Monday, August 31, 2009

#63 - Dracula

Dracula (1931)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Tod Browning. Written by: Garrett Fort based on the stage play by Hamilton Dean and John L. Balderston based on the novel by Bram Stoker.

Plot: An ancient vampire (Bela Lugosi) travels from his home in the back woods of Romania to England to bother a beautiful young woman (Helen Chandler). Yes, I plan to use this paragraph to describe every Dracula movie on this list. Not to worry, there are only three more coming.

Review: What can I say? This is the Dracula movie and could not be excluded from this list (especially when one takes into account the amount of utter crap that did make it on to the list…). Not the first Dracula movie of course, but the one against which all subsequent versions are to be judged and probably tied with Nosferatu for most iconic.

Anyway, this movie is totally the shit for about the first half or so. It has everything one could possibly want - it’s set in a creepy, shadowy old castle (again, this movie would have lost something were it in colour. I’m not sure if it’s been colorized or not, but that would be a total atrocity) full of mist, cobwebs and those fucking armadillos (seriously, WTF? It‘s almost as bad as the llamas in Troy). Dwight Frye is running around losing his shit, and Bela Lugosi is totally irresistible. I mean, seriously. He’s like, Captain Sexy.

In the second half, he goes to England and then we have to deal with Helen Chandler’s Mina (hot, but obnoxious), David Manners’ Jonathan (obnoxious, though somewhat likeable) and Edward Van Sloan’s Van Helsing (appropriately crazy but still kind of obnoxious), all of whom are iconic in their own right, but also irritating.

Then there’s the wicked special effects, like the famous scene of the Count “turning into a bat” (you know - there’s a bat in the window, cut to the lady sleeping, cut back to the window and oh my God! there’s a man there. Wow) to compensate. That is absolutely priceless. Right up there with the armadillos.

Naw, this movie is awesome and, despite the somewhat sexual content, is really quite wholesome and adorable. I love stuff like that, back before they were allowed to depict sex in movies and everything. I also like, say, Bram Stoker’s Dracula where they totally took advantage of the fact that they’re allowed to depict sex in movies. Yeeeheh (okay, what the fuck does 'yeeheh' mean?). Neither one is better, but this is certainly cuter.

I could watch this movie over and over again, it’s just so cool and spooky and totally old school. I’d like to say that they should make more movies like this now, but unfortunately they have and they never really come out right. It’s always too pretentious. Nothing to be done about that.

Moving on. I’m not a big fan of the optional Philip Glass soundtrack. I’ve always found Philip Glass a little irritating anyway but I also believe that if a movie doesn’t have any music to begin with you should leave it the fuck alone, and for me the film is way creepier with total silence in some of the scenes. When they add the grating, frenetic music, it detracts from the scene. But then, like many people, I like to slam Philip Glass and his music as much as possible. It makes me feel better about myself. Although, I do wonder why, if they can put music in movies which work perfectly well without, they don’t put different music in those movies from the eighties with the horrible Tangerine Dream soundtracks (ex: Near Dark, Legend (actually, that movie should just be taken out and shot - it’s more humane that way), Firestarter. Also, Ladyhawke. That soundtrack is not by Tangerine Dream but it’s still awful). See, that would actually do humanity some good…

Anyway, this movie is pretty much the shiznit and should be watched by everybody. Well, maybe not but whatever. I am tired.

Favourite Part: Well, Bela Lugosi is totally da man, and then there’s the bitchin cinematography, but my favourite part is Dwight Frye as Renfield. He’s so psychotic but also so sweet and then mega creepy. He’s awesome. I love him.

Other versions: Many, the most interesting being the Spanish version, which was shot at the same time as, and is in many ways superior to, this movie. I decided to leave it off the list because I’m an asshole (and there is already way too much Dracula going on) but still, shout out to Spanish Dracula.

Sequels: Dracula’s Daughter (decent), Son of Dracula (terrible), House of Frankenstein (bitchin), House of Dracula (not so much) and Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (?).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Sunday, August 30, 2009

#64 - A Bucket of Blood

A Bucket of Blood (1959)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: Roger Corman. Written by: Charles B. Griffith.

Plot: A dorky guy (Dick Miller) working in a beatnik-y cafe accidentally kills his landlady's cat, I forget how. To cover it up, he covers it in clay and shows it at the cafe, gaining the respect of the flaky artists who frequent the joint. However, he must make more 'sculptures' and resorts to killing people and covering them with clay. Hilarity ensues.

Review: This movie is pretty much like a funny version of House of Wax, and is actually way more entertaining. It's got that painfully low budget goodness, complete with near inaudible sound and crappy picture quality. And shitty acting, but that's neither here nor there.

What gets me is that Little Shop of Horrors is basically just a rehash of this movie and yet it is vastly more successful. This movie never really got the same cult acclaim. Granted, this movie doesn't have a giant man-eating plant, but I actually thought it was better. Partially because I saw it before Little Shop. This movie would probably lose a lot if I had seen them the other way round.

But, you know, Dick Miller. I like Dick Miller in this, he makes me smile. He's just so dorky. It's cute.

Anyway, like Little Shop of Horrors, this does really suck as a horror flick. I mean... it's not scary. It's just kinda sad, but it does work as a comedy, particularly poking fun at beatniks. I fuckin hate beatniks, man, almost as much as I hate hippies (I'm a consumerist yuppy myself) and so this movie is funny to me. I laughed heartily.

Um.... Jesus, I wish I could find the review I wrote of this a few months ago. I remember it had a bunch of really good points but I wrote it in a haze and can't remember anything about it. Don't you hate that? I even know what book I wrote it in, too, but a bunch of pages fell out of it (it's a really old notebook) and it's not in there now. Fuck.

Whatever. Roger Corman is kinda the man. Yes, he made a lot of shitty movies, but the fact that he actually made as many good ones as he did is pretty amazing. It defies all logic. Wow! Yup. Okay, I'm going to stop now, this review sucks.

Favourite Part: The ending, in which I believe Walter Paisley (I love that his name is Paisley) goes home, covers himself in clay, and hangs himself (which seems really a little complicated, but whatever) and then the cops find him and I think they say something like, "He would have called it 'Hanging Man'". It's so dramatic and hilarious. I did laugh.

Other versions: Apparently there was a made-for-television remake in the nineties. Weird.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (July 7th 2007).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

#65 - Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Roger Corman. Written by: Charles B. Griffith.

Plot: Recycled from A Bucket of Blood - about a dorky guy (Jonathan Haze) working in a plant store who creates a plant to impress his boss (Mel Welles) and get the attention of his attractive co-worker (Jackie Joseph). The plant grows to massive proportions and becomes an attraction, drawing people to the store. Unfortunately, the plant happens to eat people. Hilarity ensues.

Review: Another movie which probably doesn’t count as a horror film. It’s really a comedy, but we’ll call it a horror comedy and get around the problem.

This movie is not great in any respect - as a horror movie it sucks ass - but I can’t help it. Roger Corman is, like, the shit. This movie was allegedly shot in two days on $30,000 and manages to not look like total shit. That is amazing.

Also, as a horror spoof, it is pretty funny. In a totally bizarre sort of way. There are a lot of scenes of two cops just sitting in a room talking (a la Bloodfeast only unfortunately not punctuated by random acts of gratuitous violence) and a lot of scenes which really have very little to do with anything, seemingly there only to pad the movie out to one hour ten.

For example, any scenes of Jonathan Haze’s home life. I seem to remember a scene where he takes Jackie Joseph to have dinner with his mother which goes absolutely nowhere.

Then there’s the famous Jack Nicholson scene. He usually gets billed next to Jonathan Haze and Mel Welles when this movie is repackaged despite the fact that he is only in the movie for about ten minutes (he’s probably the only person in the movie who anyone’s ever heard of - like Clint Eastwood in Tarantula). In his one scene, he plays ‘The Masochistic Dental Patient’ who (as I remember) gets tortured by Jonathan Haze after the real dentist gets killed.

Yeah, that scene has nothing to do with anything actually.

It’s a weird movie for sure, and kind of a mess, but it’s all these bizarre quirks that make it more interesting than a lot of the stuff getting cranked out in the fifties and sixties, as well as earning it the cult following it has today.

I actually felt like I was getting inducted into a cult when I watched it, it's that kind of movie. But yeah, I'm lovin it.

Favourite Part:
Dick Miller (of Bucket of Blood) as the plant eating man - this guy just sort of shows up at the flower shop and hangs around a lot. Again, he has nothing to do with anything, but goes with the total randomness of this movie. Also, anything that Mel Welles says is totally hilarious despite the fact that the dialogue looks awful on the page (trust me - I was looking on IMDb for a quote to copy-paste here but they all looked sort of lame when written down).

Other versions: The musical remake of ‘86 which, though mind-blowingly awesome and directed by Frank Oz (Frank Oz!!), I decided not to include here because a) I’m an asshole, b) it’s a musical and c) I’m an asshole.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (May 30th 2008).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Friday, August 28, 2009

#66 - Mimic

Mimic (1997)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro. Written by: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins, based on the short story by Donald A. Wollheim.

