I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. To be honest, everything about this film was frustrating to watch. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore is a very mixed bag in my opinion. Just like with the Japanese Guinea Pig movie franchise, this film is extremely violent by trying to imitate a snuff film. If you don't like extreme graphic violence or torture, American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore is not going to be a movie for you. The film spends 95% of the time brutally murdering two innocent women while a cameraman is recording it for an underground movie producer. The aesthetics are top-notch and I do give this film an A for effort.
The practical blood and gore look amazing by looking realistic as possible. The shot on VHS film quality feels like an authentic snuff film that would be found on the dark/deep web. You also have cool Easter Eggs from the Japanese Guinea Pig movies as nice fan service. Jim Van Bebber (Deadbeat at Dawn) has a role in this film that is worth mentioning. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is pretty boring in my opinion. I hate to sound nitpicky, but the film feels overly long with a runtime of 71 minutes. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore barley has a narrative and would have worked better at 22-40 minutes. The Japanese Guinea Pig films worked because they were under an hour and had interesting stories. In this film, you just watch a guy who almost looks like Rick from the Splatterhouse video games trying to cut up two women that don't even move. It seems pointless to have characters who die that can't even move or talk during the entire time. It would be more interesting if it had them trying to fight against their own free will while being torture to death.
There are also moments that feel unnecessary and would have been easily cut out of the film. We don't need to see the character trying to cut the women's clothes for five minutes and pointless arguments with characters that we don't care about. They also spend so much time cutting the limbs of the characters that feel like that they go on forever. People criticize the acting in this film, but I didn't really care. There was barely any acting at all, and I don't watch these types of movies for good performances.
Overall, American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore is an average movie at best. I only recommend watching it if you're curious or if you enjoy extreme cinema.
Eaten Alive (1976)
Note: The last time I remember seeing Eaten Alive was when I was a kid on late-night TV in the late 90s and I wanted to re-watch it as an adult. Eaten Alive is just as crazy as I remember it. When it comes to Tobe Hooper films, I still prefer Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1-2, Poltergeist (1982), and Life Force (1985), but Eaten Alive is still a noteworthy film. You have a fascinating story about a demented hotel owner named Judd (played by Neville Brand), who feeds his victims to a large crocodile.
I love how they were able to make the film feel dark and atmospheric by having it be set in the middle of nowhere in a swampy area. You can feel the hot and humid weather with the presence of a nearby swamp. Everything about Eaten Alive feels mucky with the grainy cinematography and the dirty set designs. Most of the sleazy characters in this film are crazy red necks. Before he became famous for playing Freddy Kruger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, you have Robert Englund in his early career. Robert Englund plays a total sleaze bag, and his character has one of the coolest lines of dialogue ever.
Neville Brand (Tora! Tora! Tora!) does a great job with his performance in my opinion. It's fun to see Judd trying to cover up his tracks by feeding them to crocodiles. It keeps the audience intrigued with how Judd is going to get away with his crimes. You have vibrant colors that really pop out even though they do look a bit dark at times. Eaten Alive is pretty brutal when it comes to blood and gore. It doesn't hold back when it comes to bloodshed. The death scene of the dog is very painful. If you're an animal lover, you may want to avoid this film (even though the animal deaths are fake).
Overall, Eaten Alive is a fun cult classic and I recommend checking it out.
Note: For my 31 Days of Horror, I decided to watch a movie that was released this year. I'm a big fan of Alexandre Aja's work and I enjoy almost all of his movies. Oxygen is still a solid movie even though it isn't the most original film ever. I enjoy these types of films because they make me feel uneasy. I'm claustrophobic, so the thought of being trapped in a tight space scares the living daylights out of me. I love how the film creates such an eerie atmosphere by putting the main character in a little area where you have no idea what's going on.
You can feel the rush of adrenaline with the main character having a small amount of time left before she dies. I also like there's a mysterious origin in the story that keeps you intrigued about what is going on. You gradually learn about the main character's backstory, which I found to be rather fascinating. I recommend watching Oxygen without having any prior knowledge of the movie. The less you know about it, the better. The cinematography by Maxime Alexandre (Shazam) is fantastic because everything in this film is stunning to look at. The colors in Oxygen really stand out thanks to the use of vibrant complementary colors. Mélanie Laurent (Enemy) does a great job with her performance because it felt believable. Some scenes in the story do go on for a bit too long, but that's about it. I don't have any other complaints about the film.
