Friday, November 17, 2017

Game time!

What's inside this rather large parcel? (Cat included for scale and cuteness)


A: Ant farm
B: Unabridged dictionary
C: Ant farm AND unabridged dictionary
D: Entire country of Belgium
E. A single pair of socks

Frightful Friday Part VI - FRIDAY LIVES

Okay, who didn't see that coming. We've got a few movies to sink our teeth into today, so let's do it!

The Legacy - This movie is AWESOME. Not awesomely bad, just flat out awesome. Starring Actual Actors Katharine Ross and Sam Elliot, and Roger Daltrey from The Who? Sure, why not. Katharine and Sam are an American couple trapped in a British country manor with other mysterious guests, a creepy nurse, and an old, dying, unseen host upstairs. Dun dun dun! Oh yeah, this is my jam.

So there's a rather informal satanic ritual (I guess) at the old man's bedside, and Katharine has this great wry look on her face, like "WTF, guess I'll just humor 'em" but then, unexpected evil ring! And it won't come off! The guests start dying, Roger Daltrey has a wonderfully hammy* death scene, and of course Katharine and Sam want to gtfo, but there's NO WAY OUT. Even when they steal a car, all roads lead back to the manor. DUN DUN okay you get the point.

*pun sorta intended? He ate ham, but choked on a chicken bone! Oh, that wacky Satan!

Katharine comforts herself by petting a cute white cat, which is exactly what I would do. Sam spies on one of the servants feeding a roasted body to dogs and is understandably perturbed. Then he gets chased by the dogs and the whole time I'm like "DON'T LET SAM ELLIOT DIE," I already had to deal with that shit in Road House, but HE DOESN'T. Instead he finds a CROSSBOW, and Sam Elliot shooting Satanists with a crossbow is now my favourite movie thing ever. Maybe even better than "The Double Douche." Okay, nothing's better than that. Sam Elliot is awesome, is my point.

So Katharine, who's either the reincarnation or ancestor (?) of a dead witch who was the mother of the (really) old guy, rushes up to see him (the old guy). He's on his last breath, and what's that in the air? Oh shit, it's Satan! Sam pushes the nurse down the stairs and apparently she was the white cat? Well I don't blame them for petting her, she might be an evil nurse but she was adorbs. But he's too late to stop the Satan Transfusion, the old man is dead and passed his legacy (oh hey, that's the title!) on to Katharine. He did kill a bunch of people so she could inherit it so I guess it would've been kinda rude to refuse at that point, y'know?

Sadly, even Sam isn't immune to the Devil Virus, or maybe that's just true love, because now it's his turn to put on an Evil Ring. He does it in a very laid back, Sam Elliot-y way, and it's kind of funny, for someone giving their soul to Satan. y'know. THE END!

I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Why this isn't talked about or considered a classic, I have no idea. Maybe it is in some circles, but this was the first I heard of it. And hearing about old horror movies is kind of my thing. The kills in this movie are so good, they're all different (to suit the victim) and the pool scene was especially creative.


WTF? I'm never coming to this YMCA again!

Note: this movie has NO BOOBS. I guess nobody likes 70s boobs.

The Lamp (AKA The Outing) - My first, and probably last, evil genie movie. Well, at least it's something different. Is it good? Well... it's very, very 80s, so if you can enjoy a movie based on fashions and Grade-A 1987 Tiffany Mall Hair, this might be for you.


Actually, I think that might be Tiffany.

The acting in this movie is terrible, and the dialog doesn't help. BUT, I actually liked the effects and most of the death scenes. They were surprisingly well done. Though I was a little sad when the Figaro-singing security guard got a spear though the chest. He had such joie de vivre!

So a bunch of high school kids are locked in a museum with an evil genie. That's your movie. The characters are generic, except for the aforementioned security guard. He was cool. Somewhere there's an angel singing "Figaro." Anyway, there's a lot of setup in this thing, so once they're finally locked in the museum the killing spree gets right underway. Snakes in a bathtub! (Yes, this is the kind of movie where people take random baths. In a museum. Next to the snake storage area.) Dude goes in search of beer and gets a snake up his trousers, oops! In case you didn't know it was filmed in Texas from an earlier Astros reference, a wild "y'all" appears! And oh no, the BULLIES got in! (It's an 80s movie, so bullies. These are more psychopaths/rapists, though. Yikes. They get a good serving of Genie Justice, but I could have 1000% done without that rape scene.)

There's a really cool death scene involving a reanimated museum specimen. I dug the hell out of that effect. The green glowing genie is a bit cheesy in an 80s kids commercial way, but I kinda dug that too.


Hi kids! Not sure if I'm here to murder you or sell you fruit roll-ups. Guess I'll murder you just to be safe.

We also have our second piece of Evil Non-Removable Jewelry in as many movies, and hey kids, you might wanna be careful what you wish for while wearing a cursed genie bracelet. Like you know, not wishing your dad was dead or something ridiculous like that. Oh, you already did that? Well dayum, that's a stone cold bummer ending. The dad actually died. I thought it would end with him and Tiffany having a "moment," but nope! Dead as shit. Also, the acting in the bracelet scene is SO BAD. "No, this isn't happening. No." In the end, only Tiffany and her teacher are alive. I kept expecting her to turn to her and say, "I think we're alone now."

So this movie was pretty uneven, but I think I recommend it. They tried, and actually came up with a few cool scenes. I doubt I'll watch it again, but I'm glad I watched it once. Oh, and random boobs because 80s.

The Video Dead - Here's some aptly named, good old 80s straight-to-video cheese. This wasn't "good" but I enjoyed the hell out of it. In our second (I think?) zombie movie, we have zombies that come out of an old, dusty, busted up 80s tv, the kind with all the intestines and whatnot in the back. The kind you get up to change the channel. *sigh* Okay I don't actually miss that at all, but nostalgia, dammit!

This tv was supposed to be delivered to the institute of occult studies or something, but nope, house in the suburbs! Dumb, sure, but it was kind of cool seeing the zombies climb out of the old black and white movie into the coloured world of reality. Well, straight to video 80s reality. Also: ZOMBIE IN A WEDDING DRESS WIELDING A CHAINSAW. That's not an image you're likely to forget.


Til death do we part? Don't mind if I do!

How did the zombie bride get a chainsaw, you might ask? Well Mr. "listen to me, I'm wearing a hat" here is like the worst zombie hunter ever, and fell asleep (??) when he was supposed to be shooting zombies. The other guy had a chainsaw and well, it's stupid. The answer is it's stupid. But it's great.


The original You Had ONE JOB.

There's a lot of stupid dialog and stupid in general, but it's what you'd expect and maybe a little better. Recommended if you like zombie flicks or this kind of camp. Also, random boobs because 80s.

Rifftrax: Ruby - I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS MOVIE. I don't know who these people are, what they're doing, why the kid is so uncanny valley despite being an actual human, why it randomly turns into the exorcist in the last 10 minutes when before it was about dead gangsters (I think??), and why I just generally want my mommy.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

tbt - eat them up, yum!

Straight on Til Morning Presents... those weird novelty videos they played in the early days of MTV!

There are a lot of things I've forgotten, but I'll never, ever forget any of these videos. They really knew how to make randomly memorable stuff back then.



I don't know why either, but it's awesome! I guess this was kind of the 80s version of a meme. It's weird, it's random, nobody actually knows why it's popular, it just is.



My first Weird Al video, though I didn't know who he was at the time. It made me laugh, and Lucy is voiced by the Crazy Catlady from The Simpsons!



And here it is, the holy grail of novelty videos and all novelty-related things, Roly Poly Fish Heads. This video was directed by Bill Paxton (RIP). What a cool dude. I used to sing this over and over to annoy my mom. Nothing will ever be that fun again, folks, that was peak life. If I could sum up my early childhood in four words, it would be "eat them up, yum!" Just thinking about it now makes me happy, so I'm gonna do that for a while before the next 2017 thing happens and makes me sad again. The 80s weren't perfect but man, they were uniquely fun.

Oh, another one was Julie Brown's "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," but in today's climate that's not really funny anymore. :( See how 2017 ruins everything? Damn you, the present!! 😡

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

Touching a little on my last post - I wonder if horror fans, especially female horror fans, are more prone to separating art from culture? How many misspent hours watching slasher and exploitation movies do I have under my belt? The kind that often feature nudity and violence against women I'd consider inappropriate in any other forum. Lots of people don't get why I'd enjoy that, and that's okay, but to me they're just escapist fun. They have no bearing on how I feel about the world, and I can easily separate them from reality. Maybe I've subconsciously adopted that mindset about entertainment in general, idk.

So what have I watched recently? Let the good times roll.

The Brain - Okay, this movie is AMAZING. It's about a giant brain with a face and big snarly teeth. It eats people and rats. It wants to control your mind. IT LOOKS LIKE THIS


So by "amazing," I obviously mean very, very, very bad, but in the best way. This would make a killer Rifftrax. Everyone should see this movie. Also, it's Canadian, and there's a scene in the school where the principal says, "Where do you think you are, America?" to a student and I'm like well nope, obvs Canada, but then the principal says "YOU'RE IN HIGH SCHOOL." Oh, okay. My question is, why do these Canadian movies pretend they take place in America? Is there a reason they can't just say Canada? Also, random boobs because 80s.

