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LawrenceA

Recently Watched Horror

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Michael Sarrazin suffers from nightmares which he begins to believe are linked to a previous life in "The Resurrection of Peter Proud" (1975) which looks great in new blu ray  edition.  Margot Kidder gives the best performance as the woman who might have killed him.   The film needed a more imaginative director than J L Thomsom- it feels like a TV movie except for the nudity.  The script by novelist Max Erlich does not explore some of the darker aspects of the story. This is more psychological mystery than horror.

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Mark of the Vampire (1935). Bela Lugosi is back as the iconic Count, this time he’s Count Mora, and he’s assisted by his daughter Luna (Carroll Borland).  The Count’s castle is infested with bats, rats, roaches – making it a scary place even if vampires didn’t live there.  Count Mora smiles with pride at Luna’s hunting skills, and a deliciously diabolical smile at that.  Lionel Barrymore plays a role similar to Van Helsing. I had the rug pulled out from under me by that twist ending, and it was quite a pleasant surprise, although it’s the kind of ending that may not appeal to everyone. Mark of the Vampire drips with atmosphere. It was directed by horror ace Tod Browning and lensed by legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe.

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34 minutes ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

Mark of the Vampire (1935). Bela Lugosi is back as the iconic Count, this time he’s Count Mora, and he’s assisted by his daughter Luna (Carroll Borland).  The Count’s castle is infested with bats, rats, roaches – making it a scary place even if vampires didn’t live there.  Count Mora smiles with pride at Luna’s hunting skills, and a deliciously diabolical smile at that.  Lionel Barrymore plays a role similar to Van Helsing. I had the rug pulled out from under me by that twist ending, and it was quite a pleasant surprise, although it’s the kind of ending that may not appeal to everyone. Mark of the Vampire drips with atmosphere. It was directed by horror ace Tod Browning and lensed by legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe.

I also like the twist ending (or what some call the twisted ending),  but there has been many discussions about that at this forum and many felt they were cheated.     Since I view all horror as camp (to some degree),  I enjoyed the different perspective the ending provided,  but I do understand why some felt it was making a mocking of the horror \ vampire  genre.

 

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They are selling this film a classy period ghost story like "The Others" but the actual film is more like a slow moving period drama with supernatural overtones- I had a hard time keeping awake

 

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A group of teenage boys hunt for a serial killer in this effective suspense thriller...

 

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The Nun (2018). I was disappointed by this.  It’s advertised as being brought to us by the team that made The Conjuring.  And James Wan, who directed two great horror pictures: Insidious and The Conjuring, co-wrote the story.  The Nun relies on a barrage of cheap, ineffective scares.  The filmmakers seem to have taken a page from Dracula (1931).  The Abbey resembles Castle Dracula. The setting is Romania (not Transylvania). And the Van Helsing role is played by Taissa Farmiga. Even the production design has an old-school look.    There’s plenty of medieval Catholic imagery, and even a priest who specializes in exorcisms.  Basically, it’s about ridding the Abbey of a demon called the Valak, that takes on the appearance of a nun. It’s all been done before, and better.  The performances, however, are pretty good.  If I had to grade it, I’d give it a C+.

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On 9/24/2018 at 12:20 PM, cinemaspeak59 said:

The Nun (2018). I was disappointed by this.  It’s advertised as being brought to us by the team that made The Conjuring.  And James Wan, who directed two great horror pictures: Insidious and The Conjuring, co-wrote the story.  The Nun relies on a barrage of cheap, ineffective scares.  The filmmakers seem to have taken a page from Dracula (1931).  The Abbey resembles Castle Dracula. The setting is Romania (not Transylvania). And the Van Helsing role is played by Taissa Farmiga. Even the production design has an old-school look.    There’s plenty of medieval Catholic imagery, and even a priest who specializes in exorcisms.  Basically, it’s about ridding the Abbey of a demon called the Valak, that takes on the appearance of a nun. It’s all been done before, and better.  The performances, however, are pretty good.  If I had to grade it, I’d give it a C+.

The trailer is very effective

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The plot of "The Nun" reminded me of "The Keep" an exciting horror novel by F Paul Wilson turned into a dull film by Michael Mann- even the trailer is boring- if any book should be remade is this one- it would be a perfect script for Guillermo del Toro

 

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8 minutes ago, jaragon said:

The trailer is very effective- the plot sounds a bit like "The Keep" a very scary book which was made into a dull film

I'm one of the few who likes that movie. The director, Michael Mann, hates it so much that he refuses to allow a DVD or Blu-ray release. It's been at the top of my most-wanted list for a long time. There's a digital version that's occasionally available on one of the streaming sites, and it shows up on pay-cable periodically.