Plot: When tons of children are killed by a plague spread by cockroaches, scientists invent a new breed of bugs which prey on the roaches by mimicking them, effectively wiping them out. Problems arise when, a couple of years later, the bugs mutate, grow to unusual sizes and start mimicking humans.

Review: Apparently Guillermo del Toro himself hates this movie (and it is a failure in many ways, the ending being particularly sucky), but it is still one of the creepiest big bug movies ever. It sort of turns into a low rent version of Aliens (as all things must) after a while, with a few people fighting off the bugs in an abandoned part of the subway system, but conceptually it is very disturbing.

I really hate bugs and shit anyway and the thought of a giant cockroach that looks like a person long enough to eat you freaks the hell out of me. I've been trying to work that idea into a comic I'm half-assedly working on, although that's really neither here nor there... nothing on this damn blog is.

Anyway, the movie stands out from other slimy monster movies from the nineties (ex: Species - I always associate these two movies partially because of their superficially similar content but I probably watched them both around the same time too) mostly because of the damn sexy look. I have to hand it to del Toro - even when I don’t really like his movies (ex: Hellboy) I can’t deny that they looks fantastic.

I mean, this movie is pretty stupid and unbelievable, but (as opposed to Species which is stupid and unbelievable and retarded) it’s kind of cool and has that sort of dark, gothic look. And a weird little kid.

Also, I learned some interesting things about bugs. Like, apparently (I don’t know if this is true or not, but it sounds good) insects don’t have lungs and can’t grow beyond a certain size because their breathing apparatus would cease to function. In this movie, of course, the bugs evolve to have lungs. Weird.

Actually, that’s about all I learned from this movie, but whatever. Oh yeah, also, people who study bugs are called entomologists, not etymologists. I should know that really. That’s one of those jobs that doesn’t really get shown in a very good light in horror and sci-fi movies. See Bug, Sick Girl, this movie. Why would you want to even go there? It’s just going to end badly. It’s like working at the morgue. Or the hospital for that matter. Not safe. Danger. Danger.

Yep, this movie is way scarier than Them! or Tarantula or any of those giant bug/arachnid movies. I dunno, it's just cool. I guess that's the thing that gets me about del Toro's movies. They're all really cool and kind of innovative. He's just really good at what he does. He da man.

Favourite Part
: I actually can’t really remember a specific part of this movie that I liked more than any other. I watched it a while ago and, unfortunately, there’s a lot of mental cross over with fuckin Species. I keep having to remind myself that Ben Kingsley was not actually in this movie (the fact that he and F. Murray Abraham are virtually indistinguishable doesn't really help me out much). I did kinda like that little kid. He was pretty cool. "Funny shoes". Love it.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Two direct to video sequels, cleverly titled Mimic 2 and Mimic 3 were made in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

Click here to read my original review (May 15th, 2007).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

#67 - The Shining

The Shining (1980)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick. Written by: Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson based on the novel by Stephen King.

Plot: A not-quite-happy family goes to live in an isolated hotel in the mountains over the winter when the dad (Jack Nicholson) gets a job as the caretaker. The hotel was built on an Indian Burial Ground, one of the previous caretakers butchered his wife and two young daughters there a few years before and no one can get in or out of the area for a period of about six months or something. Eventually, Jack lets the claustrophobia, writer’s block, alcoholism, his obnoxious wife (Shelley Duvall) and his own imagination get to him and things progress logically.

Also, the little boy (Danny Lloyd) has weird visions and a little man named Tony lives in his mouth and tells him to do things and has very little to do with anything. So. There's a haunted house, an axe murderer, a psychotic child and the threat of potentially starving or freezing to death. Overkill much?

Review: The first time I saw this movie, I would have been probably twelve and thought it was pretty creepy. I watched it again last year and it just seemed sort of hilarious and long almost to the point of cruelty (I will take this moment to say I have not seen the Stephen King approved version which is a mini-series and runs about four and a half hours).

However, there are three important factors for me which are integral to the greatness of this movie (whatever the fuck that means. Disregard the next six paragraphs, I have no idea what I'm talking about).

First: Stanley Kubrick had mad skills. I don't really like his movies all that much because I find them extremely obnoxious, however, I must admit that the way in which his movies are put together is generally bitchin and in this particular film, he manages to achieve a sense of total isolation which makes it seem almost natural that Jack Torrence would go crazy. It also means that it’s full of really creepy British people, in particular Philip Stone as the ghost of the former caretaker (“I corrected them”).

Second: Shelley Duvall is amazing. Her character is sort of irritating but believable and she’s just really good, and is the best actor in the movie. She’s just really convincing and, though she should really bug the hell out of me, I find myself sympathizing with her. I mean, the poor woman ending up getting married to this guy who probably seemed hot at the time but turned into a major asshole. Which brings me to…

Third: Jack Nicholson, though he overacts and is generally ridiculous in this, is still really creepy. And not in a psychotic way. He’s a scary fucking guy way before he goes crazy just because he’s such a major asshole. In fact, he seems like less of an asshole when he’s trying to kill his family because at least he’s not just shouting at them and being a jerk. Honestly, I'd rather have a guy go after me with an axe than act like your every day dick. At least it's different.

Also, Scatman Crothers is really cool.

Favourite Part: The bit where Scatman Crothers shows Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd around the kitchen.
Scatman - What’s your favourite flavour of ice cream, doc?
Danny - Chocolate.
Scatman - Then chocolate it shall be!
I wish that guy was my uncle or something. That would rock.

Other versions: The novel was adapted as the aforementioned miniseries scripted by the King in 1997.

Sequels: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

#68 - The Raven

The Raven (1935)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Lew Landers. Written by: David Boehm.

Plot: A surgeon (Bela Lugosi), who is totally obsessed with the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and more than a little weird, saves the life of a beautiful young woman (Irene Ware) who is involved in a horrible car accident. He falls in love with her and decides the best way to win her heart is to torture and kill her fiance (Lester Matthews). In the meantime, he recruits the help of a wanted murderer (Boris Karloff) and mutilates his face going on the principle that ‘ugly people do ugly things’ or something.

Review: Quick autobiographical note (wouldn't bring it up except that I am writhing with irritation): I'm in the middle of watching The Fifth Element, which is probably the greatest science fiction film ever made, on some streaming website and this message pops up, reading "you have watched 72 minutes of video today. Wait 54 minutes or upgrade your account". Fuck that shit. I can't even illegally obtain movies right. I mean, honest to God. I know, I know, I'm getting it for free but... I'm 72 fucking minutes into the movie and I have to wait another damn hour to get more Bruce Willis. Fuck.

Aaaaaaanyway, this movie is sort of like The Black Cat (in that it’s named after a work of Poe, has very little to do with it’s namesake, stars Lugosi and Karloff and is totally whacked out) only way more crazy-licious. The two movies get compared a lot I think but I liked this one way more for some reason.

Probably because it’s a lot more zany. The Black Cat was comparatively very sober. Not a lot of laughs there. I mean, the dude keeps his dead wife in a vat of formaldehyde (I am really, really bothered by that). That's horrible. This movie was much more fun. Yes, Boris Karloff does get disfigured and some obnoxious gits come very close to getting killed in nasty ways, but it’s funny. Who doesn’t like to see gits getting tortured? Or Karloff wearing lots of make-up? I like him better when he’s in a more sympathetic role, too (as opposed to the creepazoid in Black Cat).

Also, a lot of the dialogue and it’s delivery (particularly Bela’s) is hilarious. Pretty fun times. Mind you, Lugosi's delivery of anything is hilarious, but this movie is so much more so. Everything is friggin crazy.

And yet another movie which could not be done in colour. I’m a huge advocate for black and white horror flicks and have spent a lot of time preaching their merits to my friends (who aren’t really that involved with the whole thing and just think I’m a loser).

Anyway, this movie is sort of like the archetypal crazed-guy-with-deformed-henchman-lusts-after-attractive-young-woman-who-thinks-he’s-weird-and-is-engaged-to-attractive-young-man-who-has-to-rescue-her-at-some-point movie of the 30s. I like those movies. They make me feel happy.

Favourite Part: Like I said, the dialogue in this movie is solid gold. Example
Dude - What’s that?
Bela - It’s a knife.
Dude - What’s it doing?
Bela - It’s descending.
Dude - What are you trying to do to me?
Bela - Torture you…
Fuckin a.

Other versions: Not really.

Sequels: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

#69 - Dead/Alive

Braindead (1992)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: Peter Jackson. Written by: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Stephen Sinclair.

Plot: Dorky guy (Timothy Balme) falls in love with girl (Diana Penalver). This causes problems with his over protective mother (Elizabeth Moody). Even bigger problems arise when she gets bitten by a demonic monkey and turns into a pus-dripping flesh eating undead monster. Hilarity ensues.

Review: My friend cites Dawn of the Dead (the remake) as one of the reasons she stopped eating meat. This movie is the reason I decided to avoid dating for the rest of my life. Actually, Rosemary's Baby and Psycho have a bit to do with it (actually, it's involuntary, I just say that to make myself feel better).

Anyway. This movie is full of enough cartoonish gore to make me not want to eat my spaghetti (I’m pretty sure I was eating spaghetti the night I watched this. I remember it was just Mr. Blue and I, and we ate spaghetti almost every night, so there’s a good chance we ate spaghetti that night too). Spaghetti was definitely a bad move.

