Shocktober Day 6 – The Mummy

the mummyThemummy1959poster

The Mummy – 1959. Dir. Terence Fisher. Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux, and Eddie Byrne.

From Dracula to the Mummy, Hammer Films keeps popping up this month. A pseudo remake of the Universal classic, “The Mummy” was actually pretty heavily influenced by Universal’s “The Mummy’s Curse”, which isn’t an actual sequel to the original Karloff “Mummy” movie. These movies follow a different mummy “Kharis” (Played in the Universal Films twice by Lon Cheney Jr and in the Hammer film by Lee) in his quest to recover his lost love, the princess Ananka.

The Hammer “Mummy” begins in Egypt in the late 1800’s. An expedition team has discovered the previously lost tomb of Princess Ananka. John (played by Cushing) is leading the expedition with his father and uncle, though John is laid out due to a leg injury which is expounded upon for, quite literally, the first 5 minutes of the film.  Upon preparing to enter the tomb, a stereotypical Egyptian named Mehemet Bey shows up and informs the crew that they are, essentially, fucking with some bad juju.

Clearly an Egyptian, what else could he be?

Clearly an Egyptian, what else could he be?

These Warnings are of course disregarded by the English expansionists. I mean if they listened to everyone who said “stop” we wouldn’t have Darjeeling tea, the opium trade, or the British Royal family’s alarming level of inbreeding. From here, the standard Mummy story follows. Kharis,  a high priest was sentenced to live burial and becomes the titular mummy. His crime was attempting to resurrect the body of the Princess Ananka, whom he secretly loved. Lee does a pretty good job while hes not bandaged up, as always.

Also, he's in black face. The 50's were messed up.

Also, he’s in black face. The 50’s were messed up.

Of course the English archaeologists inadvertently resurrect the 4000 year old Kharis and he begins going around killing (at the behest of a particularly disgruntled Egyptian).

Unlike the mummy in the Universal “sequels”, Hammer’s Kharis isn’t just some lumbering hulk, he can climb in windows, and generally moves pretty fluidly for someone that old. And the scene where they show only Kharis’ eyes reminds me a lot of the character “The Burned Man” from Fallout: New Vegas.

Yeah. Bad ass.

Yeah. Bad ass.

Cushing is excellent as always, and is an absolutely amazing asshole when having an argument with Mehemet Bey, essentially calling his entire belief system bullshit. For some reason, I feel like Cushing doesn’t have that big of a part in this movie, even though he’s constantly in it. I just felt like I was always waiting to see the mummy come back to choke somebody else.

Speaking of the violence, this one isn’t nearly as violent as many of the other Hammer films. There’s some beheading, some stabbing, and the throttling but nearly no blood (save from a little on the scimitars during the flashback scene). In fact, the Egyptian kills almost as many people as the mummy, and if you count the fact that Mehemet Bey is controlling the mummy, He kills everybody.

Clearly an Egyptian, what else could he be?

What a dick.

Don’t watch this movie expecting a happy ending. Or any ending really. When I watched it I sort of thought I missed something, but no. Action. Action. Action. Credits. That’s it.

Decent movie, short enough (84 minutes) – check it out.

The Mummy

Story – 4/5

Effects – 2/5

Scare Factor – 1/5

Asshole “Egyptians” – 1 too many

Overall – 3/5

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Shocktober Day 5 – Theatre of Blood

tobtobposter

Theatre of Blood – 1973. Dir. Douglas Hickox. Starring Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, and Ian Hendry.

A fan of horror? How about Shakespeare? Theatre of Blood gives a you a heaping helping of both. Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart (Price), Shakespearean actor and contender for longest fucking name ever, is apparently back from the dead and is killing off all of the critics who panned his performances, all in very inventive ways. While the viewer is made quickly aware of who is doing all the killing, the characters in the movie suspect Lionheart’s daughter (Riggs) of committing the heinous crimes.

