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Yeah, I think that issue runs throughout Shyamalan's filmography and part of why he hasn't been able to top the ending in The Sixth Sense.
I think that Unbreakable does a good job of melding the supernatural stuff with the characters. And in The Visit there's also a sense of coherence.

I didn't comment on it in my review, but yeah, that telescope scene. What's this Revenge of the Nerds bull**** doing in my '40s werewolf movie?
You know how when a man you've never met before implies he's been in your bedroom you just tilt your head and smile at him like that's just the cutest pick-up line ever?

I really liked this film but apparently the scene that gives it a way and therefore seemed to knock it down a bit for a few people, I was in the bathroom for. And then once you see it a second time well you already know going in. But I thought the design and cinematography and editing were just aces. And I really thought BDH was pretty special. And of course, I will enjoy almost anything with William Hurt in it.
And the bolded paragraph just seems like a bummer. I intentionally avoided any exposure before seeing it so I could really get the full flavor and I probably liked it as much as any fan it has.
I try to avoid spoilers, generally, but someone just happened to make an offhand remark and it wasn't hard to figure out.



The trick is not minding
*sigh*

Too many films, not enough time. Going to have to kick a few off of my watch list for the time being And focus on certain ones. Namely Bava and Fulci. Vampire Doll is priority. Son of Dracula certainly is. Countess Dracula and Vampire Circus as well.
And of course, more recent films such as Impetigore and La Llorona (Gautamala film). And last years Sputnik from Russia. And Tumbbad from India. Oh, and The Lighthouse.
Always next time. They’re not going anywhere.





Party Hard, Die Young, 2018

A group of teens from the same high school go to celebrate their graduation on a party island in Croatia. Julia (Elisabeth Wabitsch) and her friends are more than ready to spend their days on the beach and then get drunk at wild dance parties at night. But a masked killer has very different ideas about how their week should go.

This was a perfectly fine slasher, with decent kills and a pretty good range of canon fodder and suspects. The party island setting works well, as the people running the island aren't exactly eager for word to get around that their clients are being hacked and slashed. The constant binge drinking and poor decisions mean that the teens aren't the most reliable of witnesses, and so the idea that the killer is able to keep at it doesn't seem horribly far fetched.

Here's the thing, though, and I'm gonna try to be vague here: once you learn the killer's motive, I have to admit, I was kind of rooting for them? I mean, I will admit that torture and murder is an extreme reaction, but once we learn about the secret shared by the teens, I had a hard time cheering for them to live. And the more we learn, the worse it gets. By the last act of the film when we're supposed to be rooting for the final teens, I was kind of like, "Eh." Not only did they do something really horrible, there's actually no sign that they've learned a lesson or changed their ways.

In fact, what's kind of interesting is that the various party sequences show that the teens really didn't learn a single thing from their past. We repeatedly see selfish behavior, lack of accountability, and characters behaving horribly toward each other. Don't get me wrong: this is probably very accurate! Most people don't respond to a tragedy by changing their ways----they find a way to justify what happened, diminish their own culpability, and keep doing the same old junk.

The cast, considering they are horrible people, are likable enough as protagonists (wisely we do not learn of their indiscretion until later in the film). The most interesting plot arc probably belongs to a character who is on the outskirts of the main group. Mocked for her weight (she is "movie fat", ie probably a size 14), she is elected "Queen" of the weekend as a joke, but then stuns the other teens with a confident, sexy dance. But her newfound attention comes at a price, as she discovers when the other teens begin to take an interest in her. You can see in her face that she wants the attention, even as she wonders if it's a joke AND doesn't quite know how to set boundaries.

This isn't great horror, but it's certainly passable. And the fact that the "protagonists" are so awful kind of takes the sting out of their torment.




*sigh*

Too many films, not enough time. Going to have to kick a few off of my watch list for the time being And focus on certain ones. Namely Bava and Fulci. Vampire Doll is priority. Son of Dracula certainly is. Countess Dracula and Vampire Circus as well.
And of course, more recent films such as Impetigore and La Llorona (Gautamala film). And last years Sputnik from Russia. And Tumbbad from India. Oh, and The Lighthouse.
Always next time. They’re not going anywhere.
Vampire Doll is kind of meh.

