Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallows' Eve

Halloween is here! So I need to finish this month with horror films, natch. I recorded William Castle's Strait-Jacket (1964) from TCM thanks to their Castle marathon. Hadn't seen this one and it's just as good as advertised. Joan Crawford could always portray the best psychotic bitches on screen. Nice mystery vibe amidst the small town charm. But with some powerfully horrific moments. 6.7/10

Capped Hallow's Eve with Radley Metzger's rather subdued (for him) The Cat and the Canary (1978). Fairly decent horror mystery featuring the likes of Olivia Hussey and Honor Blackman. Pretty much like the original and all the other riffs on the same premise; people visit an old home in hopes of receiving a nice inheritance from the deceased home owner. Then murder ensues. Not bad. 6.3/10
  • October New: 58
  • October Re-watch: 16
  • October Total: 74
  • 2010 TOTAL: 658

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Annual Horror Movie Night

Kicked off Halloween movie night with Bert Gordon's Empire of the Ants (1977) streaming from NWI. We had Shannon, her husband Jon, pAT, myself plus Ron's family in attendance this year. Sadly only Shannon, Jon & myself dressed up in costumes (they made for a wonderful Peg & Al Bundy!). Empire is laughable but pays off in the end. I will watch Joan Collins in anything pre-1980s. Having never seen this before I was excited to see that flick esp. since I have the half-sheet. "Beware of the sugar refinery." 6.5/10

Followed that with The Mist (2007) in black & white. Yeah, still dig the shit outta Darabont's Stephen King adaptation. Plays even better with a crowd. Great to see it again in that environment. Everyone really enjoyed it. 7.8/10

The House of the Devil (2009) I saw last year and loved so much I've been itching to see it again. Brought my DVD since Ron & I discussed a possible screening. Fortunately none of our other guests had seen it so it was an ideal candidate. Mixed reactions but overall good. Adore this film and Ti West for making it. Tom Noonan is so great. pAT commented that my costume (a lumberjack) was AJ Bowen's character. Nice compliment. 8/10

Michael Winner's The Sentinel (1977) was our final viewing via NWI and what a pleasant surprise this was… as much as it was that *everyone* stuck around to see it (was already pushing 2AM). Damn is this flick so much fun. John Carradine, Ava Gardner, Eli Wallach, a wacky Burgess Meredith, and bare-breasted Beverly D'Angelo? Did I mention Jerry Orbach and a subdued, young Christopher Walken? Sign me up. Such a bizarre little film. 7.5/10

And there ends another highly enjoyable Halloween Movie Night! Already looking forward to next year.
  • October New: 56
  • October Re-watch: 16
  • October Total: 72
  • 2010 TOTAL: 656

Homicide is Painless

Was plodding around the home in anticipation of tonight's annual Halloween Horror Movie Night. Homicidal (1961) was running on TCM as part of a William Castle marathon. Have dug this flick from the first time I saw it because it's so damn creepy. Knowing the story makes rewatching it all the more interesting. Love love love the reveal. 7.8/10
  • October New: 54
  • October Re-watch: 14
  • October Total: 68
  • 2010 TOTAL: 652

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Monster Mayhem

Caught a few more Hammer Horror flicks from TCM including Terence Fisher's The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), which is arguably their best Frankenstein film featuring Christopher Lee as the monster and Peter Cushing as the mad scientist. Really dig this flick. 7.7/10

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), on the other hand, is not so good. Good title that doesn't deliver on that premise. Was expecting a decent Bride remake but this is really something all together different. 5.4/10

Hit up Netflix Watch Instantly for Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), which is another film I enjoyed as a child. This one is right up there in the Bud & Lou series of feature films. Could probably watch their monster films anytime. Great to see Marie Windsor in this. 7.6/10
  • October New: 54
  • October Re-watch: 13
  • October Total: 67
  • 2010 TOTAL: 651

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Alice In Nowhereland

This iteration of Lewis Carroll's story, Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998), features a younger Kate Beckinsale as she becomes the Alice and goes on the journey of magical creatures and characters. Like the casting but didn't like how the story was compressed. Too little time is spent on character moments to keep each scene moving onto the next one. 5.3/10

Popped into Showplace 12 to check out Man From Nowhere (2010) again on the big screen. This was my first film of Fantastic Fest and felt like it needed a revisit since my state of mind at that time was quite erratic. Still holds up (tho not quite as strongly) and yet is still too long. But super dig on Bin Won. 7/10
  • October New: 52
  • October Re-watch: 12
  • October Total: 64
  • 2010 TOTAL: 648