You'd be homicidal if your name was "Edwina", too.

You’d be homicidal if your name was “Edwina”, too.

The targeted critics are all members of a circle of critics who spurned Edward Lionheart by snubbing him at what must have been the Oscars of small town community theater, opting instead to give the award to an up and coming actor. Lionheart, utterly humiliated, jumps to his death (all shown in flashback, no spoilers, the movie lets you know what’s up right quick). All of the murders are carried out to the tune of a different Shakespeare play; Julius CeaserTroilus and Cressida and The Merchant of Venice just to name a few. The deaths sort of remind me of Se7en, each one pretty much perfectly tied to its victim.

 

Here clearly a scene from...erhm...something.

Here clearly a scene from…erhm…something.

The movie moves pretty quickly (even at an hour and forty-four minutes), and like pretty much all of Price’s movies (with maybe the exception of The Last Man on Earth) – there is a twist. This twist, however, is pretty lame and if you’ve been watching the movie at all, you’ve guessed what it is within the first half hour. Overall, I liked it quite a bit. There are some humorous scenes, and Price always plays such a good vengeful bastard. Not to mention the murders are all pretty ridiculous, but what else would you expect from the V-Man?

Theater of Blood

Story: 2/5

Effects : 3/5

Scare Factor: 1/5

Thinly-veiled cross dressers: 1/1

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Shocktober 2013 – Day 4 – Madhouse

Madhouse

madhouse cover

Madhouse – 1974. Dir. Jim Clark. Starring Vincent Price, Natasha Pyne, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri and Linda Hayden.

What would “Shocktober” be without a V-Price movie or two? Madhouse, starring good ol’ Vinnie as an aging horror movie star might as well be a biopic. The movie begins as Paul Toombes (Price), better known by his terror persona “Doctor Death”, is celebrating New Years eve with his friends and fiance. The party is also a celebration of Toombes’, along with his partner/writer Herbert Flay (Cushing), careers – both of which show no sign of slowing down. After an altercation with an adult film director who “inadvertently” reveals that Toombes’ betrothed was essentially a porn-star, Toombes storms off. After seemingly falling asleep Toombes awakens and, wishing to make amends, stumbles upon his beloved with her head a little less screwed on than it used to be.

Yeah, that's pretty realistic.

Yeah, that’s pretty realistic.

Toombes falls into a complete mental breakdown in which he is suspect in the murder, but simply can’t recall if he undertook the act. The remainder of the film details Toombes’ return to the Doctor Death role (after his eventual release from the nut-hut) and murders attributed to “Doctor Death”

Prime example of British dental hygiene.

Perfect example of British dental hygiene.

Cushing plays a fantastic background character in this movie. He’s there but he isn’t. He sort of fades out of the viewers attention until he’s on screen, at which point he might as well be on fire. You can’t take your eyes off of him. He’s just so fucking creepy. You’re never quite sure whether he’s up to something or just along for the ride. It’s definitely not one of his best performances (nowhere near on par with his roles in ANY of the Hammer films), but it’s pretty good.

Creepy when not even trying. THAT is acting.

Creepy when not even trying. THAT is acting.

 

When I said the film plays like a biopic, that’s sort of an understatement. All throughout the film, everyone is constant watching clips of old “Paul Toombes” movies. All of these films are simply just clips from some of Vinnie’s old classics: The Raven, The Haunted Palace, and The Fall of the House of Usher – all Corman American International Pictures gems). Seeing as how this was Price’s last film with AIP, it’s kind of a neat bookend to the Price-AIP era. Some may find it boring, but I think it’s pretty cool and adds some interesting back-story.

One common complaint is the “lame” twist ending. Granted, it’s pretty tepid and about as telegraphed as Marconi. For some reason though, I kind of like it. It’s a weird ended, granted, but it fits the overall feeling of the movie. There isn’t really another way that the film could end. Pretty much all of the loose ends are tied up nicely and comeuppance is delved out deservedly.