Vampire Circus is a-MAH-zing!



Jennifer's Body



Another, I was kind of tired tonight so I wanted something easy to watch. I've been mildly curious about this one, and it showed up on the criterion channel this month, so why not?

I found it enjoyable. I think a lot of cyber-ink has been spilled as some demographics have claimed it as a cult classic, which I get. I didn't connect deeply on those levels, so for me, it was light fun. Having Amanda Seyfried in your lead role doesn't hurt. And, I don't really have a lot to add beyond that (also, short on time).

It didn't cross my mind until the Fox logo came up, this qualifies for the major studio release under 2 hours item.

WARNING: spoilers below
Honestly I was kind of hoping they'd go the unreliable narrator route and Seyfried might have been the killer. They seemed to be hinting at with Seyfried having the link and knowing when Jennifer was about to kill. Though if they did go that route, they probably would have oversold it.



Going back...
I still don't know what to say about Eye of the Devil. If you want something that's kind of in the area of The Innocents or The Haunting in terms of era and quality (though I think those two are better), then you should probably make time for it. Anything else feels like a spoiler.



In the Earth - I think, "Ben Wheatley really loves his toadstool rings," really says it all, doesn't it?
WARNING: spoilers below
I laughed at the "going to the hospital" recurring joke.




And I feel like I should give at least one screenshot for A Chinese Ghost Story (I think if you enjoy movies like Zu: Warriors from Magic Mountain, Encounters of the Spooky Kind, or Evil Dead 2, this movie will probably be for you).






Return of the Living Dead, 1985

Freddy (Thom Mathews) has just started a new job at a sketchy medical supply company. When his co-worker Frank (James Karen) tells him about living dead creatures kept in the basement, Freddy is intrigued. But when the men accidentally crack a storage container filled with a mysterious gas, the dead begin to come back to life. Soon a squad of Freddy's punk friends, his girlfriend Tina (Beverly Randolph), and a local mortician (Don Calfa) are up against a whole gaggle of reanimated corpses.

Okay, yes, thank you. THIS is a horror worthy of October!

You know, it's really rare that horror films are able to balance heart, scares, and comedy, and it's such a delight when it works out as well as this.

To start with the comedy, the film scores on multiple levels. The practical effects are gruesome, but also comedic. Early on we see a reanimated half-dog. Zombie heads are knocked off with aplomb. The characters rely on their knowledge of other zombie films--Night of the Living Dead is repeatedly and explicitly referenced--to survive, and express annoyance when the zombies don't follow the "rules".

The comedy also works as the film develops an entire host of weird, engaging characters. Freddy, the dopey young man. Ernie, the local mortician who might also be a Nazi? Frank, who responds to the effects of the gas with a mix of world-weary "of course" vibes and middle-aged grumpiness. Tina, the "nice girl" who tries to stand by her man, even as the gas begins to take a serious toll on him. Clu Gulager is also a standout as the owner of the medical supply company who will do anything to avoid involving the authorities. Heck, even the two unnamed paramedics who show up halfway through the film make an impression as they have a whispered conversation to discuss a disturbing lack of vital signs in a patient.

On the scares front, the film hits just the right pitch. The creature in the image at the top of the review is called Tarman, and his lurching-but-intentional movements are at once comedic and frightening. This film takes the novel approach of having the zombie move quickly and actually be intelligent. They can speak and reason, leading to some shocking sequences where the monsters we expect to be lumbering blank slates turn out to have personalities and some devious plans. There is something particularly horrifying about the progression of Freddy's reaction to the gas, and several characters face horrible demises.

But mostly the film has heart, and that's what really makes it stand out. Yes, on one level it is very cynical. Yes, there are several "throwaway" deaths of characters. But there are also several deaths that are tragedies--and the film isn't afraid to linger an extra moment or two for us to mourn and appreciate this. We see it in the way that Tina holds Freddy as he breaks down over what is happening to him. We see it in little moments, like a character pondering a mercy killing when things begin to look particularly bleak. The characters might in some cases be caricatures, but their interactions and personalities (over the top though they may be) make you care about them.

