Monday, October 27, 2014

Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) (1975)

Today's film is Profondo Rosso.  After seeing a few of Dario Argento's films, I have realized that they are pretty predictable.  Or, they follow a certain pattern.

In this film, a British musician's psychic neighbor is murdered, and he sets out to investigate.  Meanwhile, more people are being murdered as well.  I had a hard time keeping up with all the people.  It was like they just threw in extra characters so they could be murdered.  The musician is helped by a reporter.  It's not a bad movie.  It is a good mystery, especially with all of its plot twists.  I will give it a 6/10.

I wondered why the psychic's house is covered in all those creepy paintings.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Onibaba (Devil Woman) (1964)

Today's film is Onibaba, meaning "demon woman".  Not surprisingly, the demon woman turns out to be the mother-in-law.

A long time ago, in 14th century Japan, a man named Kichi has been forced to fight in some samurai's war.  He leaves behind his wife and mother in the grassy wetlands.  The war has destroyed everyone's livelihoods.  No one can even grow food because the farmers are either fighting in the war or don't want to be killed in the fields while others are fighting.  So, lots of people are starving.

Kichi's wife and mother make a living by ambushing weak soldiers, tossing them in a pit, then selling off their belongings.  One day, Kichi's friend and fellow soldier, Hachi, returns from war.  Unfortunately, Kichi has been killed in war.

Later, Mrs. Kichi, now single, starts going out with Hachi, much to her mother-in-law's disappointment.  She does everything to prevent this relationship, but it doesn't work.  I think she is afraid of being alone.  Mrs. Kichi sneaks out every night to have hot sex with Hachi,

The mother-in-law meets a samurai wearing a demon mask.  She kills him and uses the mask to scare off her daughter-in-law from meeting Hachi.  She truly believes it is a demon and is terrified.  But, soon she finds out the truth about who this demon really is.

The movie overall wasn't scary, but it was creepy and atmospheric.  It also shows that there are other good Japanese films that are not Kurosawa films.  I will give it a 7/10.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vampyr (1932)

Today's film is Vampyr.  Yes, it is another vampire film.  Yes, I am totally over watching all these vampire films.  Our hero, Allan, is interested in vampires and other supernatural things.  His travels take him to the countryside.  While staying the night in an inn, a random strange man unlocks his door, leaves a package for him, and leaves.  I would be so freaked out if a stranger came in my room like that.

The package says "To be opened upon my death".  Well that's creepy.  Meanwhile, Allan walks around the inn and sees many strange things.  A shadow climbs up a ladder, but there is no actual person climbing the ladder! There is other shadow work that is well done for the time.

Throughout the film, we see a large old woman, and a doctor that looks like Einstein, so I'm calling him Dr. Einstein.  Later, Allan sees someone shoot the strange man, and runs to help him.  Unfortunately, it's too late.  The strange man had two daughters, and one is mysterious ill and anemic.  We know it's the work of a vampire.

Allan opens his package, since the strange man is now dead.  It's a book explaining the vampire legend and how to kill them.  So, Allan and the house servants set out to complete the task.  Only when the vampire are killed can the daughter be freed.

The only thing I didn't like was all the reading.  It was almost like a silent film with all the title cards and writing.  Otherwise it was okay.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Phantasm (1979)

I told my dad that I was watching lots of horror films this month, and he suggested a movie to me.  He remembered that he watched it in college, and it had a silver sphere that floated around and killed people.  So I researched ‘70s horror films and found out what it was.  Today’s film is Phantasm.
What, I don’t even know the deal about this movie.  The plot is just everywhere.   There is a mortician called the Tall Man, because you know, he’s a tall man.  He takes corpses in his morgue and shrinks them into midget zombies to do his bidding as slaves in a parallel universe.  The gateway to the parallel universe is in the funeral home.