Overall, Oxygen is a good movie that I recommend watching. Rating: 8.5/10
Lost Highway (1997)
Note: Lost Highway is one of my personal favorite movies by David Lynch, and I have been needing to rewatch it at some point. I remember seeing advertisements for the movie on TV when it first came out in 1997. I even recall my parents hating it when they saw it in theaters. With the weather becoming colder, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to revisit Lost Highway. I was worried that I wouldn't like it after watching it again, and I was wrong. Lost Highway is still a fantastic movie. I consider it to be his second-best film next to Eraserhead (1977) in my opinion.
Writing this review was more difficult than I thought it was going to be because it's almost impossible to talk about Lost Highway without going into spoiler territory. Similar to most movies by David Lynch, the story in Lost Highway is nonlinear, and it jumps all over the place. It's one of those films that is open to interpretation, allowing the audience to solve the story's mystery in their own perspective. If you pay attention to every detail on screen, you'll discover new things about the plot.
The cinematography by Peter Deming (Evil Dead 2) is fantastic in my opinion. I love how Peter Deming was able to capture the artistic vision that David Lynch wanted by having everything be beautifully gothic. Lost Highway feels like a gothic horror picture while still being a neo-noir film thanks to the dark lighting, odd camera angles, and the eerie soundtrack by Angelo Badalamenti (Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors). The visuals are bizarre and give the impression of being trapped in someone's dream. It's truly a one-of-a-kind film that you don't see very often.
I'm not sure why some people don't consider Lost Highway to be a horror movie because it is. In my opinion, the strange nightmarish imagery and the eerie tone make it obviously a horror movie. The musical score is frightening and captivating, as if you're being cast under a witch's spell. Lost Highway has one of my favorite late-90s movie soundtracks because it included songs by David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Nine-Inch Nails, and The Smashing Pumpkins. Those bands and musicians are perfect for the soundtrack since their music matches the plot nicely. The acting is fantastic and Robert Blake (In Cold Blood) is really creepy as the Mysterious Man. This would also be Richard Pryor's final film role before his death in 2005 (Brewster's Millions). It's a shame that Richard Pryor's role is pretty small in this film.
Overall, Lost Highway is a masterpiece that I highly recommend.
The Loved Ones (2010)
Viewed: Amazon Prime
Note: I remember watching The Loved Ones in 2011, when it was a relatively new film, and liking it. Given that it has been 10 years, I decided to give it another look on Amazon Prime. The Loved Ones is still a pretty good movie in my opinion. It's a fascinating and exciting horror film to watch because you get to see how far the main villain (played by Robin McLeavy) will go for revenge. Although I don't believe The Loved Ones is as graphic as some people claim, it is still a disturbing film. The brutal violent special effects are nicely done, and they did a fantastic job of making them look as real as possible. You have a nice homage to The Driller Killer (1979) that makes me smile every time I see it.
The acting is good, and Robin McLeavy (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) does a fantastic job as a psychotic high school girl that is obsessed with torturing and killing guys that reject her. I like the soundtrack for The Loved Ones because you have some cool heavy metal sounds that are fun to listen too. The story and characters could have been better, which is the film's biggest drawback in my opinion. I wish there was more depth to the story and I didn't care about most of them. Xavier Samuel (Fury) as the main character is the only character that I actually cared about. Despite its flaws, I'm happy I went back and watched it again.
Overall, The Loved Ones is a good film that I would recommend watching.
Brain Damage (1988)
Note: I hadn't seen Brain Damage in a while, so I decided to watch it for my 31 Days of Horror. Brain Damage is a terrific film, and it is the best movie by Frank Henenlotter in my opinion. Most people consider Brain Damage to be just another "So Bad, It's Good" film because of its ridiculous premise, but I disagree. It's so good, it's absolutely brilliant, in my opinion. Brain Damage isn't just another B movie because it has more to offer than a ridiculous premise. The film is the perfect combo of high and low-brow filmmaking in my opinion. It's gross and trashy, but it's also abstract and has a strong subtext about drug addiction.