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rabbit Hell

William Claxton's Night of the Lepus (1972) was also featured on TCM Underground and amazingly I have not see this unbelievable giant killer rabbit flick. It's so comical and yet horrifying that they used what appears to be 100 or so actual rabbits. With all that running around and "simulated" electric fence, you know some of those bunnies didn't make it out alive. 5.6/10
  • October New: 51
  • October Re-watch: 11
  • October Total: 62
  • 2010 TOTAL: 646

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Boogie Woogie Babes

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971) was another TCM Hammer Horror hold-over from Friday night. Features a hot Egyptian Queen (Valerie Leon) extremely well-preserved in which her spirit inhabits yet another hottie (Valerie Leon). Not a great film but plenty of eye candy. #amiright 6.2/10

The Boogens (1981) was featured on TCM Underground. Kind of excited to catch this one but really needs more boogens. Creature designs are not bad for what we see of them. I also like the snowy setting. Reminds me of another horror flick I saw on TV years ago that scared the crap outta me and still haven't tracked it down. 6.3/10
  • October New: 50
  • October Re-watch: 11
  • October Total: 61
  • 2010 TOTAL: 645

Monday, October 25, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole, Again

Alice in Wonderland (1985): this version was the super long movie directed by Harry Harris produced for television in the mid-eighties, one that apparently Micah (@reeldistraction) watched over and over as a child. It was broadcast in two 1.5 hour parts but the DVD provides both so it can be viewed as one continuous film (3 hours!). This might be one of the best versions I've seen mainly due to all the talent involved and the length to really tell the story. It's quite amusing to see another "star" show up for the next sequence. Here's a list of just a few of the actors involved: Red Buttons, Sherman Hemsley, Shelley Winters, Scott Baio, Sammy Davis Jr, Telly Savalas, Roddy McDowall, and Ringo Starr (just to name a few). 7/10
Terence Fisher's The Stranglers of Bombay (1959) was part of TCM's Hammer Horror Fridays this month that I recorded. It's less horror and more mystery adventure but there are horror elements that come from how the native tribes kidnap caravans under the guise of evil spirits. Not a bad watch at all. 6.3/10

The Black Scorpion (1957) is one of those atomic monster sci-fi B-movies from the fifties that seemed to be all the rage (that has somehow continued up to current times with all the monster animal flicks we see today by Asylum and other low budget studios). This one is very entertaining with a good cast. 6.7/10
  • October New: 48
  • October Re-watch: 11
  • October Total: 59
  • 2010 TOTAL: 643

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Horror Society Film Festival - Day Two

I arrived just in time for the first feature of Slime City (1988), kind of a cult classic that is more humorous than frightening. Overall strange story with those jars of slime as I'm not sure I totally understood what was going on with that. Scott Finnegan was there so we hung out while waiting for Ron to show up. 6.7/10

Next feature is the long in the making sequel to Slime City, Slime City Massacre (2010) also directed by Greg Lamberson. I mostly enjoyed the stylings of this sorta post-apocalyptic & oppressive view on the Slime mythology. For a low budget flick, it's not terrible but man was there overuse of the Wilhelm scream. Made it really silly. But great to see Debbie Rochon. 6.2/10

After viewing Satan Hates You (2009), Ron & I agreed that it isn't a horror film. What it is is the most fucked up pro-God flick I've seen. The entire film is about two characters who both take wrong paths (influenced by two of Satan's helpers) but finally come to see the evil in their ways. Was great to see Angus Scrimm as the televangelist priest and Michael Berryman as Bible-thumper. Such an odd film I'm still not sure what to make of it. And Debbie Rochon again! 6.5/10

Finally the main feature of the evening, Lamberto Bava's Demons (1985) in 35mm!! Really been looking forward to this as it's an ideal horror film to show in an old theater (since the entire plot involves people watching an horror movie and trapped in a theater). Oh em gee was this a riot with our audience. I think my ribcage was sore from laughing so much. Love the helicopter deus ex machina. Glad to see this with Ron and Scott, who both loved it, of course. 7.5/10

And with that, the Horror Society Film Festival was over. Huge thanks to Mitch and Jessica for putting together such an awesome event over the whole weekend! Already excited about what might happen next year!
  • October New: 45
  • October Re-watch: 11
  • October Total: 56
  • 2010 TOTAL: 640

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Horror Society Film Festival - Day One

Saturday kicked off with TerrorVision (1986), which I had just watched as recently as January. Already love this film but even more of a blast seeing it on the big screen with a bunch of horror fans. Really dig all the nods to W.A.S.P. (O.D. is my favorite character, natch). 6.7/10 After that flick finished my friend Ron showed up and we patiently waited for Clay Westervelt to arrive.