Night of the Demons - I felt like revisiting an old favourite. This one is similar to Hell Night in some ways but maybe even better. You've got the big, spooky house with the murderous history, except this time it's an abandoned mortuary. Oh, yeah! And instead of a deranged killer you've got demon summoning, but it actually makes sense here cause it's not just "welp nothing on tv, let's summon demons I guess."


That girl clearly showed up to summon some demons, and nothing else will do.

So, story time. It's not a happy story but an interesting one, and the most personal connection I have to a horror movie. The goth girl is actress Amelia Kinkade. She's the niece of Rue McClanahan, and she had a brother. I went out with her brother a few times, and it seemed to be going well, until the third date. No, this isn't about "third date expectations," unless you expect your date to tell you he's a white supremacist. Oh yeah, that happened. I didn't want any conflict, I just wanted to gtfo, so I kind of nodded and smiled through the rest of the evening and never looked back. Maybe I should have said something, but I was in my early twenties, alone in a car with an older dude who'd just quoted a Klansman, and I was all about flight over fight.

A few years ago, I rewatched Night of the Demons for the first time in many years. Seeing the actress' name brought back those long forgotten memories, so of course I looked the guy up on FB. He was married and had a kid. And he'd died in a car accident. Man, what a weird mix of emotions. I hope he changed his heart before he died. I'll never know.

Amelia Kinkade seems like a cool person and I have no idea what her beliefs are, so this is not to reflect on her in any way. And Night of the Demons is stone cold classic horror. Also, random boobs because 80s.

Blood on Satan's Claw - This was new to me, and it's a pretty cool little atmospheric period piece. Nothing too mind-blowing, but it pulls you into its world. If you like satanic ritual and possession horror, I'd check this out. And definitely check it out if you liked The Witch. Also, random boobs because... 18th century? Okay, horror movies just like boobs.

Devil Dog: Hound of Hell - The crown jewel of 70s tv horror, this is every bit as awesomely cheesy as it sounds. I love the title too, I guess they couldn't decide which alliteration was better so heck it, just use both! It's about a devil dog. From hell. Really, this doesn't require much commentary. Just watch it.

When Michael Calls - more classic 70s tv, with a Michael Douglas so young you'll do a double take and say, "Is that Michael Douglas?" This is actually a pretty damn good psychological thriller. Man, I miss tv movies like this.

Prom Night - I just wanted something on in the background, so I threw on this slasher I've seen many times. This is a famous one but it's pretty standard, elevated mostly by Jamie Lee Curtis and the sweet disco theme song. "Prom Night, no more feeling uptight!" Well, technically that's true if you're dead. Not a bad 80s slasher at all, but the two (unrelated) sequels are way better and more inventive imo. Part two is an all time favourite. Think I'll rewatch those next year.

I'm slowly working through my list, with a lot more still to watch this month. I actually started a really cool movie last night but I couldn't stay awake, so that and more coming on Friday!

Art vs artist?

With the recent revelation that most artists, nay, most people! are scum, what do we do with the art left behind?

Okay I exaggerate, but considering there's a new person outed as a creep almost daily, it's pretty obvious this is only the tip of the iceberg. So what do we do, as we wait in dread for the news that one of our favourite things has been tainted? Well, I wasn't even gonna write about this, as none of the creeps had (so far) been relevant to my interests or this blog. But then Jesse Lacey of Brand New was outed as a predator of teen girls. While Brand New is far from my favourite band, I have a fair amount of songs from their first couple albums on my iTunes. These are songs I've been listening to for 10-15 years. Are they tainted beyond repair now? Do I keep them, considering I already bought them, and just not buy anything else from them in the future? Or do I delete them and wash my hands of it?

Can I live without those songs? Absolutely. That's not the issue here. The issue for me is how far we go in shunning art made by bad people, and what happens if something we can't live without gets hit. The fact that there are certain things I couldn't live without shows how important art is to us. It almost takes on a life of its own. And we need to be realistic here. This is not a new issue.

How many of us own Michael Jackson songs, or at least listen to "Thriller" every Halloween? I do.

How many of us listen to music produced by Phil Spector? I do, and he's a straight up MURDERER.

How many of us watch Rosemary's Baby at Halloween? I do, it's a great movie, made by a man who fled the country due to statutory rape charges.

This is art that is very much still in the mainstream, made by people who did very bad things. What's the difference? Is it because their crimes happened so much longer ago? I could and still might delete those Brand New songs. But I'm sure as hell not deleting Michael Jackson or The Ronettes, so does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe, or maybe it's okay to look at art as its own entity. I don't have any answers here. I mean, all people are inherently sinners, but art is pure by definition. Maybe it's up to us to decide what we're comfortable with, where we draw the line.

The only advice I can offer is that which I follow myself. I will not financially support anyone I know to be a predator, going forward. And - here's the most important point - SUPPORT FEMALE ARTISTS. Support them emotionally by listening to them and believing them. Support them artistically by seeking out their work that might have been buried by men. Support them financially by buying that work if you enjoy it. THAT is how we change the culture, not by deleting a few songs or tv shows from our memory.

Now back to our regularly scheduled shitty movie posts.

Friday, November 10, 2017

I still have 45+, maybe 50 movies left on my List of Doom. And that's not counting the Christmas/Winter ones.😨

Frightful Friday 5 - Seed of Friday

I'm a dirty cheater. I've never actually seen Seed of Chucky, but it was the best part 5 name I could find. I mean come on, "A New Beginning?" That sounds like a rehab clinic, not a horror movie.

Anyway. I'll probably have a few things to say about Stranger Things, but let's get to the five movies I watched the past few days!

Graveyard Shift - A Stephen King movie I hadn't seen, this one was a really cool surprise. While Brad Dourif as the exterminator was fun (I think he chewed more scenery than the rats), the real star of this movie was the SETS. Old mist-shrouded cemetery, abandoned basement full of rusty machinery, and whatever the hell you'd call the lair of the rat-bat (??) thing. A pit of doom? It looked AMAZING, whatever it was.


MY AESTHETIC 100%

Killer Party - I watched this cause I was in the mood for something light, and it was okay. A cross between a slasher and possession movie, so something a little different. But OMG, another freaking sorority horror! I feel like I've seen 100 of these and I haven't even rewatched the Sorority House Massacre movies yet. Yeah, I'm a little burnt out on campus slashers and 80s slashers in general, so I'll be watching different stuff for a while. However, with fresh eyes I think this would be pretty fun. I mean, if you're in the mood for this kind of thing, there's no reason not to watch it.

Legend of Hell House - And now for something completely different, a 70s British haunted house movie. Oh man, I love this one. I THINK I saw this way back in the day, as I had an obsession with haunted house movies as well as Roddy McDowall after Fright Night. But I would have been like, 13 if I did and I remembered nothing, which was awesome. This is one of those movies where the characters help make the mystery even more compelling. I especially liked this medium, fresh off her win of the prestigious Britain's Floppiest Collar award.


It set a new record! Seriously though, good flick.

Brotherhood of Satan - Ah, nothing like a good old-fashioned devil movie. This was slow in parts but had a lot of cool elements that made it worth watching. At first, with the couple and the kid in the car I had Manos flashbacks (NOOOOO), but luckily this was much better. I loved the MO of the kills, very cool and original. And the ending was great. Not perfect, but pretty compelling with a good payoff.

Return of the Living Dead - Aw man, what a perfect Friday night movie. I just finished watching this, and it was pretty funny. "Send more cops" lol. This is another one I might have seen way back in the day, but it might as well have been new to me. This was actually pretty groundbreaking. It was the first to introduce zombies saying "braaaaains," as well as (I believe) the first significant zombie comedy, 20 years before Shaun of the Dead. Complete with laughs, genuine scares, cool practical effects and a kickass 80s soundtrack, I'd call this a classic. Oh, and our 2nd Clu Gulager alert of the season! I do plan to watch part 2. I mean, this was already pretty stupid, so if the sequel's stupid I won't mind so much. Also, people in the 80s sure liked to get naked for no reason. I don't remember that happening. :P

I've been watching a lot of these 90 minute movies cause they're easy to slot in. I have some longer ones on my list to tackle (The Exorcist, The Thing, The Omen) so hopefully I'll squeeze them in soon. This Frightful Friday is still young, so time for another movie or two!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

tbt

This was supposed to be the day I saw Creeper, but for some unknown reason, I'll be home watching sports as usual. NOT THAT I'M BITTER OR ANYTHING. So, on what could be another shitty day in 2017, let's instead have some sunshiney 60s goodness!



Addressing a couple things

This blog is a 99% safe, politics-free space. However, when politics enters into music, then it's in my territory and I've got something to say.

I did not watch the CMA's last night, because I never watch awards shows. I hate them. There are three kinds of people in the world - people who watch awards shows, people who hate-watch awards shows, and people who don't watch awards shows. Seriously, I can't think of a better way of stereotyping people. Anyway, looks like some of the good guys won, for whatever that's worth. Stapleton, Miranda, and that Brothers Osborne song freaking kicks, good for them! Tin Man should have beat the hell out of Keith Urban, though. :( I don't get Garth Brooks winning, I love him but he hasn't been relevant since like, Third Eye Blind was relevant. Think about that. Nor Taylor Swift, who has never really been country but has officially not been country since 2014. See, this is part of why I don't watch awards shows, I don't need to overthink silly stuff that doesn't matter. (The other reason is they're boring and inane.)

