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2021 Halloween Challenge

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That's awesome. Cheers.
Oh, don't cheer me. Cheer Vampire Circus.

It's so strange to read it being discussed as flat or just "decent", because it has more delightfully "charged" moments than most horror films I can think of.



Also, having already used my One-word Title category with Malignant, what category fits Lemora: A Child's Tale Of The Supernatural?
A top-tier B-horror that even pahaK likes a lot. Wait, there's no such category.
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OK, I've seen Vampire Circus now and can confirm that I hadn't watched it before. (Part of me thought that I might have a long time ago)
Is it my new favorite Hammer film? No, that's crazy talk. But I did like it a lot and found it to be a pretty unique experience. It didn't feel like any other Hammer film, which is saying something.

3 to me is still something that I consider fairly good.
I can live with this.

A stronger presence behind the camera would have allowed its stranger ideas to resonate more
I agree. One example that comes to mind is any of the mirror scenes. Without re-watching it to verify, my hunch is that every scene involving the mirrors was filmed from the exact same angle. And that angle seemed to be chosen for no other reason than to keep the camera from being visible in the mirror. There was no flair, is what I'm saying. It's funhouse mirrors, it should be wackier.

Also, some of the shape-shifting bits during the performances could have been handled better. A few times a dancer would leap into the air and then we'd cut to a bat flying and I made the logical assumption that the dancer had turned into said bat, but at the same time it wasn't exactly clear either. I'm not saying I needed a convincing metamorphosis shot, only that it could have been shot or edited to be less ambiguous. It didn't help that nobody in the audience reacted as if they'd just seen PEOPLE TURNING INTO BATS IN FRONT OF THEIR VERY EYES. (I think I've made it clear that I need absolute realism from my bat-related content.) On the other hand, if someone wants to argue that that adds to the mystery of it all I wouldn't argue with them.

I feel like it's full of energy, right from the start and then especially once the circus comes to town. Violent energy, sexual energy, and freakin' vampire shape-shifter crazy dwarf energy to boot.
It feels neither frightening or scandalous.
I'm more in line with Wooley here. We were discussing Hammer's stodginess earlier and I feel like this is definitely part of the less-stodgy 70s Hammer. Watching the child being "groomed" for the vampire in the opening scene legit got under my skin. There's all the sexy bits too of course, but most importantly, there seemed to be fewer scenes of fancy people talking in fancy houses like in most other Hammers. I'd prefer a carnival-themed film to be more interesting visually than this was, but there were still some nice moments. The set with all of the corpses chained to the walls was tackier (in a good way) than Hammer usually allows itself to be. I wish they'd done more of that.

I do feel like it was missing a heavy-hitter in front of the camera, though. Sexy vampire boy was an engaging presence, but no one else really registered with me. Having a Cushing among the villagers or an Oliver Reed among the carnies might have helped.

So yeah, not flawless but unique enough to be noteworthy for sure. And knowing what I do about Wooley's tastes, I'm not surprised that he feels like all of his boxes are being ticked here. He now has my permission to like the film as much as he pleases.

PS-- I'm giving it 4/5, which means "liked a lot". I rarely give 5s after only one viewing, so I hope this satisfies Tak and Woolz.
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One example that comes to mind is any of the mirror scenes.

Yes


Also, some of the shape-shifting bits during the performances could have been handled better.

Yes


These are literally the two moments that immediately come to mind when I think of the films flatness (especially the mirror scene). It isn't limited to these moments, but the problem I have in the film is specifically manifested here. Is most obvious.



Like you, it's the expectation of it clearly needing more personality, considering what is going on in these scenes. For me, they are almost inexcusably bland. And, as I mentioned, looking into the history of the director, and finding out he was mostly a tv guy, is pretty obvious.


While I appreciate the things that happen in the movie, they way they are conveyed, are simply not speaking my language.



PS-- I'm giving it 4/5, which means "liked a lot". I rarely give 5s after only one viewing, so I hope this satisfies Tak and Woolz.
You have plenty of time to revisit it and give it that other 1/2 star.



That's 4/5, not 4.5. Let's not get carried away here!
I'm saying that with time and a bit of maturity, you'll find you're way to that 4.5.

From there, well, only a few can achieve true enlightenment.