The atmosphere and the writing are two of my favorite things about Brain Damage. The dark blue colorful lighting and sleazy atmosphere definitely draws you into the film. When I watch Brain Damage, I always find myself glued to my seat because I'm really sucked into the movie's atmosphere. My favorite scene is when Brian (played by Rick Hearst) is in his room and the room begins to flood with water. That moment in the film is so atmospheric and beautiful, it's truly breathtaking. There are other bizarre and artistic moments all throughout the film that are incredibly fascinating to experience. Frank Henenlotter is a unique genius with a one-of-a-kind style, and it's a shame he hasn't directed many films.
I enjoy the relationship between Brian & Aylmer, and the other cast of characters are enjoyable in my opinion. Aylmer is a funny and chill guy despite being an evil parasite. Brain Damage has a good social commentary about drug addiction with Alymer representing heroin. Brain begins to become hooked to Aylmer's fluids and gradually loses his humanity. You'll witness what happens when Brain stops exploiting Alymer for his own personal needs. The special effects are fantastic, including a lot of gruesome practical effects. There's probably one or two scenes of special effects that don't look good in my opinion. The acting isn't particularly good, but I've seen worse. I have nothing else to say about Brain Damage other than it's awesome.
Overall, Brain Damage is a fantastic film that I strongly recommend watching.
Theater of Blood (1973)
Note: I thought I'd seen this movie when I was younger, but I have mistaken it for a different movie instead. I'm glad that I watched it because it was awesome. Theater of Blood is a solid horror film in my opinion. Vincent Price does an outstanding job as an actor who wants to murder the critics who dislike his stage performance. Theater of Blood feels like a slasher film despite not being a slasher film. I love Vincent Price's character's ability to kill people in a variety of methods in this film. The kills in Theater of Blood are both creative, brutal, and sometimes funny. The film also keeps you speculating on what will happen next when Vincent Price begins to kill his next victim.
You also have a fun cast of other characters that are noteworthy as well. The production values are superb, and the special effects for the death scenes are excellent in my opinion. When Vincent Price uses many disguises on film, I'm impressed by how good the makeup work is. The cinematography by Wolfgang Suschitzky (Get Carter) is solid because he succeeds to make the film look moody and stylish. My biggest problem with Theater of Blood is the story's inconsistencies. Some scenes don't always line up at times in my opinion. Aside from that, I really enjoyed it. I can't wait to own it on Blu-ray.
Overall, Theater of Blood is a great movie that I highly recommend.
The Blob (1958)
Viewed: HBO Max
Note: I decided to rewatch the original Blob for my 31 Days of Horror because it had been years since I had seen it. While I prefer the 1988 remake of The Blob, I think the original Blob film is still a good movie in my opinion. The plot is fun and straightforward, with a cool alien monster. The Blob has become a movie icon and has influenced numerous sci-fi horror characters (Venom's symbiote comes to mind). You have a fun cast of memorable characters and solid acting in my opinion. Steve McQueen makes his feature film debut and goes on to star in major films such as The Great Escape (1963).
The special effects are really cool for a film from 1958, and they still look decent by today's standers. You also have some beautiful colorful cinematography that is worth mentioning. The story is better than most people give it credit for because it does deal with serious themes that were important going on in the 1950s. The Blob is a metaphor for a weapon of mass destruction, as it is an organism that consumes anything it comes into contact with. The Blob's origin is unknown, therefore we're afraid of something we don't understand. There's also the theme of not ignoring what the younger generation is telling you. In the film, you have a bunch of adults that refuse to listen to the teenagers about the Blob. It reminds me of how it is today with the baby boomers refusing to take Covid-19 seriously from people that are younger than them.
The Blob isn't perfect because there are some plot holes to be found, and some characters are quite annoying to watch. The actors who are in their 20s playing teenagers does not stand out very well. I do like that it runs under 90 minutes because it does not move too quickly in my opinion. It's the perfect movie to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Overall, The Blob is a fun classic movie that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys films from the 1950s.
Note: I purchased the Blu-ray of this movie during Severin Films' Black Friday sale last year, but I haven't had the opportunity to watch it until now. Until a year ago, I had never heard of this film. I'm glad that I watched it because I really enjoy it. Family Portraits: A Trilogy of America is a really cool movie in my opinion. The film's dark and disgusting tone appeals to me greatly. Family Portraits almost felt like Subconscious Cruelty (2000) meets Storytelling (2001) in my opinion. Similar to Storytelling, both films are anthologies that deal with the dysfunctional suburban families in the United States. However, Family Portraits is more violent and graphic than Storytelling was.