Didn’t put me off the stuff, though, really. Um, Christ, I'm having a bit of trouble getting into this one. Um. Okay. This movie isn't really that good, it's sort of hit and miss, being occasionally funny, occasionally offensive and occasionally just irritating, but the whole thing has a demented energy which keeps it going. Even when it’s being extremely obnoxious… well, you have to admire the extreme part. I mean… it just doesn’t let up. It keeps going and gets progressively more intense and more repulsive until you really don’t want to watch it anymore.

I guess that’s how I feel about this movie, generally speaking. It’s totally tasteless and kind of awful, and a lot of it really doesn’t work, but it just bops along. It’s having fun and it doesn’t care what you think. Maybe that’s anthropomorphizing a little bit, but whatever.

So while it's not good, it is great in its own weird way. If you know what I mean. At some point mid-movie it achieves a level of greatness and it is that greatness which makes it great. Oh Jesus. Yeah, I'm really not in the mood to write this right now. I just want to sleep.

Yeah, okay, closing note, it’s a pretty fun movie if you can stomach the gore (which I can’t really, but then, I am but a delicate maiden. Honest to Jesus though, I mean, when I say it doesn't stop, I mean it doesn't fucking stop. It reaches the point where it ceases to be the least bit amusing, it's just horrible, like wading through... I dunno, some kind of awful goo. Slogging through the liquified remains of all of your friends. Yeah. Not so wonderful). You will laugh, you will cringe. It’s all good. I guess. Fuck.

Favourite Part: “I kick ass for the lord” Solid gold, that. Man, I wish that priest was real. I would convert, hands down, no second thoughts. Well maybe. I dunno. But there would be a pretty good chance.

Other versions: None.

: None.

Click here to read my original review (May 30th, 2008).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Monday, August 24, 2009

#70 - The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Roger Corman. Written by: Richard Matheson, based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe.

Plot: This is one of those movies where basically just a bunch of weird stuff happens for eighty minutes - there’s a guy living in this castle (Vincent Prince) who’s father was some kind of sadist, making for an extremely traumatic childhood. Then his wife (Barbara Steele) dies inexplicably and her brother (John Kerr) shows up to investigate or something. They find out she was actually buried alive, just like Vincent Price’s mother. Or maybe it's all an elaborate plot to drive Vincent Price insane.

Review: The other problem is, of course, the mental crossover between this and House of Usher (another Corman-Poe-Price spectacular, probably shot at the same time as this and on the same sets). They’re pretty much the same movie, with a lot of the same weird shit happening, but I dunno, this one scared me more for some reason.

Probably the Barbara Steele factor. Even in my younger days I found her innately terrifying. She’s playing a pretty hardcore bitch in this movie (not quite as much of a bitch as in, say, Black Sunday, but still not a very nice lady). And ya know, power to her. As far as I'm concerned she can totally hold her own against Vincent Price or Christopher Lee. She kicks ass.

Anyway, the production values in this movie are unusually high as I remember, so the sets and costumes and stuff are all very nice to look at. The film also maintains a creepy atmosphere throughout and the feeling that something really awful is going to happen at some point (it does). There’s a fairly good torture scene at the end too where everybody gets what’s coming to them, so to speak.

It’s a pretty good movie in general, but it had to be included solely because it scared the fucking hell out of me when I was little. Okay, okay, so did lots of other stuff (there was this weird movie I watched on the family network once when I was five or so about this woman who’s actually a monster or something - I wish to hell I could remember what it was called coz it scared the shit out of me), but this one left a sort of feeling of terror in my soul. I’d be scared to watch it again. Yes, I admit, this is yet another movie I haven’t seen since I was, like, nine, but horror movies are just so much better when you’re nine. I wish I had seen some of the stuff I’ve seen now when I was nine. Imagine what an awful person I’d be… it would be awesome (you just know my future children are going to have serious problems).

Yep. Pretty scary movie, very spooky and gothic. Wonderful.

Favourite Part:
The part which really scared me was the part when they were going to exhume Barbara Steele’s corpse because Vincent Price can’t shake the thought that perhaps she was buried alive. So they go and they open up the coffin and she’s in there, with her face frozen in this horrible mask of terror, claw marks all over the inside of the coffin… scared the living fuck out of me, I swear to God. After seeing that (and also reading too many other friggin Poe stories), I developed this overwhelming fear of being buried alive. I still have nightmares about it (granted, these are more likely caused by The Vanishing, but I probably wouldn’t have found that movie quite so disturbing if I hadn’t seen this one when I did).

Other versions: Probably.

Sequels: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Sunday, August 23, 2009

#71 - The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man (1933)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: James Whale. Written by: R.C. Sherriff, based on the novel by H.G. Wells.

Plot: Like the title would imply - there’s a man, he’s invisible, holy shit. It is based on an H.G. Wells novel so not too thick on the plot... A mad scientist type (Claude Rains, though we only see him for like three seconds at the end) invents a serum that causes invisibility, which he uses on himself. Little does he know, one of the ingredients is known to cause insanity and he basically turns into a mega asshole (actually a lot like an invisible Jekyll and Hyde). The other thing he forgot to do was come up with a way to make himself visible again, which turns him into even more of an asshole. But, you know, he enjoys it while it lasts. Running around England (or wherever - I think I remember English accents though maybe it was just Una O'Connor) and robbing banks and trying to take over the world. Admit it, that’s what you would do.

Review: Like I said, this movie isn’t terribly heavy on the plot. Most of it involves the titular character wandering around alternately mumbling about how much it sucks to be invisible and screaming about global domination (or whatever). So, he’s sort of a fun character. In the meantime, his colleagues try to find some way to make him visible and his girlfriend (Gloria Stuart, who is a total babe) tries to talk him out of killing people and robbing banks.

But the plot and all that is not what makes this movie the shit. It’s the special effects. I hate to be one of those people who likes a movie only because of it’s FX (and this movie does have other merits - like… Claude Rains! Claude Rains is awesome. And Una O’Connor), but the FX in this movie kick some major fuckin ass. Think about it.

I haven’t really watched that many ‘making of’ documentaries (I find them tedious) but the newer ones I have seen usually go on and on about the great CGI they did or whatever. You know, “we brought the Hulk to life” and shit like that, and I really get the sense that these people are extremely impressed by all the crap they can do with computer graphics. How far movie FX have come.

This movie was made in 1933, and the FX are vastly superior to any CG I have seen ever. Don’t believe me? Go watch fuckin Hollow Man. That movie sucked so much ass and so did the FX. Invisible Man schools Hollow Man. God. I hate CG so fuckin much. The only things that look good are hair and robots. Everything else looks like shit. And ya know what, I couldn't give two craps about Avatar. James Cameron basically lost my support by making one too many documentaries about the Titanic (okay, he only made two and one of them was actually about the Bismarck, but whatever). Like, come on. Yeah, it's interesting but not that interesting.And furthermore... I'm just not that stoked. Yes, I thought Aliens and The Terminator were good movies, but everything I hear about Avatar leaves me pretty cold.
(EDIT: I watched Avatar and hated it, so... there you go)

But enough about that. This film also has that special James Whale charm, that sort of obnoxious but endearing sense of humour (not overdoing it quite as much as in, say, Bride of Frankenstein, but almost), which makes it all the more enjoyable. Mmyep. This movie is pretty cool.

Favourite Part: The invisible man rides a bicycle. Very cool. All we see are his trousers. I found this neat, although it did remind me of that creepy Dr. Seuss story about the pale green pants with nobody inside them (what really creeped me out the most about that story is that the pants can talk. How can pants talk? Seriously. I need fucking answers here! I am still immensely disturbed by that. I'm pretty sure Dr. Suess really fucked me up. Just sayin.).

Other versions: There are a couple although the only one I’m really familiar with is the aforementioned pile of shit known as Hollow Man, which doesn’t even credit the novel out of shame. The shame!

Sequels: The Invisible Man Returns (exactly the same as this movie only the guy is Vincent Price and he doesn’t die at the end), The Invisible Woman (as stupid as it sounds), The Invisible Agent (stupider than it sounds) and The Invisible Man’s Revenge (actually pretty good)

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Saturday, August 22, 2009

#72 - Halloween

Halloween (1978)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: John Carpenter. Written by: John Carpenter and Debra Hill.

Plot: A demented young boy kills his sister in a seemingly friendly, suburban neighbourhood, and is locked away in a mental institution. After twenty long years, he escapes from the home and returns to his old neighbourhood to stalk and slash girls who have sex.

Review: I don’t really know how feminists feel about this movie, but there is a definite gender bias going on there. It’s not as bad as, say, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and I mean, lots of guys get killed in this movie, but Michael Myers seems to be more focused on killing the ladies.

Not that I really give a shit, I’m just pointing that out. Obviously I’m not really offended by the general misogynistic trend of most slasher flicks otherwise I wouldn’t watch them or enjoy them as much as I do. Anyway, recently I talked about why Billy from Black Christmas is scarier than Michael Myers. While that is true and this movie is basically Black Christmas filtered through Psycho, it is way funnier purely because of Donald Pleasance. Donald Pleasance is fuckin awesome in this movie. I mean, this could have been just some run of the mill slasher movie, but no, they threw in this totally whacko British guy to wander around spouting insane dialogue, raising this movie up into some level of wow.

