October 31, 2010

Day 31- Halloween

In the wee hours of Monday morning, after we all attended the wedding of our very own Machine, we were treated to the excellence that is Frank Darabont's zombie vision...

#100- The Walking Dead (TV/2010)

"Police officer Rick Grimes leads a group of survivors in a world overrun by zombies." The Walking Dead pulled a 3.3 rating, which makes it the new ruler of cable dramas. True Blood has never garnered more than a 2.2. What does this mean? People like zombies. A lot. This show was fantasmical. Wonderlicious. I could make up words all day, but you get the gist. Frank Darabont -the awesome writer and/or director behind such movies as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist, The Blob (1988), ANOES 3, The Fly II, and The Majestic- brings us a weekly show about zombie apocalypse, and it is good. He loves horror, and apparently Stephen King, so we're in good hands. The first season (AMC has been rumored to have green lit a 2nd season already, but have yet to confirm) only has 6 episodes, but so what? 6 hours of episodic, (cable) network zombie bliss is a good thing, and we will take what we can get. You can see the time, effort, and money that went into this show. The zombies look phenomenal, the cast is great (especially the bad ass Lennie James... long live Jericho!), and it just feels right. Desolate. Creepy. Dangerous. We can't wait for more.

That's 100/100 movies watched so far... oh shit, were done! Now we can play catch up, and get back to normal...

October 30, 2010

Day 29- Friday, Ocrtober 29th

Apparently, the theme was kid-friendly, mother approved horror movies tonight...

#94- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

 An institution for the whole family, this is nearly required viewing for the Halloween season. I say nearly, because I personally think the Charlie Brown specials feel old and dated and I find them (especially this one) tough to sit through. Still, it does make you feel more Halloweenish and reminds you of your childhood (At least for we Americans that is.) And if you have kids... well then forget it, you're absolutely screwed into watching it. I just wish they'd still show the Zinger commercials...
 #95- The Monster Squad (1987) 

"A group of adolescent monster movie enthusiasts form a club that meets in a treehouse in this pre-teen horror feature. When Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman are joined by Gill-Man in the search for a magic amulet, the boys form the Monster Squad to battle the forces of evil. The boys get unexpected help from Frankenstein when the monster grows tired of being continually bossed around by Dracula." Continuing with the kid friendly theme, we had to watch The Monster Squad. Before this movie, I never realized that The Wolfman had nards. True story. this is an awesome little flick for people of all ages, but the kids will eat this one up for sure. I know I did back when it first came out. It did always disturb me that the virginity of a 5 year old girl saved the day in the end, but hey, I'm a bit of a prude. Awesome fun stuff though, if you like cool kid movies like The Goonies, but with monsters. Oh, and they're planning on remaking this too. Bleh.
 #96- The Lady in White (1988) 

"Locked in a school closet during Halloween 1962, young Frank witnesses the ghost of a young girl and the man who murdered her years ago. Shortly afterward he finds himself stalked by the killer and is soon drawn to an old house where a mysterious Lady In White lives. As he discovers the secret of the woman he soon finds that the killer may be someone close to him. " I remember this one scaring me half to death when I was a kid. It doesn't scare me much at all anymore, but it's still a great movie that has that Fall/Halloween feel about it. The Lady in White is a truly creepy visage herself, especially for the kiddies, but I can't listen to the song "Have you ever seen a dream walking?" anymore without thinking about a creepy child murderer. This movie jut brings back fond memories of being a kid at this time of year, and feels right to watch so close to Halloween

That's 96/100 movies watched so far... #100 is so close we can taste it... No more kids stuff, it's time for the seminal Halloween classics...

Day 25- Monday, October 25th

# 80- Cemetery Man (1994) 

"The film's story concerns the beleaguered caretaker of a small Italian cemetery, who searches for love while defending the town from zombies." Now this is an all time, hidden gem of a flick that just begs to be seen by anyone who loves horror. Rupert Everett is fantastic as Dellamorte, the lonely caretaker of a creepy cemetery where the dead seem to come to life only to torture him. From the lovable Gnaghi to the gorgeous Anna Falci, to the awesome looking zombies and the coolest visual representation of death itself that I've ever seen, this is one hell of a movie. Funny, gory, visually stunning and just fun, you need to see this movie, if not own it outright.
 #81- The Dead Pit (1989)

