2021 Halloween Challenge

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The best Bava is Blood and Black Lace. No substitutes.

That's the worst misspelling of Lisa & The Devil I've ever seen.





Lair of the White Worm, 1988

When archaeologist Angus (Peter Capaldi) unearths a large, irregular skull, he accidentally resurrects the followers of an ancient large white worm. A local woman named Lady Sylvia (Amanda Donohoe), a follower of the ancient god, puts into motion a plan to resurrect him. Her plans involve the family of Eve (Catherine Oxenberg) and Mary (Sammi Davis), as well as Eve's boyfriend James (Hugh Grant).

This is one of those horror films that, through reputation and some very Ken Russell imagery, has been hanging out on the periphery of my interest for ages. I think that it was certainly worth watching, but it wasn't any kind of revelation.

The film displays much of the dark, cruel humor that was present in Russell's The Devils, but this film doesn't have the same thematic power or narrative momentum as that other film. There is plenty of creativity to be had in the staging of certain sequences, and especially in the visuals. (Can we just ask: what does Ken Russell have against nuns?!). The film makes the most out of the conceit that its central villainess is a snake. The iconic image of her emerging from a large basket is very fun. Her seduction of an unfortunate boy scout is also pointed and darkly funny.

Grant, Capaldi, Oxenberg and Davis are engaging protagonists, though their stories feel a bit scattered. There is a backstory about their father having gone missing. But the relationships between the characters only feel moderately sketched out. Too often they feel designed to be reactive to the provocations of the villains.

Overall I'd say that this film feels more like some fun ideas and images cobbled together than a truly coherent story. But it's also very enjoyeble and easy to watch.




Continuing the Bava talk, I finally caught up with Black Sabbath (1963).
(viewed on Shudder)






My main chicken scratch notes/thoughts:
Visually rich Bava anthology. Scratches my preference for gothic and supernatural Bava. Saw the Italian version. I wish I'd at least have seen the intro/outro with Karloff in his original English.

One disclaimer on the Bava talk - I still haven't seen Kill, Baby Kill.



Speaking for myself, Iím not interested if it transcended the others or not. Itís the quality of the film. Even for a slasher. And itís qualifies far outweigh the stupid scripts of the sequels, which essentially just boils down to the same thing over and over. Except more nudity and more graphic deaths.
Edit: except it introduced Jason properly. But then he becomes so confusing in later films.
Well, I actually think Part 2 is the better actual film. Not more fun, not more kills or more nudity or anything like that, to me, it is the best of the series because it is the only truly good Horror movie in the franchise. It is also the only one that gives me something resembling feeling scared. That movie has an identity, to me, that is unique from the rest of the franchise. To me the first one was just too busy racing through one kill after another and, of course, the killer felt like a bit of a letdown to me. And it really is much more of a giallo feel. The second one scared the absolute crap out of me the first time I saw it but whenever I revisit it, it's the only one that feels like it has both suspense and terror.
And, of course, Ginny is a great Final Girl.
The rest of the series (after 1 and 2), for me, is somewhere between just poor and so silly you almost have to grin.



By virtue of being first in the series, it canít be repetitive compared to the sequels which just aimed to ape the originals death scenes.

We are, indeed, at an impasse here, though. So no need to continue since I donít see how the sequels improved with quality over the original.
I feel like you should revisit Part 2 with an eye toward forgetting all the ones that come after it. Part 2 is not responsible for how bad the rest of the movies are, it's grittier than most people remember, and original Jason, where he is more like a vengeful wild animal than some demon or punchline, is pretty terrifying. And again, great Final Girl.



It improves on multiple viewings
I loved it the first time, honestly.




One disclaimer on the Bava talk - I still haven't seen Kill, Baby Kill.
Well, now you have a purpose in life.



