Friday, October 31, 2008


I hope everyone has a safe and happy All Hallows Eve.

And maybe next year we'll finally get the chance to see this film.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I just picked this film up on DVD for the princely sum of three bucks. Now- I don't know if it will turn out to be any good but for $3 I'm willing to gamble. A horror film for that price is waaaay too good to pass by.

And for the record I did not like the first film. Or the remake of it. But AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION was kind of fascinating. My hopes are high but its too bad this is not actually in 3D on DVD. That would be fun.

Monday, October 27, 2008

DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE (1932)

I have no idea how many times Robert Louis Stevenson’s literary classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been filmed. I know it has to be dozens at the very least even if you discount the adaptations that use the story without actually telling the tale of poor doomed Jekyll or ones that take an odd angle such as MARY REILLY. I think I’ve seen about five different films made from the short novel over the years and I find I still have an appetite for more. I even want to catch up with recent BBC series JEKYLL which is a modern day extension of the story and I have an interest in the current US spy series MY OWN WORST ENEMY because of its use of the split personality concept. ENEMY tips its hand smartly by having one of the personalities inhabiting its main character named Henry (Jekyll’s first name) while the other is called Edward (Hyde’s). Clearly this yarn still strikes a chord with the public.

But which of the many adaptations on film is the best? To my mind the 1932 version has never been beaten. Fredric March gives a brilliant performance for which he won a well deserved Oscar and the direction by Rouben Mamoulian is both sharp and stylish (often in the extreme). The film revels in all the abandon that pre-code Hollywood could sling at the screen with the drive of Hyde being so obviously sexual that I’m surprised it wasn’t banned across the land. It’s a hell of a movie and one I think modern audiences would do well to check out for themselves. I doubt any new adaptation will surpass its power.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

1940's horror films

As often as I have watched DRACULA or THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN I suspect that I have seen GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, SON OF DRACULA, THE MUMMY’S CURSE and HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN many, many more times. I’ve been known to watch all four Universal Mummy films from the 40s more than 3 times in a single year! I am just repeatedly drawn to the ‘lesser’ Universal horror films of the that decade.

But of course, to me, they aren’t lesser. They are wonderfully quirky entertainments that have that special something that allows me to get lost in their world and forget about everything else in my life for their short running times. Pure escapist hokum, I guess.

My kind of movie.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

MARS ATTACKS! ... Blu-Ray ?

Having upgraded to a Blu-Ray player several months back I'm amazed at how few Blu discs I actually want. Mostly its the far too high prices that keep me moving past them on the sales floor but it is also that there are relatively few movies I want that are available in the new format.

This one needs to come out pretty soon.......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lost footage from REPTILICUS (1962)

Cut from the American version of the movie this hysterical footage from the Danish film shows that there was wisdom in removing it. Not that its any worse than the other effects work in the film- just more unintentionally humorous!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tom Holland Commentaries!

The fine folks over at Icons of Fright have done a wonderful thing for horror film fans. Although the producers of the otherwise fantastic new DVD of CHILD'S PLAY included plenty of extras they didn't even bother to contact directer Tom Holland for interviews or to record a commentary track. Apparently there is some bad blood between Holland and the film's producers so the fans get the short end yet again.

But, proving that every bad choice is an opportunity, Icons of Fright decided to take the advantage presented and run with it. That's right! This ridiculous oversight has been now been remedied! Downloadable from this LINK is a free director's commentary for the film. And to make things even better Mr. Holland has also recorded not one but TWO tracks for his even better 80s horror movie FRIGHT NIGHT! One he does with actors Chris Sarandon (Jerry Dandrige) & Jonathan Stark (Billy Cole) and the second with William Ragsdale (Charley Brewster), Stephen Geoffreys ("Evil" Ed Thompson) & FX Artist Randall William Cook. How damned cool is this! And they are free! FREE!

Every now and then someone does something to restore my faith in humanity.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

IT'S ALIVE (1973) & opening credits as storytelling

The art of the credit sequence is something I’ve been interested in for a few years. I’ve always felt that a well done opening can really set the mood for a film. If effective a credit sequence can bring the viewer into the film’s artificial world in a way that gives the story room to grow to outlandish levels but still be able to create the willing suspension of disbelief necessary for fiction to work. I first thought seriously about this after seeing a series of especially smart such openings with in a short space of time. FIGHT CLUB’s mesmerizing journey through the cerebral cortex of its main character sets up not only the odd nature of the first scene of the film but in repeat viewings plays as the first joke on the audience. Similarly, Cronenberg’s EXISTENZ has the credits play out over a swirling image that subtly suggests the mind trip you are about to take without making it obvious.

