Posts

Showing posts from October, 2018

Tusk (2014)

Image
One of the classic Ren and Stimpy episodes, from the first season before they fired John Kricfalusi, is where the pair get a job as rubber nipple salesmen.  At one point they knock on the door of a talking horse who is dressed in rubber from the waist down, who states he doesn't have a use for rubber nipples, but wonders if they have any rubber walrus protectors.  He produces said walrus, who then begs them to call the police.

This is a movie for anyone who ever wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes.

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) has a successful podcast with his friend Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) called the Not See Party.  Their idea is something along the line of the two describing things to each other for a funny result, as the other can not see what is happening.  One of the things that comes up is a boy from Winnipeg they dub the "Kill Bill Kid", as he sends them a video of him playing with a katana and accidentally cutting off his own leg.  Intrigued, Wa…

Dracula's Dog (1977)

Image
Somehow we never got Dracula's Wet Nurse or Dracula's 8th Grade Lunch Lady, but we at least got a vampire's best friend with Dracula's Dog.  If you are unfamiliar with this particular familiar, then you may have encountered t his at sometime in the past as Zoltan,.. Hound of Dracula.  It is quite low budget, but manages to still be a decent drive-in flick.

Russian soldiers are excavating an area in Romania and end up uncovering a tomb with a number of Draculas in it.  Turns out the whole family had a habit of becoming vampires at one point or another, and the last one (Michael Pataki) managed to acquire a large doberman owned by a man named Veidt Smith (Reggie Nalder).  He also ends up acquiring Smith as his servant.

A guard (Tom Gerrard) left to guard the tomb is awakened by a rumbling that expels one of the coffins.  Curious, he opens it and finds a stake driven through the body inside.  Removing it brings Zoltan back to life.  The god quickly kills the guard and re…

The Revenge of Dr. X (1970)

Image
There are those that save up every cent in pursuit of their dreams.  They max out their credit cards to make a movie.  They go door to door trying to get investors.  The movie that they want to make, even if it is only one, has been floating around in their brain for years.  It has to come out.  It is a matter of life or death that this film see the light of day.

And, then, there are those who just really couldn't care about what they're making.  They somehow stumbled upon a few unused reels of film, put it in a camera, hired a couple people and pointed the camera at them.  At that point they might as well have just left to go home, pop open a bottle of sangria and call it a day.

The Revenge of Dr. X, also known as The Venus Flytrap and The Devil Garden (just so you are forewarned if you run into those titles) is definitely the latter.

Dr. Bragan (James Craig) is a NASA scientist who is starting to show signs of getting overworked.  His assistant Dr. Nakamura (James Yagi) sugg…

Split (2016)

Image
I was reluctant to see Split for a number of reasons.  Of course, one of those was that it is an M. Night Shyamalan film.  He had gone from the one of the best new talents to a joke on the level of Uwe Bohl within a decade.  Still, even though I didn't think it was a great film, with The Visithe at least started making an attempt to return to making movies that were enjoyable to watch and not completely in service of a twist ending.

Besides Shyamalan, there was the plot.  I have seen so many movies where it turned out that the shock ending was simply the good guy and the bad guy were the same person.  And, every single time, they refer to it as schizophrenia.  Every time they are wrong (dissociative identity disorder is not schizophrenia or even near it), and they do the schizophrenic community a disservice by making them all look like they are about to switch to their serial killer identity at any point and try to boil their kids alive.  Where there is so much talk right now abo…

Get Out (2017)

Image
I am going to say right from the beginning that I am going to largely be avoiding jumping into a lot of what this movie has to say about race.  I know it's an important component of the movie itself, but it is not subtext; it is right there on the surface.  There is subtext, I am sure, that I have missed, simply because of a certain obvious reason.  Suffice it to say this movie had enough to it, and successfully presented it, in a way that there are now college courses focusing on the Black experience through horror films.  After this paragraph, I will leave all that to people who actually know what they're talking about.