There are two particular scenes which act sort of as bookends in the film, both dealing with Toombe’s discovering a grisly sight and both times, Vinnie lays on the shlock pretty heavy. One occurs in the first 15 minutes and the other in the last 15 minutes. Their absolutely laughable, but let me ask you – How can you hate ol’ VP?

Two kidney stones in the same movie, what utter shit luck.

Two kidney stones in the same movie, what utter shit luck.

 

Madhouse

Story: 2/5

Effects: 1/5

Scare Factor: 1/5

Odds of Vince getting a posthumous Oscar – 0/100

Overall: 3/5

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Shocktober 2013 – Day 3 – The Legend of Hell House

hellhouse

The Legend of Hell House

 

The Legend of Hell House – 1973. Dir. John Hough. Starring Roddy McDowall, Gayle Hunnicutt, Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill.

With 261 films to his credit, I’m sort of surprised I haven’t done a Roddy McDowall review yet. I know a few years back I watched Fright Night but never actually reviewed it. The man is a ridiculously good actor, having starred in such films as The Planet of the Apes (as numerous characters in numerous sequels), It!, and too many others to name. As for this one, he’s terrific, playing the mentally disturbed lone survivor of the titular Hell House.

The Legend of Hell house begins with a mllionaire character (doesn’t really matter, you never see him again) stating that he will pay 100,000 pounds for proof of “survival after death” in the only place it has never been refuted – The Bellasco House – The Hell House.  The house is rife with tales of debauchery and deviance carried out by the perverse murderer-millionaire Emeric Bellasco who disappeared shortly after committing  said murders. Living millionaire enlists the aid of a physicist (Played by Clive Revill) and his wife (Gayle Hunnicutt), a mental medium (Pamela Franklin), and a physical medium (played by McDowall) to visit the house. The movie starts sort of slow but quickly sets a very dark mood.

And here we have Satan's summer home.

And here we have Satan’s summer home.

The film covers the day to day activities of the group as it becomes quite apparent that not all is right at the house. Strange happenings begin occurring and during a “sitting”, one of the tormented spirits seems to to take a shine to Florence (the mental medium) leading to a rather abusive spirit to medium relationship. Some of the scenes are actually a little shocking for a movie that received a PG rating including descriptions of sexual depravity, and even bare-breasted nudity; for shame!

Two guesses who goes topless. First guess doesn't count.

Two guesses who goes topless. First guess doesn’t count.

Things continue to ramp up as the spirits get more and more violent. The rationalist physicist devises a way to “clear” the house, refusing to believe that there is any such being as Emeric Bellasco while it becomes more and more apparent that some serious shit is going down in this house, including the hussification of his dear wife.

Erm. Sure, why the hell not.

Erm. Sure, why the hell not.

I won’t spoil it but the ending is..well..kind of fucking weird. I will point out that it’s got an old favorite:

 

 

It's Michael Gough...Again!

It’s Michael Gough…Again! Or Ian McKellan, whoever.

That’s right, It’s our old friend Alfred the butler! Doing damn near the same exact face he did in Horror of Dracula. Quite the range he had back then. Overall McDowall does an excellent job of acting like a weird bastard and the creepy factor is definitely present. Like I said, it’s a bit weird, but I’d still recommend giving it a watch. It’s that good kind of weird. The kind that makes you think : “What the shit did I just watch?”

The Legend of Hell House

Story: 3/5

Effects: 3/5

Scare Factor: 3/5

PG Boobies: 2/2

Overall: 3/5

 

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Shocktober 2013 – Day 2 – The Horror of Dracula

Horror of Dracula

Dracula

Horror of Dracula – 1958. Dir. Terence Fisher. Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, and Melissa Stribling.

