Author Topic: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon  (Read 8784 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2013, 05:51:17 AM »


Die Augen der Mumie Ma (The Eyes of the Mummy)
Year of Release: 1918
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch
Starring: Emil Jannings, Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke
Genre: Horror Thriller, Melodrama

Overview:
Albert Wendland, a young painter studying in Egypt, overhears Prince Hohenfels' plans to visit the mysterious tomb of Queen Ma.  Albert is intrigued when he hears a local legend: anyone who enters the crypt meets with disaster.  Ignoring the warning, Wendland journeys to the forbidden burial chamber and finds not a mummy but a beautiful woman, Mara, who is held prisoner by the evil Radu.  Albert rescues Mara and takes her to his European home where they are soon married.  Provided with beautiful clothes, she becomes acquainted with the ways of polite society.  Meanwhile, Radu has sworn revenge upon Mara.  The tragic curse of the mummy hangs over her head!

The Eyes of the Mummy was produced by prolific German UFA studio and boasts a who's who of movie legends.  The film was directed by a young Ernst Lubitsch, who would gain worldwide acclaim for films such as The Love Parade and Heaven Can Wait.  Emil Jannings, star of such classics as The Last Laugh and The Blue Angel, stars as Radu.  Polish femme fatale Pola Negri stars as the doomed Mara.  Negri made many films in Germany with Lubitsch before immigrating to Hollywood where her love affairs garnered more attention than her acting.

My Thoughts
This wasn't really a horror movie, despite being listed as one and having Mummy in the title.  It's really a melodrama/thriller.  Looking at it from that perspective, it's not a bad movie.  Emil Jannings is suitably sinister and threatening. Pola Negri does a commendable job as Ma, the beautiful girl who lives in fear of him, and Harry Liedtke is at least believable as her devoted husband.  While not up to the quality of his later works, Lubitsch's direction here is beginning to show his talent.  

Yes, this is a silent film, and the viewer should expect it to be one.  The acting is over-the-top by modern standards, the makeup heavy, the plot extremely simple.  Take the film as what it is, consider the year it was made in, and it's not that bad a movie, though.  

My only complaint is with my DVD copy of the film.  I'm accustomed to poor video quality, so the fact that this isn't remastered in any way didn't really bother me - yes, there were scratches and dings in the video, but they didn't take away any enjoyment for me.  What was noticeable is that the music soundtrack wasn't synced properly, so that the music would change either just before or just after the scene did, instead of properly with the change of scene.  I'm sure this is because of the cheapness of the Alpha Video release I have.

Bechdel Test: Pass
(for silent films, I will count any interaction between two women that isn't obviously about a man - here between Ma and her tutor)

Overall: 2.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
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Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2013, 05:07:09 AM »


I tre volti della paura (Black Sabbath)
Year of Release: 1964
Directed By: Mario Bava
Starring: Michèle Mercier, Lidia Alfonsi, Boris Karloff, Mark Damon, Susy Andersen, Jacqueline Pierreux
Genre: Horror

Overview:
Experience Mario Bava's horror classic BLACK SABBATH - as it's never been seen in America before!  A beautiful woman is terrorized by calls from an ex-lover who has escaped prison for the pleasure of killing her...  a family becomes a feeding ground when their father returns home wounded after ridding the countryside of a hideous vampire...  a nurse is haunted by reproaches from the Beyond after stealing a ring from the finger of a dead medium!  Join Boris Karloff as he hosts (and stars in) this trilogy of terror tales - presented in its original aspect ratio and in Italian with English subtitles, with every shock intact!

My Thoughts:
This is a wonderful anthology film, with three good stories to tell - each stronger than the one before it.  If my favorite was "The Wurdulak," I would have to admit that the last story "The Drop of Water" was the strongest and most chilling; and that the first ("The Telephone") is still good.  All of the performances are strong, but Jacqueline Pierreux's is the best, as the haunted nurse in "Water."  I have a soft spot for Karloff, though, and he is quite sinister in his role here.  All of the women are beautiful, as perhaps only the women in horror films of this age were, very lush and voluptuous when compared to the stars of today. 

My other reasoning for my preference for "The Wurdulak" is that I really love Gothic style horror, and this is the only one of the three in that mold.  It has the best art direction and eerie locations.  Also a really great fog effect.  This is the first of Bava's films I've seen, though I've read a lot about him, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of his work.  There's not really any gore - there's much more reliance on atmosphere and story, and this is what I like in a film.  Recommended for any fans of 60's-70's era horror films, such as Hammer Studios stuff.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 3.75/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2013, 05:24:54 AM »
I know you like older movies as I do (in a different genre, but you know what I mean), so I hope you'll excuse me for going a little bit off-topic :shrug:

In case you didn't know The Haunting will be release next week on blu-ray and the review I've read about the disc is quite positive. Mine is already in the mail and I expect to get it at the end of next week.