The sphere, I think, is guarding the parallel universe gateway.  It also prevents anyone from getting near the midget zombies.  It shoots spikes at people and can kill them.  It doesn’t appear as much as I thought, especially since this is the only thing my dad remembered about the movie.
The main villain is the Tall Man, rather than the sphere.  He attacks the main character, his brother, and their best friend that happens to be an ice cream man.  This also somehow works into the plot.  There are not enough drugs in my house to fully appreciate/understand this movie.  I am totally baffled.  I will give this film a 3/10 for poor writing, but it was somewhat entertaining.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Man who Laughs (1928)

Today's film is The Man who Laughs. There is so much going on, with so many long names of characters, that I feel like I should read the book before I watch this.  But I'm not.  It's not a horror film, but instead is an underrated example of German Expressionism.  Its moodiness and balance of shadows, along with its hideous star, can easily make someone think it's horror.  It's more of romance than anything.

Gwynplaine was the son of a nobleman who insulted King James II.  His father was killed, while he was permanently disfigured by comprachicos so that his mouth would have a permanent grin - so he could "forever laugh at his fool of a father".  According to Victor Hugo, the author, comprachicos were like surgeons that would mutilate children early in life so they would grow up to be freaks.  Gwynplaine is said to be the inspiration for the Joker.

Gwynplaine, alone, and having no memory of his father, wanders around and finds a baby.  He brings it to a house and begs to come inside.  The man who takes them in is Ursus, a mountebank (later a playwright).  The baby, who is blind, is named Dea, and together they grow up.  Dea grows up to be very beautiful, and she is fond of Gwynplaine.  However, he doesn't feel that he deserves anyone's love or to marry anyone because of his disfigured face.

Someone recognizes the adult Gwynplaine and tells the royal court that he should be a member because of his father.  Lots of royal court drama happens, and Josiana, the duchess who currently holds Gwynplaine's position in court, goes down to see him at work.  Right now Gwynplaine and Dea are putting on a show that Ursus has written.  Everyone laughs at his face, even though he looks terrifying instead of funny, but Josiana likes him.  Still, in the end she is put off by his face.

More royal court drama happens, and Queen Anne (who succeeded King James II's place) orders Josiana to marry Gwynplaine so he could have his spot back.  But, Gwynplaine, realizing that he and Dea belong together, refuses and runs away back to Dea.  However, Ursus and Dea have been banished from the country.  Gwynplaine finds them at their ship in the harbor and sails away with them.  He would rather be poor and be with his true love then live life as a nobleman without her.

Even though a lot of stuff happens, it feels that even more stuff was left out.  Also, some scenes take a while to get to their points.  Still, for a silent film it isn't too over-acted.  I will give this film a 7/10.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

King Kong (1933)

Today's film is King Kong.  I watched the new one directed by Peter Jackson first, and I really liked that, so I wanted to see the original.  The part of King Kong shall be represented by pictures of Rob Ryan, because I can.

So, we have our director, Denham, who is famous for making dangerous adventure films in the jungle.  His latest film expedition will take him to a remote island, where he is sure he will see something amazing.  The only problems is that the critics pan his films because there’s no romance in them.  So now he has to find a girl brave enough to come on expedition with him.  Most actresses’ agents won’t even let them audition for him. 
Denham finds a starving artist/actress while walking the streets of New York at night.  Her name is Anne and she agrees to go with him.  One of the sailors is mad because supposedly having a woman on board is bad luck (but sailors think everything is bad luck anyway) but we can tell he is totally crushing on her.
They get to the remote island, called Skull Island, in time to witness some kind of ceremony.  The chief and medicine man spot Anne and offer to trade six of their native women for her.  They say something about a bride for Kong, but at this point we don’t even know what a kong is. 
Late at night, the native sneak on the boat and kidnap Anne!  The men on the boat go to rescue her, but she is already in the clutches of King Kong.  King Kong is a giant gorilla that has taken an instant shine to Anne, because she is so beautiful.  

I wonder what happened to all the other girls that were supposed to be his brides.  King Kong, and the men who follow him, are attacked by all sorts of dinosaurs.  Everything is done in stop-motion, like the dinosaurs in Land of the Lost.  When the men encounter the dinosaurs, they instantly start shooting at it.  It's like, Oh look a majestic creature no one's seen in millions of years - let's throw gas bombs at it!