I loved the first two stories in Family Portraits because they are so dark and unsettling. They are extremely brutal when it comes to blood and gore. One scene in Cutting Moments (the first story) has a scene that feels like it was ripped straight from Splatter: Naked Blood (1996). I like how these three stories were shot because they have the vibe of a low-budget independent film. It contributes to the film's eerie appeal. Given that many people still consider suburban America as a peaceful place to live, Douglas Buck did an excellent job of depicting the inter-dark nature that exists in everyday suburban America.
The second story (Home) is my favorite story in Family Portraits: A Trilogy of America because I like the themes in the story. It deals with a man who is haunted by his childhood trauma from his father. The story is quite realistic, and you can see how someone might lose their mind when their emotional scars begin to take over them. It demonstrates how a person's past life can have a negative impact on their future family. The ending of the story made my jaw drop to the floor. The third and final story (Prologue) is my least favorite story in my opinion. It feels way too long, and I didn't care about the characters. The third story offers an interesting premise, but the entire twist felt very predictable to me. You can see it happening a mile away. However, I did like the chilly and snowy atmosphere because you can feel the cold weather while watching it.
Overall, Family Portraits: A Trilogy of America is a good movie and I consider it to be an underrated gem from the 2000s. If you have the chance, I recommend that you watch it.
Viy or Spirit of Evil (1967)
Note: For years, I've wanted to watch Viy but have never had the opportunity. I'm glad I finally got around to watching it because I really enjoyed it. Viy is a fantastic movie in my opinion. I really like how the film looks and feels like you're watching a painting coming to life. The cinematography is beautiful to look at because the film uses a lot of dark colors, which makes it visually stunning. Viy is given a dreamlike quality through the cinematography by both Viktor Pishchalnikov and Fyodor Provorov. I absolutely love the visuals because they are incredibly impressive for a film that was released back in 1967. You have fantastic set designs and amazing makeup work for the demonic monsters as well. The set designs are perfect for the film's art direction as if they were pulled from a fairy tale novel.
I also love the atmosphere because it feels similar to that of an Andrei Tarkovsky film in my opinion. The characters are fascinating, and I found myself personally invested in them. Viy has a runtime of 77-minutes, and it does an excellent job with pacing. In my opinion, it wasn't overly short or rushed. Viy still won't be everyone's cup of tea because not everyone likes slow burn art house films.
Overall, Viy is a fantastic work of art that I highly recommend you watch.
Hitcher in the Dark (1989)
Note: Despite being a huge fan of Umberto Lenzi, I had never seen this film before. I remember hearing about it throughout the years, but I never got the chance to see it growing up. In case you were wondering, despite the title, this film is not related to The Hitcher (1986). I went into this film without knowing anything about the story, but it turned out to be quite different from what I had in mind. That's not to say I don't think Hitcher in the Dark is a bad film; in fact, I think it's pretty good in my opinion. I went into this movie thinking that it was about some sleazy driver going around picking up women on 42nd Street based on the poster. Instead, I got a movie about a young man obsessed with his mother who is looking for the perfect woman to be stuck with for the rest of his life.
I found Hitcher in the Dark to be really entertaining because I was engaged in the story. I was intrigued by seeing how the story will unfold with Daniela (played by Josie Bissett) trying to escape from her clutches. These kinds of movies usually give me the chills because I'm afraid of being kidnapped and stranded in the middle of nowhere with some crazed criminal. Umberto Lenzi did an excellent job at establishing a sense of isolation. You can feel the struggle for survival when Daniela is stuck inside an RV with Mark (played by Joe Balogh). Joe Balogh does a solid job of playing a crazy mad man who is obsessed with finding the perfect woman. Mark goes ape shit when he finds out that Daniela had sex with other men. Mark in this movie reminds me how incels/red pillers are in today's Internet culture.