A system of cells interlinked
Added Final Destination 5 and Something Wicked This Way Comes to the list in the categories of A Sequel to a Franchise and A Horror Film with a Title That is a Complete Sentence. Moved The Lair of the White Worm to A VHS Era Film Around 90 Minutes.
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"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



October 23rd Edge of the Axe (1989)
4. A horror film with 4 words




Edge of the Axe is a film that I think suffers from slasher fatigue. This feels like a throwback to early 80's slashers yet it came out in 89. It's a shame that the films been ignored because this is a really solid slasher film that improves upon the failures of earlier slashers.

The first thing that should be pointed out is that the film has no real protagonist it's really about this lakeside town that's being stalked by an Axe murderer. Often times when I was watching the film I kept thinking about what is going on because I was never able to get my footing with the plot. I say that as a good thing because the film has several subplots and misdirection's that the end is pretty satisfying.

The film also has a basis in basically googling as computers are a main theme of the story. It's actually pretty humorous all the things they get wrong in a mid/late 80's computer usage. But I will say it's admirable that the film wants to let you get to know the characters before destroying them in the death scenes. Also it should be noted that the kill scenes are well shot and focus less on gore and more on tension and setting which is another thing I really enjoyed about this one.

Obviously the film has one major flaw
WARNING: spoilers below
the killer is a woman yet the masked killer is clearly a stunt guy





October 24th The Green Knight (2021)
3. A horror film with 3 words




The Green Knight is a horror film, I've been going back and forth on this because it's also a fantasy/adventure film but the more I think about it the more I feel like it's a horror film. This is a movie about ghosts, monsters, giants, witches, and it's played for fear not awe.

The Green Knight tells the story of a knight who shows up at court setting a challenge that any knight of the court and take one shot at him, one year later the knight must show up and take the same blow from the Green Knight. The Green Knight is clearly a monster of some sort and after being beheaded picks up his head and leaves. Gaiwan than goes on a quest feeling like he must keep his honor and find the Green Knight.

Gaiwan's quest is fairly horrifying a number of the chapters are played for scares and you have a variety of horror. The ghost story is my favorite but I also enjoyed what I suppose is a haunted house tale. I'm curious if anyone else ends up watching this and wishes to debate it's genre.




October 25th Poltergeist (1982)
30. A horror film that is on the Movieforum list.


Poltergeist (1982) it's kinda strange how Spielberg likes to go back and tinker with his effects when the film that he did/did not direct could really use a remaking of effects because some looked really bad. Frankly it's the effects that hurt the film because this is a great PG-13 film and a pretty good Spielberg film.

For those who don't know this is the story of a haunted house built on an Indian burial ground. At one point the youngest daughter is taken by the ghosts and is now haunting the family. The strength of the film is the way the movie is shot some of the effects work very well the film also takes time for humor and let the story breathe.




October 24th The Green Knight (2021)
3. A horror film with 3 words




The Green Knight is a horror film, I've been going back and forth on this because it's also a fantasy/adventure film but the more I think about it the more I feel like it's a horror film. This is a movie about ghosts, monsters, giants, witches, and it's played for fear not awe.

The Green Knight tells the story of a knight who shows up at court setting a challenge that any knight of the court and take one shot at him, one year later the knight must show up and take the same blow from the Green Knight. The Green Knight is clearly a monster of some sort and after being beheaded picks up his head and leaves. Gaiwan than goes on a quest feeling like he must keep his honor and find the Green Knight.

Gaiwan's quest is fairly horrifying a number of the chapters are played for scares and you have a variety of horror. The ghost story is my favorite but I also enjoyed what I suppose is a haunted house tale. I'm curious if anyone else ends up watching this and wishes to debate it's genre.

I wouldn't say that The Green Knight was straight-up Horror, or even just half-Horror, since I felt that it fell more into the Supernatural/Fantasy categories, but there certainly were Horror-ish undertones to certain scenes & aspects of it, so I can certainly understand someone placing it in that genre.



October 26th The Vampire Bat (1933)
22. A classic B film that is just over an hour



Love a movie that spoils the killer on the poster. A town is being stalked and hunter by a "vampire". This is a film that plays an hour into it as a mystery but they pretty give away the killer at every point in the story. Eventually they reveal he has "powers"...the whole thing is pretty stupid and hard to write about. With that said several of the set pieces are well made, you have color in a black and white film and the misdirect is pretty spooky though the reveal is stupid, dated and poorly executed. Of all the films with roughly the same title I would avoid this one.




