Friday, October 15, 2021

What I Watched in September 2021

Rarely does a horror film shock me in the ways that MALIGNANT (2021). Here is a film that is determined to take its completely insane premise seriously while simultaneously allowing the clued-in film nerds to know what past insane movies the story is drawing from. While I thought I had twigged to the final twist about twenty-five minutes in I had only guessed half of the madness this thing has in store. That was the shocking part – fooling me! The filmmakers were smart enough to know that a general audience wouldn’t grasp the clues as quickly, but that horror fans would see the tell-tales and jump to part of the solution but still have the surprise of the film’s third act full monty. *chef’s kiss*
And, to top the trick of ‘hiding the ball from the very smart dog’, the film’s Cronenberg inspired freak-out is followed by a violent action scene straight out of a damned JOHN WICK rip-off with the added element of a creature involved that might have trouble fitting into even that bizarre universe. Whoever proposed a body-horror gun battle sequence needs an upgrade in pay immediately!  In the final analysis it's farfetched and ridiculous, yet fully dedicated to creating its own rules, sticking to them and daring you to refuse to go for the ride. I can hardly wait to see it again but I want to wait until I have forgotten some of the details. Even the little shocks in this one are nice. 

The List

WRATH OF MAN (2021) – 8 (somber Guy Ritchie crime tale) 
KILLER FORCE (1976) – 6 (a.k.a. THE DIAMOND MERCENARIES) (interesting cast) 
THE WITCHMAKER (1969) – 7 (supernatural investigators conduct research in swamp cabin)
THE HEIRLOOM (2005) – 5 (Taiwanese ghost tale isn’t bad but should be shorter) 
DAMIEN: THE OMEN II (1978) – 8 (rewatch)
TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMING (1977) – 8 (Aldrich political thriller) 
THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW (1983) – 5 (low budget regional horror) 
ABDUCTION (2019) – 6 (sci-fi action with Scott Adkins) 
DEATH BY INVITATION (1971) – 4 (revenge from beyond the grave on a low budget) 
MALIGNANT (2021) – 8 (bonkers horror film) 
THE BEAST IN SPACE (1980) – 4 (Italian space dud) 
FEAR STREET: PART 1 – 1994 (2021) – 7 (a bit spastic but fun) 
THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM (1967) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
A COMPANY MAN (2012) – 7 (interesting Korean hit man tale) 
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
ESCAPE FROM GALAXY 3 (1981) – 4 
DEVIL’S EXPRESS (1976) – 4 (amateur martial arts insanity)
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 
I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE (1958) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE HOUSE OF TERROR (1964) – 4 (Mexican horror/comedy w/Lon Chaney) (rewatch with better subtitles) 
NIGHT OF DEATH (1980) – 7 (French horror) 
FEAR STREET: PART 2 – 1978 (2021) – 8 (excellent middle chapter of this interesting experiment) 
THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE (1974) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE HAUNTING (2009) – 7 (Spanish ghost story) 
FEAR STREET: PART 3 – 1666 (2021) – 8 (strong wrap-up) 
THE GIANT CLAW (1957) – 4 (rewatch on Blu)  
THE CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955) – 5 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY (1959) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 

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