Now, Friday the 13th has a random whacko who walks around spouting insane dialogue, but it is not cool for three reasons, a) instead of spouting just weird, psychological nonsense like Dr. Loomis, ‘Crazy Ralph’ tends to talk about weird, biblical stuff a lot, b) Crazy Ralph is not Donald Pleasance, nor is he British or the least bit amusing, c) it had already been done.

Also, Crazy Ralph gets killed by Jason Voorhees in Part 2, whereas Dr. Loomis evaded death at Michael Myers’ hands, showing up in all the movies until Donald Pleasance finally kicked the bucket in ‘95 (they really should have stopped making these movies when he died). Obviously, Dr. Loomis is cooler.

Moving on, Jamie Lee Curtis is also really cool. I can’t help it, I find her weirdly likeable even when she’s shrieking like a maniac. She manages to go beyond being just a scream queen - she is appealing and, as opposed to many, many women in other slasher flicks, and even this one, I don’t particularly want her to get killed. Good work. Scout Taylor Compton managed to achieve the same effect in the remake. It's funny because I hated her initially and bashed her in my review but actually, on second viewing of that movie, I really liked her so there you go...

Anyway, this is a movie which has grown on me a lot especially after sitting through the sequels.

Favourite Part:
“I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall, looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.” So epic.

Other versions:
The Rob Zombie remake of ‘08, which, like all of Mr. Zombie’s films I hated at first but it sort of grew on me after a second viewing. Same goes for his music, too. Weird how that works. There's something about that guy. I should probably hold off any thoughts on his movies until I’ve seen them a couple of times…

Sequels: Halloween 2 (mediocre), The Return of Michael Myers (below mediocre), The Revenge of Michael Myers (don‘t remember), The Curse of Michael Myers (Paul Rudd!), Halloween: H20 (mediocre) and Halloween: Resurrection (retarded).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Friday, August 21, 2009

#73 - Nosferatu

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Not so trashy

Directed by: F.W. Murnau. Written by: Henrik Galeen based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Plot: An ancient vampire (Max Schreck) travels from his home in the back woods of Romania to Germany in order to bother a beautiful young woman (Greta Schroeder).

Review: What I find most interesting about this film is that, unlike most other Dracula flicks, the vampire - called Count Orlok for copyright purposes - is not remotely sexy. He’s fucking weird looking what with his bald head and his long fingers. I always thought Mr. Green sort of looked like Orlok, if he shaved his head and had really scary looking eyes.

I can’t think of any other instance where Dracula is not portrayed as at least slightly hot (save the remake of Nosferatu, which I will get to in time). It’s weirdly refreshing. There is nothing seductive or even remotely likeable about the Count. He’s just gross. It’s a fun thing to bring up when talking to the new wave of vampire nuts. When they talk about how sexy vampires are or whatever, just bring up Nosferatu. In my experience, they usually haven’t seen it, but some of them probably have and will laugh with you.

Anyway, I saw this around the same time as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and have always compared the two in my mind for whatever reason. Both are silent horror films from Germany and both were made around the same time. Cabinet seems to be shot mostly indoors, with freaky-ass sets; Nosferatu seems to be shot mostly on location. Nosferatu is adapted from an established story. Cabinet is really weird.

But that’s just how I look at it. Otherwise, I always thought this movie was kind of cool. It’s a little bit on the slow side in spots (I probably just think that because it’s a silent flick - like most people of my generation, I never really grew accustomed to silent films. It’s just such a different format and I always feel like it‘s a bit of an effort to watch or something), but it makes up for it in coolness.

For example: in most adaptations of the Dracula legend, the Count is killed by Van Helsing or one of the lads. I dunno who exactly kills him in the book, I just know they used a bowie knife. In this version, he gets killed by Ellen, the babe (AKA Mina). I think she sacrifices herself to kill him or something girly like that, but still. She kicks his undead ass. Right on. This movie is cool. I kinda like it when that kind of thing happens.

Favourite Part: The bit with the shadow and everything. You know, the part everybody remembers, where he’s coming up the stairs and there’s that crazy ass shadow on the wall and he like grabs her heart or whatever. That part is really cool and really creepy.

Other Versions: The novel has been adapted countless times, but this particular version was remade in ‘79.

Sequels: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

#74 - Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Robert Wiene. Written by: Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer.

Plot: The doctor (Werner Krauss) controls a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) who predicts deaths as part of a carnival act. During the night, dude kills the people he predicted will die. Wow, that is subtle… granted, it's pretty much the same gimmick as was in The Ring.

Review: Don’t get me wrong, but this movie is fucking weird. It doesn’t really seem that strange while you’re watching it but when you try to explain it to a friend later on, then the weirdness gets you. I mean, really. What the fuck.

But it is actually really creepy considering how old it is (everybody knows things get less and less scary with age). The first time I saw it, I was at home and I thought it was alright. I was digging the art direction and Conrad Veidt. The second time I saw it was at the Jazz Festival in Halifax a few years ago. They were projecting it in an auditorium with live music. There was a really good atmosphere in the audience and for once the music was actually good and written for the film (I usually mute the volume on silent movies just coz the soundtrack they slap in there is usually terrible and inappropriate for the scene), the way it was meant to be, and it really creeped me out.

That was around when I learned that conditions have to be right for horror flicks to be enjoyed properly. I started going to a lot more horror flicks in the theatre, I started going alone, I stopped eating in the theatre, I started sitting in the front row, I stopped going to the bathroom altogether. All of these enhance the film for me for whatever reason.

Anyway, the second viewing of this movie left a huge impact on me and I still think about Cesare when I walk around in the dark. Among other things. Rapists, murderers, muggers, mutants, cannibals, people walking dogs. I am a little bit on the paranoid side…

Anyway, on top of the creepy atmosphere and the general weirdness of the plot, there’s the fucking awesome sets (which I guess goes with the ‘atmosphere’ but deserves it’s own paragraph). They’re just so cool looking and totally goth. I remember when I was in my serious goth phase (I still consider myself to be of the gothic persuasion, although I wear a lot more colours and a lot less make-up now) I used to want my whole room to look like this movie. I loved it.

I mean, the shadows are, like, painted on and the exteriors are all painted and stuff. Very cool. This is also one of those movies which would not work in colour (even if, like, Tim Burton did it) and points out how awesome black and white can be if it’s used properly. This movie laughs in the face of colour. I dunno, it be whack.

Favourite Part: I just liked the art direction. I thought the art direction was the shit.

Other Versions: Remade twice in ‘62 and ‘05.

Sequels: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

#75 - The Last Man on Earth

The Last Man on Earth (1964)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Ubaldo B. Ragona & Sidney Salkow. Written by: Ubaldo B. Ragona, Furio M. Monetti, William F. Leicester & Logan Swanson based on the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.

Plot: A crazy virus wipes out all of humanity, turning them into bloodsucking zombies. One man (Vincent Price) survives and spends all of his daylight hours trying to destroy as many zombies as possible. Remember now, this was made before Night of the Living Dead.

: I’ve seen all three versions of I Am Legend and like this one best probably because it is closest to the novel. I liked the novel. Both the other versions are more action movies whereas this one is basically a spooky zombie movie.

However, it is a zombie movie with some interesting moral dilemmas. Most of the zombies are nothing more than bloodsucking animals, however, some of them are actually conscious, intelligent people who have learned to control their craving for blood, but the main character is unable to tell the difference in the daytime. Think about it.

That always freaked the hell out of me. Ordinarily the zombies are just targets but in this one, they could very well be people. Disturbing. I always thought that this movie was sort of underrated or, more often, not rated at all. Especially when people start talking about zombie movies and how George Romero invented the flesh-eating-zombie genre (actually, some of the people I discuss this with think he invented the zombie genre period and haven’t heard of White Zombie and I have to explain to them that the monsters traditionally referred to as ‘zombies’ are actually ‘ghouls’. I‘m kind of an asshole). Many of them don’t know that Night of the Living Dead lifted a lot of stuff from this movie (as well as Carnival of Souls).

Anyway, this movie, though low budget and slightly crappy, manages to capture a sort of creepy, apocalyptic atmosphere, which is reflected in the opening scenes of 28 Days Later (which also lifted a lot of stuff from this movie, according to me - the opening scene of this looks a lot like the scene in which Cillian Murphy is sort of wandering around... that felt like Quiet Earth also).

And it’s got Vincent Price in it. He overacts like a mofo in this movie, but always in his discreet way (don’t ask me how someone can overact discreetly - he does it). I know, the other versions had Charlton Heston and Will Smith in them, and I dig Charlton Heston and Will Smith in a pretty major way but… Vincent Price. Come on. He’s cool, in an uncool sort of way. Creepy and yet so charming.

So yeah, I doubt there are many people out there who agree with me on this one, but I think this flick is fuckin a and everyone should watch it. It's not as fast paced or exciting as the other versions but as far as I'm concerned, it's way more interesting.

