A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

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I watched VHS 94. Hey it’s been a hot minute since we got one of these, and Shudder is the perfect place for them. This one was the most consistently good out of the franchise, with the wraparound probably being the weakest. The first two segments had some solid jump scares and genuine laughs. The third had terrific effects and a couple fun twists on older tropes, And the last segment was unique and hilarious.
Ooh, I disagree with that. I thought it was the worst. The first segment was decent enough, with the best ending of them, but the rest, eh. The Indonesian director's short here was barely horror, and didn't fit tonally at all with the rest. The original one with the cult was as bonkers, but at least it followed the theme. The funeral bit had potential in many parts, but didn't live up to it. Last one had proper VHS quality video which it turns out is not that great to watch these days, but I do appreciate that they went for it.

The wraparound (Is that what it's called? I always called it a framing device.) was badly acted and badly written. Not calling backup until whatever the hell? 5 people to search an airplane hangar? The other ones were so much more compelling.
This is my ranking for em' ( And Southbound, an honorary V/H/S.)

V/H/S, 2nd (C-)
V/H/S 2, 2nd (D)
V/H/S Viral, 2nd (A-)
VHS 94 (D-)
Southbound, 2nd (A)

I'll probably watch it again, because I liked each one more the second time.



The Leopard Man -


This is a lean and mean horror tale about a small New Mexico town that becomes terrorized by a leopard on the loose. If anything, this movie is a masterclass in maintaining dread and tension. As soon as the beast in the title - which, I'm sorry to say, isn't an inspiration for Animorphs - is freed, I was always on guard for when the creature would claim another victim. I also like how the looming threat reveals the town's residents' true selves and how they really feel about each other, but in turn, it also revealed things about myself I'm ashamed of. The movie changes perspectives between various town residents associated with the leopard's handler, and for some of them, I found myself rooting for the leopard. At least the movie made me care enough, right? Alright, I'm the real monster! I get it! Anyway, while labeled as horror, the movie has more in common with serial killer movies, most notably the granddaddy of them all, M. Besides what I've mentioned about the town's emergency state, there's even a motif in the unsetting (and relevant) sound of castanets. Regardless of the movie's true genre, it's tense, frightening and deliciously dark. Oh, and when I said lean, I mean lean: it manages to do all of the above in under 70 minutes.
You have had the correct reaction.



Had enough time to get through Boomika (2021), a eco-horror from India today. Interesting film looks good and manages to be watchable throughout. Film is able to tackle several topics with some depth.

But it does play a bit of switcheroo before going back towards its main point. The plot may be meaty, but it's also a bit confusing.

Overall, a very mild thumbs up.

Next up is a title that's frankly a no-brainer, particularly during this month.



Let me cross post this mother****er right here.


The Wolf Man (Waggner, 1941)



When approaching older films, I find that it helps to view them in their original context. Certainly, I bring my own baggage and that colours my experience with a given film, but to get more out of my viewing, I feel I have a responsibility to meet the movie halfway, to paraphrase Richard Nixon. What I'm getting it is that when it comes to depictions of minorities, I do go in with an expectation (but not endorsement) that the movie will likely not meet modern sensitivities, and while I think it's worth examining movies from this lens, I find it a little counterproductive if one views the exercise like math and, say, knocks off a grade for featuring a certain stereotype. All that being said, I have found myself pleasantly surprised when movies prove to be progressive within these contexts. I think The Wolf Man is interesting in this respect, in that it features a more sympathetic portrayal of the Romani people than I expected from this period. More importantly, it's a Romani character who proves most helpful to the hero and most understanding of his lycanthropic affliction, even when her people's traditions are viewed with condescension, suspicion and dismissal (a priest scoffs at her people's funeral rites, while another character immediately suspects her of wrongdoing despite an unambiguous confession by the hero).