Anyway, apparently Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood made some Trump jokes, which sent dumb people who don't understand how things work into a tizzy. Here's the main point I want to make: The US is SO. FREAKING. POLARIZED right now they no longer realize that people joke about whoever's in office, regardless of "side." How many Clinton jokes did Letterman and other liberal comics make back in the day? Not only that, apparently these same two people also made Obama jokes when he was in office, because that's how things work. Making a damn joke doesn't mean you're on one side or the other.

(That said, it is way easier to joke about Trump because he's a buffoon. Maybe this whole thing is a conspiracy by comedians to make up for the comedy dry spell of the Obama years.)

ALSO: this whole towing a party line thing is ridiculous, and has gotten out of hand to the point of being destructive. Putting aside that joking about a president doesn't automatically mean you dislike them, why would joking about or even disliking ONE person in a party automatically mean you're on the other "side?" You have to fall in step with everyone who claims to be part of your side or you're a traitor, or something? That is some dangerous thinking. What are all the conservatives who hate that their party has been hijacked by a buffoon supposed to do? They should fight, not cower behind a damn party logo. We've really lost sight of things like context and critical thinking. It scares me.

One last point, which is tangentially related: A music critic I follow was being harassed on twitter by someone I can only call a "fangirl" for criticizing certain artists. These were all artists the critic likes and has praised more than criticized. Look, IT'S OKAY TO CRITICIZE THINGS YOU LIKE. It's healthy, even. This goes back to my points about critical thinking and not just falling in step with every damn thing because you're "supposed" to. "I'm a fan of this person, so I have to like everything they do or I'm a hater!" "I support this political party, so I must agree with everyone who stamps that label on or I'm a traitor!" NO. This is not how we make great art or great nations.

Criticism is vital to society, and is not the same as "hating." This fangirl mentality, this "if you're not with us you're against us" bullshit contributes to the bigger picture of what's happening in the world today. We WERE NOT always like this. I know that social media and biased 24/7 news have helped create and exacerbate this problem, but it's still, always, up to the individual to think for themselves. I know it feels good to "belong" to something, but if the thing you belong to discourages independent thinking, it's not worth belonging to.

Not everything is black and white. Some things are, like Nazis are bad. But most things aren't. Embrace the grey.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go clear my head with a nice devil movie, BYEEEEEEE

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

Just finished Stranger Things season 2. It was amazing. Still processing. I love Dustin more than most things on earth right now. That is all.

Now, back to movies! First up: Stephen King's Graveyard Shift, which is new to me.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

SpoOOoky Saturday - how much Keeffe is in this movie?

I haven't had a lot of movie time the past few days, but I managed to sneak a few in. :) Mostly shorter ones, but I finally got to Conjuring 2. 134 minutes, dayum!

It was worth it though. Awesome movie, some of the best modern horror I've seen. If you liked the first one, this one might be even better? It had so many sweet character moments, genuine scares (that creepy flooded basement, you couldn't pay me to go down there), great performances by everyone, and I thought the "hoax" part added some interesting texture. I have such an interest in hauntings, possessions, the occult in general, and while I don't know for sure if I believe, I definitely think it's possible. I mean, if there's a God, which I do believe, I don't think other supernatural elements are so far-fetched. Whether you believe or not, it's an endlessly fascinating subject and I love how this movie covered different aspects of it. Just a great watch, and wonderfully spooky late at night.

Waxwork - a classic 80s horror I'd somehow missed. This one's a lot of fun, paying bloody homage to old timey monsters like the Wolfman, the Mummy, and Dracula (played by Miles O'Keeffe!) This is one of the most stylish 80s horror films I've seen, I just love the look and tone of it, and it concludes with an EPIC evil-wax-people vs non-wax-people fight. Highly recommend! I wish 14 year old me had seen this late one Friday night, but hey, 14 year old me is still very much present. :P There's a sequel, and I miiiight watch it, but...

The Gate 2 - Well except for Conjuring 2, which I knew was going to be good, I'm not doing too hot with sequels. This was another Pumpkinhead 2 for me. So Nerdy Metalhead Kid is back, except now he's Nerdy Wizard Kid Who Kinda Looks Like Harry Potter. He's having troubles at home (mom died, dad lost his job and drinks too much) which should be really sympathetic, considering how much I loved this kid in the first movie, but it never really resonates.

I mean, when I say it's like Pumpkinhead 2, it kind of IS. NWKWKLLHP (as we'll call our main character) decides to go back to the ol' gates-of-hell house for nostalgia, cause man those were good times, right? Okay, actually he goes back to try to summon the demon to get his dad a job (???) Maybe you can already see the problem here. This was the smart kid in the first movie. Then of course, the BULLIES show up, because while it's not an 80s movie it is 1990, close enough. And the 80s were just full of bullies roaming the streets in search of stray nerds, apparently. So in true Pumpkinhead 2 fashion, the bully kids are totes down with summoning demon minions cause you know, they're bored, whatever. Better than doing homework, I guess.

I hate this premise for a movie. Can you tell? So pointless. I mean, if you summon demons you kinda deserve what you get, you know? Not like those poor tormented people in The Conjuring who didn't ask for that shit. This is just setting something up so there can be a movie, without understanding the movie needs purpose to be effective.

So there's a love interest for NWKWKLLHP, we'll call her Not-Kelly-Kapowski. She doesn't look that much like her, but there's a lot of feathered bangs and denim going on, you know the deal. This was the only part of the movie that kinda worked for me. She's the girlfriend of the main bully, but she's into the occult so she and NWKWKLLHP come together by common interest. Cute! Except for the demon summoning part, because in the first movie he used his knowledge to FIGHT demons. That was the point. Now he's using them to drive a Corvette. He doesn't seem like the same character. He doesn't even have any good lines in this one. Also, he has a Motley Crue poster in his room. That seems like a rather mainstream choice for someone who was repping KILLER DWARFS when they were 12, and am I overthinking things again??

Then he dies, but it's okay, because he pops out of his coffin (???) and he and his dad and Not-Kelly walk out of the graveyard, laughing arm in arm like the end of a sitcom. I wish I was kidding. Then the no-longer-dead bullies also pop out like a clown coffin. The end!

Yeah... this one was a disappointment, in fact it kinda takes away from the first one, so I don't recommend it.

Finally we have Shock em Dead and AHHHHH, Zombie Nightmare Voodoo lady flashbacks! Yeah, this one wasn't very good either. It had a few really funny moments involving the band and their songs ("I'm in love with a SLUT!") And the band's name was Spastic Colon. That's really all I can recommend this movie for, watch the musical numbers, skip the plot. It's not Hack O'lantern bad, it's just... the lead character is totally unsympathetic. When it starts out and he's a nerd, you should feel something for him but NOPE, he's creepin on his coworker while she changes. Ewwww. So you're not invested in him at any point of the movie, he's just a throwaway creep character. I liked the premise of nerdy guy makes a deal with the devil to be a rockstar, but it needed a more sympathetic lead to work.

I'll be back with more movies, but I think I'm taking a break to watch Stranger Things. :)

Friday, November 03, 2017

Frightful Friday Part IV: The Final Chapter (yeah, right!)

No time today, but here's a cool song from The Conjuring.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Don't give up on me, cause I'm just in a rut

Guys... this new Weezer album... 👎😢. I loved their last two albums, but I'm kinda back to not wanting to say they're my favourite band. Maybe it's Paramore instead. Or Creeper!... yeah. I wanted to buck the crowd and like this thing, like I did Cage the Elephant's last album, but there's a reason this is being met with a resounding "meh."

Oh, there are a few decent Weezery choruses. "Mexican Fender," "Beach Boys," "Weekend Woman," even "Feels Like Summer" is catchy, but... none of it sticks. None of it crunches. The production is awe-inspiringly bad, but I'm not sure the songwriting could be saved anyway. It would help if it didn't sound like it was put out by Generic Pop Factory #5, though. :/

This is supposed to be an homage to the Beach Boys, and a couple of the hooks almost get there if you squint a little. Squint your ears. yeah. ANYWAY, the Beach Boys were about harmonies, kind of this beautiful wall of sound, and this is pretty much the opposite of that to me. It feels empty. In one ear and out the other. Sweet Mary and QB Blitz are okay. But that's it, even the "standout" songs are just... okay. With better production, I might have enjoyed those a lot more. There's something there. However, Happy Hour and La Mancha Screwjob are two of the worst Weezer songs I've heard in a while. Happy Hour is basic pop crap, and La Mancha is ruined by those damn "whoa ohs" that have wormed their way into every pop song like the alien parasites in Night of the Creeps. Weezer should not EVER try to be "trendy" or "cool." It's like your dad dabbing or something. And that's not an age thing, Weezer has never been cool. That's why I like them.

If Everything Will Be Alright was a feast, and White Album a tasty dessert, this is the next day's warmed up leftovers. At best.

