31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: AND THE REST
While I didn't get as many full reviews in as I would have liked, I did actually watch the films, and so that's something I guess. Here is a series of short reviews of the remaining films I watched.
This was the 2nd of three Mario Bava films I watched this month, and it was way better than Black Sabbath. It's a pretty nifty turn of the century murder mystery involving witches and ghosts. Bava creates the perfect atmosphere for the story and while in the end you might feel a bit shorted, the journey to that point is so good you probably won't care.
Vincent Price and Peter Cushing had oddly enough only been in one film together prior to this film and they weren't in a single scene together, so this must have been like Heat to Price and Cushing fans back in the day. Price plays a horror movie start (big stretch) whose bride to be is killed under mysterious circumstances and causes Price to go a little mad. He returns to his old stomping grounds a few years later and tries to revive his career only to find a new set of murders taking place around him. Cushing plays a close friend who takes him in and helps him try to get his career back on track. The mystery itself is pretty weak; the killer is fairly obvious from the get go. What is extremely interesting is how the film uses a lot of the motifs of the Giallo, and for fans of the Italian sub genre (of which I am a huge one), it's kind of entertaining to see an American verison. Also, Price and Cushing are great as always. This would actually be Price's last picture with AIP so it's kind of a fun last hurrah. This type of Gothic melodrama would go out of style after the success of The Exorcist so it's nice to see all the people involved were able to get one last one in.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (2012)
I guess the Paranormal Activity movies are critic proof for me because I enjoyed the hell out of this film. I agree with almost all of the complaints lobbied at the film especially with the identity of Hunter being 100% preposterous, but the movie works on the most basic level of horror movies; it's creepy quite a bit of the running time and that was enough for me on this weekend afternoon.
HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971)
This is a fairly popular late Hammer entry for a lot of fans. I will admit first off to not being the biggest Hammer guy, but that has more to do with still having to see quite a bit of their library, but what can I say? I'm a Universal Monsters guy. And this one didn't really make me change my mind. It involves Jack the Ripper's daughter all grown up and being possessed by her Dad or having the same sickness he had or something. It's never really clear. And the whole sequence of events is more seedy than scary; just wasn't for me. But the film has a lot of fans so if you enjoy Hammer or are intrigued by a unique take on the Ripper story you might want to check it out.
PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)
2nd Poe adaptation this month and the much better one. I need to correct a few errors from my review of Masque. There were 8 (not 7) Poe adaptations by Roger Corman, and Price was only in 5 of them (not all). With that out of the way, any Price fan who hasn't seen this yet needs to immediately. This quickly shot to the top of my list of favorite Price films. Like many Poe stories there is not a lot of plot in Pendulum, but they create a very intriguing mystery around the set-piece of the title. Said set-piece makes a very scary appearance in the last sequence of the film and Price is just outstanding in the lead. One of my favorite discoveries of the month.
DEADLY BLESSING (1981)
Wes Craven's third film after his fairly popular Last House on the Left and Hills Have Eyes might seem like a bit of step down in intensity, but that was fine with me since I detest the former and find the latter to be fairly mediocre. Deadly Blessing is by no means a great film, and it was nothing compared to the Nightmares he would give us just 3 years later, but it's not too bad. Craven finds a lot of suspense in a creepy sect of religious zealots - they make the children of the corn look pretty tame in comparison. The murder mystery at the center of the film (seems to be a recurring theme in this last crop of films) has a pretty sloppy set-up, but the denouement is one of the most bizarre you will ever see. I'll just leave it at that. Also early Sharon Stone role, who gets not 1 but 2 creepy sequences with some spiders. And the last shot just has to be seen to be believed.
These were all of the films I watched for the first time. I also saw these favorites of mine that I had not revisited in awhile:
- An American Werewolf in London (1981)
- Halloween (1978)
- The Ring (2002)
- Deep Red (1975)
- Demons (1986)
- Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)
- The Invisible Man (1933)
I had a lot of fun and I hope to do this next year with more full reviews and a more consistent schedule. I also plan on keeping the reviewing going after this. I hope to be tackling new movies (in theaters and on DVD) and doing more retrospectives. I also have some other ideas in the works that might manifest into something on this blog at some point. Either way I hope to be back soon. Thanks to everyone who tagged along with me this month, and I hope everyone has had a Happy Halloween.