What I'm saying is that this was a pretty nice development in a movie I put on because I wanted seventy or so minutes of a guy running around in furry makeup biting people. Of course, if you want those pleasures, the movie does deliver, in force if not in duration. Characters speak ominously about a reign of terror, yet there are only two deaths in the movie, although in village of, like, fifteen people, I suppose that's a lot. One can't avoid pointing out that the Wolf Man of the title doesn't look an awful lot like a wolf, yet the makeup effects here were enormously influential and defined how werewolves looked on film until the '80s when movies like An American Werewolf in London and The Howling introduced a more lupine appearance and more sophisticated transformation scenes. This movie uses dissolves, and I was shocked that the famous closeup sequence of the hero turning into a werewolf was not in this movie. (One wonders if Howling II, wherein the werewolves are played by guys in leftover Planet of the Apes costumes, might have been better received had it been released at least a decade earlier, when the default look of the movie werewolf was closer to this film.)

Of course, as a work of horror, this movie benefits tremendously from the sturdy sense of craft. I've spent a lot of time over the last year and a half watching and rewatching movies from decades past, and it does strike me that the average studio release today is more poorly made than it was even two decades ago. (Comparing Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3, which are both unfunny, unexciting pieces of hackwork, you notice that the former at least at handsome cinematography and coherent action scenes, despite being made less than a decade before the latter. I'm sure someone has better examples to cite, but this comparison is the most I got out of either film, aside from a deeper dislike of Chris Tucker. The first one still holds up though, I was pleased to find.) I understand that early sound films had lost some of the visual dynamism of the late silent period thanks to the unwieldy equipment required at the time, but this comes more than a decade into the sound era and features plenty of fluid, atmospheric horror scenes with aggressively dark shadows and fog so thick you could cut it with a knife. I got my money's worth in this respect, is what I'm saying.

If the movie suffers, it's primarily at the hands of Lon Chaney Jr. in the lead role. Compared to some of the other classic monsters, let's use Dracula as an example, the Wolf Man is distinguished by his lack of agency, so a forceful presence like Bela Lugosi might not be a natural fit. That being said, there is a way to play this role to make it compelling (going outside the genre, I think Henry Fonda captures the right level of aggrieved while maintaining his dignity in The Wrong Man), and I think Chaney is a little too resigned and pitiable to pull it off. I liked his work in Spider-Baby, where his sad sack presence nicely complemented the decrepit production around him, but in a slicker product, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It sticks out all the more because the movie contrasts Chaney with Lugosi (whose role as the added novelty of a great big mustache), who in his few minutes of screentime proves more virile a presence than Chaney ever rises to during the entire movie. With this scene and its nuanced depiction of the Romani people, the movie invites us to ponder a better version of itself, framed from the Romani perspective and with Lugosi as the monster. Still, this one has its qualities.




Three more movies tonight.

Amulet is about a solider moving in with a woman and her creepy sick mother. Slow, atmospheric, surreal, bizarre. Most of it doesn’t feel like horror. While it’s not my type of movie I respected what it was going for.

Sweetheart. A woman stranded on a deserted island thats visited by a monster every night, this was more my speed. It’s well done, minimalist, engaging, and under 90 minutes. Well worth the watch.

Bit. It’s The Lost Boys but with lesbians. This was one helluva mixed bag. It’s got a made-for-tv vibe, especially with the acting and sets. But then there’s an incredible origin story montage in the middle that’s worth watching the movie for alone. But then there’s a couple of weird meta jokes that don’t fit at all. But then there’s some interesting lore and rules. But then there’s muddled mixed messages and subtext. It’s all over the damn place in terms of quality.




Also the new episode of How Did This Get Made is Malignant.



Three more movies tonight.

Amulet is about a solider moving in with a woman and her creepy sick mother. Slow, atmospheric, surreal, bizarre. Most of it doesn’t feel like horror. While it’s not my type of movie I respected what it was going for.
I had this on my radar, then I watched God's Own Country and realized it was the same main actor and that bumped it up my queue.

I really liked it.




Sweetheart. A woman stranded on a deserted island thats visited by a monster every night, this was more my speed. It’s well done, minimalist, engaging, and under 90 minutes. Well worth the watch.
I had plans of seeing this one later this month. Glad to see it may be fine.



Game of Death, not the Bruce Lee one. Douchey horny teens are forced on a killing spree by a board game. Stylish cinematography and impressive gore effects are the highlight here. The characters are whatever but for an hour and ten minute movie it’s watchable.