I think I lucked out in seeing the movie before reading the book, allowing me to appreciate each for what they are. Usually if I read the book first I never like the film, but the opposite is rarely true.

I like the film's score, cinematography and the actors, as well as the story's deconstruction of the typical Dracula/vampire story. I know it's disliked by most, but it's a personal favorite.

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11 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I'm one of the few who likes that movie. The director, Michael Mann, hates it so much that he refuses to allow a DVD or Blu-ray release. It's been at the top of my most-wanted list for a long time. There's a digital version that's occasionally available on one of the streaming sites, and it shows up on pay-cable periodically.

I think I lucked out in seeing the movie before reading the book, allowing me to appreciate each for what they are. Usually if I read the book first I never like the film, but the opposite is rarely true.

I like the film's score, cinematography and the actors, as well as the story's deconstruction of the typical Dracula/vampire story. I know it's disliked by most, but it's a personal favorite.

I do wish he would release on blu ray- I just read that Paramount butchered the film from a 210 minute running time to 94 ?!  The movie does have a good cast and some effective moment- but in the book the villain is more Dracula like in the film they made him into some sort of sci-fi creature.

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1 minute ago, jaragon said:

I do wish he would release on blu ray- I just read that Paramount butchered the film from a 210 minute running time to 94 ?!  The movie does have a good cast and some effective moment- but in the book the villain is more Dracula like in the film they made him into some sort of sci-fi creature.

Yeah, I liked the ambiguous nature of the creature, that is until the end confrontation when you realize that as it becomes more human, the hero (Scott Glenn) becomes less so, and that the two exist in a kind of symbiosis. I liked one of the earlier scenes with the creature when it appeared as a floating nervous system surrounded by roiling smoke.

The differences between the movie and book reminded me of King's Salem's Lot, which also featured a Dracula-like antagonist, but in the excellent TV miniseries version from 1979, they changed Barlow into a hideous Nosferatu-esque monster that never speaks, which I found much more effective.

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The Mummy's Curse (1944).  Lackluster installment of Universal’s Mummy films.  This was the fifth and last of the original series.  We find the undead Mummy, Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr.) in the Louisiana swampland, how he got there from Egypt is weakly explained away as American archeologists accidently looking for Princess Ananka, instead finding the Mummy.  Since this is horror, it’s no big deal.  The problem is the whole thing looks like something Universal wanted to put out fast and cheap and be done with.  The acting is wooden, with bad Cajun accents. Nothing really stands out. The only wrinkle is Ananka’s anthropomorphism. The poor girl is being stalked by jealous boyfriend Kharis, so she hides out with the mortals, amazing everyone with her knowledge of Egyptology! In fact, Kharis isn’t the worst villain; that honor belongs to the High Priest’s acolyte, who becomes drunk with power upon learning the history of the Mummy and the elixir that are tana leaves.  There is a positive though: the 63 minute running time.

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W.B. Seabrook's book, The Magic Island (1929) is a sensationalist (but fascinating) account of Voodoo and zombies in Haiti. It is the work that basically introduced zombies to America and inspired White Zombie and zombie movies that followedA more scholarly book is Voodoo in Haiti (1959), by anthropologist Alfred Metraux.

I once wrote an undergrad term paper on the African diaspora to the Caribbean, the intermingling of Yoruba religion with both Pre-Columbian and Spanish/Portugese Christianity, and the resulting culture of voodoo in Haiti with regard to its use as a tool of political manipulation.

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On 10/11/2018 at 11:46 AM, cinemaspeak59 said:

The Mummy's Curse (1944).  Lackluster installment of Universal’s Mummy films.  This was the fifth and last of the original series.  We find the undead Mummy, Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr.) in the Louisiana swampland, how he got there from Egypt is weakly explained away as American archeologists accidently looking for Princess Ananka, instead finding the Mummy.  Since this is horror, it’s no big deal.  The problem is the whole thing looks like something Universal wanted to put out fast and cheap and be done with.  The acting is wooden, with bad Cajun accents. Nothing really stands out. The only wrinkle is Ananka’s anthropomorphism. The poor girl is being stalked by jealous boyfriend Kharis, so she hides out with the mortals, amazing everyone with her knowledge of Egyptology! In fact, Kharis isn’t the worst villain; that honor belongs to the High Priest’s acolyte, who becomes drunk with power upon learning the history of the Mummy and the elixir that are tana leaves.  There is a positive though: the 63 minute running time.