Favourite Part: Vincent Price’s wife (Emma Danieli) gets the virus and slowly dies. Instead of taking her to the huge pits where the bodies are being burned en masse, he sneaks off and buries her out in the countryside somewhere. Bad idea. She turns into a zombie/vampire and comes back to their house and scratches at the door, whispering, “Bob, let me in, let me in, let me in, let me in”. That is one of the freakiest thing ever. Also, it has inspired me to stand outside of peoples windows and doors at night whispering "Bob, let me in". They always know it's me though. Every time anything like that happens... it's always me.

Other Versions: Omega Man (Charlton Heston factor) and I Am Legend (pretty good).

Seqeuls: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

#76 - The Birds

The Birds (1963)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. Written by: Evan Hunter based on the short by Daphne du Maurier.

Plot: Birds randomly start attacking people.

Review: What more is there to say? This is the classic animals-go-crazy-and-kill-a-bunch-of-people movie. I mean, it’s fucking Hitchcock, the damn thing sells itself, unlike many of the other movies on this list, some of which I actually had to think about for a really, really long time before figuring out why the hell I liked them.

I first saw this movie when I was younger (let's say twelve), at a friends house. We all piled in their parents bed and watched The Birds. How exciting. It left me with a sense of extreme disappointment.

First of all, horror movies should not be watched with friends to begin with. One should watch them alone, in the dark, when one is feeling paranoid to increase impact. Watching them with friends is just unfair because you’ll just sit and talk through the whole thing anyway (well, I will). Actually watching movies with friends is a bad idea anyway unless they’re a special kind of friend. I have special movie friends.

Anyway, the second thing that really disappointed me was the ending. I’ll remind you, I was only twelve (or whatever) and I pondered the conclusion for years. “What the fuck was that all about?” I asked myself. I did not come up with an answer.

But I saw this movie again, probably a few years ago now (maybe I was fifteen. I don’t know), and am now able to appreciate its subtle horror.

There are birds everywhere you look. It doesn’t matter where you are, there they are. And what if all of them just suddenly decided to attack humanity? The chances of that happening are much more likely than dead people getting up and eating the living, and yet most people I know spend way more time worrying about that. Yes, I do own a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide and know exactly what I’m going to do in the event that Dawn of the Dead actually happens. I’m very organized. But if birds decide to attack? I’m fucked.

That is the subtle horror of The Birds. The fact that you never even think about it. You’re just sitting there minding your own business and then bam, the chickens are eating you. Disturbing shit.

In addition to the subtle horror, the film is also really funny in it’s own weird way and well put together with good characters who you actually care about instead of just waiting around for them to get killed.

Also inspired numerous imitators such as Frogs and every other animal attack movie you can think of made after 1963. Except ones about bugs or giant stuff. They’re ripped off of other things.

Although, I still don't understand the ending, and think it's kind of a cop out. Despite the fact that I thought Tippi Hedren and all them were decent people, I think it would have been a better ending if they had all gotten horribly, horribly killed.

Favourite Part:
The bit in the restaurant where all those people are talking about what’s going on. And there's that woman who's some kind of birdwatcher who starts going on about the different between crows and blackbirds. I swear to God I know that woman. It’s really hilarious. And then a bunch of people get horrible, horribly killed outside. Nowadays, the whole movie probably would have been set inside the restaurant and would be boring as hell.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Followed by a made for television sequel, The Birds 2: Land’s End (directed by the great Alan Smithee) which I have no desire to see whatsoever as it is an unholy abomination.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Monday, August 17, 2009

#77 - Battle Royale

Baturo Rowaiaru (2000)
Only Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku. Written by: Kenta Fukasaku, based on the novel by Koushun Takami.

Plot: In the not too distant future, an entire high school class is sent to a small uninhabited island to participate in Battle Royale, a game in which all of them are handed weapons and told that the last person standing after seventy two hours gets to go home. What follows is a shocking festival of non-stop carnage as the teenagers shake off their inhibitions and kill the shit out of each other.

Review: Yet another film which probably doesn’t technically fall under the horror genre (rather, dystopian science fiction and action), but it’s a festival of non-stop carnage goddamnit. That’s what horror is about. Well, not really, but I think you follow my meaning.

I would hesitate to call this movie great - the writing isn’t especially good and the acting is sort of amateur (at least I thought so), but it makes up for it in enthusiasm. It is enthusiastically violent, which, in this case anyway, is a good thing.

It’s also a very interesting concept and (despite the slightly wanting script (which, admittedly, could have been just a bad translation. I can’t remember if I watched the dubbed version or the subtitled one but whatever it was it was sort of weird) and acting) is fairly well executed. Execute being the operative word.

I mean, the movie just basically kicks ass for two hours (with a few obnoxious character building detours), but is at the same time extremely disturbing. One of those movies that causes you to lie awake at night wondering what you would do in such a situation (being seventeen, I really can’t help but think these thoughts). I’m saying right now, I’d be fucked. Most of my friends could kick the living shit out of me, especially if they were armed.

Anyway, yeah. Horror or not, this movie is totally fucked. They keep trying to do similarly themed movies in America (The Condemned and the Death Race remake, which was pretty much a clone of The Condemned, a movie which did not need to be cloned), but no one can do seriously-fucked-in-the-head like the Japanese (I always attribute this to the fact that Japan was nuked all to hell in the war. That would fuck anybody up) and they should just stop trying.

There’s been an American remake of this movie in the works probably since this movie came out and no sign of them actually, you know, making it, so that’s good. Some things really don’t need to be remade (although if you really can’t come up with anything, this wouldn’t be the worst thing you could redo - the worst thing would have to be, like, Alf. Honestly). Yeah, this movie is deeply disturbed and alarming. Yay!

Favourite Part: It's hard to pick a 'favourite moment' seeing as when the movie wasn't horribly disturbing it was kinda depressing. There's this one character in it though, I don't know the name of the actress, but she was pretty good/scary. It was the sort of psychotic girl. I dunno why but I really liked her and was rooting for her the whole way. She was just a real hardcore bastard.

Other Versions: None as yet.

Sequels: There was a Battle Royale 2 made in 2003. You kind of have to wonder, though, what could really happen…

Click here to read my original review (July 3rd, 2008).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fiction: Apartment 14F

Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story
Written by Christian Saunders

Okay, I've never seriously reviewed fiction before, but I guess it should be easier than movies coz you don't have to think about acting, sound or cinematography... but if this review is completely incoherant... it's not my fault. Here goes.

Novella about a guy who moves from London to Beijing to teach English, only to discover that his apartment is haunted.

The idea is pretty familiar but then, what isn't, and this actually provides a way better insight into Chinese culture than most. I don't think I've really read any Asian-set ghost stories (except The Ring and sequel, and a shitload of folktales from that general area), but I've seen a lot of movies, which are generally either produced in the country in which they are set and are at times borderline incomprehensible, or they are produced in the states and make everything feel like America. This book manages to have some interesting details regarding modern Chinese culture without feeling like a textbook.

Moving on, the novel is extremely fast paced, almost too much so, at least for the first twnety or so pages, which are pretty much set-up for the last thirty. It represents a long period of time and has to get squished into a short number of pages.

Everything goes by really quickly without allowing for a lot of character development or time for the creepy stuff to sink in. There are a number of weird and alarming bits, in particular a scene in which the main character 'dreams' that long black hair invades his bed, going in his mouth, down his throat, pretty gross stuff, but then it's on to the next thing. Although honestly, I prefer that to dragging things out forever.

But yeah, the weird hits the fan, so to speak, in the second half, starting with a blind old woman who reads palms with her tongue (that freaked me out... a lot... fuck), and progressing from there at a more reasonable speed, getting steadily creepier as it draws closer to what we all know will be an unpleasant ending (and the ending is satisfyingly unpleasant).

Now. Weird pacing aside, I quite liked Saunders' writing - there is a slightly sarcastic sense of humour throughout, as well as a sort of modernity (one exposition scene is done through Facebook. It's kinda cool. The future is now!) and real-ness. He doesn't bull-shit around with unnecessarily complex weirdness, rather, the writing is straight and to the point, and the story is punctuated (punctuated?) by some cool and accurate comments, such as "... in this strange new environment, every negative was magnified tenfold and seemed altogether more ominous and threatening". I dunno, I really liked that, I guess coz I've thought the same thing often in much less articulate terms.

Reminds me of when I moved to my current location and for one night it was just me and Mr. Blue camping out in the house. It was November and the furnace was out of oil so it was freezing and everything was creepy. That night I decided to stay up late and read Stephen King, which was definitely a bad idea, so now I will always associate this house with "Sometimes They Come Back" and "Trucks" on some base level. Interestingly, I also read The Penelopiad around that time but it doesn't haunt my consciousness quite so much... go figure...

ANYWAY (whoo, that was quite the tangent. I think there's something wrong with me), Apartment 14F is pretty creepy and overall, a good way to spend an evening or two.

Apartment 14F will be available for purchase September 1st 2009 here.

#78 - The Host

Gwoemul (2006)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Joon-ho Bong. Written by: Joon-ho Bong, Chul-hyun Baek, Jun-won Ha.

