Sign in to follow this  
LawrenceA

Recently Watched Horror

34 posts in this topic

The Hatred (2017) - Supernatural horror film undone by poor story structure and uninspired characters, from Anchor Bay and writer-director Michael G. Kehoe. College student Regan (Sarah Davenport) travels out to the country with three of her school buddies to spend the weekend babysitting their professor's young daughter Irene (Shae Smolik). Once the young ladies arrive they discover that the big house that the professor has recently moved into may be haunted with vengeful spirits. Also featuring Gabrielle Bourne, Bayley Corman, Alisha Wainwright, Darby Walker, Andrew Divoff, Nina Siemaszko, David Naughton, Amanda Wyss, and Musetta Vander.

The typical structure of these sorts of movies involves the protagonists (and the audience) dealing with an unknown menace whose backstory is only learned in a late-in-the-tale information dump or piecemeal through their detective work. Not so here, as the film's first 20+ minutes are a lengthy prologue showing who is responsible for the supernatural problems later in the story, and why. The end result of setting things up that way is a genuine lack of mystery or suspense. The young women (and one kid) protagonists are all blandly pretty looks-wise and pretty bland personality-wise. There are a handful of creepy shots scattered in the film's final 15 minutes, but the ending itself is an anticlimactic letdown.

I got this movie after seeing the terrific trailer for it before another movie. I wasn't surprised to see that the trailer had even been nominated for an award. But the film itself is pure cable-or-skip-it material.  (4/10)

Source: Anchor Bay Blu-Ray.

hatred-interview.jpg?w=640

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The Blood on Satan's Claw" (1971) atmospheric period horror.  The discovery of a weird remains lead to an epidemic of madness, sexual hysteria and murder.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, jaragon said:

"The Blood on Satan's Claw" (1971) atmospheric period horror.  The discovery of a weird remains lead to an epidemic of madness, sexual hysteria and murder.

Don't you just hate it when that happens?  :D

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/23/2017 at 9:47 PM, LawrenceA said:

The Hatred (2017) - Supernatural horror film undone by poor story structure and uninspired characters, from Anchor Bay and writer-director Michael G. Kehoe. College student Regan (Sarah Davenport) travels out to the country with three of her school buddies to spend the weekend babysitting their professor's young daughter Irene (Shae Smolik). Once the young ladies arrive they discover that the big house that the professor has recently moved into may be haunted with vengeful spirits. Also featuring Gabrielle Bourne, Bayley Corman, Alisha Wainwright, Darby Walker, Andrew Divoff, Nina Siemaszko, David Naughton, Amanda Wyss, and Musetta Vander.

The typical structure of these sorts of movies involves the protagonists (and the audience) dealing with an unknown menace whose backstory is only learned in a late-in-the-tale information dump or piecemeal through their detective work. Not so here, as the film's first 20+ minutes are a lengthy prologue showing who is responsible for the supernatural problems later in the story, and why. The end result of setting things up that way is a genuine lack of mystery or suspense. The young women (and one kid) protagonists are all blandly pretty looks-wise and pretty bland personality-wise. There are a handful of creepy shots scattered in the film's final 15 minutes, but the ending itself is an anticlimactic letdown.

I got this movie after seeing the terrific trailer for it before another movie. I wasn't surprised to see that the trailer had even been nominated for an award. But the film itself is pure cable-or-skip-it material.  (4/10)

Source: Anchor Bay Blu-Ray.

hatred-interview.jpg?w=640

I agree- the first twenty minutes with the creepy father seems to be a self contained short- the rest of the film with the girls in peril from some supernatural force is a different story.  If the script had cross cut between the two it might have been a more effective thriller. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Devil-Doll (1936) - Strange science-fiction horror thriller from MGM and director Tod Browning. Disgraced Parisian banker Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) escapes from prison where he's been sentenced after being framed by his former business partners. He follows fellow inmate Marcel (Henry B. Walthall) back to the latter's mad scientist laboratory, where he and his partner Malita (Rafaela Ottiano) have been conducting experiments that allow living creatures to be shrunken to the size of dolls while also rendering them compliant to the commands of others. Lavond and Malita travel back to Paris, where Lavond, in the guise of an old woman dollmaker, plots revenge against those who betrayed him, as well as trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Maureen O'Sullivan). Also featuring Frank Lawton, Arthur Hohl, Robert Greig, Lucy Beaumont, Pedro de Cordoba, King Baggot, Billy Gilbert, and E. Alyn Warren.

This bizarre story, with such outlandish touches as Barrymore in old-lady drag, is pure vintage Browning. Lionel seems to be having a hoot with the whole thing, while Ottiano makes for a great crippled assistant. Maybe not enough is done with the doll-making technique as could have, but I like what's there, anyway. Among the many credited screenwriters is Erich von Stroheim.  (7/10)

Source: Warner Archive DVD, part of the Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection.

DevilDoll5-e1482849295584.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dracula's Daughter (1936) - Moody, belated sequel to 1931's Dracula, from Universal Pictures and director Lambert Hillyer. Picking up almost immediately after the ending of the prior film, vampire hunter Professor Von (sic) Helsing is arrested by police after being found standing over the staked corpse of Count Dracula. Scotland Yard enlists noted psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger) to ascertain whether Von helsing is crazy, since he keeps talking about the undead. Meanwhile, the mysterious Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) arrives in London and, with the assistance of her valet Sandor (Irving Pichel), makes off with Dracula's body. It seems she's the old count's "daughter", and as such is also a vampire, and she soon becomes convinced that Dr. Garth's psychological techniques may be able to cure her of her unholy desires. Also featuring Marguerite Churchill, Gilbert Emery, Halliwell Hobbes, E.E. Clive, Nan Grey, Claud Allister, and Hedda Hopper.