The trick is not minding
I feel like you should revisit Part 2 with an eye toward forgetting all the ones that come after it. Part 2 is not responsible for how bad the rest of the movies are, it's grittier than most people remember, and original Jason, where he is more like a vengeful wild animal than some demon or punchline, is pretty terrifying. And again, great Final Girl.
I actually binged the series, again, a few months ago, sans Goes to Hell and Jason in Space, so Iíve seen it enough time. It isnít as terrible as the later series, but still doesnít surpass the original for myself. I do give it props for introducing Jason, however. I might prefer 3 over 2, though itís close.



[...]
Lair of the White Worm, 1988

When archaeologist Angus (Peter Capaldi) unearths a large, irregular skull, he accidentally resurrects the followers of an ancient large white worm. A local woman named Lady Sylvia (Amanda Donohoe), a follower of the ancient god, puts into motion a plan to resurrect him. Her plans involve the family of Eve (Catherine Oxenberg) and Mary (Sammi Davis), as well as Eve's boyfriend James (Hugh Grant).

This is one of those horror films that, through reputation and some very Ken Russell imagery, has been hanging out on the periphery of my interest for ages. I think that it was certainly worth watching, but it wasn't any kind of revelation.

The film displays much of the dark, cruel humor that was present in Russell's The Devils, but this film doesn't have the same thematic power or narrative momentum as that other film. There is plenty of creativity to be had in the staging of certain sequences, and especially in the visuals. (Can we just ask: what does Ken Russell have against nuns?!). The film makes the most out of the conceit that its central villainess is a snake. The iconic image of her emerging from a large basket is very fun. Her seduction of an unfortunate boy scout is also pointed and darkly funny.

Grant, Capaldi, Oxenberg and Davis are engaging protagonists, though their stories feel a bit scattered. There is a backstory about their father having gone missing. But the relationships between the characters only feel moderately sketched out. Too often they feel designed to be reactive to the provocations of the villains.

Overall I'd say that this film feels more like some fun ideas and images cobbled together than a truly coherent story. But it's also very enjoyeble and easy to watch.

I enjoy Lair of the White Worm, but to me, it's mostly just a fun dark comedy with a banger song (which makes for a fun trailer that now overpowers my memory of the movie). If you come to it expecting something like The Devils, I can't help but imagine you'd be disappointed. Bram Stoker doesn't quite have the cerebral connotations that Aldous Huxley has (even though both are really only known for one book amongst the common folk, like me).



Hockey mask Jason looks cooler, but I would be more likely to **** my pants in the presence of potato sack Jason.



One disclaimer on the Bava talk - I still haven't seen Kill, Baby Kill.

It's on the streaming service that Kino just launched:https://www.kinocult.com/feature/kill-babykill



The best Bava is Blood and Black Lace. No substitutes.
This took me a rewatch to gel to, but the first time I watched it was on an absolute dog**** copy. Just blurry and out of focus as hell. Hard to enjoy a movie best known for its visuals when the transfer looks like vaseline has been smeared over the screen.



I enjoy Lair of the White Worm, but to me, it's mostly just a fun dark comedy with a banger song (which makes for a fun trailer that now overpowers my memory of the movie). If you come to it expecting something like The Devils, I can't help but imagine you'd be disappointed. Bram Stoker doesn't quite have the cerebral connotations that Aldous Huxley has (even though both are really only known for one book amongst the common folk, like me).
It's not so much the fact that it's not cerebral. More that the characters never quite get the depth that they need for me to really "click" with the film. And I do think that it's possible to get there even in a horror-comedy.



I actually binged the series, again, a few months ago, sans Goes to Hell and Jason in Space, so Iíve seen it enough time. It isnít as terrible as the later series, but still doesnít surpass the original for myself. I do give it props for introducing Jason, however. I might prefer 3 over 2, though itís close.
If you prefer 3 over 2 then I think you binged too hard and got the series mixed up.
3 is a pale and pitiful sequel to 2. Everything after 2 is pretty terrible converting to ridiculous schlock somewhere along the way, and one's whole expectation has to be reset in my opinion.
On a side-note, I binged 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and FvJ a year or two ago. Man, that was a some schlock. FvJ was easily the worst of the series for me.