The Killers' new album is better. I wouldn't call it amazing as an album, but at least I like several songs (Run for Cover, Tyson vs Douglas, and Rut are my favourites). That's more than I can say for Weezer. I wasn't crazy about Beck's album either, though I've only heard it once. The best album I've listened to in the second half of 2017 is Kesha's Rainbow. Yeah, really. It's a good album, but speaking of Rut, I'm in one. I've been saving Margo Price's album for a rainy day, cause she hasn't let me down yet. Other than that, guess I'll just stick with my classic rock and movies for a while. I managed to work a Night of the Creeps reference into a music post, so I'm pretty awesome.

tbt

Let's take a break from movies with a classic song! Thank you, Rushmore soundtrack, for bringing us this one-hit wonder gem we'd probably never hear otherwise.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

I've always said that October 31st is the happiest day of the year, and November 1st the saddest. I mean, November sucks. Baseball's over (well, almost over this year), the weather's shitty, there's nothing November-y to do, you're pretty much just counting the days till Christmas. More like Nofunber, amirite?

I've made that dumb joke before. My life is a lie. Anyway, NOT THIS YEAR. I have so much leftover stuff to watch, including all of Stranger Things season 2, and I'm determined to enjoy this month even if I can't go outside. But before that, let's properly conclude October, the king of all months.

This might have been my best horror marathon yet. This year I really went full force watching stuff I hadn't seen, both old and new, popular and obscure. I also rewatched a lot of stuff I hadn't seen in a long time. That means it was a different kind of year, maybe the first time I haven't watched any of the major franchises (unless you count Halloween III). No Jason, no Freddy, no Living Dead at any time of day or night. For the most part, this wasn't a year for the tried and true favourites, though I snuck in a few. As a result, I found a number of new favourites, relived some forgotten memories, and will probably be revisiting most of this year's picks.

Halloween day:

I started the day off right with Trick r Treat. This one's a favourite, but I was dying to see it again. Kind of an updated Creepshow where all the stories interconnect, this thing is just brilliant. Definitely watch this more than once, there's a lot to pick up on you might miss in the first viewing.

Next was The Conjuring. Along with The Last Exorcism, which I'll probably rewatch next year, this is one of my favourite newer horror films. I probably would have waited another year to rewatch this, but of course I had to get ready for the sequel. This movie does a wonderful job setting location, atmosphere, and tone, which makes the scares effective. Also, Vera Farmiga. I love haunted house movies, and this is based on real people AND takes place in Rhode Island, where I used to live. I wish I'd known about this then, I would have visited the town. Lots of spooky goodness, and did I mention Vera Farmiga (who autocorrect insists is called Vera Farming)? Watching the sequel today!

Next up, another favourite, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I've probably ranted about this enough, but please, watch the damn movie before whining about how Michael Myers isn't in it. If this movie was just called Season of the Witch, or something else not-Halloween, wouldn't it just be known as fun, cheesy 80s horror instead of the black sheep of a franchise? (At the time, I mean. The Halloween franchise got really bad.) This thing is actually really creative. Killer masks, robots, ancient magic, Stonehenge?? There's nothing else like this. And that song. That magical, horrible little song that will be stuck in your head till Christmas.

I was going to finish the day with The Exorcist, but I chickened out decided to check out this 80s rock n roll horror instead. Come on, it's the last day of Rocktober! I also wanted to watch one new-to-me movie. So, Black Roses it is! How was it? Kind of amazing, actually. It was pretty funny, but unlike Hack O'lantern, it was genuinely entertaining and not just hilariously bad. So there's Italian Stereotype Dad who makes a faggot joke, because 80s, but then he gets sucked into a speaker by a demon! Hooray! And THEN THE SPEAKER BURPS, and I am the happiest person on earth. While that was obviously meant to be funny, the movie plays it straight for the most part. I think that's why it was so funny, as well as another scene involving a tennis racket and a demon's head. The lead singer of the all-demon rock band is named Damian (OOH, SUBTLE)! This all makes it sound like a parody, but while it is silly and the demons look ridiculous, I don't think it is.

This movie is just a lot of fun, so grab some popcorn and your tennis racket (just in case). If you've ever wished for a full-length version of those old cheesy metal videos, well, Happy Halloween to you! In the grand tradition of Rocktober Blood, Trick or Treat, Rock n Roll Nightmare (which I've seen several times thanks to Rifftrax), and not-Hack O'Lantern, we have another rock horror classic. I have one more of these to go, 1990's Shock 'em Dead. I might watch that today.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hurry up, it's Halloween!

Before I get into today's marathon, what did I watch yesterday?

Creepshow - Continuing my King marathon (which I'll keep going the next couple months), we have the delightfully cheesy Romero-directed Creepshow. This movie delivers exactly what it intends to deliver, the feeling of being a kid reading an old horror comic under the covers in the middle of the night. I love the little animated interludes between each vignette, as well as the kid's story that bookends the movie. Each of the vignettes has its own creepy charm, but The Crate is my favourite and probably the most memorable. Great cast, great performances, great direction, with just the right amount of over-the-topness without descending into goofyville. A unique classic. (I've never seen the sequel. Maybe I'll watch it next month.)

Hell Night - continuing my Blair-a-thon, this is one of my favourite standalone 80s slashers. It's pretty standard in most ways, but what really sets it apart is the setting. Spooky old abandoned house with secret passageways and a deranged killer on the loose? Hell yeah, this is my jam. Oh, and don't go in the basement! I also love Linda Blair, she's right up with Jamie Lee for me. I'll be rewatching the Exorcist today for the first time in a long time. That movie scares me, but it's time.

Final Exam - this came up in relation to Hell Night (same year, also a college slasher), so I figured why not. It is a basic campus slasher in most ways, but I still enjoyed it. A reasonable late night diversion. Can I just say, I miss the 80s "nerd" trope so much? I hate the way "nerds" have sort of evolved, or devolved, but I hate the way most stuff has evolved today, so eh. The classic 80s nerds were these sweet, sincere, smart guys, and you can't really do that anymore unless you set your story in the damn 80s. That innocence is gone, and now nerds are just as jerky as everyone else. *sheds a tear for the bygone nerds* Anyway, the movie. The killer was kinda Michael Myers-y, I guess. No mask, but he seemed extra... durable? Also he was just some random dude. Not sure what was going on there. Not great, but fun if you wanna add a guy named "Radish" to your 80s nerd list. This thing is SO tropey it's almost like, is this the movie that MADE the tropes in the first place? It's kinda charming in that way, honestly.

Hack O'Lantern - oh, Lordy, children. I was gonna watch this tonight but I just couldn't wait, so I made it my Halloween Eve movie instead. I probably should have waited for the day after Halloween, cause this is one discarded candy wrapper of a movie. It's GLORIOUS though. This is perfect Rifftrax fodder. They'd have to cut some nude scenes, but it's not like they're integral to the plot. Well... "plot." They'd have a field day with the evil folksy grandpa alone. Driving his evil pumpkin truck! Spooky! (No. Pumpkin farmers are not scary, no matter how much they overact. No.)

Come for the dramatic pumpkin flinging, stay for the dramatic headband-tying-on! Enjoy a random music video with a lady shooting green lasers out of her eyes! Cool! Enjoy a random, unfunny stand-up act right smack in the middle of a "horror" movie! (My guess: dude helped fund the movie in exchange for getting his schtick on.) In fact, this movie is kinda The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies of the 80s, with all the weird padding that has nothing to do with the plot. Well... "plot." Then you have the girl who just found her boyfriend's murdered body and almost got killed by her folksy satanic grandpa and what does she do when she arrives at the party to find help? Fixes up her makeup, of course! Let's party! And then acts shocked when she finds more bodies, like that hasn't happened before! Oooh, short term memory loss? Spooky, I guess?

Best of all, I don't think this movie is meant to be funny, except the stand up act, which is the only part that isn't. I think this is pure, genuine, Troll 2 style badness. Rifftrax, I'm begging you, you've got a classic here.

I probably won't watch quite as many movies today as I was planning to, since I'm extending the marathon, but we'll see how many I get to! And Happy Halloweeeeen, though it's much more Overlook Hotel than Haddonfield here in Edmonton today. :(❄️ I guess it's an excuse to stay in and watch movies.

To-watch list (today and the coming week):

Conjuring 1 & 2
Trick r Treat
The Thing
The Exorcist
Halloween III
Stranger Things season 2
1922
Graveyard Shift
The Gate 2
Lost Boys
Legend of Hell House
Just Before Dawn

Monday, October 30, 2017

Morbid Monday

One more day till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, one more day till Halloween, Silver Shamrock!

I've gotta get my butt in gear, I really slacked over the weekend. Only 3 movies. :(

Cheerleader Camp - It's an 80s slasher called Cheerleader Camp. It's exactly what you think it is. Is it worth watching? Of course!

Ghostkeeper - This is an obscure one, filmed here in Alberta so of course I had to watch it. For a very low budget 1981 film, this was better and scarier than a lot of stuff made today. I mean, this movie has an honest-to-God Cat Jump Scare and that doesn't even kill the suspense. (Hey, it was 1981, was that even a joke yet?) Just goes to show you can do a lot with a little when it comes to horror. This would make a nice double feature with The Shining, since they both feature a creepy old hotel in the middle of nowhere (snowhere?) That's where the similarities end though.