October 23rd Edge of the Axe (1989)
4. A horror film with 4 words




Edge of the Axe is a film that I think suffers from slasher fatigue. This feels like a throwback to early 80's slashers yet it came out in 89. It's a shame that the films been ignored because this is a really solid slasher film that improves upon the failures of earlier slashers.

The first thing that should be pointed out is that the film has no real protagonist it's really about this lakeside town that's being stalked by an Axe murderer. Often times when I was watching the film I kept thinking about what is going on because I was never able to get my footing with the plot. I say that as a good thing because the film has several subplots and misdirection's that the end is pretty satisfying.

The film also has a basis in basically googling as computers are a main theme of the story. It's actually pretty humorous all the things they get wrong in a mid/late 80's computer usage. But I will say it's admirable that the film wants to let you get to know the characters before destroying them in the death scenes. Also it should be noted that the kill scenes are well shot and focus less on gore and more on tension and setting which is another thing I really enjoyed about this one.

Obviously the film has one major flaw
WARNING: spoilers below
the killer is a woman yet the masked killer is clearly a stunt guy


As far as European '80s horror movies pretending to be American productions go, this is a lot more enjoyable than the likes of Body Count and Nightmare Beach.


I'm a big fan of Symptoms from the same director. It's like Repulsion but with a more autumnal atmosphere. Worth a watch if you haven't seen it but very different from this one.



October 27th Sweetheart (2019)
A film on Netflix



Sweetheart tells the story of a young black girl stranded on a remote desert island. The film currently has a 95% rating on RT with a 50% audience score.

<sigh> I'm getting to the point where I'm just not going to watch horror films with black leads anymore...this might have been the one to break me.

So for the first half hour it's Cast Away, several scenes are literally ripped right from the film. So that's pretty bad but then the character is being haunted by something that only comes at night...which is I believe another horror film. But why I truly hate this film is what sets up the third act....

WARNING: spoilers below
So at the start of act three a raft shows up with two more survivors, her boyfriend and another female. Keep in mind until this point it's just nothing but dead white people with a black female lead. The boyfriend shows up and basically is the embodiment of white privilege, mansplaning, cowardice. While on this raft for five days he and this other girl cannibalize her boyfriend(implied) and then start f'ing. They don't believe her that a monster exists so yeah but they have to be terrible people.


So the film concludes with another obvious and blatant theft and I vow to never watch a JD Dillard film again.




October 28th Hell Night (1981)
A VHS era film that is around 90 minutes



This one was just an odd Slasher, Hell Night tells the story of four "pledges" who decide they have to spend the night in a haunted (and furnished) house. It's odd to compare this to The Old Dark House because it's very similar is structure but terrible in execution. I liked the setting and the feel of the house but the pacing was just all over the place. The sexy girl is killed off in the first act and then we get chubby Linda Blair running around trying to be Jamie Lee Curtis but not really. I'm surprised this film received positive reviews because to me this was just really mediocre.





So i just finished watching 13 horror movies in the last ~24 hours. Which might have satisfied some movies on this challenge list, but really, satisfied the challenge I have of doing that at least once a year during this month with either friends and/or a crowd. And isn't that the real meaning of Halloween?


I really don't know, because I really need to sleep and my brain is mush.



Oh, don't cheer me. Cheer Vampire Circus.

It's so strange to read it being discussed as flat or just "decent", because it has more delightfully "charged" moments than most horror films I can think of.
I absolutely agree.




A top-tier B-horror that even pahaK likes a lot. Wait, there's no such category.
Well, there should be.



October 26th The Vampire Bat (1933)
22. A classic B film that is just over an hour



Love a movie that spoils the killer on the poster. A town is being stalked and hunter by a "vampire". This is a film that plays an hour into it as a mystery but they pretty give away the killer at every point in the story. Eventually they reveal he has "powers"...the whole thing is pretty stupid and hard to write about. With that said several of the set pieces are well made, you have color in a black and white film and the misdirect is pretty spooky though the reveal is stupid, dated and poorly executed. Of all the films with roughly the same title I would avoid this one.

Boooo!
I like this movie.