October 15th-Little Shop of Horrors from 1986 (Director: Frank Oz, Writer: Howard Ashman Based on Little Shop of Horrors Musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman Which is Based The Little Shop of Horrors from by Roger Corman from 1960, Stars: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, and Levi Stubbs)
I had been thinking about watching this for a few months, then I saw the original earlier this month, so fuck it. I’ve always been a fan of this flick. The first non-Disney musical I dug. The story of a assistant florist who pines over his co-worker and finds success with a strange plant that eats people. The musical departs from several elements of the original but the basics which made the 1960 film a cult classic are here. In glorious color with great music. A masterpiece.
Galaxy of Terror from 1981 (Director: Bruce D. Clark, Writer: Marc Siegler and Bruce D. Clark, Stars: Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston and Taaffe O’Connell, Runtime: 81 min)
Chose to watch this one because it was short. An Alien knock off (watched one of those last week too) about a spaceship crew attempting a search and rescue on a far away planet. Bad things happen because of course. Visually, the movie looks pretty good for low budget. The ship is decent enough and the alien caves are decent enough. Some the alien beasts and effects are decent. Nice bit of gore in the film. Props to James Cameron and the crew he worked with. Robert Englund is one of the only notable performances in the film along with Ray Waltson. Other than all this, pretty boring. The story does not rack up the suspense and some of the good ideas are just not followed through on or fails in the follow through. The film contains a particular scene which gained its cult status and, well, if you didn’t like that tree scene in the original Evil Dead you’ll prefer it to the scene in this one. God damn. I caught two Alien type films last time, one before Alien and one after plus Lily C.A.T a week ago. Its pretty clear, nothing comes close to Alien in any manner. Skip this.
The Company of Wolves from 1984 (Director: Neil Jordan, Writer: Angela Carter and Neil Jordan, Stars: Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, Stephen Rea and David Warner, Runtime: 95 min)
A young girl is in a dream that involves wolves. Something like that… In her dreams Rosaleen dreams of losing her sister and her grandmothers stories. There is one pretty cool and gory wolf transformation, visually some very creepy nightmare sequence. Outside of that its a small gothic fantasy horror film that comes and goes. Angela Lansbury was good. I don’t really feel like writing a long bit about a film that was really only okay.
October 18th-Snow White: A Tale of Terror from 1997 (Director: Michael Cohn, Writer: Tom Szollosi and Deborah Serra, Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Sam Neill and Monica Keena, Runtime: 100 min)
Its Snow White. You know, with various twists and changes. Showing how the Evil Queen learned to hate her step-daughter and her attempts to have a son. As such she starts going mad. Pretty basic really, with just okay production value. No Dwarves, just miners. While nothing much to it the performances are pretty good. Weaver is one of those actress’ who never phones it in. From her introduction and all the way through putting in work. Sam Neill is Snow Whites father and he is good. Nothing fancy, he does whats called upon and with charm. Monica Keena, and Taryn Davis, are fine as Snow White. Nothing special but solid and her relationship with one certain miner was a new twist. Okay, but drags, passable.
October 19th-Blackula (Director: William Crain, Writers: Raymond Koenig and Joan Torres, Stars: William Marshall and Vonetta McGee, Runtime: 92 min)
Dracula turns an African prince into a vampire, dubs him Blackula. Blackula wakes up LA many years later, turns people and gets obsessed with a woman who looks like his long dead wife. I was pretty tried before watching this and the film is just… The film is interesting. The set up is corny, the idea that a bunch of decorators were able to buy Dracula’s stuff and take it to LA is weird, and certain things are just lousy. Like Blackulas make up when he goes killer vampire or the fact he has a full command and understanding of his abilities even though really this is his first few days as a vampire after being stuck in a coffin for centuries. The performances are pretty good for the most part. William Marshall does what he can with such an odd character in Blackula, he does leave an impression. Thalmus Rasulala was very impressive as the Doctor (ME?) looking into the strange deaths and figuring out quick its vampire attacks. He gave the strongest performance. Denise Nicholas as his wife was cool, they had a great chemistry. Vonetta McGee was okay as Blackula’s love… I guess. Music was cool. This film had some cool things about it just didn’t click in the end or with me.
October 20th-The House on Skull Mountain from 1974 (Director: Ron Honthaner, Writer: Mildred Pares, Stars: Victor French, Janee Michelle, Jean Durand, Mike Evans, Xernona Clayton and Mary J. Todd McKenzie, Runtime: 89 min)
Four people are invited to a strange house on SKULL MOUNTAIN. Turns out they are cousins and waiting on details of a possible inheritance. However spooky things go down. On the plus side, HOUSE ON SKULL MOUNTAIN delivers what it titles says. The performances from most the acst is good, I actually really liked Mary J. Todd McKenzie whose career seems to begin and end with this film. The general idea borrows from other horror/thriller/mysteries and just adds voodoo to the mix. Its biggest drawbacks were that its not scary, eerie, or strange enough. The relationship between Mckenzie and Victor Frenchs character was bizarre. Feels at times written as a couple but they’re suppose to be related as cousins. French’s character however is white, so its possible he’s not related by blood to the other three who are black. I don’t know what was going on there. Maybe they shifted things a bit to avoid protests of there being a mixed race couple in the film? Film also suffers from white savior syndrome which is a shame. Overall, an okay piece of a film.
October 21st-The Conjuring from 2013 (Director: James Wan, Writers: Chad and Carey Hayes, Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor, Runtime: 112)
On the suggestion of my uncle, and pretty much everyone I’ve encountered who have seen it, I watched the Conjuring. based on true events of the Warrens, paranormal investigators, trying to solve the Perron Families problem. That being that their house has a demonic spirit that latches on to them. First off you got a strong cast with Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor. These actors are the kind of character actors that films need. They put on strong performances and understand what to do to match the tone of the film. I didn’t recognize Vera until I looked at her filmography, this is only the third film I’ve seen with her and she is quite good. Wan knows horror, the guy did Saw. He also knows the importance of movement and action. I’m very curious to see what he does with Aquaman. The story itself? Its weird to compare a “true story” to films of a similar nature. Poltergeist comes to mind and thats a much better movie than this. Still, good effects, strong performances, a well executed feeling of dread. Overall thumbs up and a good way to close out a lackluster week.
Not a good week. A favorite of course scored high for me with most the films scoring low or middling. Bringing some memorable scenes and performances but being bogged down by various issues like story, direction and general execution. Closed out the week strong though. Updated rankings.
2. Young Frankenstein
3. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
4. Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
5. The Conjuring
6. Tie: Carnival of Souls and Neon Demon
7. Demon City Shinjuku
8. Wicked City
9. Lily C.A.T.
10. Night of the Comet
11. Creature from the Black Lagoon
12. The Devil Rides Out
13. Snow White: A Tale of Terror
14. Tie: Blackula and The House on Skull Mountain
15. Galaxy of Terror
16. The Company of Wolves
17. I Drink Your Blood
18. Vampire Senshou
19. Messiah of Evil