Don’t assume that just because Shocktober starts out this year with two Dracula movies, that it’s some sort of theme. That would be awesome, but I’m not that good at planning. Today’s film is another one of the Hammer classics, “Horror of Dracula”. The film was originally to be titled “Dracula” but to avoid confusion with the Universal Classic, the title was adjusted. “Horror of Dracula” is yet another adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel and, as with all the Hammer films, is just badass.

That. That is fucking awesome.

That. That is fucking awesome.

The opening scene of the move lets you know your in for some serious shit. Granted, the blood splattering on the stone looks more than a little like paint but honestly, it’s so deliciously cheesy I can’t complain. This is actually the first in the Hammer “Dracula” series and would be followed by numerous sequels and spin-offs. Many of the Hammer Dracula films star one of the best to ever play the role: Christopher Lee.

Somebody is seriously boned.

Somebody is seriously boned.

Lee would reprise the role numerous times including in one of my favorite of the Hammer films (and also the cheesiest), Dracula A.D. 1972. Just look at that face though, that terrifying smile. You know that if you see that face, you’re in for a bad time.

Playing Dracula’s mortal enemy, Van Helsing, is the late great Peter Cushing. Cushing would play Van Helsing opposite Lee’s Drac in pretty much every Hammer film. Cushing also played Dr. Frankenstein in the Hammer line of  Frankenstein Films.

Why yes, I did play Grand Moff Tarkin, thank you for noticing. Nerd.

Why yes, I did play Grand Moff Tarkin, thank you for noticing. Nerd.

 

While the film is based on the Stoker novel, this one takes more than a few liberties with character names, major plot points, and all around story flow. For one thing, Harker plays a relatively minor role in the film, and is pretty much only present for the first 20-25 minutes. Also, he is aware of the true nature of the count upon arriving at his castle. Also, Renfield is non-existent, which is really kind of a bummer considering how absolutely bat-shit Hammer probably would have made the character. One particularly neat thing about the movie is Michael Gough, possibly best known for his role as Alfred the Butler in numerous Batman movies (2 of them actually good!)

This is the face of a man who foresaw the terror of the Schumacher-Batman era.

This is the face of a man who foresaw the terror of the Schumacher-Batman era.

Overall the film is a great watch and a neat twist on the tried and true Dracula story. While remaining at least somewhat faithful to the original text (there IS in fact a character called “Dracula”), the film makes some neat creative changes which adds some new life to the story. At 82 mins, check it out.

Horror of Dracula

Story: 5/5

Effects 3/5

Scare Factor: 2/5

Creepy Christopher Lee Moments: 20/20

Overall: 4/5

 

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Shocktober 2013 – Can he finish what he starts?!

It would appear I suck at doing this.

But this time I intend to do it. Really. Honestly. Probably. Look, I get distracted easily. What do you want me to say? But this year I’ve actually planned out a list of 31 movies to watch for the 31 days of Shocktober! I totally haven’t bungled up one of these before!

Anyway:

 nosferatu

Nosferatu

Nosferatu – 1922 Dir. F.W Murnau. Starring Max Shreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, and Greta Schröder

 

What can one say about this movie that hasn’t already been said by countless others and, most importantly, Sponge Bob Squarepants. Nosferatu, an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel “Dracula” should very well be a completely lost film. Unable to get the rights to Dracula from Stoker’s widow, Murnau modified the character of Count Dracula to be “Count Orlock” and the term vampire was replaced by “Nosferatu”. Apparently still unsatisfied, the bitchy ol’ lady Stoker decided to sue Murnau and all copies were to be destroyed. One copy managed to survive and has made it’s way into the popular culture.  In fact, in pretty much all copies of the film today, the original character names have been put back in, so Orlock is referred to as Dracula, Hutter is Harker, and Ellen is Nina; just as it should have been. Eat that Florence Stoker.

Good god what the hell is that.

Artists rendering of Florence Stoker. Probably. Maybe. None of this matters.