This expensive (for Universal) production was fraught with problems. James Whale was initially contracted to write and direct, but his script proved too "outrageous", so his script was rewritten (although shades of his sensibility still pop up here and there) and he was replaced by A. Edward Sutherland. When pre-production dragged on, Sutherland also left, and Hillyer was made director shortly before filming began. Lugosi was originally set to return, with a substantial role, but he asked for too much money and the story was rewritten to remove his character. I'm not sure why the Professor character's name was changed from "Van" Helsing (which is Dutch, and fits with the Stoker character) to the more German "Von" Helsing for this sequel. 

There's a lot I like in this movie, despite its inconsistent tone and pacing. I like Holden as the tormented Zaleska, which is one of the earliest depictions of vampirism as a romantic curse rather than a monstrous evil devoid of conscience. I also like character actor and sometime director Pichel as the odd manservant Sandor, who seems more interesting than most horror character sidekicks. This movie proved to be the last Laemmle family horror production, as they were forced out of the company shortly after production concluded.   (7/10)

Source: Universal Blu-Ray, part of the Dracula: The Complete Legacy Collection. The HD remastering on this title is phenomenal, resulting in one of the sharpest, most flawless prints of a movie from this era that I've seen.

draculas-daughter.jpg?fit=646,499

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Invisible Ray (1936) - More macabre happenings from Universal Pictures and director Lambert Hillyer. Boris Karloff is Dr. Janos Rukh, a brilliant yet obsessive scientist who has just discovered "radium X", a new element with fantastic power. He informs some colleagues, including medical doctor Benet (Bela Lugosi), Sir Francis Stevens (Walter Kingsford), Lady Stevens (Beulah Bondi), and their nephew Ronald Drake (Frank Lawton), and together they organize a safari to Darkest Africa to search for a possible deposit of the miracle element. Joining them is Rukh's neglected wife Diane (Frances Drake), who reluctantly falls in love with young Ronald. Meanwhile, Janos does discover the deposit of radium X, which he uses to fuel a deadly disintegration ray, while also inadvertently radiating himself so that his touch becomes deadly. After Dr. Benet and Sir Francis take some radium X back to Europe in order to use it in a constructive manner, and Diane leaves to be with Ronald, Janos vows deadly revenge on them all. Also featuring Violet Kember Cooper, Frank Reicher, Paul Weiger, and Nydia Westman.

This one is more science fiction than horror, but it still has some creepy touches, such as Karloff glowing in the dark. Bela gets to be a good guy again, and he cuts a fine figure with his devilish goatee. Karloff on the other hand looks a bit goofy, with a curly black wig, bushy black mustache, and padded shoulders in some scenes for no discernible reason. Drake is lovely to look at, but she doesn't have a lot to do other than look sad or worried. There's enough weirdness here to hold one's interest, and the pacing is good.  (7/10)

Source: Universal Vault DVD.

HILLYER-1936-The-Invisible-Ray-El-poder-

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Dracula's Daughter (1936) - Moody, belated sequel to 1931's Dracula, from Universal Pictures and director Lambert Hillyer. Picking up almost immediately after the ending of the prior film, vampire hunter Professor Von (sic) Helsing is arrested by police after being found standing over the staked corpse of Count Dracula. Scotland Yard enlists noted psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger) to ascertain whether Von helsing is crazy, since he keeps talking about the undead. Meanwhile, the mysterious Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) arrives in London and, with the assistance of her valet Sandor (Irving Pichel), makes off with Dracula's body. It seems she's the old count's "daughter", and as such is also a vampire, and she soon becomes convinced that Dr. Garth's psychological techniques may be able to cure her of her unholy desires. Also featuring Marguerite Churchill, Gilbert Emery, Halliwell Hobbes, E.E. Clive, Nan Grey, Claud Allister, and Hedda Hopper.

This expensive (for Universal) production was fraught with problems. James Whale was initially contracted to write and direct, but his script proved too "outrageous", so his script was rewritten (although shades of his sensibility still pop up here and there) and he was replaced by A. Edward Sutherland. When pre-production dragged on, Sutherland also left, and Hillyer was made director shortly before filming began. Lugosi was originally set to return, with a substantial role, but he asked for too much money and the story was rewritten to remove his character. I'm not sure why the Professor character's name was changed from "Van" Helsing (which is Dutch, and fits with the Stoker character) to the more German "Von" Helsing for this sequel. 

There's a lot I like in this movie, despite its inconsistent tone and pacing. I like Holden as the tormented Zaleska, which is one of the earliest depictions of vampirism as a romantic curse rather than a monstrous evil devoid of conscience. I also like character actor and sometime director Pichel as the odd manservant Sandor, who seems more interesting than most horror character sidekicks. This movie proved to be the last Laemmle family horror production, as they were forced out of the company shortly after production concluded.   (7/10)

Source: Universal Blu-Ray, part of the Dracula: The Complete Legacy Collection. The HD remastering on this title is phenomenal, resulting in one of the sharpest, most flawless prints of a movie from this era that I've seen.

draculas-daughter.jpg?fit=646,499

Holden gives a haunting performance too bad Universal did not bring back the character

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us