"A renegade doctor is shot dead and entombed with his fiendish experiments in the basement of an abandoned wing of a mental hospital. Twenty years later, a mysterious woman is admitted with amnesia, and her arrival is marked by an earthquake - which cracks the seal to the Dead Pit, freeing the evil doctor to continue his work." Okay, so it turns out that the reason that I've had this movie on VHS for the better part of 2 decades and never watched it is because it kinda sucked. It's typical cheesy 80's schlock with this one, although it does also treat us to heaps of gore as well... so maybe it doesn't totally suck, it just sucks in that 80's throwback kinda way. I don't know, if you like typical 80's feeling b-grade horror, and don't mind bad acting, there are redeemable elements in this movie. I've seen worse. Much worse.
 #82- The Maze (2010)

"Five friends break into a closed corn maze in the middle of the night and decide to play a harmless game of tag. Little do they know that a psychopathic killer has decided to play along. As they wander aimlessly through the maze the murderer follows closely behind, taunting them and watching their every move..." This one started off fairly decent, but deteriorated more and more as it went along. In the early going, the stalk and slash aspect of the movie, while unoriginal, felt kinda fun. As it wore on though, it became slow and plodding, and instead of sticking to simple slasher convention, went the way of so many low budget horror movies and tried to become involved and clever. In the end, it all just fell flat. Maybe some people might like it, but I think that most peeps, like us, will forget about it 12 seconds after it's over.
 #83- Special Dead (2006) 

"When a zombie plague infects Camp Special Dude, a dude ranch for the mentally handicapped, a ragtag band of campers and counselors struggles to survive the night. Led by the indifferent, nun-chuck-wielding head counselor, Mac, and his wheelchair-bound sister Dale, the unlikely heroes fight their way off the mountain as, one by one, they're picked off and join the ranks of the walking dead. It's a campy stampede of blood, boobs and gore as some "very special" people show that they can kick some serious undead ass." I ended up flipping a coin to decide whether to watch this movie, or Retardead. I know how awful that sounds, wanting to watch either, but my morbid curiosity forced me to this point, and I knew I couldn't watch more than one of these wrong, wrong movies... That being said, how can you not want to see a movie with a title like Special Dead, and a poster like this? Thankskilling anyone? After watching it, I just don't see the point in the whole thing. Fine, you have $12 and have a penchant for making fun of retarded people, then I guess you make this movie. It's more of a Troma-like comedy than it is pure Horror flick, so that must be the point. The Horror is there, but only to move the retarded fighter's plot forward. I should have known better. I apologize for giving this one a chance. 

That's 83/100 movies watched so far... #100 is so close we can taste it...

Day 24- Sunday, October 24th

#76- When a Stranger Calls (1979)

No, this is not the shitty 2006 remake, this is the original. The good one. The one with two scenes so freaking effective and creepy that you will never babysit or get into bed again! The words "Have you checked the children?" will forever be etched into the part of my brain that makes me shit my pants. The opening sequence of this movie is one of the best ever committed to a Horror film, and the last scene in the movie is almost as good as that. The middle of the movie... well, it drags a bit and feels like more of a Cop drama than anything, but trust me, the rest is worth sitting through the slow stuff for.
 #77- The Entity (1981)- (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Seriously one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen, this is an evil spirit movie that did what Paranormal Activity is doing to theater goers now, but nearly 30 years ago. Based on a "true" story, it's basically about a pissed off ghost that likes to beat Barbara Hershey up and rape her. The most chilling scene of all is the very last one where Barbara returns to her house after the evil entity is "gone", and it says to her "Welcome home, c*nt." I got goosebumps from just typing that. If you want a goodie that's going to scare the hell out of you, this is your movie.
 #78- The Loved Ones (2010)

Having heard mixed reviews about this one, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I'm happy to say that The Loved Ones is a violent and fun little flick, that left me happy when the credits started rolling. Aussie Horror, to me, tends to be pretty straightforward and nasty, and I respect that. In this one, a creepy bitch who got passed over for a prom date has a perverted little prom of her own, which includes using a hammer to make a guy piss in a cup, fixing his foot to the floor with a knife, drilling into his skull, and nearly fucking her dad... yes. Her dad. Twisted and fun, grab a hold of this one on DVD when you get the chance.
 #79- The Silence of The Lambs (1991)

Once of the greatest movies of all time, let alone horror movies, Silence of the Lambs is perfect from credit to credit. Some argue that it isn't horror at all, but I say bullshit. It's about serial killers, and most movie maniacs are just that. If you're one of the 42 people on the planet that don't know about or haven't seen this movie, get to it. This might just be horror's finest hour, and it has the Oscar awards to prove it.
That's only 79/100 movies watched so far, so we had better get back to it...