Rifftrax: Wes Craven's Mind Ripper - Of course I had to get the new Rifftrax Halloween offering. I love me some Wes Craven, and most of the films he actually directed are great, but boy did he put his name on some stinkers. This one actually has a decent concept (reanimated corpse terrorizes people in the desert), but poor execution, terrible acting, and it commits the sin of wasting Lance Henriksen. Watch the Rifftrax of this, cause it's very funny, and then watch Pumpkinhead.

I have a full slate of movies lined up for today and tomorrow, then I'm riding this crazy train right into November. Yeehaw! Or something.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Frightful Friday Part 3: Dream Warriors or Season of the Witch, take yer pick

Well, I managed to squeeze in three movies between yesterday afternoon and today. I'm actually a wizard, shhh. Two new-to-me's, one rewatch.

The Gate (1987) - Not sure how I missed this one in the 80s, I would have been the perfect age for it. Turns out, I'm still the perfect age for it. Holy shit, this was AWESOME.

The 80s was truly the golden age of kids in movies, especially adventure/horror type stuff. Before Disney Channel-style mugging became the go-to for child actors, we got to enjoy natural performances like this. Can we talk about Nerdy Metalhead Kid in the KILLER DWARFS jean vest?? Because he might be my favourite character ever. Killer Dwarfs is a real band, apparently. Guess I'll have to check them out. Man, I wish I liked metal music half as much as I like the aesthetic. Also, if jean shorts are jorts, would a jean vest be a jest?

Okay, that's all my tangents, back to the movie. Of course, Nerdy Metalhead Kid is your go-to for dealing with the occult, because he is both smart and into metal, and his favourite band "Sacrifyx" has some lyrics pertinent to the situation. This is the kid you want for your best friend when a gate to hell opens in your backyard, for he will calmly stare down into said gate and say, "you have demons," in the same way an exterminator would say, "you have termites." He is a DELIGHT, is my point. He will likely grow up to be the Badass Academic™ in another horror movie. Totally Metal Librarian. I'd watch the hell out of that movie.

Of course, I had to open "the gate" (lol see what I did there) to 80s "fag" jokes in my last post, and wouldn't you know, this movie had one. Sigh. It was at least from an annoying character you were meant to groan at (in the words of my new hero, Nerdy Metalhead Kid, "can we knock her out again?"), but still. I'll chalk it up to the times and move on, cause that two seconds of slur is my ONLY complaint. If you like anything from Poltergeist to the Goonies to even the Harry Potter series, you'll probably enjoy this. This would be a great starter horror for kids, but I had a lot of fun with it as an adult. It's likeable, it's exciting, the effects hold up, and KILLER DWARFS RULE, MAN. 🤘 (I assume.)

This is my second-fave "new to me" this year, after Pumpkinhead. There is a sequel, and I will watch it. Apparently it's not great but has its moments. Nerdy Metalhead Kid is back, so that's all I need. He was never in anything else, which is a real shame. Dude had charisma.

Scarecrows (1988) - I'm on a roll, cause this is another cool atmospheric gem from the 80s. I LOVE scarecrows in horror, they're right up there with clowns* in creepiness factor. Scarecrows that MOVE. The scarecrow episode of Supernatural is in my top 5 for sure, and this movie lived up to it. Imagine a whole field full of different, creepy looking scarecrows and an old abandoned witchy house. There NEEDS to be a Halloween attraction based on this movie, it practically makes itself. Just put a bunch of scarecrows out in a field, some of them just scarecrows and some of them live actors that move, and you don't know which is which until it's TOO LATE. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Yeah, this was pretty much an automatic win for me with that premise, and the execution did not let me down. I'd never heard of this until this year so it might not be very well-known? Highly recommended, especially if you love the creepy farmhouse and scarecrow aesthetic like I do. I also like the idea that you can just randomly land a plane out in the middle of nowhere and you might end up in EVIL SCARECROW COUNTRY.

*my clown phobia is weird. I'm not afraid of them in their natural habitat, like a party or the circus, but say I was walking alone somewhere and no one was around and I heard a noise, the thing I'd be MOST afraid to see when I turned around would be a clown. :/ idk. Luckily that is an unlikely scenario.

Happy Birthday To Me - I hadn't seen this in a while and wow, it was different than I remembered. By that I mean I only really remembered two scenes, the guy getting crushed by weights and of course THE ENDING. This was longer and slower in parts than I remembered, like it's a cool little slasher but you could easily trim 20+ minutes off this thing. Totally worth watching for the ending though. The mask thing was silly and far-fetched, but I also feel like it inspired the writers of Pretty Little Liars, so I kind of dig it in retrospect.

After the opening kill there's a stretch where not much happens, the only really important part is the bridge scene, but be patient. It does pick up after that and of course, THE ENDING, which pleases my macabre little heart so much. The song that plays over the ending credits is great too; it's funny how some music just sounds creepy. I do recommend this to 80s slasher lovers, but not as highly as the first two.

I have some stuff to do this weekend, including the last Eskimos home game, but I'll try to fit in as many movies as I can. TBH watching and writing about these movies is the happiest I've been in like, a year? So I'll probably keep this going into November, and then of course winter-themed horror in December. (I've never seen Krampus! I haven't seen Gremlins or Nightmare Before Christmas in years! I've been dying to rewatch The Visit! The Shining counts, because snow! Can I possibly withstand another watch of Black Christmas?! Wheee!)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Uh, Thrilling Thursday!

What I watched yesterday, and a test of my alliterative skills (solid). Heck, might as well do one of these every day. I have a surprising lot to say about a silly 80s slasher.

The Initiation (1984) - Starring The Sure Thing's Daphne Zuniga, Psycho's Vera Miles, Clu Gulager alert! (hi, MST3K), some totally awesome 80s fashions, and um, Barb from Stranger Things??


Barb has always existed. Barb will always exist. All hail Barb.

I had no idea if I'd seen this before I started watching it. I could have, I've seen The Initiation of Sarah, Sorority House Massacre, House on Sorority Row, Black Christmas, Sisters of Death, and probably some I'm forgetting. Sororities lend themselves well to horror movies, maybe because they're so damn weird. Think about it, you've got "normal" pretty people, the kind of girls you were probably afraid of in school if you were a shy bookworm like me, doing these crazy rituals and stuff they'd probably think were weird in any other context. It's like the closest they'll ever get to witchcraft. They also make great slasher fodder cause they're so easy to make bitchy. (At least, that's the stereotype. My knowledge of sororities is limited to well, slasher movies, so I might be eating my own tail here.)

Turns out, I hadn't seen this, and holy shit! First of all, this thing is pure, uncut 80s. If Material Girl-era Madonna licked a filmstrip, this is what would develop. It's also completely batshit. So it starts out as nightmare/repressed-memory-weird-family-shit movie. Okay, cool. Then it turns into sorority movie. Okay, cool. Then suddenly, it's Chopping Mall before Chopping Mall existed! Okay, cool?? It's also REALLY tonally weird. Most of the time it's your usual 80s slasher, screaming sorority girls, wisecracking frat idiots, nothing too serious. But then there's the underlying repressed memory story, which is played straight and seems like a different movie. AND THEN, in the worst tonal shift I've ever seen in a movie, 1000% SERIOUS TEARFUL STATUTORY RAPE STORY followed by TOUCHING SEX SCENE FEATURING SAID RAPE VICTIM?? And THEN, they get KILLED BY THE SLASHER. Really, 1984??? It's like when you watch an old movie and someone makes a "faggot" joke and you're like, oh yeah, that 80s. I don't miss that.

But other than the weird, unnecessary inclusion and treatment of a rape victim, I enjoyed the hell out of this mess. The ending is stupid. The whole thing is stupid. But it's mostly a fun kind of stupid. The part where the douchey frat guy starts randomly talking to the mall Christmas decorations made me laugh out loud. If you like Chopping Mall, you'll probably like this.

Because of Vera Miles, I was inspired to rewatch Rifftrax: Psycho II. I have a history with Psycho II. Believe it or not, it's the movie that started this whole crazy journey. When I was 13? 14? I watched this on cable late one night, and I was HOOKED. I'd never even seen the original, other than the famous scenes. But something about Anthony Perkins' performance (and Meg Tilly's) drew me in. I then watched the original Psycho and some of Perkins' other movies (most of them bad, sadly, for such an engaging actor). I started staying up and watching every horror movie I found. I know Psycho II isn't a great movie, but for me, it kinda is, not only because I genuinely like the story, characters, and performances, but for the memory of that night and what it represents. And of course, because I so often agree with her, my favourite youtube reviewer Allison summed the movie up perfectly.



That said, it's still very rife for riffing, especially the silly ending, and I love the Rifftrax version. "Welcome to the Bates Motel, please ignore our Trip Advisory reviews!"

I might skip Frightful Friday, unless I can squeeze in a movie tomorrow afternoon. Going to a beer event tonight so only time for one movie.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

The latest thrills. And chills.

The Babysitter (Netflix 2017) - Saw this on a whim after reading positive feedback and yeah, this is definitely worth a watch. Very entertaining with some laughs, some suspense, and some surprisingly heart-wrenching moments. Kinda the perfect popcorn movie. If you like "evil cult" movies like I do, and a good mix of bloody horror, humor, and heart, check this out. It's modern, but with an 80s heart.

