Wednesday, October 23, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 23 - Movie

June (Coleen Gray), suffering an unhappy marriage because her endocrinologist husband (Phillip Terry), ten years her junior, feels contempt now that she's aging. When a 150 year old African woman  shows them the secret of eternal youth, June turns on her husband, and seeks the attentions of a younger man (Grant Williams) while committing murders in order to stay young.

The Leech Woman (1960) ended Universal's second cycle of classic horror and science fiction films, and is actually a pretty decent film with social commentary on how society, particularly men, toss aside women as they age. It has a good cast, but suffers from some lackluster direction and some really bad make-up effects. Malla (Estelle Hemsley), a slight woman, who was 73 at the time of filming, fairs pretty well made up to be a near mummy of 150, but Coleen Grays make-ups are really shoddy.

Coleen Gray is also able to transition between being a sympathetic character and a despicable one.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 22 - Movie

A group of clerics acting as exorcists, who live sinful depraved lives so that is they encounter demons they can't drive back to Hell, they can invite them into their own bodies and commit suicide dragging the demons to hell with them. In their latest case they must stop Surtr, the Norse figure who will bring about Ragnorok and kill God.

Hellbenders (2012) starring Clancy Brown, Clifton Collins, Jr., Andre Royo, Robyn Rikoon, Maxon Blair and Larry Fessenden, is a comedy and somewhat structured like a filthy version of Ghostbusters, with a representative of the Catholic Church closing them down because of their excessively sinful lifestyle, and reinstating them once they save the world. It's pretty low brow, but often clever, and made for a fun viewing experience, but it's not quite successful in what it sets out to do.

Monday, October 21, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 21 - Movie

Cursed to live for all eternity as a vampire, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), is released from the coffin prison which held him for nearly two centuries, and is determined to help his ancestors rise again to affluence. His plans meet opposition from Angelique (Eva Green), the witch who cursed him for spurning her love, whois still alive, and still determined to destroy the Collins family.

Based on the soap opera of the early 1970s, Tim Burton's Dark Shadows (2012) is a loose tribute to the show that inspired it. The gothic trappings are all there, and suitably punched up since this is, after all, a Tim Burton movie, but there's far more humor, which no doubt contributed to many fans finding the movie irreverent.

I liked the first two thirds of this movie far more than I expected to, but felt like the climax was lazy and uninspired, as well as uninspiring. There were a lot of loose ends, particularly involving Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) who enters the film as a character of importance then disappears for most of the rest of it. The cast was uniformly pretty great, and Depp's Barnabas Collins was handled nicely and without any real goofiness.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 20 - Movie

When his brother goes missing, Robert Manning (Mark Eden) travels the remote country has that he was last heard from. No one claims to know who his brother was, but evidence suggests otherwise, and further digging leads him to secret passages and a cult of witchcraft.

Curse of the Crimson Altar / The Crimson Cult (1968), despite starring Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Michael Gough and Barabara Steele is not a very good movie. It is pretty fun though, with an opening, that had that tone been sustained throughout would have elevated this film to, at least, cult classic status. Most of the movie is bogged down with repetitive inquiries, walking the corridors of the manor, and trying to bed Christopher Lee's niece (Virginia Wetherell). There's also a boggling amount of generous hospitality and cooperation on the part of the same people who are trying to hide the truth from Manning, removing tension, and making things seem less sinister in the process, which is a big no-no when it comes to this type of film.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 19 - Movie

In The Lost Skeleton Returns Again (2009), the original cast is joined by new characters in a search for a new element that can be found only in the Valley of Monsters where it is guarded by a lost civilization.

Less mired in replicating the look and feel of low budget science fiction movies circa 1958, this sequel is still filled with humor, though of a different style. The names of the new characters are more onomatopoeiac versions of name types than actual real names. Half of the film is in color this time and the score suggests Bernard Hermann's scores for Ray Harryhausen films. There are plenty of great extras on the new blu ray. If you enjoyed the first movie, you should certainly grab a copy of this one, too. You can order a copy here, or if you want the plain old dvd, look below.

Friday, October 18, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 18 - Movie

Three different parties are in such of the rare radioactive element, Atmospherium. Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire) and his wife Betty (Fay Masterson) because it could mean real advances in the field of science; Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) because it's necessary to resurrect the lost skeleton of Cadavra, with him he hopes to rule the world; and to Kro-Bar (Andrew Parks) and his wife Lattis (Susan McConnell), aliens from the planet Marva, because it will allow them to return home. Along the way they are also joined by Animala (Jennifer Blaire), a woman created from four different forest animals, Ranger Brad (Dan Conroy) and an escaped mutant (Darrin Read).

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001) is Larry Blamire's hilarious tribute to science fiction movies circa 1958. Made with loving affection and played straight, the movie gets just about everything right and has probably the most quotable lines of any movie ever made. It is not to be missed, and does not lose its effectiveness through multiple viewings.

As a bonus, all of the bonus features are almost equally entertaining.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

31 Days of Halloween - Day 17 - Movie

In The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967), Count Regula is quartered for murdering twelve young women (of thirteen intended victims) in a bid for immortality. He vows he will return for vengeance. Thirty-five years later Roger, a lawyer is invited to the castle of Count Regula where he will be given information about his past. Along with a thief posing as a monk, a baroness and her maid, Roger visits the castle to discover it is a death trap full of torture devices, and that the undead Count Regula plans to finish what he started 35 years ago.

Loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" this movie is full of atmosphere, and  more garish haunted castle decor than the entire run of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?. It's an entertaining, minor, Christopher Lee starring film. Perfect for the middle of the night, or a rainy afternoon.