What I know about, after all these years, is what makes a great horror movie.  Also, what makes a great director of horror movies.  I have also been frustrated in recent years that, just like many of my favorite musicians, my favorite directors are getting older, many retiring from the business or passing away.  Unlike most of the music I like, where I under…

Final Destination 5 (2011)

Image
Some horror series manage to wear out their welcome rather quickly.  Still, you would think that a concept of having an invisible force that embodies death trying to right reality by killing off those who should have died in increasingly gruesome manners would have been something that would have sparked years of creativity.  There would be some especially high hopes since Final Destinationwas based on a script for an X-Files episode that was rejected.

Truth is, the first movie doesn't really live up to the promise of the concept, but Final Destination 2surprisingly did.  It seemed the key, strangely enough, was not to take the concept as seriously as one would like to.  Instead, going over the top with some of the gore to the point of hilarity, while still making a decent film with characters you don't want to see die, seemed to be a perfect fit.  Unfortunately, this was conveniently forgotten for Final Destination 3and The Final Destination.  Still the same directors for the…

The Final Destination (2009)

Image
If there was one series that had some promise to it early on it was Final Destination, even if it didn't really fulfill its promise until the second movie.  Unfortunately, Final Destination 3abandoned everything that was good about the second part.  Still, it continued to sell tickets, even if 2000s horror proved to be about as awful as the music that often accompanied it on the soundtrack.

I would definitely not say The Final Destination, the film that was originally meant to end the series, is a great film (or horror film) by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it does wipe away some of the bad taste of the third movie.

It's a day at the races with Nick (Bobby Campo) and his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten), their annoying friend Hunt (Nick Zano) and his on again/off again girlfriend Janet (Haley Webb).  This time it is Nick that sees the death of everyone around him in a hail of flying car parts, collapsing concrete and fire.  He panics, drags his friends out, …

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Image
Picture me at 20 years old.  One of the few (if possibly only) celebrity crushes I ever had (with Winona Ryder) before realizing how silly and stupid such things are.  But, then again, most of the guys I saw Bram Stoker's Dracula with our various press passes largely were the same way.  Not to mention, as someone truly getting into film, I had discovered Francis Ford Coppola through The Godfather, its sequels and Apocalypse Now

And here was this brand new film from one of my cinematic heroes, starring one of the few actresses that, at the time, I thought could do no wrong!  Not to mention Anthony Hopkins, who had been in The Silence of the Lambsjust the year before, in a performance and a film that I had already started judging others by.  Yes, there was some guy named Gary Oldman playing Dracula himself, whoever that was (I had not seen, or heard, of Sid and Nancy at that point, even though I was a Sex Pistols fan; typical 20-year old). 

Well, of course I loved it.  The visual…

Dracula (1979)

Image
For some reason in my mind I equated this movie with another called The Curse of Dracula, which had been played as part of an NBC show called Cliffhangers in 1979.  For years I thought John Badham's movie had been sliced, re-edited and fit into that anthology program.  Turns out I was wrong, although I did remember seeing the end of it at some point when I was a kid.  Otherwise, this 1979 retelling of Bram Stoker's novel remains one of the more obscure versions.

It really shouldn't have been that way, but 1979, besides the television show, also saw a glut of vampire movies in theaters.  Werner Herzog remade Nosferatuwhile the perma-tanned George Hamilton parodied the whole genre in Love at First Bite.  Not to mention there were other Dracula-themed television movies and shows at the time.  It may be why I remember it as a jumble, since I was only seven at the time.

This time around we find Dracula (Frank Langella) arriving in England aboard the Demeter.  The crew gets win…

Horror of Dracula (1958)

Image
If you think reboots are anything new, then think again.  Universal had played out its monsters by the mid 1940s, relegating them to things encountered by comedians Abbott and Costello.  The advent of television kept them in the public consciousness as the old movies got played to fill time.  Also, more importantly, the Hayes Code, and enforcement of it, began to fade.

One studio that took advantage of the changing times was a British company called Hammer.  Hammer had been making films for over a decade when they suddenly struck gold with rebooting the old Universal horror franchises, largely with the participation of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  They were successful enough to stretch both their Frankenstein and Dracula series from the late 1950s into the early 1970s.