Now, hang on, I've seen enough episodes of Dinosaur Train to know that sauropods don't eat people.  Also, they need their own car because they are so big.  I had hoped they would only throw a gas bomb to knock them out, but they also shoot the dinosaurs to death, so if all the dinosaurs in the world weren't extinct then, they certainly are now.

King Kong defends his lady against the dinosaurs that attack him, as well as the men he perceives as a threat.  He very easily disposes of the humans, and wrestles the various dinosaurs to death.  I think that King Kong was the most powerful creature on the island, and as long as the natives left him alone and did whatever ceremonies they do, he protected them from the dinosaurs as well.  After he defeats a creature, he beats his chest and makes his triumphant cry:

Denham, and the remaining surviving crew gas-bomb and capture King Kong, as Denham intends on bringing it back to the mainland as an attraction.  Sort of like a giant sideshow.
Lots of questions arise for the transporting of King Kong.   Where did they keep him?  In the beginning, they mentioned have too many men, and yes some of them died, but where are they housing everyone on this boat, and now there’s a 50 ft gorilla?  Or is he an ape?  What’s the difference? 
So even though we’re not sure how he got there, he ends up in New York City, where Denham plans to display him for $10 a ticket.  Man I don’t have $10 for a ticket now, that must have been a million dollars back then.  Then, King Kong totally escapes and starts rampaging the city.  Even though New York has the biggest cop force in the world, they must not have shown up today and King Kong manages to kidnap Anne again and climb up the Empire State Building.

As King Kong rampages the city (also earlier in the jungle), we see he likes to pick up people and put them in his mouth.  He doesn't eat them, but they die anyway.  Now we know what happened to his other brides.  As he climbs the Empire State Building with Anne, the police send out airplanes to shoot him down.  Even long before I watched the movie, I already knew how it ends, mainly because the image of King Kong swatting at the airplanes while high atop a skyscraper is so famous.  Here's what King Kong would have looked like when he saw the "weird birds" (cause he doesn't know what planes are) surrounding him and knowing there was no escape:

So, that's the end of King Kong. This movie has been re-released and remade since the 1950s.  So I'm sure we will see more installments.  I will give this film a 7/10.  Now, normally I don't post pictures of my family, but here we are at the King Kong ride at Universal Studios in the 1980s.  I'm the one in the pink:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Strangers on a Train (1951)

In horror films, the plot progresses because the main character/s make bad decisions.  If they would have made a good decision, there might not even be a movie at all.  Today's film is Strangers on a Train.  If you are thinking, wait, this isn't a horror film, just trust me.

Our main character is Guy, a super hot tennis player caught in a bitter divorce with his ex-wife.  He's riding on the train when approached by a man named Bruno Antony.  He seems okay, and is a fan of Guy.  So, being a sports celebrity, it is relativity easy to find out about him.  It's not like today, with facebook and instagram, where everyone puts there info online and it's incredibly easy to stalk anyone.  Bruno knows about Guy's ex-wife and how he feels about her.  He then proposes his amazing idea of the perfect murder - to switch murders so both parties have no motive yet get rid of their victims.  Now is the time to scooch away as far as you can.  But, nope.  Guy makes a bad decision and condescendingly nods and listens to Bruno's grand idea.

Bruno wants to kill his father, because his father wants him to get a job.  So, murder is totally the best route here.  But, Bruno knows he will be arrested because of his motive.  So his idea is to kill Guy's ex-wife while Guy kills his father, so neither will be caught.  Guy just entertains his idea, not realizing he is 100% serious.  I think Robert Walker's performance of Bruno is probably the best part of watching this film.

So Guy goes to see his ex-wife, who is the town bicycle (because everyone's had a ride).  His ex-wife is pregnant with someone else's baby.  She decides that since Guy finally has money and fame from his tennis career, she's going to refuse to divorce him, ruining his chances to marry his girlfriend.  She is such a slut bitch and Guy is furious.  He yells that he wants to strangle her.  Bruno, meanwhile, stalks her for a bit, and then actually strangles her.