 

The film itself is quite impressive for 1922’s standards. While today it might seem slow and a bit dull, you have to imagine that in 1922 people would have been pissing their pants. The story is a pretty faithful adaptation of Dracula, Harker is sent to Translyvania by his boss, Renfield (who could very well be played by Danny DeVito if the film is ever remade) to sell to a local mansion to Count Dracula. Upon arrival he is greeted by the local idiot townsfolk who are instantly terrified when he mentions the Count. Oblivious Harker continues on his fools errand until he meets up with the count, masterfully portrayed by Max Shreck. Shreck was so believable as the count that the 2000 film “Shadow of the Vampire” actually proposes the idea that Shreck (Played quite excellently by Willem Dafoe) was in fact, an actual vampire; but I digress. The film proceeds to the ultimate and incredibly anti-climactic ending, Dracula gets sunburn and dies. Sorry for the spoilers, but at one hour and twenty-four minutes of silence with some ill fitting music (think jazz club at times), there is very little payoff. I must say that the cinematography was quite good for the time, like the excellent shot of Orlock/Dracula entering Harker’s room where he is perfectly framed by the door:

Yeah. That's the good shit.

Yeah. That’s the good shit.

Just absolutely classic. One thing that did take me out of it was the horrible acting by Gustav von Wangenheim as Harker. Granted, I know it was the silent era and over emoting was common, but this guy just comes across as a complete dolt most of the time. One of the first scenes you see him in he’s picking flowers for his love Nina, and when he shows up at her house he hides them behind his back with this stupid smile. It just looks ridiculous.

DURR HURR.

Something tells me he’s hiding more than flowers behind his back.

And he holds the face for way too long. It’s sort of creepy. I mean just stare at that picture and tell me it’s not plausible that HE is the real monster in this movie. I don’t know. I’ve had a bit of NyQuil today so maybe I’m just seeing this differently.

In any case, the movie itself is a classic, highly worth checking out even if it is a bit slow on the pace with very little action to speak of. I still would recommend taking a look as a study of motion picture history.

Plus, Orlock is a badass.

Plus, Orlock is a badass.

 

Nosferatu

Story: 5/5

Effects: 3/5

Scare Factor: 2/5

Danny DeVito: Hilarious

Overall: 5/5

"You look like a dick in that tiny jacket, Master!" Says Frank Renfield.

“You look like a dick in that tiny jacket, Master!” Says Frank Renfield.

 

 

Also, for your viewing pleasure (as it is in the Public Domain):

Enjoy!

 

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Shocktober 2012- Quick Catch Up

Again, I let myself fall behind a bit. And seriously, writing 3 long reviews would make my brain boil. So I’m just going to play catch up and quick recap the movies. Catch tag line, quick review blah blah blah.

 

Shocktober #4 – Absentia. 2011. Dir. Mike Flanagan. Staring.  Katie Parker, Courtney Bell and Dave Levine.

Quick Synopsis:

Callie’s husband has been missing for seven years, and she’s just about ready to have him declared legally dead (Spoiler: It’s called Death in Absentia). Her sister Tricia comes to help her pack up to move on when a nearby tunnel begins to attract Tricia’s attention, as dark forces appear to be at play.

Ready to Serve Blurb:

“HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL WAS…Meh.”

Final Words: The tension in the movie is relatively solid throughout, though at times it makes a quick leap from “I KNOW SOMETHING IS GONNA HAPPEN” to “Still..waiting..for..something..to..happen”.

Overall:

Story: 4/5
Effects: 2/5
Scare Factor: 3/5
Latin Words in Title: 1/1

Shocktober 5 – FEWDIO Short Films- Creep, Bedfellows, Ninja Clown Monster

Good ol’ Fashion Nightmare Fuel. FEWDIO has put out some pretty creepy short films. Like, legitimate “Huh, I have that fear. Thank god someone put a visual to it. I think I’ll go scrub my eyes with bleach now” (which would probably make a pretty good short.