Now it was time for a documentary I've been wanting to see all year: Popatopolis (2009), directed by Westervelt, who flew in to introduce the film and give a Q&A afterwards. I've held off watching this on home video expressly to see it in this environment. I only wish more people were in attendance. The doc is great as it covers Jim Wynorski as he attempts to direct an entire film in 3 days (The Witches of Breastwick 3). It's a fascinating look at not just b-movies but also the decline of b-movies because of how these films are produced so quickly and sold to direct-to-cable. Very enjoyable.

Afterwards I moderated the Q&A, which was also very good for the line of questions asked. Really great to finally meet Clay and spend some time with him this way. Only wish there was more time to hang out! 8.5/10

After a few photos and autographs, it was now time for Wynorski's Chopping Mall (1986)!! I also put off a viewing this for a while in anticipation of this event. Definitely worth that and then some to see it projected (even if it was just the DVD) with a great crowd. Lots of laughing during this one. Still wish it retained its Killbotz title. 6.7/10

Now it was time for local Chicago director Anthony G. Sumner's Slices of Life (2010). Holy shit that was the most people I've ever seen at a Portage Theater event. So many people came out to support the actors and filmmakers of this Chicago-based production. I think nearly all the cast of this horror anthology was there and came onstage at the end. The lot of them stretched the length (width?) of the stage! Pretty cool to see that even if the film was just so-so. 6.4/10

Now it was already past midnight but a fairly decent sized crowd was still around (most of those Slices of Life supporters split as soon as the film was over). Those sticking around were there for the most notorious film of the year, A Serbian Film (2009). Unfortunately one of the projectors fried so they had to call in a technician to repair. This pushed back the start time by almost 2 hours! Fuck all. We stuck around as we've been looking forward to this moment since SxSW. Sadly many people did leave and missed out on seeing this absurdly brutal film play out on the big screen. As a film I was amazed at how well shot and how good it looks. Srdjan Todorovic is excellent in the lead (and all the women are so incredibly attractive). For the violence it is definitely hardcore but somehow didn't resonate with me as I expected it, which is probably a good thing because this isn't an easy film to watch unfold. I could see viewing it again sometime in the distant future. 7.7/10
  • October New: 42
  • October Re-watch: 10
  • October Total: 52
  • 2010 TOTAL: 636

Friday, October 22, 2010


Dipped back into my DVR for an old Russ Meyer flick I had recorded ages ago on TCM, Mudhoney (1965). This is decent little movie about how a family and town deal with a belligerent and abusive man but possibly unfairly convicted by the people. Weird flick for a Depression era film but it has a few layers and I dug it. Features one of the most gorgeous women to appear on screen, Rena Horton (check that screencap). 6.7/10

Wanted to see Drew Barrymore's Whip It (2009) last year but just didn't work it out. Not that it would've made my top 10 (it wouldn't have) but I had heard a lot of good things about it. Yeah, it's a fun film and I actually like Ellen Page in this (mostly not a fan of hers). I think I enjoyed the supporting cast more than the actual story, which isn't new. And roller derby is always pretty cool to watch. 6.8/10
  • October New: 39
  • October Re-watch: 8
  • October Total: 47
  • 2010 TOTAL: 631

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Never Let Me Hunger

Thursday and I'm out in Warrenville working at a Starbucks for the afternoon. Followed that with a good dinner & beer over at Rock Bottom then a 5-something screening of Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go (2010), which was a secret screening at Fantastic Fest. Really like the style of this film and the retro science fiction. Would have preferred if the movie remained almost entirely during the children's timeline. Didn't care much for their older selves or the relationship drama. Didn't like Kiera Knightley's character nor did I buy that character's motivations. Despite my problems with the film it's still worth checking out. 7/10

Yes, everything you've heard or read about Steve McQueen's Hunger (2008) is true. Powerful flick. Incredible long take conversation sequence and possibly the best I've seen. Uncomfortable but absolutely worth that uneasiness. Love Fassbender more and more everyday. High recommendation. 8/10
  • October New: 37
  • October Re-watch: 8
  • October Total: 45
  • 2010 TOTAL: 629

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Night of the Owl

Left office day and made a beeline for Niles Showplace 12 for a non-3D screening of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010). Hadn't planned on bothering with this one (directed by Zack Snyder no less) but after hearing Dave & Adam discuss it on the /filmcast I was sold. And I gotta say, it's a pretty damn fun film! It's the same hero's journey you've seen before but this time with owls. Still confused about the green glow rocks that somehow emit a field of energy that renders the owls powerless. Outside of that weird plot device I had a lot of fun with this one and would watch it again. The CG is also quite beautiful. 7.1/10