October 28, 2010

Day 23- Saturday, October 23rd

This was the night of our 3rd annual THC Halloween Party, and of course we had some flicks playing in the background (at various points and to various degrees.) No words about them will be found here, because really we were all a bit too drunk to form opinions on them.

#69- Trick r' Treat (2010)- (FULL REVIEW HERE)
#70- The Exorcist (1973) #71- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
#72- A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)- (FULL REVIEW HERE)
#73- Night of the Creeps (1986)
#74- Slither (2006)
#75- The Monster Squad (1987)

That's 75/100 movies watched so far, so we had better get back to it... and no more alcohol the rest of the way...

Day 22- Friday, October 22nd

#65- Suspiria (1977)

Does anything need to be said about this classic Argento movie? Well, yes, but I sincerely hope that anyone reading this already knows all about those things. To love vintage Italian Horror flicks, you must check your brain at the door a bit, because let's face it; they tend to lack logic and sense and they definitely make you roll your eyes at how cheesy they can be... but... 70's/80's Euro Horror was brutal, atmospheric, bloody, overtly sexual, and effective. Dario Argento, and Suspiria in particular, personifies the point I'm making. Perfectly. Just based on color schemes alone the film is a piece of art. Add in Argento's visual flair, some wickedly inventive and graphic death scenes, and a haunting (as always) Goblin score, and you have one of the purest, most enjoyable Horror experiences you're likely to have. Plus, who doesn't like creepy witches?
 #66- Inferno (1980)- (FULL REVIEW HERE)

The follow up to Suspiria brings us the story of the 2nd mother of the witch coven -Mater Tenebrarum- spreading her brand of chaos throughout both New York City and Rome. This movie is a bit confusing and chaotic at first glance, but once again Argento makes good on his bottom line, and delivers the atmosphere and style which make him such a great film maker.
 #67- Mother of Tears (2008)- (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Many, MANY people did not like Argento's last installment in his "Three Mothers" Trilogy. I personally, while recognizing its flaws, couldn't help but love the hell out of it when I finally got to see it. Watching it again, it still rocks, though I can see the points of its detractors, and I wish it could have been just a little bit tighter. The Third Mother, Mater Lachrymarum, turns Rome into an orgy of blood and... well, sex. Literal and figurative; I bring you both sides of the coin. Anywho, the movie is all kinds of gory and boob-filled, and while not as strong as its predecessors, it gets the job done and closes the series out effectively. Then again, you may hate it and think I'm full of shit.
 #68- A Blade in the Dark (1983)- (FULL REVIEW HERE)

Melodramatic, cheesy, eerie and bloody, A Blade in the Dark is a fun throwback to the yesteryear if Giallo flicks of yesteryear. I just said that twice... it happens.  

Be sure to check the full reviews for the finer points, and enjoy.

That's 68/100 movies watched so far, so we had better get back to it...

October 25, 2010

Day 21- Thursday, October 21st

#62-#66- George Romero's Dead Films (1968-2009)- One of the legends of the horror genre gave us many great films, but none as important as his all time classic (some of them) "dead" series. they weren't all magnum zombie opus's, but love them or not, you can't ignore their relevance or genre impact.
 Night of the Living Dead (1968)

What George Romero did on such a small budget, and during such a huge time of crisis in America, changed the Horror genre, and movies in general, forever. Called subversive, and viewed by many as a harsh critique of 1960's America, NOTLD struck a nerve and shocked a nation, and rightly so. In the late 60's, our country was losing it's innocence; whether it was Civil Rights or Vietnam, the Sexual Revolution or the realization that the Government wasn't as pious as we had always believed, America was changing, and George Romero wanted to say something about it. He also wanted to make a bloody Horror flick, so he ended up doing both. He was thrifty like that. His Zombie opus spoke volumes, both compelling and repulsing moviegoers, and changing what Horror movies were, forever. Brutal, shockingly graphic, and terrifying, Romero kicked the status quo n the nuts, and then spat in its eye. Hell, his hero was a black guy, which was unheard of in 1968, unless you were talking about Sidney Poitier. Our black hero persevered too, surviving the Zombie onslaught only to be gunned down by a posse of clueless rednecks. It doesn't get more subversive than that. A great movie, an important movie, and an awesome horror flick, NOTLD still holds up today, and deserves a look at Halloween time. I would advise against eating roast beef while watching though. Yuck.