My Stephen King marathon continues strong with two movies I'd never seen, The Dark Half and Silver Bullet. Silver Bullet, an 80s film, is kinda similar to how I described The Babysitter. Very different movies, but another good mix of horror and heart (with much less blood). Characters you root for, and great performances by Gary Busey, Corey Haim, and Megan Follows. It's a kid in a wheelchair who's just a kid, you know? I loved the believable relationship between him and his sister. And oh yeah, there's a werewolf in town killing people! By the way. I mean, that's the underlying story obviously, but I love how it's all character-driven. I like werewolf stories, but it's hard to find good ones. I wouldn't say this is a great werewolf story, as it isn't about him, but it is a great story with a werewolf in it.

I'm surprised I just got around to The Dark Half, as I read and enjoyed the book as a kid, but I'm glad I did. Again, really good performances by Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris, and especially Timothy Hutton. From what I remember of the book, it was a good adaptation. I LOVED Julie Harris' character, and after seeing this and another movie I'll discuss shortly, I realized I freaking love the "badass academic" trope. Like badass in a librarian-y, I'm gonna defeat you with KNOWLEDGE kinda way, not "I will suddenly throw off my glasses and kickbox you!" (Because that would be unrealistic, in this movie about an evil absorbed twin come to life. Anyway.) That was her character, and she was so great. They're always open-minded too, like they're the character who will listen to you when you start spouting crazy shit and research a possible answer like they're just writing a paper, no big deal. LOVE. Also Timothy Hutton in the dual role was amazing, it actually took me a moment to realize it WAS him. This was directed by the late, great George Romero, as was another upcoming movie in my King marathon.

And I kick off my three-movie Linda Blair-a-thon with Summer of Fear, AKA Stranger in Our House. This was based on a novel by Lois Duncan I read as a kid, and I just love this little made for tv gem. This was my second time watching it and it was just as fun. This one also features a Badass Academic™, this time the local professor of occult studies or something (of course). Aww man, I love it. And of course, he listens to poor Linda Blair about her little witch problem when No One Else Will™. I am seriously gonna seek out every movie with that trope and watch it. It's just so comforting and makes me so happy, idk. Anyway, if you like late 70s/early 80s made for tv horror, this is a must see. I will also be rewatching Hell Night and The Exorcist. Hell yeah!

I continued my three-film John Carpenter-a-thon with The Fog (the first was Christine). What can I say about The Fog, another stylish, classic 80s gem with one of the best casts you'll see in a horror movie. We've got Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook and Tom Atkins (from Night of the Creeps!) all giving good performances but of course Barbeau steals the hell out of this thing. The way she switches between her sultry radio persona and concerned single mother, damn girl, just one of my favourite performances of all time. Talk about a character you root for. This is also right up there in the coveted "atmosphere" department. VENGEFUL FOG SPIRITS, people. It doesn't get much more atmospheric than that, the monsters are literally IN THE ATMOSPHERE. I'll be concluding this marathon with The Thing.

Rifftrax: City of the Dead - Rifftrax does a lot of "you have to see it to believe it exists" level crap, but they've also riffed some enjoyable old horror like Carnival of Souls, House on Haunted Hill, and this creepy little witch movie. There's nothing too outstanding about this, it's your basic "old timey witches come back in modern times" trope but dammit, I LOVE that trope and this one has a cool, fog-shrouded setting and Christopher Lee glowering! I could easily watch this unriffed, but of course the Rifftrax guys make it extra fun.

Dead and Buried - this is a 1981 film that was New to Me, and just another great 80s watch. This one was really different, a take on "zombies" (of sorts) I've never seen before. I did guess the final twist, but it's still fun and suspenseful even if you do. Great concept, well-executed. It kind of seemed like a Stephen King story, mysterious goings-on in a small town, locals who aren't what they appear, spooky!

I still have lots more to watch, including my Halloween All Day and All of the Night Spooktacular, which I've tentatively scheduled as: The Conjuring 1 and 2, Trick r Treat, The Exorcist, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and possibly the hilarious Hack O'Lantern if I have time. If I have even more time, Rifftrax Plan 9 is always fun to throw on. I might go to sleep to that one lol.

I'M RUNNING OUT OF OCTOBER

I think I'm adding horror movies to my list faster than I can cross them off, there's a new Stephen King movie on Netflix, and Stranger Things season two starts in two days! HELP MEEEEEEEEeeeeee.......

Okay, so what are some horror movies that aren't on my list, and some I'll probably never watch at all?

I'll start by saying that I use "horror" as a very big umbrella term, from the obvious slashers and supernaturals to creature features and psychological thrillers. Gone Girl, for instance, which I watched last month, is not a horror film but definitely a psych thriller, so it will end up on my "watched" list. I say this because I'm very fond of psych thrillers, and maybe some other genres that aren't strictly horror. I love old school slashers, supernatural stuff like witches, ghosts, and possessions, and good old-fashioned mindfucks like The Gift or Gone Girl or Get Out. I also like creature features but I tend to watch those all year round, especially with MST3K and Rifftrax.

Then, there are certain kinds of horror I'm not really drawn to.

1. "torture porn" - I've never seen any of the Saw movies and probably never will. They might be good for what they are, but if I want to see people being cruel to each other I'll watch the news. I prefer my scares more on the fantasy side than something I find actually unpleasant.

2. vampires - maybe Twilight did them in for me, maybe they were just overdone, maybe I just don't find them scary. But other than Fright Night, Salem's Lot, and Buffy, I can't think of much vampire stuff that interests me. I mean, zombies were overdone as hell and I still dig good zombie stuff, so eh. Blame Twilight! (I guess technically Let's Scare Jessica to Death is a vampire film, but it's SO unstereotypical I hardly count it.)

3. sci-fi - idk, science just isn't scary to me? I prefer the unknown of the supernatural world or the mind. Some alien stuff can be creepy, but sci-fi will never be my first choice. I guess I find old-timey stuff scarier than futurey stuff? I mean, high tech isn't scary, rural farmhouses are scary.

4. certain found footage - I'm not opposed to these in general. Two of my favourite recent horror films, The Last Exorcism and The Visit, are found footage. But I've never seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies, they just look boring to me. Long stretches of nothing actually happening but jump scares, pass. Never seen Blair Witch because I have motion sickness. I guess I'm not drawn to a movie because it's found footage, but I might like a few that happen to be in that format. It has to feel natural. Anything that feels gimmicky takes me out of the movie.

5. foreign language - speaking of taking me out of a movie, subtitles or bad dubbing do it every time. For me to enjoy a foreign language film it has to have pretty spot on dubbing, which I don't think I've ever seen in a horror. Bad dubbing is fine for a goofy Rifftrax movie, but not when I'm actually in the mood for a scare.

I also want to mention, with my ongoing Stephen King marathon, that I haven't delved into his work past, like, the early 90s much if at all. There were a couple books in there that I couldn't get into, and I just kind of stopped reading his newer stuff at that time. This is actually something I want to go back and remedy, so I will not be watching anything based on those books until after I've read them. This is a diehard rule I have with King novel adaptations, always read the book first. (Only the novels though, I'll watch the short story stuff cause I'm unlikely to ever read all of those.)

And now, back to movies. Next up... stay tuned!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Man, October *ahem* Rocktober is just Peak Content time here at Straight on Til Morning. After this I probably won't post again till next year lol. Or maybe I'll keep the horror stuff going... Frightful Friday Part VIII, Melissa Takes Manhattan?? No, I'm in Canada. Melissa takes Manitoba. Okay, well now it HAS to happen.

Frightful Friday Part 2: The Revenge

The last few night's fine film selections.

Rocktober Blood - That's right folks, I just watched an 80s rock n roll slasher movie called ROCKTOBER BLOOD. This exists. And it's AMAZING. I think I have fulfilled my final purpose on this earth. Farewell.

Okay, maybe not. So who's the real star of this movie, Headband Skeleton (totally metal, man!) or the worm playing pinochle on his snout?


Bloody Birthday - not to be confused with the gleefully demented Happy Birthday to Me, this is a decent watch if you're looking to complete your cheesy 80s holiday horror bingo card. (Y'know, My Bloody Valentine, April Fool's Day, Trick or Treat, Hack O'Lantern, Home Sweet Home, Silent Night Deadly Night, New Year's Evil, etc. Has there ever been an Easter horror film... other than Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, that is? Which is maybe more Christmas-themed and definitely not an actual film.) This one has killer children by way of astrology, so if that sounds like a good time, go for it.

Oh and the real star of this movie, this sweet vintage 7up can!


It's probably no surprise that I'm obsessed with old-school labels, signs, etc.

And continuing down the holiday road, I rewatched April Fool's Day. WARNING: SPOILER FROM 1986 LOL

Usually the fake slasher thing would get under my nerves, but this is just campy enough to be fun. I like how it's set up so you think it's gonna be an April fool from the start, but as the movie goes on you're like, is the twist that it's NOT an April fool? Has Muffy (yes, MUFFY) really gone off the rails on the crazy train? I love how forgiving all her friends are (oh, that wacky Muffster!) and how she didn't get like, totally murdered by any of her "victims." Ridiculous, but fun if you like 80s slashers and the girl from Valley Girl.

I have lots more movies left on my list, and I'll be staying Up All Night* to watch them all. Stay tuned!

