Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Dunwich Horror

The Dunwich Horror (1970)


This sort of concludes my Lovecraft viewing spree of a few weeks ago, leaving it on an extremely low note.

About a young woman (Sandra Dee) who becomes mesmerized by this really weird guy (Dean Stockwell). This guy is obsessed with summoning some ancient beings, the act of which will trigger the destruction of humanity.

You kind of have to wonder why anyone would really want to do that. Also, if there is a book which can allow this to happen why the fuck would anybody want to preserve it and why the fuck would anybody ever let it get into the hands of somebody so clearly demented (the guy was also the great-grandson of the dude who tried to end the world many years before, and his grandfather attempted to do something like that at one point. You'd think that would be something of a clue)?

But anyway. That's but a minor logic problem. You kind of expect people to be logic impaired in these movies.

On top of that, the movie was really boring. And the music was really bad. But mostly it was just boring. And borderline pornographic. There was a lot of stuff with the scantily clad babe lying on an alter, presumably getting fucked by some invisible force (she ends up pregnant so, you know, you have to assume...), but I also vaguely remember some orgy footage or something spliced in there somewhere.

Other than that, though, the movie was such that Mr. Blue, Mr. Red and I spent the entire time making really stupid jokes about it. Don't you love it when you watch a boring movie with people and you end up having this running joke through the whole thing which you will then remember every other time you watch the movie? Well, this one shall forever remain in my mind as The Toilet Movie.

I'm not sure how it started, but for some reason there was almost constant discussion of toilets throughout. From us, that is. Toilets never get mentioned in the actual movie.

However, the really funny thing is that a lot of the time when people say "twilight" really fast and slurred I think they're saying "toilet" (can't help it, my mind always wanders to the scatological), so when people say "Have you seen the Twilight movie?" I find myself thinking 'wow, I didn't know so many people had seen Dunwich Horror'. It's odd.

Moving on... the movie is almost watchable for Dean Stockwell's hilariously bad performance. The climactic scene in which he is doing some sort of ritual or something and then fights it out with the old guy is so ridiculous you almost have to see it to believe it. But throughout the rest of the movie he's pretty funny too, looking almost as though he has no idea where he is, why he is there or even who he is.

Like I said, it's almost worth watching it for that. Unfortunately, that's the only interesting part, the rest is just tedious.


Directed by: Daniel Haller. Written by: Curtis Lee Hanson, Henry Rosenbaum, Ronald Silkosky. Starring: Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee, Ed Begeley, Sam Jaffe, Lloyd Bochner, Donna Baccala, Joanna Moore Jordan, Talia Shire.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Haunted Palace

The Haunted Palace (1963)

Slightly Trashy

Guy (Vincent Price) inherits an old mansion in New England and moves there with his wife (Debra Paget). There, he becomes possessed by the spirit of his ancestor (also Vincent Price), who was the head of some kind of cult and was burned alive by the townsfolk a hundred years before. He then gets together with his old buddies and goes back to work resurrecting some kind of monster in the basement (this is based on a Lovecraft story and thus there has to be some really big, shapeless monster inserted at some point).

I really enjoyed this movie. It suffered from every Lovecraft cliché imaginable, but it was still very well done, being very moody and still really fun. It brought a smile to my face, so to speak.

And you know, I really liked Vincent Price in it. I like him most of the time but I liked him extra in this for some reason. And he had this beard, it was strange, but whenever he was Charles Ward (the normal guy), the beard was really working for him, but when he was Joseph Curwen (the satanist guy), the beard was really evil. It was neat.

Granted, even when he's being Captain Evil, he still seems really cute and harmless. Like, there's this one scene where he tries to rape his wife and, well, he's pretty sinister but... he's Vincent Price. I mean, come on. He looks like such a friendly guy. That's what always got me about him. He's always playing a real evil bastard but he's friggin adorable. Every time. He makes my heart smile.

But yeah, I found myself actually really caring about what happened in this movie, like, on the edge of my seat with worry. It really got to me. Go figure.

On the bad side, the music was ridiculously over-dramatic when very little was actually happening, but that really just enhanced the cuteness of the film (as in "aw, they don't know what they're doing", although it did make me wonder whether or not it was actually written for the movie. Probably not).

Also, it was maddeningly dark (visually speaking), and bordered on hard-to-tell-what-was-going-on in spots, but that was pretty much cancelled out by the squishy goodness of the rest of the movie.

There should be way more movies like this.


Directed by: Roger Corman.  Written by: Charles Beaumont, based on the short story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft.  Starring: Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney Jr., Frank Maxwell, Leo Gordon, Elisha Cook Jr., John Dierkes, Milton Parsons, Cathie Merchant.

Scream and Scream Again

Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Extremely Trashy

Please excuse the shittiness of this review - I blame it one two things. First thing, I watched this movie two weeks ago (god I'm lazy) and my notes on the subject are maddeningly vague. Second thing, though I usually refrain from any creative activity after I have consumed alcohol... well... I really want to get this done so I can stop thinking about it. Yep yep.

It's about... I'm not really sure. It changes directions so many times I had a hard time keeping up with it but here goes. There is a string of murders being committed. The police track down the perpetrator, who has been drinking the blood of his victims in vampire like fashion, and chase him around for a while. Finally, they wind up in this barn belonging to some scientist guy (Vincent Price), and the murderer jumps in a vat of acid which just happens to be there.