Hockey mask Jason looks cooler, but I would be more likely to **** my pants in the presence of potato sack Jason.
Without a doubt.



If you prefer 3 over 2 then I think you binged too hard and got the series mixed up.
3 is a pale and pitiful sequel to 2. Everything after 2 is pretty terrible converting to ridiculous schlock somewhere along the way, and one's whole expectation has to be reset in my opinion.
On a side-note, I binged 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and FvJ a year or two ago. Man, that was a some schlock. FvJ was easily the worst of the series for me.
3 is not a "good" movie, but I liked the slightly campier elements. The shameless 3D effects, especially when viewed in 2D, I found pretty endearing. At least by the extremely narrow aims of these movies, I don't think it's worthwhile to compare it too closely to 2, as it's trying to do a slightly different thing without going full bore into camp like the series would later do.


Now if you guys want an indefensible opinion, I actually don't mind 8. Yes, the scenes in the yacht are interminable, but once they get to New York, it's a hoot. I get that people who don't like the campier side of the series don't like it, but it's not too far off in quality from Part 7, which seems to be much better liked.



The trick is not minding
If you prefer 3 over 2 then I think you binged too hard and got the series mixed up.
3 is a pale and pitiful sequel to 2. Everything after 2 is pretty terrible converting to ridiculous schlock somewhere along the way, and one's whole expectation has to be reset in my opinion.
On a side-note, I binged 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and FvJ a year or two ago. Man, that was a some schlock. FvJ was easily the worst of the series for me.
Nah, no mix up. Just a sight (egregious) drop in quality.



3 is not a "good" movie, but I liked the slightly campier elements. The shameless 3D effects, especially when viewed in 2D, I found pretty endearing. At least by the extremely narrow aims of these movies, I don't think it's worthwhile to compare it too closely to 2, as it's trying to do a slightly different thing without going full bore into camp like the series would later do.


Now if you guys want an indefensible opinion, I actually don't mind 8. Yes, the scenes in the yacht are interminable, but once they get to New York, it's a hoot. I get that people who don't like the campier side of the series don't like it, but it's not too far off in quality from Part 7, which seems to be much better liked.
An observation - of the roughly 3-4 threads for horror movie viewing, the one that's getting the Friday the 13th debate is the one for tracking the viewing challenge. Friday the 13th, a franchise of movies which I don't think anyone has actually listed as one of their movies for the viewing challenge.

I think you'll enjoy FvJ. The kills are ridiculous. Like, you need to view it as if you're watching Army of Darkness in terms of seriousness. Not Evil Dead, or even Evil Dead 2, but Army of Darkness (which is why I can see it being anathema to Wooley if he was viewing it in the context of other slasher films). Outside of X, somehow 7 is the one I saw last, and it was mostly on in the background (maybe, technically I haven't actually seen it). It seemed... dull. Maybe a proper viewing is needed. Eight is buried deep in the sewers of my memory from my teenage years, and I'm not going down to retrieve it. Nine didn't seem as bad in my memory as 8, but online rankings makes me think I've forgotten just how bad it was. I think we aligned on 5, where so much screen time was devoted to characters that were just completely grating.

And for 3... I've seen it in 3D on a big screen. I will admit, there was one kill where, with the 3D, it really was the highlight of the movie. It really popped.



Hockey mask Jason looks cooler, but I would be more likely to **** my pants in the presence of potato sack Jason.
Never, ever play Resident Evil 4, then:





Now if you guys want an indefensible opinion, I actually don't mind 8. Yes, the scenes in the yacht are interminable, but once they get to New York, it's a hoot. I get that people who don't like the campier side of the series don't like it, but it's not too far off in quality from Part 7, which seems to be much better liked.
I dunno, I thought it was kinda dopey, silly, schlocky fun, given that you have to have bought into how "bad" these movies are by the time you get to number 8.