Got home and immediately fired up Night of the Demons (2009) for Horror Movie Night. Strange to have such a new film as a selection but I'm guessing it's because it's a remake of a Kevin Tenney's classic (he co-produced this one) and it features Edward Furlong (and a small appearance by Linnea Quigley!). Not a good film but watchable. Shannon Elizabeth is also in this which illustrates what she's been up to recently. Not the worst thing I've seen this year. 5.7/10
  • October New: 35
  • October Re-watch: 8
  • October Total: 43
  • 2010 TOTAL: 627

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Revolting Rabbits

Took the Metra back into downtown for CIFF single screening of Rabbit Hole (2010) for which I bought a ticket last week solely based on Scott Weinberg's raving review out of TIFF. For $15 and the trouble to get there it better be a damn good film. I'm happy to report that it is a very fine film but not quite all that. Kidman & Eckhart are terrific as mourning parents. Love the comic book angle which was a nice surprise. Recommended watch but not sure you have to go out to the theater to catch this one (unless you're attempting to see all the major releases this year). By some miracle I walked out of River East AMC and ran to the Metra station making it to my train with 5 minutes to spare. Still can't believe I caught that train. Would've had to wait another hour if not. 8/10

Later that evening I caught up with Michael Cera (again?!) in his fine turn in Miguel Arteta's Youth in Revolt (2010). Wow. This one surprised me as I wasn't expecting much from it. But found myself enjoying it more and more as it went along. I like the duel identity plot line with Cera essentially portraying two characters; his weak nerdy self and his more debonair rambunctious alter ego. Also really dig the girl in this. I'll probably pick this up someday on blu-ray. Now regret not going to the advanced screening w/the Cera Q&A. 7.8/10
  • October New: 33
  • October Re-watch: 8
  • October Total: 41
  • 2010 TOTAL: 625

Monday, October 18, 2010

Undead & Blind Dead

Heard that Shock Waves (1977) was on Netflix Instant Watch and based on its premise (Nazi zombies!) you know I had to see it. It features Perter Cushing as the mad scientist on a seemingly deserted island. A group of people get shipwrecked there and discover his pad when things begin to go south. Not a bad watch. 6.5/10

Rewatched Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971) because I was compiling my Top Ten Underrated Horror list for Rupert (@bobfreelander) which you can read here: Sleestakk's Underrated Horror Films. Here's what I wrote specifically about this title: Admittedly not the greatest example of seventies Euro-horror but this Spanish film wins in the imagery department. Death rides a horse is literal as these night riders return from the grave and terrorize their victims. Slow motion scenes of shrouded figures on horseback will leave an impression as they gallop through the darkness. Visually nightmarish and rightfully so.
  • October New: 31
  • October Re-watch: 8
  • October Total: 39
  • 2010 TOTAL: 623

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Conning Corman

Feeling the need to watch at least one of the DVDs I've purchased recently I threw in the Corman produced, The Arena (1974) featuring the always beguiling Pam Grier. Knowing the lineage of these '70s sword & sandals flicks makes me appreciate it more even though it's really not that great of a film. It's what you'd expect from the House of Corman; imprisoned women fighting each other as entertainment for people. Enjoyable for what it is. 6.5/10

Traveller (1997) is an interesting modern day traveling huckster movie. Stars Mark Wahlberg teaming up with Bill Paxton conning innocents out of their cash as they travel around the south. Not a great film but not a bad watch. Always enjoy watching Paxton do his thing. Wish the story was a little more than a double cross revenge piece. 6/10

Another library quick pick in The Spy Next Door (2010) starring Jackie Chan as a, um, spy next door to a family. Quite vanilla altho Jackie does provide a couple of okay sequences. The romantic subplot feels a bit odd but otherwise perfectly fine family fare for the younglings. 6/10
  • October New: 30
  • October Re-watch: 7
  • October Total: 37
  • 2010 TOTAL: 621

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Northern Norse Nights

The Norseman (1978) is a film I saw on the MGMHD schedule and knew I had.. *HAD* to watch. It features Lee Majors as a Norse viking captain leading a ship of vikings to rescue the previous ship of vikings now prisoners of the indians… er, Native Americans. Holy schtick is this move awful. Not only is Majors' southern drawl distracting, all, and I mean all, the acting is terrible. Even Jack Elam appears to be phoning it in (don't blame him). Also quite rich that a few of the vikings are black… er, African American. Or African Norsemen. Huh? 3/10

Ya know, I've been wanting to see Kate Beckinsale in Whiteout (2009) since it hit the theaters last year. I probably would've gone to see it then if not for the avalanche of bad press & WOM. That said, I didn't find that flick all that bad. Sure, it has problems and some silly turns not to mention a kinda sorta lukewarm payoff. But watchable. And I like to watch Beckinsale. 6/10

Daughters of Satan (1972) I captured on TCM as part of their Movie Morlock Underground Horror Friday nights. Tom Selleck fights off the cult of witches. It's terrible and brilliant at the same time. I love that there is a painting that keeps changing and that the cultists come non-threatening onto their property. Really a classic in stupidity. 6/10