*Man, I miss that show. Nothing else will ever be watching Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou or Night of the Creeps at 2AM when your mom's asleep and you're a dumb kid and the rest of your life kinda sucks but that night, man, that night of watching horror movies... that belongs to YOU.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It occurs to me that some people might think using horror movies to escape, well, the horrors of the world is a bit odd. But give me a good old fashioned spine-tingling SCARE over the real life creeping dread of say, a disgusting stupid bigot who might blow us all up, any day. Most of the movies I watch tend to be supernatural themed. I'm not saying that witches, ghosties, demon possession and the like are 100% not real, because idk for sure, but I can tell you they're not plastered across the depressing ass news all day long making me want to hide under a rock. Horror films are fantasy, often with a note of reality to make them actually scary. But not this reality, not the constant onslaught of man-made injustices, cruelties and atrocities. So yes, I escape that stuff with the kind of fear that gets my blood pumping, not the kind that defeats me.

Wicked Good Wednesday

In which my horror movie marathon is going strong, and I discuss the changes in this blog.

In times of trouble, or just in general really, my motto has always been "surround yourself with the things you love." It doesn't matter what those things are, it can be your family and friends and pets, or something as seemingly insignificant as a favourite song or nice smelling soap. Whatever makes you say "yes, I am at peace in this moment."

The "world," and I put that in quotes to indicate the world the media feeds us, not the world we make for ourselves, is a damn junkyard fire right now and I for one am finding comfort in the things I love. So I don't listen to shitty music anymore, not even to laugh at. Oh, I still hear it sometimes at shops or bars, but I try to not let it get under my skin. And since I'm focusing completely on things that make me happy, that means no more delightful snark in this blog, at least for now.

I miss the snark, but not what fuels it. My goal was always an MST3K/Rifftrax type thing - turn something bad into something good by making it funny, or occasionally having a good cathartic rant. But with the climate of the world right now, and the year I've had, that's just not what I feel like doing. I feel like watching old horror movies and listening to classic rock in my metaphorical blanket fort*. I want comfort food, and lots of it. (Also, I find that bad movies are generally more enjoyable than bad music. That's right, Manos the Hands of Fate > Sam Hunt.)

*who am I kidding, I have an actual blanket fort.

I might not even do a worst songs list this year, because I haven't sought them out and don't want to. Body Like a Backroad is the worst song, in concept and execution, I've probably ever heard. There, we're done. And "The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why, cause she's DEAD!" is a firm number two. Actually, I might upgrade that one to "so bad it's good" status. That is some pure camp right there.

With that said, on to some scary movies I've watched this past week!

New to me:

The Witch
The Woods

Purely coincidentally, this would make a great double feature. Both are period pieces, though set in very different times, both are about witches and woods, and both are recommended by me. The Witch is the better of the two, but both are worth watching. It seems one way to make effective modern horror is to set it in a different time (or make something totally original like Get Out). With period pieces, you're almost forced to film them in a more old school way. The Woods did have a couple cheesy CG moments, but they didn't take me out of the film overall.

Rewatch:

Let's Scare Jessica to Death - a top 10 favourite of mine, this is a perfect example of what I like in horror. Atmospheric, with a steadily unsettling buildup to an intense end. The kind of movie that gets under your skin with storytelling and imagery, not cheap scares. They really knew how to do pacing in the 70s. Even with the hippie stuff, I don't find this to be dated at all. It's seriously creepy.

The Shuttered Room - A 60s classic, complete with isolated setting, creepy locals, and what's behind the mysterious door, oooooooo! They don't make 'em like this anymore. I do feel the couples' trouble with the townsfolk could have been solved if they'd thought to arm themselves before coming to the strange, desolate island, but whatever. It's still great, with the near-lost arts of pacing, buildup, mystery, and - say it with me, kids - ATMOSPHERE.

And now, inspired by IT, I've begun a mini Stephen King marathon. I will not be rewatching Carrie, as I've seen it too many times. Probably not Salem's Lot either, as I've seen it a couple times and it's SO long and slow in parts (the good parts are really good, though). That one is rife for a remake, if they do it right. Oh and I rewatched The Dead Zone last year, so that's likely out too. Here's what I have watched so far.

EDIT: Apparently there WAS a 2004 Salem's Lot miniseries starring Rob Lowe. I will be getting right on that.

IT (Theatrical) - I loved this so much. Moving the kids' story to the 80s and giving it that Stranger Things feel was 100% the right call, especially since Stranger Things is such a King homage in the first place. Of course, the kids' story is the good part. I worry about part two, not because they won't do it right, but because the source material itself isn't all that great. King is notorious for bad endings and honestly, a lot of them are okay, but THIS one is the king of bad endings (LOL, GET IT?? the KING? Oh, me).

Pardon me while I tangent on the ending of It, and why a horror master should have known better. Okay, see, the book is called IT. As in, a mysterious entity, we don't know what IT is. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE STORY. To reveal what IT is is an automatic mistake. At the end IT should have been shrouded in darkness or fog so it's just a vague shape. That's way more disturbing. Then on TOP of that, the final form itself was so cheesy and un-scary in a way the word "anticlimax" doesn't begin to cover. The Pennywise form was creepy as hell. To make the final form LESS scary than the form already presented makes no sense. When they make part 2, I'd love to see them throw out the stupid spider ending and shroud that thing in mystery instead. I guarantee the audience will leave feeling unsettled instead of LOL *eyeroll* big stupid spider!

Whew. Okay. I've been wanting to get that off my chest for a while.

It (miniseries) - Okay, of course I loved this thing when it was first on TV. Tim Curry's Pennywise is a part of so many of our child and teen-hoods, and he's the best part of this by far. I liked the kids' parts, but when it focuses on the adults it's not nearly as good. Still, worth a watch for some iconic scenes, even if the ending is bloody awful.

Christine - I hadn't seen this in so long, and it held up pretty damn well. The car effects still look really cool. A great thing about King is the underlying themes in his stories are timeless, so even 70s and 80s stuff doesn't feel dated, other than the superficial clothes and hairstyles. And those are enjoyable on a different level.

Cujo - I actually don't remember if I saw this before. I thought I had, but when I watched it it didn't seem familiar. Maybe I only read the book back in the day. Anyway, I really liked it and I'm glad I saw it. The screaming child got on my nerves a little, but hey, it was realistic, of course a child would scream his head off if a rabid dog was attacking him. What's worse is the more modern thing they do where kids act eerily calm like little adults. It kinda makes me want to punch the kid in the face tbh. So I can't really fault this movie, nothing amazing but a good solid watch.

Needful Things - Oh man, did I love this book as a kid. I think it's one of his best-written and crafted books, the way all the characters interconnect. So of course I saw this movie as soon as it came out. While it's not one of the better-received adaptations, I actually like it a lot. It held true to the spirit of the book and the acting was good, led by Max von Sydow's Antique Store Satan. If nothing else, watch it for the delightfully unhinged performance by the late, woefully underrated JT Walsh. Something that struck me about this story now, that didn't when I was a teenager - the overwhelming lure of the nostalgic objects offered by Gaunt. As a teen I understood it in the abstract, but had never experienced actual nostalgia. Now, it resonates even more. What would I do to have a piece of my childhood back? Hmmmmmmmm ;)

I'll be back with more spooky delights next Wednesday. Oh, and I should add that I watch most of these movies surrounded by two black cats. Ambience!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Creeper update

http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/creeper_drop_from_canada_tour

Turns out they're not touring with Silverstein at all anymore, and I was looking at out of date info. I wonder what happened? Still super bummed, but no longer feel conspired against by the universe so got that goin for me. 👌

On the subject of live shows

I used to go to quite a lot of them, rock and country, mostly smaller shows. Biggest name I saw was probably R.E.M. A lot of my concert-going has been dictated by geography and having someone to go with, obviously, which brings me to where I am now. I moved to Canada five years ago and haven't been to a show since. To put this in perspective, the last show I saw was DIO, and he died in 2010 (RIP man).

This isn't all a bad thing. My husband and I are into a lot of things like sports, beer shows, hikes, travel, etc. which take up a good part of our time and finances. It's not like I'm suffering not going to concerts, it's just something that's been put on the back burner. I remember a few years ago when Tim McGraw came here, and my first instinct was yes, he's a 90s country legend I haven't seen, I should go! But he was playing a big arena. It was expensive. It would have been crowded and trafficy and my husband doesn't even like country music. So all that hassle and expense for a show only one of us would enjoy, not worth it. And it's kinda been that way ever since. Miranda Lambert came here this month, she's one of my favourite artists and I've never seen her, but I missed the boat on that one. I was into her from the very beginning, before she was huge, and I should have seen her then. Now it'll be the same issue as Tim - a lot of hassle.

So that's the situation in Edmonton. A lot of big names come here, but I like smaller shows. If it wasn't too much of a hassle or too expensive, my husband could probably endure a few evenings of country music a year, but it's all these huge venue shows. A mid-tier artist like say, Sunny Sweeney, just isn't going to come here unless as an opener.