The other night I sat down to watch Larry Cohen’s horror film IT’S ALIVE for the first time in more than 15 years. I had forgotten much about the movie and one of those things was the excellent credit sequence. A black screen is illuminated with a few white points that begin to slowly move about. As they are joined by more of these lights they begin to move a bit more leaving slight trails making them appear to be sperm swimming around in a Petri dish. This impression last a few seconds until it slowly becomes clear that this is a group of flashlights shining in a very dark place as they move closer to the camera. Very sharp stuff especially as it mirrors in brief the arc of the film’s story. It helps that IT’S ALIVE is a very good film that is well worth repeated viewings for its careful, slow and deliberate pace making a bizarre tragic tale really hit home.

There should be a book about excellent opening credit sequences. Maybe there already is one?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Silly Monster movie Trailer of the week! TARANTULA (1955)

I'm trying to find information about this film for a possible commentary track. If anyone knows of any cast or crew interviews or articles on the movie itself let me know.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I finally got to see this Clive Barker adaptation and it was worth checking out. Not a great horror film but a good one and certainly worth a theatrical release. I wondered why this film got crapped on by Lionsgate and luckily this article explains. Corporate BS wins every time, I guess.

It is a shame, though. That something this well done gets shafted but crap like SAW V and a dozen remakes will grace 2,000 screens on their opening weekend. That is pathetic.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I recently discovered this radio adaptation of Ray Bradbury's classic and was surprised that it came out as the book was published in 1950. I had no idea that this kind of promotional synergy was the going thing that far back! This truncated version of the book contains elements of the stories Rocket Summer, Ylla, –and the Moon be Still as Bright, The Settlers, The Locusts, The Shore, The Off Season, There Will Come Soft Rains, and The Million-Year Picnic. Perfect listening for a cool fall evening. Just download and sit back for a trip back 58 years and into the future at the same time.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Simpsons as Addams Family

Maybe a little out of place here but this mash-up of my two favorite TV families is a beaut!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I had never seen this fantastic poster for this classic Harryhausen film until just last week. It easily the best artwork for the movie I've ever come across. Look at the colorful detail on the tentacles!

Silly Monster movie Trailer of the week! THE GREEN SLIME (1969)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What I watched in September

DEATH RACE (2008)- 3
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960)- 9 (rewatch)
THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN Pilot film (1973)- 5 (hadn’t seen this since I was a kid)
CRAZY EIGHTS (2007)- 2 (abysmally boring attempt at a horror film)
SEX & FURY (1973)- 7 (the nude swordfight is brilliant!)
THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (1975)- 6 (Yul Brynner kicks everyone’s ass in a post apocalyptic future)
BLOOD OF DRACULA (1957)- 4 (rife with perfect MST3K moments)
CREEPSHOW 2 (1987)- 5 (rewatch)
BABYLON A.D. (2008)- 6 (can’t wait for the full length DVD)
THE DRACULA SAGA (1972)- 6 (very different take on the old tale)
THE HELLBENDERS (1967)- 7 (good Corbucci western)
TRANSSIBERIAN (2008)- 7 (Brad Anderson crafts another good thriller)
P2 (2007)- 7 (solid little thriller)
YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983)- 3 (rewatch) (so bad its great)
AMAZONS VS. SUPERMEN (1975)- 3 (period superheroics with hidden tramolines, Three Stooges style antics, idiotic sound effects to make things ‘funny’- not my cup of tea)
HOME SICK (2006)- 2
BURN AFTER READING (2008)- 8 (classic Coen Brothers madcap humor)
DRACULA A.D. 72 (1972)- 5 (rewatch)
RIGHTEOUS KILL (2008)- 6 (not great but worth seeing- the equivalent of a trashy crime novel)
BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD (1974)- 3 (terrible but oddly kind of interesting)
CHOKE (2008)- 8 (funny and effective oddball tale-fine acting across the board)
HALLOWEEN 6 (1995)- 2 (what the hell?)
THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1956)- 4 (silly Roger Corman small scale apocalyptic tale- probably filmed over a single long weekend)
DOCTOR X (1933)- 6 (rewatch)

Also finally started watching British sci-fi show PRIMEVAL and its pretty good so far. A bit too slick and I'd love it if characters could have a conversation without walking around pointlessly but overall I like it. I'm interested to see where it goes.