Bruno waits for Guy outside his house, and informs he what he's done.  Guy is horrified that he was serious.  He wants to go to the police, but Bruno talks him out of it. Another bad decision by Guy.

Later, Bruno realizes that Guy isn't going to kill his father like he'd hoped.  He decides to plant evidence to convict him of his ex-wife's murder.  Guy's girlfriend tries to help, but makes it worse.  She is also smart enough to figure out what's going on without anyone telling her.

The only bad part about this film, which forces me to lower the score, is the carousel scene.  Guy and Bruno are fighting on the carousel and it explodes.  What.  What a cheap ending, all this intriguing stuff going on, and you're going to make a carousel explode.  That makes no kind of sense.  I don't like that at all.  The cops want to arrest them, and Guy wants Bruno to confess.  Bruno dies, and his evidence falls out of his hand.  If Guy would have just gone to the police a long time ago, and explained everything, none of this would happen.  So the moral of the film is, don't make bad decisions or a carousel will explode.  Still not one of the best Hitchcock films, but it's better than Rope cause that movie succkked.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Well, I just finished watching the most boring haunted house movie.  Today's movie is The Amityville Horror.  In 1974, in Amityville, New York, Ronald "Butch" Defeo, Jr, shot and killed the other six members of his family while they slept.  He originally appeared to be an innocent witness, but as the detectives chipped away at his story, he was revealed to be a sociopathic killer.  I listened to an interview of his, thirty years after his arrest, and he is downright proud of what he has done.
A year later, George and Kathy Lutz, along with their children, moved in.  Supposedly lots of weird shit happened, and they determined that the house was possessed.  This was also one of the first famous cases of the "demonologists"/con artists Lorraine and Ed Warren.  Both actors who portrayed George and Kathy Lutz didn't believe the story at all.

There just wasn't enough there to warrant being scared of this movie.  Because of the phony demon story, the Amityville house is one of the most famous "haunted" houses of all time.  It recently went on sale for over a million dollars.  I wanted to tour the house, but my husband was much too scared.  Like I said in my Exorcist review, he believes any demon-related story he hears.  I am including this movie in my list of haunted house films, however I think the real story is much scarier.  Butch appeared to be a sound human being, but underneath lurked a darker side, in which he killed his defenseless sleeping family without warning.  He is in prison for the rest of his life.  During his trial, he stated "When I got a gun in my hand, there's no doubt in my mind who I am. I am God." 
I think that the whole haunted house story the Lutzes concocted actually insults the memories of the true victims of the Amityville House.  As for the movie, I didn't expect much, but I ended up being bored.  There's nothing scary in this whole movie.  The film takes itself way too seriously, and doesn't have the scare power to back it up.  If you're looking to watch a haunted house film, I would skip this one.  I'm giving it a 4/10.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Christine (1983)

Today's film is Christine.  It's about a car that kills people.  A car.  That kills people.  The reason we're starting off October with this film is to illustrate a different kind of horror film.  Most horror films involve a human or creature killing people, but what about inanimate objects killing people?  How can you stop something that isn't technically alive?

Here in Florida, we have a museum exhibit dedicated to Robert the Doll, a very evil doll, but there's no movies about him yet.  Also, there's the story of Annabelle, the demented Raggedy Ann doll.  There is a movie coming out about her soon, but she's been replaced by super-evil looking doll.  I hope to focus more on films focusing on killer inanimate objects this month, because they are super scary.

Christine is one of those campy films you watch late at night with friends, but doesn't have any real scary moments.  It is said that Christine was a demonic car, but I think it was actually controlled by a virus/parasite.  I say virus in the sense of a computer virus taking over the system, and a parasite which controls its host.  When Christine is threatened, the virus takes over to protect itself.  She is bought by a meek teenager, Arnie, who is also changed by the virus to some degree.

His bullies go out of their way to smash and destroy his car, and I thought, well that's a shitty virus, can't even stop bullies from attacking it.  However, Christine is able to heal itself quite well, and in turn hunts down the bullies. Arnie's friends are concerned with his change, and when they discover Christine is a murderer, try to destroy it.  But how can they kill it?  I will give this film a 5/10.