I like how pretty the cinematography can be at times, and the music is really catchy to listen to. You have great location shots of Virginia Beach that made me wish that I watched it during the summer instead. Until the conclusion, I liked how dark and bleak the story was. The ending was disappointing in my opinion. To be honest, I wish Umberto Lenzi had made a film that was more horrific and unsettling. Hitcher in the Dark is not as violent and sleazy as the other films that he directed. Outside of Joe Balogh's performance, the acting isn't very good, and the dialogue is mostly lousy in my opinion. Despite its flaws, I'm glad I purchased the Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome.
Overall, I don't think Hitcher in the Dark is as bad as some people make it out to be. I recommend watching it if you've got time to spare.
The Devil's Backbone (2001)
Note: This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Devil's Backbone, and I thought today was the perfect opportunity to revisit it. Even 20 years after its release, The Devil's Backbone is a fantastic film. It's easily one of my favorite horror films of the 2000s in my opinion. The story and atmosphere are my favorite aspects of this film. Everything about this film is extremely atmospheric. The dark, bright colors stand out and contribute to the gothic horror atmosphere. Guillermo Navarro's (Jackie Brown) cinematography is magnificent, and he truly understands how to bring Guillermo del Toro's artistic vision to life.
Everything about this film feels like an urban legend presented through the eyes of a child. Normally, I don't find ghosts to be scary or interesting, but the ghost in this film is quite creepy. When the ghost is on screen, I actually get chills down my spine. The Devil's Backbone is set during the final days of the Spanish War during the 1930s, and it serves as a reminder of the horrors of that war. You witness children who've been badly injured and innocent people who have now been blasted to bits on screen. The acting, particularly that of the child actors, is excellent in my opinion. All the characters are memorable and fascinating because you're invested in these characters and their problems. The Devil's Backbone is also excellent at dealing with themes of human selfishness. It demonstrates how far people will go to acquire gold.
Overall, The Devil's Backbone is an excellent film that I strongly recommend watching.
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Viewed: Blu-Ray (Arrow Video)
Note: For a while, I'd wanted to rewatch the original Last House on the Left, and I decided that this month would be the perfect time to do so as part of my 31 Days of Horror. I wasn't a big fan of The Last House on the Left when I first saw it as a teenager. The more I watch this film, the more I enjoy it. The Last House on the Left is my second favorite Wes Craven movie next to the original Nightmare on Elm Street. The story's raw and gritty nature appeals to me. The film is bleak and depressing, with no signs of optimism. You can witness humanity's darkest and sickest aspect. This film shows that some people can be simply cruel for no apparent reason.
I always enjoy how The Last House on the Left begins as nice and innocent before transforming into a dark and nasty movie. The Last House on the Left feels unique because of its low budget and gritty cinematography in my opinion. The graphic violence has a realistic feel to it, which fits the film nicely. The graphic violence in this film serves a purpose, and it isn't just for the sake of shock value. According to what I've read, Wes Craven uses graphic violence to depict the deaths that followed the Vietnam War. When the two main protagonists are out shopping, the guerrilla-style video scenes are entertaining to watch since they feel like a glorious time capsule of the 1970s. The music is also iconic and catchy to listen too in my opinion.
The Last House on the Left is not a perfect movie because it does have flaws. Some dialogue and acting are not that great except for the performance from David A. Hess (The Swiss Conspiracy). The scenes with the cops are pointless and could have been easily removed from the film in my opinion. I get what Wes Craven was trying to do by satirizing the police force by showing how incompetent they are when solving crimes. It just doesn't work very well at all. Also, I would not recommend watching The Last House on the Left if you are sensitive to graphic violence.
Overall, The Last House on the Left is a classic grindhouse movie that you should watch if you like exploitation films.
Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966) (1966)
Note: Tonight I felt like watching a Mario Bava film, and this seemed like the ideal pick. Kill, Baby, Kill is still a terrific film that holds up quite well in my opinion. I love the way the film looks and feels, thanks to Antonio Rinaldi's (Planet of Vampires) vibrant cinematography and the gorgeous set designs. The vibrant colors truly stand out, and I love how well they blend in with the tone and atmosphere of the film. With the spider cobwebs, cloudy weather, and scary-looking castles, the set designs make everything feel gothic. Without a doubt, Guillermo del Toro was influenced by Kill, Baby, Kill when directing some of his films, such as Crimson Peak (2015)
It's incredible that they were able to create such beautiful sets on such a tight budget. Mario Bava went above and beyond to bring his artistic vision to life. The story is extremely entertaining, and there are no dull moments in my opinion. All the characters are fascinating, and I was interested to learn more about the lore in this film. Kill, Baby, Kill is certainly considered cheesy and dated by most people today, but I disagree. Several aspects of the movie, such as the small ghost girl, is pretty creepy in my opinion. My least favorite thing about Kill, Baby, Kill is the acting. The performances are a mixed bag (Giuseppe Addobbati (La Dolce Vita) probably has the best role in the film), but that's about it. I don't know what else to say about this movie except that it's awesome.