A+, and deservedly so. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Considered his greatest film by some, Dawn was Romero's tongue-in-cheek jab at the consumerism happy American public of the 1970's. It also allowed him to push the envelope even further than he had 10 years earlier, and give us more gut-munching, more flesh tearing, and a really awesome exploding head gag. A score by instrumental rock gods, Goblin, didn't hurt either. Of course, that was only in the European cut of Dawn (there were 4 cuts: Theatrical, Euro, Director's, and Extended.) Dario Argento cut the European version of the movie. Ken Foree played yet another,strong, black , non-stereotypical hero. Tom Savini got to play a blood thirsty biker as well as do the FX. Blood flowed. Zombies ate. Pants were shat. Romero made fun of Mall culture, and we ate it up... like braindead consumers!. A good time was had by all.

 A Day of the Dead (1985)

The first of the "Dead" movies that I ever saw, Day holds a special place in my heart. Whether it's because Bub was so sympathetic and lovable, or because the gore in the third reel was so insane and awesome, this was the movie that made me hunger for all things undead. I remember ads for this movie saying it was Rated-X, which in the 80's was a HUGE thing for a movie.These days, NC-17 is the naughty kiss of death rating handed out by the MPAA, and it's really not a big deal at all. Hell, every other movie has an unrated DVD when they hit video now, which is the same damned thing. 20+ years ago though, and X or NC-17 rating screamed perversion, meant good luck finding solid distribution, and riled parents groups and the religious right up to no end. Romero did push the boundaries with the gore on this one, making it more... wet? Messy? Dirty, sloppy and rough? All of those and more really. Combined with the vacant feel of the now mostly human devoid earth, and some interesting and unique characters, this was one hell of a good zombie flick.

 A Land of the Dead (2005) 
***DISCLAIMER*** Dear Romero purists: Please don't hurt me. Thank you. ***DISCLAIMER***

This may be my favorite movie in the series. It is not the best film of them, but for some reason I can watch this one over and over again, and it makes me happy. Then again, I'm easily pleased. Maybe it was the late, great Dennis Hopper, or the always interesting John Leguizamo, I don't know. Maybe it was the Dead Reckoning. It all just felt very Post-Apocalyptic to me, and brings a smile to my face every time I watch it. Sometimes, I really love the more "Hollywood" Horror movies, which this definitely felt like.

For me, A. As a movie, and in all reality, it's probably a B range movie.
 Diary and Survival of the Dead- (FULL SURVIVAL REVIEW HERE)

The last two installments of this great series leave me cold. Diary felt like a shaky mess to me, filled with characters who just did blatantly nonsensical things at the most inopportune times. Survival was a better film, but it was mired in an uneventful and logic defying plot. As we said in our very brief review of Diary: "Enough with the hand held crap already. Do you really expect anyone to accept that people who are besieged by hordes of the undead are going to take the time to film it all? Really? I'm not sure what happened with this one, but this is nowhere near George Romero's finest hour. The hand held camera craze was used to poor effect here, and coupled with lame characters and poor acting, the end result was an annoying Zombie mess from the master of the undead. I love you George, but you're better than this." Survival was entertaining enough, if a bit slow and plodding, but the premise of the whole thing just frustrated me and took me out of the experience for the most part. Oh well. Can't win 'em all, can we? Let's just skip grading these two shall we? Good. Me too.

That's 66/100 movies watched so far, so we had better get back to it... will we make 100 movies?!? Got a lot to catch up on and still watch...

October 21, 2010

Day 20- Wednesday, October 20th

#57- Cold Storage (2008)

Like a poorly made TV movie of the week, Cold Storage has some decent elements about it, but in the end it's just slow and plodding, and not enough of anything interesting to make it necessary viewing. Joellle Carter is one of the movie's bright spots, as we already love her from her work in TV's Justified. Nick Searcy is good too, though he doesn't have a very tight script to work with. This one fell way flat.
 #58-Big Tits Zombie (2010)

What a ridiculous mess. I was thinking maybe it would be along the lines of Tokyo Gore Police; plenty gratuitous violence, some gratuitous nudity, maybe some crazy combination of both (naked Zombie fighting.) But no. All I got was plenty of gratuitous stupidity and a 73 minute headache. Also, 73 minutes of my life are now gone, and they aren't coming back anytime soon. Misleading title, annoying Japanese humor, hot chicks who don't get naked near enough, and plenty of sub-par manga crap... I shoulda skipped it.
 #60- Sculpture (2010)