Plot: One day, a giant mutated fish-monster comes out of the river in Seoul and starts attacking and/or eating people. When it drags a little girl (Ah-sung Ko) away into the depths, her family (which reminded me of an extra down and out version of the Tenenbaums…) bands together to rescue her.

Review: This is actually a very bizarre movie. It feels sort of like Cloverfield on peyote or something. Well maybe not peyote, but Cloverfield did remind me a lot of this, only not as awesome. Probably because both could be described as modern monster movies - they resemble the big radioactive monster movies produced mostly in Japan, mostly during the 1950s-70s, but they’re a little more slick, a little more self-conscious, a little less ridiculous. Modern.

Although both Cloverfield and this movie border on the ridiculous, Cloverfield takes itself waaaaay to seriously and tries its best to cover the silliness up with… I dunno, nasty shit happening, but this movie tends to embrace it. Something really weird is happening? They just make it weirder and more goofy. Good stuff. It has a sense of humour which is nice for a change...

So it alternates between being creepy/weird and funny/weird. Emphasis on the weird… it’s really weird…

The weird dub job helps with that too (I admit, I watched the dubbed version. I think I may have watched this before I Learned How to Watch Foreign Language Films).

But the one thing that really seals this movie as awesome for me, is the fucking incredible monster. That thing was the coolest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. Yes, it was almost entirely comprised of CG, but it was still fucking amazing. It was like a fish, but it had all this trippy shit going on, like, I dunno, arms and shit… man that shit’s whack.

I mean, they could have made it just your standard Korean fish-monster, but no, they went all out. They worked hard to make something truly amazing.

God it was cool. So cool it was. Yeah… and all caused by some arse pouring formaldehyde down the drain… kids, don’t do that. Remember. It makes things just really unpleasant for everybody. Not just your parents.

Oh my God I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m very tired. Working on a self-set deadline sucks major ass. Yeah. I guess this is enough about this movie. Next.

Favourite Part:

BIOTCH! ....also, the superior character development.

Other versions: According to IMDb, there is a remake in the works (bastards).

Sequels: According to IMDb, there is also a sequel in the works (?).

Click here to read my original review (October 7th, 2007).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Friday, August 14, 2009

#79 - 2000 Maniacs

Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)

Written and Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis.

Plot: A bunch of Yanks travelling from point A to point B down south somewhere get misdirected by an incorrect road sign and end up in a friendly little town called Pleasant Valley where everyone seems just a little too pleased about their arrival. They quickly realize that everyone in the town was massacred by Union soldiers one hundred years ago and they’re still pissed off about it.

Review: I fucking love this movie. It’s kind of stupid, but is actually fairly well done and surprisingly coherent considering that it’s an H.G. Lewis flick (if you don’t know who that is… well, whatever). And the theme song, ‘Yee Haw, the South’s Gonna Rise Again!’ (written and performed by H.G. Lewis) is really awesome. Not that, you know, the theme song should impact the movie that much... for example, my favourite Bond flicks are probably like Dr. No (no song), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (?), that one with Timothy Dalton (again, ?) and Goldeneye (shitty song). My favourite Bond songs are "The World is Not Enough" (mediocre movie), "Die Another Day" (sub-mediocre movie), "Goldfinger" (retarded movie) and... uh... I dunno, "Moonraker".

But anyway, this is one of those movies which should by all rights be terrible, but still manages to win, though no one can really say how. It follows the recipe for suck to the letter and yet is awesome. And, though I really dig Blood Feast, this is probably the best Lewis flick I’ve seen so far (although I have yet to see The Gore-Gore Girls, Colour Me Blood Red, She-Devils on Wheels and many of his other interestingly titled films, so I’m probably not allowed to have an opinion).

This film is basically the same as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only without any of the artistic talent and maybe a lower budget if such a thing is possible (actually, it’s probably just that Tobe Hooper is better at using what he’s got).

Overall, the movie is great fun, with people getting barbequed, drawn and quartered, stuffed into barrels full of nails and rolled down hills. One woman, possibly the stupidest character in horror film history, gets a giant rock dropped on her. She so could have escaped from that. Everything’s an excuse to show gratuitous amounts of blood and gore.

And hell, that’s what it’s all about, man. Really. Yeah, sure, atmosphere and lighting and mood are one thing, but excessive gore has its place.

No, this movie wasn’t even remotely near scary, but what the fuck, a person gets fucking barbequed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, many, many times fuckin a. The flick is totally on crack in a good way and never even tries to take itself the least bit seriously. It’s just fun.

Favourite Part: People get killed in so many cool ways in this movie, but overall my favourite would have to be ‘The Rock Drop’. It’s just so stupid. Honest to God, when they were trying to think of cool ways to kill people, why was this even considered? It’s so lame it comes around the other side and becomes awesome. That’s why this movie is the pinnacle of Western culture. Basically, woman is told to lie underneath big rock and watch it fall or something, and she just lies there while they drop it on her. Quite amusing.

Other versions: Remade as 2001 Maniacs which I have yet to see. It's got Robert Englund in it.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (July 3rd, 2008).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Thursday, August 13, 2009

#80 - Jeepers Creepers

Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Moderately Trashy

Written and Directed by: Victor Salva.

Plot: A brother and sister (Justin Long and Gina Philips, respectively) on the clichéd road trip to or from school, I can’t remember which, see a guy shoving a body into a pipe. After that, they become involved with a crazy ass monster who harvests peoples organs.

Review: “What the fuck is this doing on here?” you may well ask. I know that this is by no means a great movie, however: crazy ass monster harvesting people’s fucking organs. Fuckin a! Otherwise, this movie is basically The Hitcher only instead of Sean Bean/Rutger Hauer, there’s Freddy Kruger with wings.

Actually, it's way better than that description suggests.

The only other thing which makes the movie stand out is that the two main actors are actually good. Sure, the actors in other movies are probably passable, but Gina Philips and Justin Long (whom you may remember from those Mac commercials. You know, those ones that started out being kind of cute and funny but became really obnoxious after you’d seen them six million times. “Okay, I get it, you’re going to degrade the poor PC guy in some really clever way. This just makes you look like an asshole.” And it makes me wonder, if Macs are so much more amazing, why do they have to advertise so much more? It’s sort of like God vs. Satan. If God was really that great, why the hell do jackasses have to go around telling me about it all the time) are better. They have a believable brother-sister relationship and, because they’re playing relatives, the movie doesn’t get bogged down with lots of irrelevant sex and nudity, nor do you have to worry about whether or not the characters are going to get together and all that crap. Not that I really worry about it all that much. I usually know what’s going to happen in these movies, although actually this one sort of caught me by surprise.

So no, this movie isn’t actually as good as it should have been. The first twenty minutes are way better than the following hour or so, but it was still cool and entertaining and pokes some fun at the genre. For example, they run over the Creeper about eight times to make sure it’s dead because you should never just drive away. They did this in one of the Friday the 13th flicks, too. I think it was Jason Goes to Hell but I don’t really remember. They all sort of run together. Anyway, I saw it here first...

And I will repeat, people get their organs harvested and it’s always cool when that happens. Except in real life I guess it's not so great...

Favourite Part: When Gina Philips and Justin Long go down into that cave that’s, like, full of bodies. There are bodies all over the friggin place, the walls and ceiling are completely covered with bodies. It’s really bizarre and alarming but pretty cool.

Other versions: None.

Seqeuls: They made a suck ass sequel in which the Creeper goes after a bunch of obnoxious football players and cheerleaders. The film goes from one-on-one stalker movie, to just another slasher movie, and the monster itself becomes way more like Freddy. Really not worth watching at all.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

#81 - The Mummy

The Mummy (1932)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Karl Freund. Written by: John L. Balderston.

Plot: Back in Ancient Egypt, a priest (Boris Karloff) is punished by the Gods I think because he steals their secrets in order to revive his dead girlfriend (Zita Johann)… or something. Anyway, he gets mummified or whatever. Cut to the present day. The priest, Imhotep, is accidentally brought back to life by some jerk and finds the reincarnation of his lost love. It’s up to her fiancé (David Manners) and Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) to stop him from doing whatever it is he’s going to do.

Review: This movie is sort of the same as Dracula really - ancient undead guy (who is sort of sexy but really old fashioned) falls for young beautiful girl and ends up fucking up the lives of everyone around her - only it’s got Boris Karloff. Alright. Admittedly not as hot as Bela Lugosi, but he’s really cool and a better actor. Also, he aged way better. Compare, if you will, Targets (one of Karloff's last films) to Plan 9 (Lugosi's last movie, although it is, IMHO, one of his better performances).

This movie is sort of slow and boring in bits but when it gets going it’s just so frigging awesome. And totally romantic! Any guy that would go through all of that for his lady is obviously a keeper. Yeah, there was that whole thing where he was going to stab her, but up until then he was doing pretty well. It’s one of those movies that makes me feel all squishy inside and a rad chick flick because you can usually talk guys into watching it with you. I love movies like that. They sure as hell don’t make em like they used to.

I know, all that sexy stuff was probably just thrown in there to keep the female viewers in their seats, just like the romantic subplots in today’s suck ass slasher movies (actually, those are almost exclusively excuses for nudity...), but it was just so much sweeter back in the day. New stuff just comes off as sleazy and annoying. All that old stuff is cute and sort of annoying.

