Friday, October 20, 2017

Brief Thoughts - ONE DARK NIGHT (1983)

A few years ago I saw a fairly crappy looking print of ONE DARK NIGHT and liked it. I had obtained a copy because I had heard some good things about the film and, at the time, the only way I could see it was through rather dubious means. This month I rewatched the film because a pretty decent print has popped up on Amazon Prime. Now I don't have to feel so bad about talking about this movie and kind of recommending it again. 

I've seen this movie sold as a slasher movie and while it has some superficial similarities to movies in that genre I would term it much more a supernatural horror movie. It certainly one of the few films I can think of that features a telekinetic killer ghost! Our main character played by Meg Tilly is coerced by gang members to sleep overnight in the mausoleum/Crypt housing the newly dead, possibly psychic local loon who was somehow responsible for the death of six women. Tilly's character  wants to be a part of the gang and is willing to take whatever hazing these girls can dream up. Of course her potential  sisters aim to sneak into the place and terrify her throughout the evening and, as you might expect, things go horribly wrong. The dead fellow somehow rises from his tomb and begins wreaking havoc all over the mausoleum. Other than a few character complications that's really all there is to the story and that simplicity allows this movie to work pretty darn well. The film shows it's inspirations (PHANTASM and POLTERGEIST) without seeming to steal things outright from them. It's not a classic but it's solid and it does its job very well. Its flaws are the flaws of budgetary limitations, the 1980s and the subgenre that it is a part of. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October Pumpkins

The temperature has finally turned cooler here in Tennessee! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Video - THE DEVIL BAT (1940)

I'm never going to claim THE DEVIL BAT is my favorite Bela Lugosi film BUT it is my favorite of his Poverty Row Horror films. It's a mad scientist lab full of crazy with Lugosi in full (slightly) secretive sinister mode which is enough to make almost anything a fun viewing experience. THE DEVIL BAT falls into the odd cinema space in my head where I can kick my brain into neutral, take it at face value and really enjoy it the way it was intended. But, I can also engage my critical faculties and swing back & forth between loving it and laughing at it. I truly love this film! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Creeps #12 Available for Pre-Order

If you've not been reading the quarterly horror comic magazine The Creeps you have been missing out. The 11th issue is still on the shelves of your local Barnes & Noble (if you have a local Barnes & Noble) and is perfect October night entertainment for fans of the classic black & white horror comics of the 1970's. 
Do yourself a favor and at least look over the previews available for each past issue at their website. Check it out and see if it's your kind of scary! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Conan vs Monsters!

That barbarian sure does run into a whole mess o'monsters! 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

What I Watched in September

Among the things I saw last month are two very different Stephen King adaptations. They show the problems inherent with moving from page to screen not just for King's horror tales but any story fashioned first as a book.

Never having read past the first novel in Stephen King's Dark Tower series I have no idea how well this ninety minute film boils things down. I suspect it does it very poorly as it does almost everything poorly as relates to film. This is a boring, visually dull, uninvolving mess that feels like it's two hours long before you even reach the end of the first 45 minutes. The cast is trying but the script gives them so little to grab on to that it's like watching actors work out the blocking for a stage play rather than an actual film. I do wonder if the film was cut down from a longer length but what is here is so poorly written and filmed that I can only imagine that it would be even worse with more minutes added back in. Dreadful and a huge missed opportunity.

Put me in the (rather large) camp that found this new adaptation of King's massive novel to be excellent. Although I've read 19 of his novels and a couple of short story collections, the book IT is one of his that I've never read so I came to this film with only the 1990 TV mini-series for comparison. Wisely, the filmmakers chose to only tell the first half of the book's long story in this movie and I think this new film does an excellent job of placing the children's tale in the 1980's (as did the TV film) without bashing us over the head with 80's-isms. King was clearly trying to emulate favorite authors such as Ray Bradbury by placing the young versions of the characters center stage and this film actually captures that feeling well. The cast of kids are very good, the scares are very well done (even the cheap ones), the monster is brilliantly portrayed and the sense of the town of Derry being a truly dangerous place is put across well. I'm not sure if this is true in the novel but in this version of the telling what we have is partially a haunted house story and I love such things. I was quite pleased with this first half and hope that the 30 years later portion in the second film won't flub things. 

The List 

THE MERMAID (2016) - 7 (fast, silly Stephen Chow comedy)
HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) - 7 (rewatch)
DEATH NOTE (2017) - 7
THE FALLING (1987) - 2
NIGHTMARES (1983) - 5 (mediocre anthology horror film)
DARK SUMMER (2015) - 5 (too long ghost tale)
TERROR TRAIN (1980)- 6 (rewatch)
LATE PHASES (2014) - 7 (smart character study as werewolf film)
THE DARK TOWER (2017) - 4
MADMAN (1981) - 6 (rewatch)
HOUSE (1977) - 7 (mad Japanese haunted house insanity)
WILD TALES (2014) - 9 (Amazing Argentinean anthology film)
ENTER THE DEVIL (1974) - 5 (Italian devil-possessed woman vs priest film)
SAW IV (2007) - 4 (rewatch)
DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING (1972) - 8 (rewatch)
NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS (1975) - 7(rewatch)
SAW V (2008) - 4
SAW VI (2009) - 5
IT (2017) - 8
LA VENGANZA DE LAS MUJERERS VAMPIRO (1970) - 6 (Santo vs vampire women and a mad scientist!)
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972) - 8 (rewatch)
SEVEN DEATHS IN A CAT'S EYE (1973) -7 (rewatch)
STRANGE BEHAVIOR (1981) - 4 (flat and uninvolving)
EVIL LAUGH (1986) - 3 (rough low budget slasher)
NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985) - 7 (pretty darned good giallo)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Score for HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB to be released on CD!

In an incredibly surprising announcement Quartet Records is releasing a CD with the scores of two Paul Naschy films! The big news is that at long last the score for Naschy's classic tale of mad terror HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB is one of them. The film's music was written by Spanish composer Carmelo Bernaola who also scored COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE, HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE and CUT-THROATS NINE. If you've never seen HRFTT it can be difficult to describe the sound of the music but perhaps calling it a Gothic/psychedelic mixture that uses organ, strings, piano and wooden percussion will almost prepare a new listener for the experience. But not really. And since the score is only about 30 minutes long, the CD also features the complete score for a Spanish TEN LITTLE INDIANS variation in which Naschy played a small role. That just adds value to the pacakge!!

I ordered my copy immediately and if you want one you should too. There are only going to be 300 copies! Follow one of the links below to secure yours -