Quick Synopses:

Creep: Late night drive, middle of the desert, peace, quiet relaxation. Sure.

Bedfellows: Wake up late at night, next to the one you love. Get phone call from the one you love. Wait, wh-

Ninja Clown Monster: Please, like anyone could be afraid of a stupid toy clownOHWHATHEFUCKSHITDAMNFART

Ready to Serve Blurb:

“Again, who needs sleep, right?”

Final Words: Pretty creepy stuff. While “Creep” is a bit of a slow burn, and Ninja Clown Monster is ridiculously short (even for a short), Bedfellows is damned creepy. I’m not even sure why it’s so creepy. Seriously, just something about it.

Can’t put my finger on it.

Overall:
Stories: 4/5
Effects: 3/5
Scare Factor: 3/5
Peaceful Nights Sleep: 0

Shocktober 6- Hobgoblins. Dir Rick Sloane. Staring: No One. Really. Look it up.

There are no words for how bad this movie is. The only way it is even remotely watchable is on the MST3K episode and even then- it’s rough. I say it stars no one because most of the people in this film never had another role, for many, this was the first AND last. Completely deserved career assassinations.

Quick Synopsis:

Alien Monsters land, create fantasy scenarios for people, kill same. Monsters get killed. The END

Ready to Serve Blurb:

“All the Charm of Ed Wood…s pornographic final films.”

Final Words: RUN.

Overall Score:

Story: 0/5
Effects: 0/5
Scare Factor: 0/5
MST3K Episode: 907

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Shocktober 2012 – #3 The Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu – 2005. Dir. Andrew Leman. Staring Matt Foyer, Chad Fifer, Noah Wagner, Ramon Allen Jr., and Ralph Lucas.

 

I love old movies. Really I do. There’s something about the way that they were filmed during the infancy of cinema that gets me. I absolutely love the cinematography in Birth of A Nation, even though I find the subject matter somewhat abhorrent (though I know different times, different things acceptable, blah blah, all that happy horseshit). Everything was so new, so it’s amazing some of the tricks that filmmakers were able to pull off.

The Call of Cthhulu is the recounting of tales regarding the Cult of Cthulhu and Cthulhu itself. Cthulhu, for those not familiar, is one of the elder gods, those who existed “aeons before ever the world was made”. The mere sight of the evil entity is enough to drive men mad. His cult is devoted to bringing about his rise from the ancient city of R’yleh where he has slumbered for ages.

But still had the presence of mind to sell “Cthulhu” branded souvenirs

“The Call of Cthulhu” attempts to emulate that feeling in a modern made film. Shot entirely in black and white, this silent film is a pretty faithful adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s serialized story of the same name. The soundtrack is implemented pretty damned well, and even has the gritty sound of an old phonograph the entire time. Some of the scenery seems straight out of one of the classics; something like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari complete with odd angles and strange structures that give it a dreamy, otherworldly sort of feel. This plays particularly well as the Cthulhu mythos is filled with some creepy shit.

Jack Skellington is sitting just off screen.

Along with the great setting and excellent sound tracks is a pretty neat stop-motion Cthulhu. At times it moves a bit too fluidly and looks a little over-modernized. You only see the creature for a little bit though, so it looks good enough.

While the scenery looks nice, they could have junked up the film a bit more. Maybe I’m crazy to want something like looks like it was shot on good ol’ celluloid, but at times the modern day effects take you out of the mood. There are some scenes that clearly use a green screen (and not all that well either) and overall everything just looks too clean.

Except this guy. This guy’s plenty dirty.

Another area that is sort of lacking is the story. It’s pretty disjointed and unless you know some of the background, you might find yourself a little lost. This is due in part to the vagueness of the actual source material though, so I can’t be too hard on them. At just 46 minutes, it’s a decent watch if you can pay attention long enough. It’s available for streaming on Netflix as of posting, and can even be found on YouTube (but with Spanish subtitles, which overlap the in film subs a few times). I’d recommend it, especially if you want to get a little taste of classic cinematography, spruced up.