A long time ago, in a lifetime far away I watched George A. Romero's Knightriders (1981). But I only vaguely remembered it and definitely did not recall the 2.5 hour runtime. Seriously? Pretty sure the version I saw was edited down for cable because this film has no business being this long. It lost me after the first 45 - 60 minutes when everything important happens. If you would've told that Ed Harris was the lead star in this flick I say STFU. 6/10 (for just the cool knights on bikes action)
  • October New: 27
  • October Re-watch: 7
  • October Total: 34
  • 2010 TOTAL: 618

Friday, October 15, 2010

Collection Tomb

It's October so that means I'm watching a lot of horror this month. Today is no exception. Picked up Vincent Price in the The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) off MGMHD. Kinda really dig Price's character here and his creepy sunglasses look. Directed by Roger Corman, the film isn't all that hot (Price has it to resurrect his old flame by using a new girl) but still very watchable. Edgar Allan Poe's short story is better but this is still good enough. I'll watch Price in anything. 6.4/10

Finally. Caught up with The Collector (2009), which I have heard good things about for a long time. Now I know why; it's an incredibly well paced and well crafted thriller in a torture horror wrapper. And my god is it bloody and brutally violent. Not the easiest watch. I cringed a lot during this viewing and despite how brilliantly executed this film is I'm not sure I want to watch it again. Nutshell: guys breaks into home to rob it only to find a killer already in the house torturing the residents. Then it becomes a cat & mouse game. Very good but uncomfortable watch. 7.5/10
  • October New: 24
  • October Re-watch: 6
  • October Total: 30
  • 2010 TOTAL: 614
(For those counting at home, that's 18 horror films watched so far this month!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Legion of Doom

Had the Legion (2010) DVD from my library to return so turned that on tonight. Already knew this wasn't going to be good going in but I'm always game. Didn't hate it or think it was as bad as led to believe. But I wasn't really into to it either. Entire plot doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Something about God sending his angels down to start the Apocalypse yet one angel stands against him to protect a pregnant woman. No, won't be watching again. 5/10
  • October New: 22
  • October Re-watch: 6
  • October Total: 28
  • 2010 TOTAL: 612

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Death is the Pits

It's Wednesday which means it's another "Horror Movie Night" selection! Tonight's pick was The Dead Pit (1989), another film I haven't seen before today. Really gotta hand it to Brian Kelley (@BTSjunkie) for choosing such a great collection of horror films because I'm pretty sure I haven't seen any of the choices prior to this year. This flick is about a fucked up doctor that gets sealed beneath a mental institution (naturally) but returns 20 something years later when a Jane Doe (sexy Cheryl Lawson) is committed who also happens to have dream premonitions. I think that's how it goes. Definitely an interesting and fun film. 6.3/10
  • October New: 21
  • October Re-watch: 6
  • October Total: 27
  • 2010 TOTAL: 611

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scarlet Samurai

Today I had to head downtown for day one of the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Conference. Ugh. Just reading that clunky title is gag-inducing. Not the best conference for mobile that I've been to but at least it put me down in River East nearby the AMC that's hosting the Chicago International Film Festival. Yeah, you catch my drift… after the conference ended, I grabbed dinner, handed off my badge to RJ and marched over to the AMC for an early evening screening of Easy A (2010) to kill time before my 8pm screening of Hisshiken torisashi (2010) a.k.a. Sword of Desperation. I would've gone to an actual festival screening but none w/available tickets had times that worked out.

First the positive: Easy A and Emma Stone are excellent. Plays like a John Hughes film and, if nothing else, is certainly a love letter to the man. Really enjoyed this film and look forward to repeat viewings. If you don't know, it's about a girl who tells a lie that spirals out of control. Also features Aly Michalka, whom I just love because she's so damn sexy (see: Bandslam). Thomas Haden Church is equally terrific but for different reasons. 8/10
Negatives: $12 movie ticket for an extremely subpar experience (shitty screen, shitty seats, shitty people).