Had I known this was one of those cheesy looking soft core Porn types of movies, I would have skipped it. I guess seeing the name Misty Mundae should be the only clue I needed, as she's pretty much the queen of soft core Porn, and not much else. That's no knock on you Misty, you look great naked, but get in some better movies, would ya? Anyway, this is one of those cheapo movies that feels like it should be on Cinemax at 2 a.m. sandwiched between Bikini Car Wash Massacre 3 and Tigers in Lipstick. I'm all for tits and ass, but they have to come along with a decent movie, especially when you're calling it Horror. Movies like this have their fan-base and surely have their place, but it's just not in my DVD player.
 #61- Tremors (1990)- (FULL REVIEW HERE)

I needed a pallet cleanser after the last three movies I (we) had to endure, so I grabbed this and threw it in, before I sunk into a "too much crappy Horror" depression. You should all know Tremors well, and most, if not all of you, should love it. For those of you that have no clue what this movie is, click the full review link above and learn something!

That's 61/100 movies watched so far, so we had better get back to it... I swear, no more crappy movies or else...

October 19, 2010

Day 19- Tuesday, October 19th

#54- Pet Sematary (1989)

AMC is running these movies as a part of their yearly "Fear Fest", and they inspired to me whip out the DVD's and watch them, because who really wants to watch edited Horror movies with commercials in them? We do love you AMC, a lot, but we need our unedited goods! Pet Sematary is a great flick and a sentimental favorite of ours for many reasons; it's creepy, it's disturbing, it's got Fred Gwynn using a very thick New Englander accent, and it's got dead kids... who doesn't love all of that stuff. Especially dead kids. Woot! There are some creepy moments in this movie, perhaps the creepiest of all being Zelda, the abandoned and evil-looking sister. Someone, not me, may have peed their pants during her big scene, way back in 1989 when they first saw it. Not me though, someone else. This movie really does go to show us that sometimes, dead is better.
 #55- Pet Sematary Two (1992)

As sequels go, I really like this movie. It's not as good as its 1989 predecessor, but something about it always grabbed me and made it feel effective. I think it's the atmosphere of it all. It almost feels ethereal or dreamlike in places to me, and it just works. It's really the same story with different characters, and yes, one of the is played by Edward Furlong (whom we bashed earlier in the month), but he wasn't so annoying when he was a kid. But the odd unease created by the Furlong thing is offset by the awesomeness of Clancy Brown. That guy is as good a character actor as there is, and he is great in this movie. Not as good as the first, but if you liked Pet Sematary, then you should check this one out. Zowie!
 #56- Near Dark (1987)

This may be one of the best Hidden Gems in all of Horror filmdom. Essentially a Vampire-Western, Near Dark has the 80's rock n' roll style of The Lost Boys while having the substance of a dark and twisted road movie. Sounds like a crazy mix, but it works, and works big time. Bill Paxton and Lance Henrickson staring as the main Vampires is selling point enough for me, as both of these guys belong in the awesome hall of fame for their work in the 80's/90's. Paxton shines the brightest though, and really, he needs to play homicidal maniacs (Vampire or not) more often. This movie needs to be in your library, if it already isn't.

 That's 56/100 movies watched so far, so we had better get back to it... Now that we kicked it 80's style for a day, let's bring it back to the new school...

Day 18- Monday, October 18th

#52- Devil's Playground (2010) 

"As the world succumbs to a zombie apocalypse, Cole a hardened mercenary, is chasing the one person who can provide a cure. Not only to the plague but to Cole's own incumbent destiny. DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND is a cutting edge British horror film that features zombies portrayed by free runners for a terrifyingly authentic representation of the undead." A decent little "infected" Zombie flick, Devil's Playground manages to be fun enough to entertain for most of its running time. Especially noteworthy are the Zombies; no joke, they hop and jump around like wall-scaling ninjas! It was pretty neat.
 #53- Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated (2009)

"Night of the Living Dead: REANIMATED features the work of various artists, animators, and filmmakers from around the globe. The mixed media featured include puppetry, CGI, hand-drawn animation, illustration, acrylics, claymation, and even 'animated' tattoos, just to name a few. This mass-collaboration approach is less about remaking Romero's film and more about viewing the classic through an experimental lens. Instead of trying to alter Image Ten's work, NOTLD:R seeks to showcase the responses that artists from around the world have had to this landmark film." This was interesting. It's basically a re-telling of Night of the Living Dead, using various mediums, arts, and animations, rather than filming it. For those of you who may like the artsier side of things, this should please you. For me, it all felt a bit busy and pretentious. Now, that isn't a bad thing as far as an experiment goes, but for a film, it just distracted my attention from itself. Definitely interesting, but far too hectic for my tastes.

That's 53/100 movies watched so far, so we had better get back to it... and the hits keep coming...