Behold, Cthulhu’s rec-room, and repent.

The Call of Cthulu

Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Scare Factor: 1/5
Sanity Points: 0/5

For your Enjoyment! The Call of Cthulhu- YouTube
No copyright infringement intended.

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Shocktober 2012 – #2 The Haunting of Julia

The Haunting of Julia – 1977. Dir Richard Loncraine. Starring Mia Farrow, Keir Dullea, and Tom Conti.

;

Second movie of the month, still going strong! I know the first day wasn’t so great but, surely I couldn’t pick two bad movies in a row. “The Haunting Of Julia” is a 1977 movie based on a book entitled “Julia” by Peter Straub. My fiance and I agreed on this movie after a bit of debate, and after agreeing it reminded us of a sort of reverse Rosemary’s Baby, and even included Mia Farrow! Not to mention Cleveland’s own Keir Dullea co-stars. Keir is probably best known for his role as Dr. Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Keir was a big draw for me as I absolutely loved him in 2001. Good ol’ Keir would never let me down. COULD never let me down.

Or…not?

Always a fantastic sign. The opening title of the movie not matching the cover art. Damn you Keir. Damn you. The last time this happened was when they tacked on Lovecraft to “Dreams in the Witch House”. Oh god, the opening scenes even sort of look alike.

Granted, the house in DITWH was a complete shit hole, but the basic feel is the same. Nausea, cold sweats, delusions of grandeur, etc. But still, the movie had been chosen and there was no turning back now. Onward..to..Full..Circle?

Full Circle (as it was originally known) is the story of Julia (played by Farrow) and her husband Magnus (Dullea) who suffer the loss of their daughter after she chokes on an apple. This happens literally 5 minutes into the film, so it’s really no surprise. What is a surprise is the initial reaction to the suffocation. Magnus spares no time in lifting up his daughter by her feet as Julia scrambles to the ground to begin trying to grab that damned tree fruit from her daughters mouth. It’s really quite a sight. When it becomes apparent to Julia that there is no chance of saving her daughter, she resorts to the only logical tactic: attempting to give her daughter a tracheotomy. The results are not pretty and leave Julia covered in her daughter’s blood as the super speedy English paramedics show up to cart away the apple scented corpse.

It is at this point that both my fiance and I began making the apple jokes. Any time Julia began crying, or staring too long at something, it was school children talking with delight about how they were going home to enjoy bushels of apples, or mocking her for having a apple faced daughter. We got bored for a few minutes.

Julia moves out of her home to get away from her husband and, presumably, the bad memories in the house. The house she moves into just so happens to be creepy as hell, and quite possibly haunted.

The movie isn’t really that terrifying. As far as I’m concerned the biggest shock comes maybe 20 minutes into the film when Julia is literally startled by her own reflection. Though if I were still rocking the Rosemary’s Baby haircut almost a decade after the movie came out, I think I’d be terrified too.

This hairstyle will never go out of style. Never.

Beyond being not all that scary, it’s sort of slow paced, and kind of jumps from plot point to plot point. Characters are brought up only to be completely ignored later on or simply killed off, regardless of the importance to the story. The ending is rushed and left me feeling pretty empty. There isn’t really closure in this one, just confusion as to what exactly happened.

Also, there’s a creepy clown toy because, nightmares.

It feels like a TV movie, looks like a TV movie, and was actually re-release in the states in 1981 under the “Haunting of Julia” title, likely because by that time the cocaine induced disco haze of the late 70’s had worn off and people wondered what the hell “Full Circle” had to do with the film. It’s 98 minutes long, and that’s 98 minutes less than I had before watching it.

The Haunting of Julia:

Story: 3/5

Scare Factor: 1/5

Effects: 1/5

Apples: 1 Daughters: 0

BONUS!