This film is what I was hoping Night of the Demons would be. It has great momentum and it balances absurd deaths and set-pieces with a genuine affection for its characters. This was a lot of fun, and a real pick-me-up.




Registered User
If Dawn of the Dead isn't my favorite zombie film, then Return of the Living Dead is, and it just may be all things considered. The epitome of the "Midnight Movie" experience (I caught a late show of this in the original release). RIP Dan O'Bannon.



Do these things leak?


Hell, no. These things were made by the US Army Corps of Engineers!



A system of cells interlinked
Indeed. A lot to unpack

Last year, my wife and I tried watching The Haunting of Bly Manor, but it turned out to be a sad retread of this film, so we bailed pretty quickly.
__________________
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



A system of cells interlinked
Added Paranormal Activity 3 in the category A horror film that was economically the biggest one of the year.



Indeed. A lot to unpack

Last year, my wife and I tried watching The Haunting of Bly Manor, but it turned out to be a sad retread of this film, so we bailed pretty quickly.

I saw my girlfriend was watching Bly Manor last year, and I grew so annoyed with what a terrible disservice they were doing to the source material, I threw on The Innocents to let her decide which one she wanted to continue with.


Thankfully, she quickly realized a pretty dramatic difference in quality and we no longer had to soil our home with the nuisance of Bly Manor.


Thank you, Jack Clayton.



A system of cells interlinked
Also, Return of the Living Dead, is hands down the greatest zombie movie. Nothing else comes close.
I never get tried of it. Endlessly entertaining!

Love this theme, also...



Oddly, that was also on this weird mixtape I used to have in the 80s, called D&D First Quest.




If someone were to ask me what I thought the best zombie movie was, I'd say Night of the Living Dead. If they were to ask me what I think the second best zombie movie was, I'd say Return of the Living Dead. The quality of, "how would people act in a zombie apocalypse," feels more similar in those two movies than anything else I've seen in the genre.


If pressed for the third best, I'd probably start venturing out of the conventional and might start thinking something like Messiah of Evil or Shivers. Not sure where Prince of Darkness would end up, but that one is growing one me.



A system of cells interlinked
If pressed for the third best, I'd probably start venturing out of the conventional and might start thinking something like Messiah of Evil or Shivers. Not sure where Prince of Darkness would end up, but that one is growing one me.
Love that flick. Are those sort of possessed people really proper zombies, though?



Love that flick. Are those sort of possessed people really proper zombies, though?

To me, this is a distinction without a difference.


Whether or not they are 'undead', they function in essentially the exact same fashion.



Red Letter Media is doing a whole run down on every John Carpenter movie, and I can't help but agree with them designating this, and Ghost of Mars and Assault on Precinct 13 as being zombie movies. Because they all kind of are. Even if they aren't.



A system of cells interlinked
To me, this is a distinction without a difference.


Whether or not they are 'undead', they function in essentially the exact same fashion.



Red Letter Media is doing a whole run down on every John Carpenter movie, and I can't help but agree with them designating this, and Ghost of Mars and Assault on Precinct 13 as being zombie movies. Because they all kind of are. Even if they aren't.
Fair!

"This is not a dream... We are using your brain's electrical system as a receiver. We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference ... We are transmitting from the year one-nine-nine-nine."



Love that flick. Are those sort of possessed people really proper zombies, though?

Well, a group of people died, came back to life, and are trying to kill other people. I guess there's no devouring of flesh, which might be the separating feature.
Shivers would be the biggest stretch in the group.


This is all the flipside of zombie vs zombie redneck torture family.


Frankenstein and Zombie Jason could theoretically be classified as zombies, but we don't think of those as zombie movies because, it's not really a horde or akin to a zombie horde movie. In these other cases, you have the zombie horde, but maybe not quite precisely zombies comprising them. I've seen movies like Demons and Demons 2 be substituted in for situations where you'd want to watch a zombie movie in that sense.
I think I did qualify the statement with, "less conventional," (which I meant more in terms genre classifications than the actual choices, though, less conventional genre classification usually also means they're less conventional choices).