The 1940s mummy movies are all the same- very lazy treatment of a character that was so terrifying in it's original incarnation

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"Mausoleum " (1983) schlock classic starring the lovely and often topless Bobbie Bresee as Susan whose perfect life with husband Oliver ( Marjoe Gortner) is ruined when the family curse turns her into a sexually voracious killer demon.  John Buechler's make up effects are good and there is one great gory death scene.  The film also features Norman Burton as  psychiatrist and LaWanda Page as the comic maid.  The movie has plenty of unintentional laughs by the way the trailer looks better than awful print on Amazon.  We need this movie on Bluray

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"The Alien Factor" (1978) Don Dohler's science fiction horror about a small town terrorized by space creatures now works as time capsule of horrible late 70's fashion.  Dohler's micro budget production does feature some impressive make up and fx work. The make up is a mixed bag but one of the monsters is scary when it's kept in the dark. Ernest D Farino did create a memorable stop motion creature for the climax  Farino went on to become an Emmy winning special effects man.

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"White Zombie" (1932) Lugosi gives one of his best performances as the Zombie Master a truly evil character. This is an atmospheric almost poetic horror film.

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On 10/11/2018 at 11:46 AM, cinemaspeak59 said:

The problem is the whole thing looks like something Universal wanted to put out fast and cheap and be done with. 

Regarding The Mummy's Curse;   Universal wanted to put out something fast and cheap and be done with it. 

What they didn't want was for it to be so noticeable!

 

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16 hours ago, jaragon said:

"White Zombie" (1932) Lugosi gives one of his best performances as the Zombie Master a truly evil character. This is an atmospheric almost poetic horror film.

The creepiest part is when he makes that guy mute. Very disturbing. 

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Dan O'bannon's " The Resurrected" (1991) is now out in excellent blu ray from Shout Factory. Chris Sarandon stars in this adaptation of H.P Lovecraft's "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".  The script by Brent V Friedam is a detective - horror mash up which features one too many flashbacks.  The blu ray extras go into detail about the troubles making this low budget but ambitious production.  My favorite segment is the special effect guy who goes into detail about creating monsters in the pre-digital age- yes there is even a bit effective stop motion.  Richard Band wrote the excellent score. 

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Hum. How tragic and unfortunate that FX guy had to do some actual *work* in the course of his job. :o

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11 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Hum. How tragic and unfortunate that FX guy had to do some actual *work* in the course of his job. :o

I'm really into hand crafted fx and make up - have done some it myself- there is a realness to them that is missing from some CGI work- even stop motion done well is better than third rate CGI creatures

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Indeed. And technophobe that I am--believe it or not-- I myself used to work in 3D animation. It was exciting at first but then I grew to hate it.

Anyway having been there, I pay little heed to all the hoopla--to my way of thinking, digital FX has been a disaster for credible-looking movies. The results are ludicrous. 300 Million dollar budgets which make flicks that look no better than 'made-for-tv'.

Truly. Whenever I check out one of the latest blockbusters I have to turn away in involuntary revulsion. The 'realism' is a joke. It all looks as fake and as unconvincing as Monopoly money.

Not sure what other people are seeing which makes them 'rave' so much; is it because they have no familiarity with the way good cinematography can actually immerse one in a film? Is cheap CGI all they've ever known, therefore they have no yardstick for quality?

Fortunately I have found my opinions are not extremist at all. Roger Ebert, Walter Murch, Chris Nolan, and a slew of other knowledgeable authorities have come out in support of keeping things traditional. Excessive CGI is just studios vainly wanting to cut costs instead of paying talent what talent is truly worth.

Links:

 

Costs at 3D Movie Theaters Keep Rising, But What About Quality?

https://tinyurl.com/zphftey

 

Are small theaters punching their tickets... to oblivion?

http://tinyurl.com/6hwo8au

 

The 3-D trend: 'Rubber To Meet $ Road'?

https://tinyurl.com/jbktull

 

20th C Fox to End Distribution of 35mm Films

http://tinyurl.com/3hw9qq4

 

'T&O' (Teal-and-Orange digital color palettes)

https://tinyurl.com/ybb7kv2

 

Post DVD Movie future

https://tinyurl.com/6kokhks

 

Why Today's Blockbusters Suck

https://tinyurl.com/85edoyv

 

'The Gray Ones' ...fade to black (classic films vs modern)

https://www.popoptiq.com/the-gray-ones-fade-to-black/

 

Spielberg & Lucas Predict 'Implosion' for current film industry

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/steven-spielberg-predicts-implosion-film-567604

 

Roger Ebert: Why 3-d won't work and never will

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/why-3d-doesnt-work-and-never-will-case-closed

 

C. Nolan tries to persuade Hollywood not to abandon 35mm film stock

https://tinyurl.com/h989qhy

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"The Island of Lost Souls"(1932) this is still the most shocking and effective version of HG Wells "The Island of Dr Moreau".  Charles Laughton is a deliciously perverse mad scientist who relishes playing God with both beast and men.  

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