Dracula, released as Horror of Dracula in the U.S. so people wouldn't think it was another re-release of the 1931 movie, was largely the movie that set the framework for what was to come.  Even more loosely b…

House of Dracula (1945)

Image
The more the Marvel Universe these days throws together almost every super hero they can find reminds me of how Universal used to do the same thing.  Going forward from Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, any opportunity the studio had to put as many monsters on screen as possible, even if it didn't make a lick of sense, they took.  Unfortunately, it meant that Larry Talbot's continued search for a cure for his lycanthropy became campier and sillier as things went on, and The Wolf Man never got a proper sequel.

House of Dracula somewhat ties up a number of franchises, and it was really the last for most of them save Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  It's more of a direct sequel to House of Frankensteinthan it is anything having to do with the previous three Dracula films, and thus more of a continuation of Talbot's story than that of the Transylvanian count.

Dracula (John Carradine), under the guise of Baron Latos, comes to the Weisseria to be treated by Dr. Franz E…

Son of Dracula (1943)

Image
I am beginning to understand why Dracula left Transylvania and rented Carfax Abbey.  It was probably to try and get out of supporting his kids.  Don't get me wrong; child support is a good thing to make sure they're taken care of until 18.  When you get to immortals into the mix?  Not so good.  First we had his moody, goth daughter who had daddy issues, and now we have the ne'er-do-well son whose main scheme is to marry rich.  It's enough to make one want to greet the dawn with open arms.

In all seriousness, however, in this second sequel to the original Dracula, there is really little linking it other than the family name.  This time the vampire comes to America (not Brooklyn, so luckily Eddie Murphy didn't get any more ideas) instead of spending his time hanging around dreary old London.  However, junior is definitely not the sharpest fang in the mouth, as his ruse starts to unravel about the time his luggage shows up.

Said luggage arrives by train, and is retri…

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Image
Draculawas one of the highest grossing movies in the 1930s, both during its initial run and re-release.  A sequel was inevitable, but there were a few things to overcome.  One, as usual, was Florence Stoker, who demanded more and more creative control in order to allow a script based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula's Guest" to be filmed.  Naturally, the studio also wanted to bring back Bela Lugosi; however, he was not going to be content this time around to accept next to nothing for filming his part.

It didn't help that Universal was having some financial problems.  The Laemmle family found themselves borrowing money to keep the studio afloat.  A Dracula sequel would conceivably help bring them out of trouble, but the movie only evolved in starts and stops.  James Whale was to direct, but his script was rejected, and eventually Garrett Fort was brought in to write it.  And, in fact, keep writing it, as the movie started filming before the script was complete.  It also…

Drácula (1931)

Image
One thing the silent era made easy was for films to be distributed around the world, regardless of language.  Change the intertitle cards and, voilá, the film (as long as you don't read lips) could have been produced anywhere.  With sound films things changed.

Originally the Spanish version of Dracula, meant to be marketed to Spanish audiences in the United States as well as Mexico, was to just be a Spanish dub of the same movie.  Instead, it became more cost-effective to just film a second, Spanish version at night with director George Melford and a completely separate Latin cast.

Since the Spanish version was not beholden to some of the same restraints as the U.S. one, and also because producer Carl Laemmle paid a bit less attention and didn't demand the same editing as he did on Tod Browning's version, this alternate take on the story of the Transylvanian count (based on Bram Stoker's novel, the stage adaptation of it and F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu) has gained qu…

Dracula (1931)

Image
Dracula, a late 19th century Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker, was adapted into the movie Nosferatu, a Symphony of TerrorThey tried to make enough things different to avoid a lawsuit if it came, and came it did.  Bram Stoker's widow was none too pleased and did what she could to have the movie destroyed.  Luckily, she failed in that respect, and F. W. Murnau's Expressionistic horror classic still exists.  It also serve, among other aspects, to influence what would become the cornerstone for vampire movies going forward: Universal's production of Dracula.

Carl Laemmle, head of of Universal Pictures, had wanted to do an adaptation of the novel since 1914, but budget problems and difficulties obtaining film rights had stalled him.  Originally meant to be much closer to the novel, the ultimate movie was largely based on a stage play loosely adapted from it, while also grabbing a few of the more memorable moments from Nosferatu, including the idea that a vampire could not …