Wednesday, June 19, 2024

What I Watched in May 2024

I feared that the trailers for ABIGAIL (2024) had given away the big surprise of the film and that knowing that it was a vampire picture might stunt its effectiveness. Happily, I was wrong. Structured much like FROM DUSK TIL DAWN (1996) the film starts as a lean mean crime story as we follow a crew kidnapping the ballerina child of a wealthy family. They hole up in an abandoned mansion to wait for the father to fork over a ransom that they will split and then be on their way. But the imprisoned little girl turns out to be a vicious monster much worse than the criminals and quickly the situation reverses itself with the humans under threat and the pint-sized vamp gleefully working her way through fresh victims. The film becomes an entertaining stalk and bite affair with the criminal victims being interesting if not exactly sympathetic rats in a cage. There is some good dialog, a little wit, some very good actors and a few surprises in the final third that make the entire story particularly satisfying. And I’d love to know how many gallons of blood were used to make this film! Things get pretty red and sticky as the corpses flop around. There have been some nice horror surprises this year so far and ABIGAIL is on the plus side.  

The List 

NINE GUESTS FOR A CRIME (1977) – 7 (giallo version of And Then There Were None)

ABIGAIL (2024) – 8 (crime film becomes vampire film and I love it!)

SPACE AMOEBA (1970) – 8 (rewatch)


RINGS OF FEAR (1978) – 6 (least of this loose trilogy of gialli)

ENCOUNTERS OF THE SPOOKY KIND (1980) – 8 (Sammo Hung horror/comedy is gold)

ANGELS FROM HELL (1968) – 4 (meandering biker film)

CHATTERBOX (1977) – 6 (slight, sloppy, silly comedy about a talking vagina)

HELLZAPOPPIN’ (1941) – 7 (actually fun Olsen & Johnson collection of stuff)

DEATH KISS (2018) – 3 (miserable right-wing screed masquerading as a vigilante film)

MAYA (1989) – 5 (flat Euro-horror)

THE TERROR (1963)- 6 (rewatch on Blu)


MUTE WITNESS (1995) – 6

WHITE SAVAGE (1943) – 6 (Maria Montez and Jon Hall in the South Seas)

THE GHOST WALKS (1934) – 5 (not bad old dark house tale)

THE JAGUAR (1963) – 6 (Franco’s Shakespearian western tragedy set in 1860’s Venezuela)  

DORELLIK (1967) – 6 (Italian spoof of the Diabolik fumetti)

SONS OF STEEL (1988) – 4 (pretty bad but I enjoyed the music)

MARK OF THE GORILLA (1950) – 5 (typical Jungle Jim adventure)

THEY HAVE CHANGED THEIR FACES (1971) – 7 (excellent modern vampire tale with a perfect bloodsucker metaphor at its heart)

THE LIFT (1983) – 4

THE FALL GUY (2024) – 7 (funny but the leads’ charm papers over the need for stakes)

PYGMY ISLAND (1950) – 5 (Jungle Jim adventure)

A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975) – 8 (rewatch on Blu)

FURY OF THE CONGO (1951) – 5 (Jungle Jim tale)

THE RETURN OF PETER GRIM (1935) – 6 (play adaptation with Barrymore) 


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