Dead Shack. Kids try to protect their parents from a neighbor who wants to feed them to her zombie family. This was real amateur all around. Some of the banter made me laugh though.



Is anyone Facebook friends with Rumpled? I wonder if he's hosting a horror quiz somewhere. This is the most stress-free October I've had in years.


My search history is currently so dull. Not a single "girl blue skirt razor blade outhouse horror" to be seen!





My search history is currently so dull. Not a single "girl blue skirt razor blade outhouse horror" to be seen!
The good news is I'll probably get a raise when my boss sees that my productivity has tripled past Octobers'.



While it's unfortunate that we don't have Rumpled's annual guess the gif game (which turned into how bad we all lose to Takoma each year), one thing I don't regret is being able to see more horror in October this year.

Currently seeing Don't Go Into the Woods and I'm reminded of that episode of that one show where the mother comes home after seeing a film with her son asking "Did I get any blood on me?".



Gotta be up early for work tomorrow so I only watched two horror movies tonight, alright? Ok? I’m seriously you guys.

Straight Edge Kegger. We’re getting into some real niche subculture here. Straight edge metal heads who, once they’ve run Nazis and drug dealers out of their scene become bullies and start fights and eventually slaughter a party full of drinkers. It’s very indie which helps the gritty nature. It’s got a real Clerks feel to it. The acting isn’t great but I’m glad I stuck it out and finished it.

Boys From County Hell. Road workers accidentally unleash a vampire on the Irish countryside. This wasn’t bad. It’s got enough funny moments to count it as horror comedy. And there’s some fun twists on vampire lore to keep things fresh. I put closed captions on because the Irish accents were so thick only to have some of the subtitles not make much sense of the dialogue and even just say [indistinct mumbling] for a lot of it lol.



Taste the Blood of Dracula -


Drac's back in an entry in Hammer's Dracula series that draws most of its success for feeling like a product of its time. Continuing right where Dracula Has Risen from the Grave left off, three rich old men who can't get no satisfaction join a bored royal's son in a ceremony they believe will give them everlasting life. They're in for something much different, and worse, however. The ceremony brings Dracula back from the dead, who seeks vengeance against the insatiable trio.

The ways the movie sticks it to the rich and powerful both literally and figuratively resonate hard. Whether it's the ceremony, a stomach-churning scene at a brothel or the fact that the trio pretends their little club is a charitable one, it's not too subtle about their class hardly being a boon to British society during the movie's time or when it was made. The most loathsome of the three is easily Hargood, who forbids daughter Alice from seeing Paul, her boyfriend and our hero, and seems content to keep her locked in her room for the rest of her life. This concords with the movie's feminist stance, which I've found to be a trademark of this series so far, but it's particularly noticeable and well done here. The movie is not just devoted to making statements, though: Christopher Lee still proves he was born to play Dracula and his final showdown with Paul and Alice is one of the series' most thrilling finales so far. Besides, the statements make the horror and drama all the more satisfying.

Does this entry deviate from the formula in the previous two? Not a whole lot. Then again, it's not a bad formula, is it? The movie still intrigued and scared me regardless, and again, I like how the movie explores the societal ills of the time. In other words, it comes across like it's ready to embrace its new decade. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for Roy Kinnear, better known as Veruca Salt's dad, an antiques peddler who as you'll see perhaps should have left well enough alone.
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Last Great Movie Seen
Mad God (Tippett, 2021)



Taste the Blood of Dracula -


Drac's back in an entry in Hammer's Dracula series that draws most of its success for feel like a product of its time. Continuing right where Dracula Has Risen from the Grave left off, three rich old men who can't get no satisfaction join a bored royal's son in a ceremony they believe will give them everlasting life. They're in for something much different, and worse, however. The ceremony brings Dracula back from the dead, who seeks vengeance against the insatiable trio.