Because of the timing I had to run to my CIFF screening of Sword of Desperation since the line was already called in. Fortunately I got a good seat right in the center middle (too bad the ding dong sitting next to me brought his own noisy paper bag of popcorn). Postives: Director Hideyuki Hirayama flew over from Japan to introduce the film (and provide Q&A afterward). The movie an elegant slow burn that looks fantastic for a period piece. Really love films like this. Plot is quite simple: samurai kills chief's wife and is imprisoned rather than executed. The drama is in how these events came to be and what happens after the samurai is released from solitary confinement. 7.8/10
Negatives: CIFF, for waiting until all the Japanese credits to finish before turning up the lights to start the director's Q&A. Real asshole move since almost everyone bailed leaving maybe 10 people left for the Q&A. And the people who bailed early in front of the director showed no respect. Combined asshole moves. Oh yeah, and the guy who brought in his dinner to eat and distract everyone near him including the director sitting directly in front of him. That isn't the Drafthouse, jackass. At least Hirayama-san was appreciative for those who did stick around and asked questions (me!).
  • October New: 20
  • October Re-watch: 6
  • October Total: 26
  • 2010 TOTAL: 610

Monday, October 11, 2010

Days of Future Past

Pretty beat down after being the office today. Only had time to watch one film and that was George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). No coincidence this was a 1984 release, eh? Having never seen this before I wasn't exactly sure how the film would play out. It is intensely dire and John Hurt is exceptional. Rather discomforting that this future scenario seems plausible. 7.5/10
  • October New: 18
  • October Re-watch: 6
  • October Total: 24
  • 2010 TOTAL: 608

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kosugi x Three

Thanks to a heads up from xWhitakersNeckx I was able to DVR 3 old school ('80s) ninja flicks on MGMHD. These played during the day so I watched NFL games then caught these in the evening. First up was Franco Nero as the White Ninja in Enter the Ninja (1981) as he ultimately faces off against his ninja school rival Black Ninja (Sho Kosugi) after he takes on Christopher George and his thugs. Some pretty good character moments and a great bar scene. Also some stupid plot devices. Overall this is a mostly hilarious watch and should be enjoyed with others. 6.7/10

Next film stars Sho Kosugi as the main character in Revenge of the Ninja (1983), a film I watched this many times growing up but probably haven't seen this in 25 years. It boils down to Kosugi getting hoodwinked into running an import business by evil drug dealers led by a Master Level Ninja in a silver mask. This flick also features an unforgettable fight between a little kid (Kosugi's real life son) and this hot buxom blonde. 6.5/10

Final film in my Sunday ninja trilogy is one I don't recall seeing before today: Pray for Death (1985), yet another Sho Kosugi vehicle. This time his family tries to make a go of it in big city of Houston (apparently Kosugi's ninja identity is hidden from his family who watches him perform on TV). Things go south when Kosugi gets pulled into some kind of crime syndicate and ends up fighting Silver Claw Ninja. Easily the least unintentionally comedic of the three today but still quite good. 6.5/10
  • October New: 17
  • October Re-watch: 6
  • October Total: 23
  • 2010 TOTAL: 607

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Music Box Massacre 6 - 24 hours of Horror!

Still sick as all hell (thank you food poisoning) and lacking sleep there was no way I was gonna miss my first Music Box Massacre, 24 hours of horror films at the Music Box Theater. I headed down and got there just in time for the first flick The Phantom of the Opera (1925) with a live organ accompaniment. This was easily the best viewing of this film for me (and my 600th film watched this year!) but I was beginning to feel my day would not be long. 7.5/10

Next was The Raven (1935) which I had not seen before today. It's got both Karloff and Lugosi and it's excellent. Has a few great comedy moments as well. This is one I can see watching a few times. 7.2/10

Stuck around for Lon Chaney Jr in The Wolf Man (1941) since it's been a while (last viewing was an all werewolf Halloween movie night a few years ago). Still such a fun movie and more humorous in places than I remembered. 7.2/10

I skipped the next film, Romero's Hungry Wives, since I just viewed that the evening before I left for Fantastic Fest last month. But I did make a point to stay long enough for the Chiodo brothers introduction and post-screening Q&A for Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988). It's been a long time since I've seen this and never on the big screen. Quite a lot of fun with a huge audience (it was literally a standing room only screening!). 6.7/10

Really hated having to leave such a fine horror festival early. Did manage to pick a few DVD gems that made me happy and less regretful for leaving before midnight. One upside was getting a free movie pass for turning in my bracelet early so not an entire loss. However I really wanted to see The House By The Cemetery on the big screen again as well as Basket Case, The Funhouse and Psycho on the big screen.