If you’re so inclined, the whole movie is actually posted, in it’s entirety on YouTube, which I’ve embedded here. So, if you’ve got an One Hour, Thirty Two Minutes, and Forty Three seconds to waste, enjoy it yourselves:

As the poster said: No Copyright Infringement Intended. All Copyrights/TM/etc properties of their respective owners.

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Shoctober 2012 – House 2

Holy Hell. It really is a good thing that I can finish what I start. As it is clear to see…

House II: The Second Story – 1987. Dir. Ethan Wiley. Staring Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, and Royal Dano.

With most sequels, you have to worry about missing out on the precious back story, character development, and plot points you may have missed if you didn’t catch the previous film. House II: The Second Story dispenses with this requirement as the only things these two films have in common are:

There are people

There is a house.

House II begins with what I can only imagine are the worlds hastiest parents shoving their child into the hands of a nurse and making sure that baby gets the hell away from their castle-like estate. This of course, has a huge effect on the viewer, because we just care so damned much about the characters. It appears that Mr and Mrs. person-people sent their child off just in time as we begin to hear the sound of spurs hitting wood as a ghostly cowboy with the voice of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget politely demands a skull. The husband, apparently played by Harland Williams’ more attractive brother, attempts to fend off the fiend but ends up getting gunned down by the agents of MAD.

I’ll get you next time, SKULL!

We then flash forward to present (read: 1986) day in the same castle. We meet Jesse (Arye Gross) and Kate (played by Lar Park-Lincoln, who was also in Friday the 13th Part VII: Beating a Dead Horse). Jesse has returned to his ancestral home after many years. After some exposition and back story (wish there was a better way to establish these characters), Jesse finds some strange photos of his Great-Great-Grandfather holding a strange skull. A crystal skull.

Lucas, you son of a bitch. Is there nothing you won’t lift from?

After his brother Charlie (or friend? I have no idea, the movie may have expounded upon this but after gazing upon another crystal skull I began seeing red and having flashbacks of my childhood dying) arrives at the house, Jesse decides to dig up the grave of his great-great-grandfather. With the help of Charlie, Jesse unearths his living dead Great-Great-Granpappy and hilarity ensues. Also apparently the house, the skull, and everything else is magical. Or something.

I hates bein’ deads.
And rrrrrabbits.

House 2: The Second Story also has two interesting side characters: John Ratzenberger as an electrician/adventurer and Bill Maher. Yes, THAT Bill Maher. He plays himself, or at least some approximation of himself: a weaselly ass-bag who you hope will get comeuppance but just never seems to. His role in this film did more to make people question the existence of a kind and loving God than Religulous ever could.

 

My name is Bill Maher: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Somehow, Netflix classified this as a horror film, albeit a B Horror film. The cover artwork even contains a disembodied skeletal hand, so it seems like the movie itself is a little confused. I’m not entirely sure what the director was going for, but what is suppose to be “horror” comes across more as “Family Fun”. Honestly, Ernest Scared Stupid was more terrifying.

SWEET MERCIFUL GOD WHAT THE SHIT IS THAT?!

At 86 minutes, you might think you can stomach House II: The Second Story and if you can, you are a stronger person than I. This movie is like if City Slickers met Monster Squad, but without all the Oscar worthiness. The first movie actually had a few creepy moments, and I actually enjoyed a few parts of it. It had Bull from Night Court for gods’ sake, and it was STILL decent! This movie had Cliff  the mailman and Billy Cole and still fell flat on it’s face. Gone is any semblance of suspense or dread, replaced instead by a story line that feels like a video game: Get the skull, skull got stole, get the skull again, skull got stole, BOSS BATTLE, the end. It even has different “Levels”: Pre-historia, Aztec/Egyptian/ Wild West.

I really didn’t like this movie.

House II: The Second Story

Story: 2/5
Effects: 3/5
Scare Factor: 0/5
Use of Crystal Skull: Better than Lucas.

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