The ways the movie sticks it to the rich and powerful both literally and figuratively resonate hard. Whether it's the ceremony, a stomach-churning scene at a brothel or the fact that the trio pretends their little club is a charitable one, it's not too subtle about their class hardly being a boon to British society during the movie's time or when it was made. The most loathsome of the three is easily Hargood, who forbids daughter Alice from seeing Paul, her boyfriend and our hero, and seems content to keep her locked in her room for the rest of her life. This concords with the movie's feminist stance, which I've found to be a trademark of this series so far, but it's particularly noticeable and well done here. The movie is not just devoted to making statements, though: Christopher Lee still proves he was born to play Dracula and his final showdown with Paul and Alice is one of the series' most thrilling finales so far. Besides, the statements make the horror and drama all the more satisfying.

Does this entry deviate from the formula in the previous two? Not a whole lot. Then again, it's not a bad formula, is it? The movie still intrigued and scared me regardless, and again, I like how the movie explores the societal ills of the time. In other words, it comes across like it's ready to embrace its new decade. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for Roy Kinnear, better known as Veruca Salt's dead, an antiques peddler who as you'll see perhaps should have left well enough alone.
I thought this one was better than its reputation. A small step down, perhaps from the first three, all of which I'm particularly fond, but I thought this was still a perfectly acceptable entry with some highlights as you've mentioned.



I rewatched Halloween and Halloween 2018 to pre-game for Halloween Kills tonight.

The original is still the gem I’ve always loved.

Unfortunately, the luster on 2018 has worn off a bit. While I still maintain it as a favorite in the franchise, I think it’s fallen from 2nd place to 3rd or 4th (Zombie’s H2 has risen above it and maybe even Season of the Witch).

My primary issue is the editing and dialogue. Both are so wonky with certain sequences feeling meticulous planned and conceived while others feel “we’ll find it in post so just roll a lot” and they frequent over edit or allow conversations to meander and awkwardly flow. I wish I could take a wack at the footage and see if I could’ve found a balance that didn’t sacrifice Green’s humor but felt more tonally aligned with the original and more evenly paced.

It still has among the best sequences in the franchises, the most respect for Michael as the Shape, a knockout performance from Curtis and a score from Carpenter that completely rocks.

It just doesn’t maintain those repeated viewings the way the original does.



I watched The Cave starring Cersei Lannister. I’d say this was a ripoff of The Descent but it came out the same year. This was schlocky nonsense. Like most movies that take place under water it’s hard to tell who is who due to the diving gear and what is going on, especially so here since three of the guys looked exactly the same.



I watched The Cave starring Cersei Lannister. I’d say this was a ripoff of The Descent but it came out the same year. This was schlocky nonsense. Like most movies that take place under water it’s hard to tell who is who due to the diving gear and what is going on, especially so here since three of the guys looked exactly the same.
The best thing in The Cave is...
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Ok next 5 things I watched for marathon here:

Mystics in Bali (H. Tjut Djalil, 1981) -

I unfortunately knew all the crazy scenes beforehand but its still pretty crazy and fun.

Kill, Baby... Kill!
(Mario Bava, 1966) -

The atmosphere and the colours are really great. Probably the spookiest thing I've seen this month too.

Inferno (Dario Argento, 1980) -

Like most Argento films (that I've seen anyway) its mostly dumb and kind of boring but has a couple completely nutty moments that make it memorable.

Haxan (Benjamin Christensen, 1922) -

A bit dry at times, mostly early on, but its a really interesting film with some great makeup effects and its pretty cool to see a film from this time address mental health in a compassionate (albeit dated) manor.

Them! (Gordan Douglas, 1954) -

Could have definitely used a bit more giant ant action but its enjoyable enough as is and the acting is surprisingly solid for what it is.

I've managed to make it about halfway through the month without watching anything that's total garbage so so far this has been a massive success I'd say.



Martin is an all-time favorite for me, and it might be my favorite horror film. The way that it explores the question of nature vs nurture, the wonderful ambiguity about whether certain sequences are real flashbacks or just fantasies, and the very fine line it walks between having a vulnerable, sympathetic protagonist and showing us the horrible things he does to innocent people. A lot of it just feels very human and empathetic, while at the same time being sad and horrifying.
I've since bumped it to a
. Its really stuck with me since.