So that leaves rock, which still suffers from the Edmonton Problem of being mostly big arena acts, but at least my husband likes it so that's one barrier removed. Then, the seemingly perfect thing happened. I got into up and coming UK band Creeper, started following them, and learned they're touring with Canadian band Silverstein and coming to Edmonton! Now that's one way to see a smaller act here, if they get on a tour with a mid-tier Canadian act. I looked up the venue and it sounded great, a cozy tavern with tables and a dinner menu and great craft beer selection. My kind of place, 100%. I looked today to make sure tickets were still available, and saw Creeper had been removed from the lineup. :(

Okay, shit happens, but here's where I feel angry and fucked. It's not like they cancelled the Canadian leg of their tour, NO, they're still playing SK the night before and BC two nights later! It's JUST EDMONTON that's been cancelled. Why? They have to bloody well pass through AB to get from SK to BC!!! So, with the kind of year I've had, I can only presume it's to personally fuck me over. They're apparently coming next February with another UK band, but at a different venue that sounds awful. Some shitty nightclub with no craft beer. I'd say I'm too old for that shit, but I've never been young enough for that shit.

So the quest for my 1st Canadian show continues. Will it ever happen? Who will it be? Stay tuned I guess, but not like, too closely. It has been five years already. 🙄

Friday, October 13, 2017

Feel Good Friday the 13th

Rewatching The Midnight Hour reminded me of how much I love this song. Awoooooooo!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

tbt ~ Stevie Nicks

Bella Donna is a beautiful album. Everyone knows the duets with the great Tom Petty and Don Henley, but this gorgeous, country-tinged track needs more spins.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday ~ scary movies!

Let's talk about three more movies I watched this past week.

1. Don't Go To Sleep

You might not believe it, but THIS THING SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME. Yup, a TV movie from 1982 scared the pants off of this veteran horror fan. Like, you don't expect an old TV movie to be too hardcore, but this one goes there, man. This thing murders small children and has one of the scariest-looking apparitions I've EVER seen in a movie. If it were redone today, it would be fakey-looking CGI going BLARGH at you, and not scary at all. But this scared me as much as The Exorcist, maybe even more. Yeesh! (And yes, that is a recommendation.)


AHHHHHHHHH WHAT IS IT I THINK IT JUST TOOK MY SOUL 😨

2. Rifftrax: When a Stranger Calls Back

I have vague memories of watching the original When a Stranger Calls, but did you know that 14 years later, the stranger called back? I remember liking the original, and I usually enjoy Carol Kane. Well she's back for this one but yeeeeah, that didn't save it. Nothing could save this bizarre tale of mullets, ventriloquists, and Charles Durning's... Charles Durningness. (Seriously, his girth should have been billed as its own character.) However, I highly recommend the Rifftrax version because it's hilarious, and the end of the movie is absolutely BATSHIT. Like, it's worth seeing the ending even unriffed, but the rest of it would be a slog, unless you're a big fan of lady hockey hair.

3. Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings

Hoo boy. I said I would watch it, and watch it I did. Welp, nothing about it is remotely as good as the original, the end! Okay, okay. So there's a Pumpkinhead, and an old witch, but not the same old witch, and maybe not the same Pumpkinhead?? Yeah, it's one of those "sequels," where nothing actually continues from the last one. Not exactly Halloween II. In fact, if the original is comparable to Halloween in quality, the sequel is more like a lower-budget I Know What You Did Last Summer, or one of those generic 90s teen horror movies. They actually make for a pretty good contrast between 80s and 90s horror. Not that all 80s was good, or all 90s was bad (though I can't think of many good horror movies from the 90s to the mid-2000s, honestly), just generalizing.

I'll put aside that the acting, writing, story, and most sadly, the effects and cinematography are noticeably lower quality. It's a direct to video "sequel," I don't think anyone from the original returned to work on this, and boy does it show. But I could excuse all that if it wasn't missing one important thing the first one had - heart. What happened to Lance Henriksen's character was truly tragic and you felt for him, and understood why he did what he did. The stock "city kids on a weekend trip to the boonies" fish out of water trope was actually done pretty well, for that kind of thing. None of the actors were bad, only one character was unsympathetic and he was supposed to be, at least until the end.

That brings me to another crucial missing element - a damn point. The plot to the first movie made sense - kid gets hit by bike, revenge ensues. It wasn't contrived, it was something that would actually happen. But in part II, a bunch of dumb kids just randomly decide to raise the dead, spur of the moment like! No build up, just "welp, we're here, might as well do this!" In other words, pure horror movie contrivance. There's no reason for any of it to happen, and therefore there's no real reason to watch this movie.

The main character girl, we'll call her not-Nicole-Eggert cause I kept having to remind myself it wasn't her, was SO DUMB. The guy she hooks up with is obviously a creep, and not in a charming "bad boy" way, he has all the blank faced charm of Michael Myers. But this girl is just like "tee hee, whatever!" I guess to show she's rebelling against her cop dad, but it would have worked better if the guy was remotely appealing. She just comes off as a future abuse victim here, and it's kind of unsettling how it's glossed over. I don't feel like she learned anything about future boyfriend selection, though I'm pretty sure her head is stuffed with circus peanuts so she might not have learned to tie her own shoes either.

Also unlike the first movie, not all of this made sense. The Pumpkinhead in this one was... son of Pumpkinhead? How the hell did Pumpkinhead conceive a child with a human woman? I know that kind of thing has been done before but there's no explanation for it here, just "well, this thing happened," like you're ordering a sandwich and a demon baby from the deli, no big deal. Also, were there two Pumpkinheads in this world, or did this one just become the new Pumpkinhead? IS IT POSSIBLE I'M OVERTHINKING THIS? I should not be so confused by a movie called Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.

So, any positives? Well, the opening scene was interesting, if disturbing. It drew me in. Then the dumb kids showed up, and NOPE. When your most interesting character is the deformed guy that doesn't speak and gets killed in the first few minutes, you might have a bad movie.

Umm... Kane Hodder, Roger Clinton, and Punky Brewster are all in this, so that's a sentence I just got to say.

The blood wings imagery was cool and creepy, and I liked that mystery element, even if it wasn't really a mystery since you saw what happened in the opening scene. Still, I'll take what I can get. I did watch the whole movie, it wasn't boring or anything, it just didn't live up to the original and could have been way better. There was a semblance of an idea here, but it never took shape.

And NO PUMPKIN GRAVEYARD, boooooo! 😡

Friday, October 06, 2017

FRIGHTFUL Friday ~ horror movie spotlight

PUMPKINHEAD (1988)

You know when a movie just hits you, just right? That's what happened with my first viewing of Pumpkinhead last night. HOW did I miss an 80s movie with pumpkin in the title all this time?? I would have loved staying up late and watching this as a teenager. Hell, I loved staying up late and watching it as an adult.

This movie has a pumpkin patch graveyard. A PUMPKIN PATCH GRAVEYARD. All your spooky Halloween imagery in one convenient location!


So first off, this movie LOOKS gorgeous. It has those perfectly creepy, atmospheric settings you want in a horror movie, from the pumpkin patch graveyard (still not over the awesomeness of THAT) to the old witch's cabin. I love movies that take place in isolated, rural settings, it just amps up the creepiness, and this is one of the best examples I've seen. Not only does it look great, it actually has a good and occasionally heart-wrenching story, as well as good acting. Lance Henriksen gives a great understated performance, you really feel for him, and what happens at the end makes sense and feels like a logical conclusion to the movie's events (sometimes horror films devise endings that feel like they were pulled from the nearest ass). The monster and the visual effects in general are awesome. This film is a great argument in favour of practical effects vs CGI in horror, and how much more they make you feel the movie. Not surprising, as it was directed by special effects master Stan Winston.

This is the first of two movies I'll be discussing this month that I have a vague personal connection with. I once met John D'Aquino, who played the handsome jerky guy who redeems himself at the end, at a party in LA and he was super nice and cool. A little flirty. Good memory. :)

So, if you're like me and think atmosphere is one of the most important things in a horror movie, check this one out. This is in the same category as Halloween for me, a genuinely good (not cheesy) film that really captures the spirit of the season. I didn't even mind the few jump scares. Funny how they seem more effective than annoying when the movie's actually good. A new favourite I'll be returning to often!

I am planning to check out the sequel made in 1994. I doubt I'll check out any of the other sequels, as they were made in the 2000s (ugh).

Feel Good Friday ~ 80s Fall playlist

I grew up in the 80s, and for me three things are forever linked with the decade of my childhood - Fall/Halloween, horror movies, and rock music. GOOD rock music, back when it popped, before it sludged into Nickelback and wannabes. 😡

(Forgive me if I'm a little salty. They were playing that awful "I'm sorry I'm bad" song at the supermarket.)

Anyway, here are some classic power pop/rock songs that are perfect for long walks in the crispy leaves. You can close your eyes* and pretend Journey is still together. (Just open them again before you cross the street.)

*When you close your eyes, do you dream about me? Okay, guess I have to add Night Ranger now.

Way too many songs to post videos, so here's a Spotify playlist. 31 songs (cause there's 31 days in October, GET IT??) Ft. Journey, Pat Benatar, The Cars, Huey Lewis, Marshall Crenshaw, Stevie Nicks, Asia, The Moody Blues, Prince, Tom Petty (RIP), and more.

https://open.spotify.com/user/emperorcupcake22/playlist/0jiriOlHOHVvHRMGBrwj2q

Have a spooktacular Rocktober!🤘

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

New Music Tuesday

I haven't listened to The Killers' new album yet. It's gotten kinda "okay" reviews and of the three songs I heard, only this one grabbed me. But boy, did it ever grab me. This is my official Rocktober™ jam, crank it!