Overall, Kill, Baby, Kill is a fantastic film that I strongly recommend watching.
The Blob (1988)
Viewed: Blu-Ray (Scream Factory)
Note: Seeing that I watched the original Blob movie earlier this month, I decided to rewatch the 1988 remake. The remake of The Blob is still a great movie in my opinion. The film does an excellent job of sticking true to the original Blob while still adding its own touch. The Blob in this version is darker and more violent than the original. You have plenty of graphic violence, similar to the 1980s remake of The Fly and The Thing, that would not have been approved in the 1950s. In my opinion, Chuck Russell (the director) did an excellent job of making The Blob scarier than the original Blob.
People's limbs are torn off, and their skin is disintegrated in this film as The Blob devours its victims. It's satisfying to watch The Blob devour people on screen thanks to the amazing practical effects. They did an excellent job of making the death scenes look gruesome. The special effects, in my opinion, are very impressive by today's standards. None of the special effects look outdated or cheesy. Kevin Dillon (Platoon), Shawnee Smith (The Saw series), Joe Seneca (Malcolm X), Jack Nance (Eraserhead), and Jeffrey DeMunn (The Shawshank Redemption) all give entertaining performances in my opinion. The Blob remake also has an interesting message on anti-authoritarianism that is worth mentioning. It's a shame that the sequel was never made.
Overall, The Blob remake is a great movie that I strongly recommend.
Note: Carnosaur holds a special place in my heart because it was the first R-rated film I remember renting when I was around 4 years old. Like most kids in the 1990s, I was obsessed with dinosaurs and would watch anything with one on the cover. I was fortunate to have parents who were not overly concerned about me watching R-rated material when I was a kid, and I remember renting the last VHS copy from a local video store in Baltimore, MD. The next day, the video store owner was nice enough to give me a poster of the film after I told him how much I liked it. Even though Carnosaur isn't a great film, I still enjoy it for what it is.
Despite the fact that Roger Corman is only the film's producer, his influence can still be seen. Carnosaurs' low-budget charm certainly adds a trashy vibe to the film. Thanks to John Carl Buechler's (Re-Animator) cool special effects, there are a lot of violent and nasty moments that are a lot of fun to watch. Despite the limited budget, they did an excellent job of making the gruesome death sequences memorable in my opinion. The acting and dialogue are pretty bad, but it adds to the trashy appeal of the film. I can't help but love the film's villain (played by Diane Ladd) because she is so ridiculous. It's not every day that you have a movie villain who wants dinosaurs to dominate humanity and force women to give birth to dinosaur eggs.
My least favorite thing about Carnosaur is the ending. In my opinion, the film's conclusion seems rushed. Because there is currently no HD version of this film, several moments are difficult to watch. Some of the awesome gory scenes aren't visible because they're too dark to see.
Overall, Carnosaur is a fun trashy movie that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys B movies.
The Night House (2020)
Viewed: Amazon Prime (Rental)
Note: I've heard nothing but good things about The Night House, and I was disappointed to miss out on seeing it in theaters. A few months later, you can now rent it digitally or physically at your local Red Box. I ended up renting it on Amazon Prime in 4K UHD digital format, and it was well worth the wait. The Night House is an excellent film, and it is currently my favorite horror film of the year. Everything about this film, in my opinion, was truly breathtaking.
I do like how The Night House takes the haunted house genre and does something unique with it. The Night House has a gloomy atmosphere and is able to use ghosts in a more creative fashion. The director, David Bruckner, did an outstanding job of creating abstract imagery. He was able to create ghosts that looked different from what you'd see in most ghost movies. The film is spellbinding because of the gritty cinematography and usage of dark red colors. I was glued to my seat and didn't want to get up since I was so deeply invested in the narrative and the atmosphere of the film.