It’s also one of those movies where the monster isn’t exactly a monster. He’s as much a victim as anybody - all he wanted was his dead girlfriend back - and he’s just such a charming guy. I feel very sympathetic towards the mummy. Not so much in the sequels, but in this movie definitely.

And it’s really atmospheric and spooky. This was the first major film for Karl Freund as a director, however, he was the cinematographer on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, Dracula and lots of other stuff. In other words, he really knew what he was doing when it came to moody lighting and stuff.

So yeah, not one of the best movies in the Universal cycle, but definitely a very good one.

Favourite Part: The bit at the end when Imhotep is about to do whatever to the girl, and then she kicks his ass, proving that she, unlike Mina, is capable of taking care of herself and doesn’t need a bunch of men to take care of her. Although I think she faints after that but I’m betting it was just a ruse.

Other versions: Sort of remade as The Mummy’s Hand - it featured footage from this movie but changed the mummy from an eccentric gentleman to a shambling zombie controlled by George Zucco. Also sort of remade in 1959 (that one was more a remake of Mummy’s Hand when it came right down to it and sucked despite the fact that it was Hammer and had Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in it), and then the one with Brendan Fraser which is way closer to this version.

: Yeah but not really

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#82 - The Eye 2

Gin Gwai 2 (2004)
Fairly Tasteful

Directed by: Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang. Written by: Jojo Hui.

Plot: A young woman (Qi Shu) has a near death experience after discovering that she is pregnant and gains the ability to see ghosts, who are trying to enter the bodies of unborn babies in order to be born again. She also finds herself being followed around by one ghost in particular (Eugenia Yuan, who freaked the fucking hell out of me in this movie) who seems to have some sort of beef with her.

Review: ‘Why Eye 2 rather than Eye 1?’ you may well ask. Well, I actually thought this movie was better done, more interesting and scarierthan it's... uh... precursor?. It’s weird but I don’t find loss or absence of vision that disturbing, even though one of my ever present fears is going blind or, even worse, being able to see but not well (there is Retinitis Pigmentosa in my family and supposedly it’s hereditary so there is a chance of this happening). I’m much more disturbed by the idea of going totally nuts if I get pregnant. Pregnant women are scary. Very, very scary.

I hate these pregnancy movies, they always really gross me out. The absolute worst for disgustingness for me is, of course, Alien, followed closely by Rosemary’s Baby. Gah. I’m haunted by the idea of an undeveloped fetus, like, crawling out and… I dunno, walkin around and shit. Fucking hell. I think about this a lot. I’m never going to get pregnant. Never ever ever. It’s just unnatural.

So there’s that whole factor. There was a lot of other scary shit in this movie, things with lots and lots of long black hair found in most Asian horror flicks. Even though it's been done to death, that stuff still really disturbs me. God.

Moving on, this movie was not slick, unlike a lot of American remakes of Asian horror flicks (this one hasn’t been remade as yet, thank God, although the first one has so who knows). It looked kind of low budget and the picture quality kind of sucked (that may just have been the copy I watched, I guess) but it was way scarier and often much more shocking than most stuff that gets made over on this side of the Pacific. All that weird movement and stuff really gets to me. For example, Jacob’s Ladder fucked me up big time. That’s probably the last time I actually flipped my shit while watching a movie. It was fucking stupid but it scared the sweet living fuck out of me.

Moving on again, I also thought Qi Shu was really very convincing. That’s pretty much half the battle for me anyway. If an actor acts scared well enough, I become scared. Not that Lee Sin-je wasn’t convincing in the first movie, she really was, it’s just that Qi Shu was extra convincing and it was totally unnerving.

Yup, pretty scary ghost movie, although it's not actually that traumatizing, so if you want to watch a flick that doesn't permanently destroy your ability to function in certain situations (I still don't like going in strange houses or watching unmarked videotapes), this is the flick for you. Or something. And you don't have to watch the first movie for this to make sense. The two are connected in theme but this is not a continuation of the story.

Favourite Part: Qi Shu gets into a taxi with a woman who has no face. In fact, her head doesn’t even have a front. Her head has two backs, like, there’s a braid on either side, if you follow. Qi Shu freaks out (as well she should) in a very convincing manner and the whole thing is all sort of nauseating. Fucking freaked the hell out of me. I still haven’t gotten over it.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Follows The Eye. Followed by The Eye 3.

Click here to read my original review (February 24th, 2007).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

#83 - Black Christmas

Black Christmas (1974)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: Bob Clark. Written by: Roy Moore.

Plot: Attractive young women are stalked and slashed by a total psycho living in the attic of the sorority house. Egads. Who could the killer be and what does he want? Remember, this was made before Halloween.

Review: This movie is essentially the same as Halloween only without Donald Pleasance (instead there’s Marian Waldman as the alcoholic house mother and John Saxon as John Saxon. Together they kind of come close). And with Olivia Hussey instead of Jamie Lee Curtis. And made in Ontario instead of California or wherever.

And, in my opinion, the enigmatic ‘Billy’ is way scarier than Michael Myers. For one thing, we never really see him properly. The filmmakers handle this in such a way that it does not become annoying. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, for example (I like to use that movie as an example because it sucked), we never see Leatherface clearly but that becomes obnoxious after a short period of time. Most of the scenes featuring Billy are shot from his point of view, a technique used in Halloween (although not quite as effectively as in this movie). Billy also has a sort of anonymity. We never really learn who he is or what he wants and they never made a crappy sequel where it turned out that Billy is actually Olivia Hussey’s brother or some dumb shit.

Although the fact that they never made a sequel is probably an indication that this movie didn’t do very well. They did get a remake out of it though. Terror Train didn’t get a remake. No, wait, scratch that, apparently a Terror Train remake is in the works. Fuck, is nothing sacred in this world?

Moving on. The other thing which makes Billy way scarier than Michael Myers is the whole phone-call thing. The killer-calling-from-within-the-house theme, which has become something of a slasher movie cliché, was apparently first used in this film, and it’s really fucked up. I don’t know why, but it really bothered me for some reason. Everything Billy says is really scary.

I was on the bus this one time, sitting way at the back, and saw some friends of mine get on at the front. They didn’t see me sitting way back there, so I just stayed put, biding my time until the bus got to Scotia Square and stopped for a while at which point I got up, snuck up behind them and said, “Hey Agnes, it’s me Billy!” I like to think I freaked them out. Yes, this movie is good for lots of stuff…

Anyway, it's very creepy and a great "stalk'n'slash" flick. And it's fucking Canadian. Our tax dollars went into this. We should all be very, very proud (granted, I wasn't alive at the time and I don't have a job so I don't pay taxes anyway, but dammit, I'm still proud of my country).

Favourite Part: The phone calls, disturbing as they were. They freaked me out the most. I mean, it's really twisted shit. And he's like, making pig sounds and stuff. It's really nasty.

Other versions: Remade a couple of years ago. I managed to miss that one.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (December 17th, 2006).

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

#84 - Day of the Triffids

Day of the Triffids (1962)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Steve Sekely. Written by: Philip Yordan based on the novel by John Wyndham.

Plot: Okay, to be quite honest, this is one of those movies that I saw when I was a little kid and don’t really remember all that well, but it really left a big impact on me. It’s about giant space plants called Triffids which invade Earth and I think they eat people or something… oh yeah, and everybody goes blind for some reason. Actually, it’s sort of like an episode of Dr. Who only longer and Tom Baker isn’t in it…

Review: Even though I don’t really remember any of the specifics of the movie, it scared the living crap out of me when I watched it (it scared my brother even more, haha. There’s a part where a dog gets eaten by a Triffid and that really upset him. We used to not be allowed to watch movies with animals in them because he would get so worried that they were going to get hurt. Sometimes he cried. That was why I had to watch movies like Alien when he was away). Ten years later, whenever I hear a weird rattling sound, I assume it’s Triffids.

In fact, this movie is so deeply engrained in my consciousness that when I think of killer space plants, this comes to mind before Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Little Shop of Horrors or The Thing from Another World. Not that I really spend all that much time thinking about killer space plants, but it does tend to come up a little bit more often than one would expect. I was, I think, easy to scare as a child. Actually, scratch that, I’m easy to scare now. I got scared by a sheep a couple days ago. It made a sound when I didn’t expect it and really freaked me out. I jump whenever the phone rings and lose my shit when I hear squirrels in the attic.

I blame this movie. If I hadn’t seen this, I would probably have grown up to be a normal person and not be terrified of plants. Also, if I hadn’t seen Star Wars when I was five, I wouldn’t be such a nerd. Oh, and if I hadn’t seen Kate Winslett naked in Titanic when I was seven, I wouldn’t be such a perverted sex maniac. I hope my parents read this and see what an inadequate job they did raising me (as if that wasn’t apparent already). Just for the record, I am sitting in the dark, naked, eating peanut butter and listening to "Bananaphone" backwards. Thought I might just put that image in your mind.

If I had a mobile I'd take a pic for you.

Did I ever mention that I’m a little too open about myself? Whatever. I blame this movie for that too. Also, I'm a compulsive liar. But that's neither here nor there...

No, it’s not the greatest movie ever, but it had a very profound effect on me and that counts for half the glass. Or something...