Ended up returning home and watched The Devil Rides Out (1968), another Hammer Horror featured on TCM that I recorded last night. Maybe it was my sickened state but I just didn't connect with this film. Maybe someday I'll see it again. 6.2/10
  • October New: 16
  • October Re-watch: 4
  • October Total: 20
  • 2010 TOTAL: 604

Friday, October 08, 2010

Black Death Inside Me

Friday evening and I'm sick. I think I got food poisoning from the Whole Foods buffet I picked up today after work. Ugh. Watched Cornered! (2009) featuring Steve Guttenberg, of all people. Not a very good trapped in a store horror movie but whatever. Heard about it from the twitter and was compelled to check it out. 4.5/10

Then on TCM part of their Hammer Horror Friday nights I watched The Plague of the Zombies (1966), which I had not seen before. It's pretty damn good. At least it's a lot better than I'm feeling. 6.75/10
  • October New: 14
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 15
  • 2010 TOTAL: 599

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Entering The Void

Thursday and my night was set as I visited the Music Box Theater for the final screening of Gasper Noe's Enter The Void (2009). Wow. Is it possible to like and dislike a film at the same time? Feels like my eyeballs were raped for 2 hours. I'm disappointed that Music Box chose to screen this film in their small theater rather than the big screen. Definitely loses some of its impact on a smaller screen. Feel sorry for those who see this film on the small screen for their first viewing. Definitely won't be the same experience. You have to see it to know why. A few people left my screening. I'm already anticipating my next viewing. 8/10

Got home after that and recorded my first podcast as a guest host on Top 5 Film Podcast along with Brian Kelley (@BTSjunkie). It was their Fantastic Fest recap show and 3 of us attended the festival and Trevor Schoenfeld moderated. Jon Chang (@jonniechang) and Trevor (@Schofizzy) host the show normally. Occasionally they bring on guests. It was a good time and long recording! They'll have to break it up into 2 episodes, I'm sure. Updated: you can check out part one here and part two here - definitely worth hearing if you've been to Fantastic Fest or considering going).
  • October New: 12
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 13
  • 2010 TOTAL: 597

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Train Terror

Got home tonight from a late connecting flight out of Cincinnati. Only had time for Terror Train (1980) on NWI. I know I've seen parts of this before but also this seems unfamiliar. Very cool murder mystery on a train flick. Love Jamie Lee Curtis during this period. 7/10
  • October New: 11
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 12
  • 2010 TOTAL: 596

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bank Robbing Business

OK, it's day 2 of VA-1 and quite a big day as the formal announcement of the app we developed was delivered by the Lt Governor. Was very cool to be a part of it. RT took me to a fucking amazing French restaurant. So damn good. After I got back to the hotel I walked about a mile and half to a theater on the other side of the Short Pump Galleria to watch Ben Affleck's The Town (2010). Another goddamn pricey theater for a subpar experience (not to mention the fucking asshole kids in the back of our theater talking… after numerous times telling them to be quiet they left. Thank gods b/c I was verging on kill). So at least an hour of the film was interruption free. And it's a damn fine film. Pulled a punch in the end but everything up to that is very strong. Affleck made me love him again and Renner is brilliant. 7.8/10

Back at the hotel I caught Adrian Grenier's Teenage Paparazzo (2010) on HBO. Wasn't planning to watch the whole thing but it was interesting as Adrian talks w/a variety of celebls to get their take on paparazzi and much of the film focuses on this young kid, considered the youngest paparazzi. Not a bad watch at all. 7/10
  • October New: 10
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 11
  • 2010 TOTAL: 595

Monday, October 04, 2010

Stole My Thunder

Headed out to Richmond today for the VA-1 conference but damn it all if I could sleep last night. Think my entire schedule is all kinds of fucked up from Fantastic Fest. Ended up watching Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) some time this morning before I caught my 7am flight to Richmond. Ugh. Maybe it was my condition but I didn't dislike this film as I thought I would (based on the lousy word of mouth). Kinda wish I had seen it on the big screen. Yes, I would watch it again. Really like Alexandra Daddario (as Annabeth - see poster image). Still not crazy about Chris Columbus and his directing, lots of weird/stupid edits too. 6.7/10
  • October New: 8
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 9
  • 2010 TOTAL: 593

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Fear(s) of the Facebook

Because I wanted to catch Catfish (2010) before it left the theater I went out to S.Barrington AMC for a matinee, eschewing the late NFL game. I think it's just as what many that I know have said, insidious. I don't buy it as a documentary or that the narrative happened naturally. All that said, it is a very compelling watch and I would encourage anyone with a Facebook account to watch it. 7.4/10

Finished watching the late game and capped the evening with Peur(s) du noir (2007), a series of animated short stories with a horror element. This played at Fantastic Fest a few years ago and I'd heard some good things. Unfortunately it didn't live up to what I was expecting. Still a okay watch but definitely didn't pass the movie night mustard. 6.7/10
  • October New: 7
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 8
  • 2010 TOTAL: 592

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Let The Horror In

Hit up AMC Showplace 12 for a screening of Christian Alvart's Case 39 (2009 but US 2010), a film that made some years ago and shelved. Actually I guess it's been available on home video overseas for a while. For whatever reason it got its theatrical release now and I've heard so-so things. All this made me curious enough to check it out. And it ain't bad if you can tolerate a hamster staring at the sun for 90 minutes... I mean Renée Zellweger. The plot w/the kid is predictable from the word go but I found it interesting to see how it would resolve. Not worth the $10 I paid (discovered that Showplace weekend matinees went up in price) but an okay rental. 6.3/10