I really like how The Night House is also a character-driven story about a widow (played by Rebecca Hall) who is attempting to figure out why her husband committed suicide. You can see how the main character is struggling to recover from her trauma while also starting to doubt her own sanity. The plot does an excellent job of maintaining your interest and having you wonder what will happen next. There are several jaw-dropping moments that must be seen to be believed. Rebecca Hall (Godzilla vs. Kong) delivers a fantastic performance, and Vondie Curtis-Hall (Coming to America) has an entertaining role as well. I also recommend watching The Night House without knowing anything about the plot because it's one of those movies where the less you know, the better.
Overall, The Night House is a terrific movie that I strongly recommend you to watch.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Viewed: In theaters
Note: Spoiler Review.
It took some time to write this review since I needed time to think about the movie thoroughly. I was glad to see it on the big screen because watching it in a crowded theater was a blast. Many people were cheering and screaming in excitement. I enjoy Halloween Kills for what it is. It's a fun and trashy popcorn flick in my opinion. I don't think it's a particularly good movie because the script has numerous flaws. Laurie Strode barely does anything in the film, and some characters are complete morons.
The mob squad pretty much decided to go after someone that they think is Michael Myers but didn't think beforehand. When the mob squad beats up Michael Myers in the final act of the film, no one bothers to shoot him in the head. They could have simply killed him by blowing his head off with a shotgun or cutting his head off with an ax. They know Michael Myers is capable of withstanding multiple gunshots to the chest. It seems really stupid that they didn't think this whole thing out. The gay couple only exists just to be killed off when they could have easily run away instead of acting like sitting ducks. It's a shame that they killed off Karen because I felt like that there was no reason to kill off her character. None of the humor is funny and it feels out of place in my opinion.
The acting isn't good, but it's not as bad as some critics claim in my opinion. I do agree that the dialogue could have been better and the CGI does stand out like a sore thumb. Despite the flaws of Halloween Kills, I had a good time watching it. I really enjoyed how brutal and gory the film's killings were. They did a good job of making Michael Myers seem terrifying by portraying him as a never-ending killer. Halloween (2018) was trying too hard to play things safe, whereas Halloween Kills chose to go absolutely insane. I'm glad they didn't rehash the older films and weren't afraid to make a dumb film.
Overall, if you want to turn off your brain for 100 minutes, Halloween Kills is a good choice to do so. I recommend giving this movie a chance with an open mind.
Viewed: In theaters
Note: Spoiler Review.
Before it leaves my local movie theater this weekend, I finally got the chance to see this film in theaters. Apart from the fact that it received positive reviews from movie critics, I know nothing about this film. I have a hard time writing my thoughts for Lamb because I have no idea what to say. I liked it, but I wasn't as blown away by it as the majority of people were. Despite the fact that it is labeled as a horror movie, it does not feel like one. I didn't find the movie terrifying or spooky in the slightest. This isn't a horror film, so don't expect it to be one. In my point of view, it's a drama thriller. My favorite thing about Lamb was the atmosphere and cinematography. I really like how the film portrays Iceland's chilly and dry weather. By watching this film, you can get a sense of how chilly everything is.
There are a lot of breathtaking location shots of Iceland that are wonderful to look at. You can pause almost any scene in this film and hang a picture of it. I like the eerie tone because it has a weird vibe to it. Lamb almost feels like if Ingmar Bergman directed Eraserhead (1977) in my opinion. The exciting story leaves you guessing about what may happen next. The characters are likable, and I was fascinated by their way of life. Most people complained about the pacing, but I didn't. The film moved at a good pace for me, and it didn't feel slow at all in my opinion.
My biggest problem with this film is that I wish something were explained more. I'm surprised that the two married couple are okay with a lamb humanoid creature living with them. They didn't bother to ask what is going on. The film builds up to some goat monster, and the pay-off was worth it. Too bad, you don't know where the hell it came from.
Overall, Lamb is an entertaining and unique film. It's nice to see a weird foreign film get a major theatrical run in the United States. I recommend checking it out if you enjoy artsy movies.
Each day of October, I watch a horror movie and posted my thoughts on it. 31 horror movies, 1 for each day of October.
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