The suspicious nature of these circumstances lead this other guy (I dunno who played him) to investigate, uncovering something to do with robots made out of other people or something really weird and demented like that. Meanwhile, there's this other thing going on set in some weird, facist place and a guy who kills people by way of the Vulcan Neck Pinch.

He sort of shows up later in Vincent Price's lair (as does Christopher Lee, who was previously unrelated to the story) and there is some kind of expository scene where all is explained, but the DVD was sticking like a mother fucker so I have no fucking idea what happened. I think there was another explanitory scene in which Christopher Lee's character is tied in a little better but I was in the bathroom when that happened so, yeah, I have no idea what the fuck this movie is about.

That being said, I thought the movie was actually pretty good. It didn't make any kind of sense to me, but it was sort of entertaining in some weird way.

The chase scene, in which the police pursue the vampire-robot guy all over, is very well done (although actually a low point as far as my level of interest goes - I don't really like chase scenes in movies. I find them boring. I really hate chase-movies (ex: the original Italian Job, that one with Jason Statham, and so forth)), but the climax is absolutely priceless.

After chasing the guy all over, they kind of get him in this quarry where he runs up a hill or something and then for some reason he falls over and rolls down the hill and the head police man guy just goes "Alright, get him" and the delivery is brilliant. Words cannot describe the awesomeness of that scene. It truly is wow.

Although the movie is almost unbearbly tainted by the seventies. The music (this is one of those movies with a 'title song', it is performed while the characters are at this club), and thouroughly awful, the clothing, the hair... everything. It's almost nauseating.

But yeah, it's kind of an interesting movie and sort of held my attention (although maybe not... maybe the plot was really obviously and I just wans't paying attention. Who's to know?). Fun.


Directed by: Gordon Hessler.  Written by: Christopher Wicking, based on the novel by Peter Saxon.  Starring: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alfred Marks and a bunch of other people.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Die, Monster, Die!

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Slightly Trashy

Bloke (Nick Adams) goes to creepy old house to retrieve his girlfriend from school (Suzan Farmer). Her aging, wheelchair bound father (Boris Karloff) disapproves. And then there's something about this weird disease which is messing people up but is actually radiation poisoning caused by a glowing meteorite or something. They're all going to get cancer. Hahahaha.

Yeah, the wife got all swollen and mutated or whatever and they were all like "wtf!" and it was great. I can't remember if she tried to eat anybody, but there was at least one radioactive mutant attack. I love it when radioactive mutants attack. I want to make a movie about radioactive mutants attacking. It would be great.

This movie was vaguely entertaining I guess, being slightly above average, mostly only because of Karloff's performance. He was practically dead at this point but he was still awesome. The rest of the movie was only mediocre and I didn't pay that much attention to what was going on (I've been having some major attention issues lately. Seriously. I can't focus on anything for longer than thirty minutes. Alas, youtube has ruined my attention span).

Um, yeah, what else? Oh yeah, the youngsters in this movie were particularly dumb. Hey, there's this weird rock which will probably cause horrible genetic damage to anyone who goes near it. Let's touch it. I don't know, they should have just booted it right out of there the moment things started to get weird. There's no excuse not to.

I guess the girl didn't want to leave her father or anything, but you know, there's a certain desire for self preservation which has to be acknowledged. In horror flicks, it is advisable to help other people, but not too much. The person with total disregard for their fellows gets killed coz they're an arse but the person who helps other people all the time gets killed so the hero can make it out.

It's hard to tell just how much you're supposed to help people.

Anyway, yeah, this moviw was alright, worth it for the Karloff goodness, but generally sort of blah.


Directed by: Daniel Haller. Written by: Jerry Sohl, based on The Colour Out of Space by H.P. Lovecraft. Starring: Nick Adams, Suzan Farmer, Boris Karloff, Freda Jackson, Patrick Magee.

Brotherhood of Satan

Brotherhood of Satan (1971)

Moderately Trashy

Alright, after many moons of inactivity, I am now going to flood el blog with posts. Haha, I am so evil.

Anyway, this movie is about... um... this couple (I have no idea who played them) who come to this town and then something weird happens, like their kid gets kidnapped or something and somehow it's all involved with this satanic cult. Or whatever.

Honest to God, I'm not one hundred percent sure what went on in this movie. I watched the first twenty minutes or so one night, then decided not to watch it and went to bed, starting again from the beginning the next night because I really hadn't been paying attention. And I didn't pay attention the second time around so I don't really know what it's about.

It wasn't a terribly interesting movie, I'm afraid. I'm pretty sure I was playing games online while I was supposedly watching it, so that doesn't really bode well (of course, that's been happening a lot. I've been having a lot of trouble actually watching movies now. I can't sit still for that long).

The ending was sort of interesting - I gathered that the children were being kidnapped and snatched so that the cult of witches could enter their bodies or something like that, which is a neat idea (like in that one, The Skeleton Key (wow, double spoiler). That movie was pretty cool), however, the bits leading up to that were really totally boring. Although maybe that wasn't what happened, maybe that was just what I thought was happening.

It was a really boring way to tell a mildly interesting story. And really only vaguely coherant. I seem to remember a bunch of bizarre dream scenes. Those were really the only parts to which I was paying attention.

Yeah, not a very good movie. Not awful, just not interesting.


Directed by: Bernard McEveety. Written by: L.Q. Jones & William Welch. Starring: Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman, Ahna Capri.