And because I'm in the mood to support horror films this weekend, I went to the all digital Muvico for the late screening of Let Me In (2010), the Matt Reeves adaptation or remake of Let The Right One In. Overall dug this flick esp. the look and tone. Perfectly captures that late '70s period. This film would be exceptional had the other film not been released 2 years ago. My only gripe is the CGI. Wish it had been done differently. Chloe Moretz is fabulous. 7.4/10

Finally finished The Atomic Submarine (1959), which wasn't the film I thought it was but still an engaging watch. Kinda surprised this is a Criterion. This might be one I revisit later. 6.4/10
  • October New: 5
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 6
  • 2010 TOTAL: 590

Friday, October 01, 2010

Horror Movie Mayhem @ Portage Theater

After returning home this morning from Fantastic Fest it was a mad rush to catch up on work items yet still remain lucid. Eventual crashed hard then arise to head over to Portage Theater for a double feature of Spanish horror films shot in Chicago by director Ricardo Islas. First up was El dia de los muertos a.k.a. Day of the Dead (2007) about a sick group of 20-somethings that kidnap women so they can terrorize and massacre them. A mexican revenge spirit shows up coincidentally at the same time a dead girl's father arrives from Mexico to identify his daughter's body. Dun-dun-dun. Not bad but overly long. 6.5/10

Next was Night Fangs (2005) also directed by Islas, which is about, yes, vampires. More specifically it's about two lesbian women who want to resurrect the spirit of Lady Bathory. Somehow this ritual turns a bunch of kids into cannibalistic vampires with the final climax set in the Aragon Ballroom! didn't really make much sense as to exactly how the vampires turned and unturned but for a low budget flick it's not terrible. Cool to see films shot in and around Chicago! 5.5/10

Arrived at home in time to catch Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) on TCM. This Hammer horror flick is entertaining (the blonde guy cracks me up) but doesn't have enough Christobher Lee. I'm thrilled that TCM is running Hammer Horror every Friday night this month! 6.7/10
  • October New: 2
  • October Re-watch: 1
  • October Total: 3
  • 2010 TOTAL: 587

September Movie Tally

OK, here's the round-up for September, the biggest month of 2010 for my movie watching. Watched a total of 77 films! None were re-watches. Viewed 38 films in a theater. I owe a lot of that to Fantastic Fest. Pretty sure I won't top that monthly volume again.

List of films watched:
The Karate Kid (2010)
Rawhead Rex (1986)
Dolls (1987)
Big Trouble (1986)
Cat's Eye (1985)
Cruel Jaws (1995)
Moontrap (1989)
The Gumball Rally (1976)
Scalps (1983)
Death Line (1972)
Superbeast (1972)
Moss (2010)
Black Angel (1946)
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Blast of Silence (1961)
The American (2010)
Yip Man (2008)
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
Shanks (1974)
Land of Doom (1986)
C'est arrivé près de chez vous (1992)
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
The Video Dead (1987)
Highway to Hell (1991)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985)
Machete (2010)
Sexo caníbal (1980)
Popcorn (1991)
Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali (1977)
Devil (2010)
Deadly Is the Female (1949)
Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982)
Sugar Hill (1974)
Kingyo (2009)
Cemetery Junction (2010)
The Objective (2008)
Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938)
Mother's Day (1980)
Who's Harry Crumb? (1989)
Lady in White (1988)
Armed and Dangerous (1986)
Hungry Wives (1972)
This Man (2010)
Ong Bak 3 (2010)
Vertige (2009)
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009)
Samâ wôzu (2009)
Fire of Conscience (2010)
Zombie Roadkill (2010)
Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010)
Sharktopus (2010)
Sound of Noise (2010)
Bibliothèque Pascal (2010)
Red White & Blue (2010)
Rammbock (2010)
Stake Land (2010)
Autoreiji (2010)
Hanyo (1960)
Hatchet II (2010)
Bedevilled (2010)
Da lui to (2010)
Gôruden suranbâ (2010)
Na pude aneb Kdo má dneska narozeniny? (2009)
Bunraku (2010)
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Mutant Girls Squad (2010)
Tsumetai nettaigyo (2010)
Hell Driver (2010)
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)
Zivot i smrt porno bande (2009)
Carancho (2010)
Balada triste de trompeta (2010)
Redline (2010)
Jin yi wei (2010)
Jeon Woochi : The Taoist Wizard (2009)
  • September New: 77
  • September Re-watch: 0
  • September Total: 77
  • 2010 TOTAL: 584