Favourite Part: There are plants fucking eating people, what could be better than that? Yes, it was made in the sixties so it wasn’t mega graphic or anything but still, the thought was there.

Other versions: According to IMDb, there were versions made in 1981 and 2009, both for TV.

Sequels: No.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Saturday, August 8, 2009

#85 - The Wolf Man

The Wolf Man (1941)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: George Waggner. Written by: Curt Siodmak.

Plot: A wealthy young man (Lon Chaney Jr.) returns home to Wales and is attacked by a werewolf (Bela Lugosi). He becomes a werewolf himself and tries, with middling success, to control his new cravings for blood and not kill his girlfriend (Evelyn Ankers). It can be hard sometimes.

Review: There were a couple other contenders for this spot (I limited the number of werewolf films to two, coz, you know, werewolves are annoying), such as The Werewolf of London, Werewolf vs. the Vampire Women and Curse of the Werewolf but I gave it to this movie seeing as it’s really the iconic werewolf movie and doesn‘t even have the word ‘werewolf’ in the title. When I think of werewolf movies, the first thing which comes to my mind is Lon Chaney Jr. running around in the woods looking like a total dork.

Like the previous films reviewed on this list (and many more to come), this movie kind of sucks on some levels. Lon Chaney Jr. is just so bad. It’s painful, and hard to believe that he was actually spawned by Lon Chaney Sr. Yes, he does have a certain charisma, but he whines. I actually look forward to him dying at the end. Honestly.

Lon’s terrible acting aside, the movie is pretty good, and probably deserves a higher placement on my list rather than being down here with the crud (unfortunately, I need that room for films such as Slither and The Eye 2).

It’s very atmospheric, spending a great deal of time out on the moors or whatever it is they have in Wales (I’m pretty sure this movie is set in Wales…), fairly well acted apart from Junior there (the wolf man’s dad is played by Claude Rains!), and does a decent job keeping the corniness from getting totally overwhelming. They do a somewhat modern take on the werewolf legend, treating lycanthropy as a psychological malady rather than a supernatural one (although, in the sequels the wolf man, like, comes back from the dead and shit. Try to explain that, eggheads).

One of the better Universal Monster movies, I guess, though I, being a chick, am inclined to prefer, like, Dracula. Werewolves are okay but... they're so hairy. And again, there's the Lon Chaney Jr. thing. I know, Lugosi isn't always great, but at least he's hot.

Favourite Part
: The transformation scenes - I enjoy looking at the special FX of yesteryear and comparing them to the CGI of today. The man-to-wolf FX in this movie, could be called ‘primitive’, though I prefer to call them ‘high-concept’. You can see what they were thinking about, they just didn’t have the technology to execute it. And ya know, I can't say this enough, but I think it still looks better than CGI. At least it's something that's actually there. It occupies a physical space and the actors can interact with it (I'm getting confused as to what 'it' refers to...).

Other versions: Remake scheduled for November. I am actually looking forward to this. It might be cool. Probably won't be, but it might.

Sequels: Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (crappy), House of Frankenstein (awesome), House of Dracula (crappy) and Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (crappy).

Click here to read my original review (December 14th, 2006)

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Friday, August 7, 2009

#86 - The Black Cat

The Black Cat (1934)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer. Written by: Edgar G. Ulmer and Peter Ruric.

Plot: A young couple (David Manners & Jacqueline Wells) somehow wind up staying at the house of this really creepy dude (Boris Karloff) who has his wife’s corpse floating in a vat of embalming fluid in his basement. I think he’s a Satan worshipper. It’s up to Bela Lugosi, who was married to the lady in the embalming fluid before creepy Satan worshipping weirdo got to her, to save them. Which is sort of like being caught between Captain Creepy and Captain Creepy II. Like escaping getting turned into jerky by Larry King only to find yourself at Molesty Joe’s House of Many Hands (this is a real place I‘m afraid…). That was slightly off topic but dammit, I’m tired and this review is boring.

Review: I remember thinking this movie was vaguely boring when I watched it, but, in retrospect, it actually creeped me out a lot. Particularly the wife floating in the embalming fluid. That’s just weird. Although, hell, if I ever die that’s how I want to be preserved.

Apparently, this is the first film Karloff and Lugosi did together - they did something like six more afterwards including The Body Snatcher, The Raven and Son of Frankenstein - which is cool I guess. They’re both pretty good, playing mortal enemies (Bela is a little pissed about the whole wife/embalming fluid thing, as it happens) and the requisite young lovers (who of course must be there because who would want to watch a movie about two weird old guys duking it out? Other than me) were surprisingly not obnoxious. I mean, they were slightly obnoxious, but I thought they were actually pretty good, unlike the usual obnoxious little skanks who got inserted into this kind of movie at the time. Their relationship was somewhat believable. They had chemistry, as they say in the business.

Anyway, most people tend to go on and on about the architecture in this movie, which is I suppose interesting because rather than living in an old gothic cobweb-laden castle the Satan worshipping pervert lives in a very clean, very modern, almost futuristic mansion. I don’t remember if they ever go into the kitchen, but I bet he had like a blender and a microwave and everything. What a guy. If only he wasn’t such a weirdo. Of course, I personally would rather have a man with an old dusty medieval castle than a man with a microwave. Mind you, either way I’d probably end up cleaning it and a microwave is much easier.

Moving on, this movie is kind of spooky and it’s good to see Lugosi play the hero for once. Also, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story by Poe. Supposedly they took inspiration from it thematically or something, but it doesn’t really show. They do throw in a thing about Lugosi being terrified of cats but other than that there isn’t much of a connection.

Yup. This is one of those weird/cool/über gothic horror pics from the thirties that is sort of spooky and very neat from a historical standpoint. Yay.

Favourite Part: The wife in the embalming fluid clearly disturbed me far more than anything else. I mean... it's really creepy. Also, the fact that the guy then turned around and married her daughter. Like, wow. Weird. He was a pretty creepy guy. It's interesting because normally the guys in these kinds of movies are a little on the odd side, sure, but pretty cute and endearing nonetheless. But Karloff in this movie is just totally fucking creepy and gross. It's different.

Other versions: Not really.

: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End

Thursday, August 6, 2009

#87 - The Thing From Another World

The Thing from Another World (1951)
Moderately Trashy
Directed by: Christian Nyby. Written by: Charles Lederer, loosely based on the story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr.

Plot: Scientists and Army guys find an alien space ship buried in the ice up in the Arctic. Thinking they have made the discovery of the century, they bring it back to the camp where it thaws out and starts walking around killing folks, using their blood to fertilize its spores.

Review: Honestly, I wasn't actually going to review this movie but I figured I couldn't really review Creature from the Black Lagoon without including this so there we go.

This movie, apparently, is one of the first monster-tries-to-destroy-humanity movies ever (I looked that up after writing my review of Creature from the Black Lagoon), and is, according to me, the template for later films such as Alien - it’s got pretty much the same plot, the monster’s just cooler and way more people get eaten (probably because the monster is not only cooler, but more effective).

Unfortunately, the titular ‘thing’ is really not cool at all. It’s sort of like Frankenstein’s Monster except without the personality. It’s the lame kid on the playground as far as monsters go. I mean, really. In a fight between the Thing and a badass motherfucker like, say, the Blob, the Thing would get pwnd.

Mind you, the Blob pwns just about everything. It’s the fucking Blob. The only force more powerful than the Blob is Steve McQueen, and I’m pretty sure he’s dead. If he’s not… well, he probably should be. (I just had to look that up - apparently he died in 1980 at the age of fifty. Bummer)

Okay, back on track. I read somewhere that they wanted to make it more like the monster in the short story (and in the remake) but didn’t really have the budget for it. Which is probably for the better in the long run. Ya know, it would have been a wee bit disturbing.

And even though the Thing is not as cool as the Creature from the Black Lagoon (or the Blob, or Predator - it is, however, cooler than the Terror from Beyond Space), this movie is way more interesting and moderately scarier, mostly because the Thing is much harder to kill and, unlike the Creature, is probably out to destroy humanity.

All the Creature wanted to do was get laid, and all the people had to do was shoot him with a harpoon. Problem solved (okay, until the sequel, but we’ll just pretend those movies didn’t happen). In this movie, they had to electrocute the fucker, and that is really hard. I mean, you have to rig up everything and shit. Scary. Also, the characters were better. Sort of. That's not saying a whole lot, but, ya know, it counts for something. And the pointless set-up scene is shorter (granted, it is even more pointless - in Creature, they sort of show how the Creature is discovered and then they go somewhere and introduce the characters and talk about marine life. In this movie, it's just a bunch of jerks sitting around playing poker and talking about how much they hate the arctic).

But yeah, this movie is better. It's actually a pretty good movie in general.

My God. I can’t believe I spent the entire review of this movie talking about Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Blob. Ah well.

Favourite Part: The obligatory confused-man-of-science who realizes that the Thing is a destructive force but wants to protect it so humanity can learn from it or whatever. There always is one of these guys in this kind of movie (in Alien he was a robot). He doesn't know what's good for anybody, but you can’t help but love him.

Other versions: The Thing of ‘86.

Sequels: None.

Start ... Prev ...... Next ... End