BTW if you get the chance to watch Bay of Blood don't hesitate, this is another excellent Mario Bava's film.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2013, 09:01:29 AM »
In case you didn't know The Haunting will be release next week on blu-ray
Oh, good one! That'll go in my wish list. Thanks for pointing it out, Jimmy. Not sure why I never bought this on DVD, but now that it's on blu it's a no-brainer.

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2013, 09:06:06 AM »
Probably for the same reason I did... it's a snapper case :laugh:

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2013, 02:25:32 PM »
And it's a pretty cheap release.  I have The Haunting on DVD, but I might just have to upgrade.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2013, 05:36:16 AM »


Coraline
Year of Release:  2009
Directed By: Henry Selick
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher
Genre: Horror, Adventure

Overview:
From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas comes a visually stunning stop-motion animated feature – the first to be originally filmed in 3-D! Discover how the filmmakers and artisans created the magical handmade world of Coraline, exclusively in this 2-Disc Collector's Edition!

Coraline Jones is bored in her new home until she finds a secret door that leads her into a world that's just like her own...but better! But when this fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her "other" Mother tries to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness and bravery to get home. Coraline  is a "visual marvel" (Claudia Puig, USA Today).

My Thoughts:
I last saw this delightful film four years ago, and I don't know why we waited so long to watch it again. 

Of course, when I saw it last time I was under the mistaken impression that this was a Tim Burton film.  Of course, it is not - but I can be forgiven, I think, for the mistake.  It's from collaborators of Burton's and shares a lot of the same visual and atmospheric style as Burton's films. 

This is a wonderful, creepy film with a delightful Gothic atmosphere, beautifully crafted stop-motion animation and very decent voice acting.  It's strong story has its origin in a book by Neil Gaiman, and the visuals are very striking.  Coraline is a strong, resourceful character, and the Other Mother character is creepy from the beginning and only gets creepier as the film progresses from dream to nightmare.  Some of my friends were really creeped out by the button eyes in the film.  I mean they found it really, really creepy.  Much more than the film deserves.

I like this film a lot and recommend it for anyone old enough to handle its spooky nature (so like 8 and up, could go younger for mature kids).

Bechdel Test:  Pass

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2013, 05:15:26 AM »


The Real Wolfman
Year of Release: 2009
Directed By: Carsten Oblaender
Starring: Jonathan Adams, Ken Gerhardt, George Deuchar
Genre: Documentary

Overview:
In the mid 1700s, a mysterious beast viciously attacked and killed 102 villagers in the French village of Gevaudan.  The victims, mostly women and children, were mauled and decapitated, their naked bodies all bearing the savage bite marks of a non-human creature.  The killings mark the largest number of alleged werewolf attacks in history and are a contributor to the Hollywood "Wolfman" legend.  Venture deep into the mythology and folklore of werewolves with renowned cryptozoologist Ken Gerhardt and veteran criminal profiler George Deuchar as they investigate the reviled creature believed to brutally kills when the moon is full.  Their investigation includes intriguing paranormal transformations, diseases that make men look and act like animals, and strange but true stories of children raised by wolves.  What they uncover in dark side of human nature is the horrific truth behind the Gevaudan werewolf attacks, and the wolfman within us all.

My Thoughts:
This was a decent History Channel documentary examining the case of the Beast of Gevaudan and what the truth might be behind it.  The two investigators seemed pretty credible, and their tactics for finding out what might lie behind the tales of a werewolf were something of what I might try myself.  Even their conclusion held up pretty well to us, though afterward we talked about it and elaborated on their theory - one part of it didn't hold water for me, but the vast majority of their conclusion was pretty credible, and did work for me. 

I'd recommend this is you like the History Channel's style of documentary (this does have a repeating of prior info at the commercial break sections, and I know that annoys some folks) and have an interest in the subject.  I thought it was pretty well done.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2013, 01:52:13 AM »


The Beast That Killed Women
Year of Release: 1965
Directed By: Barry Mahon
Starring: Miami Beach's Most Lovely Nudists
Genre: Horror, Sexploitation

Overview:
Poor Delores Carlos. Unable to get an even tan, she and hubby Byron Mabe scurry off to a Miami nudist camp at precisely the same moment the camp is invaded by THE BEAST THAT KILLED WOMEN, a goofy-looking gorilla with an appetite for the ladies! Murder and panic quickly spread through the camp: "She said he was big and hairy!" Worse, the hardened police even march right through a game of nude volleyball with a corpse on a stretcher! Finally, after Miss Carlos is chased by the big monkey, a pretty policewoman volunteers to enter the camp as ape bait...

My Thoughts:
I'm not sure I've seen a sillier film than this - even Sting of Death, with its "do the jellyfish" dance.  Also, this may be the worst film I've ever seen that also remains fun and enjoyable.  Admittedly, it's of the so-bad-it's-hilarious type of fun, and it simply begs for some MST3K work.  There's not much plot, there's no acting or production value, even the monster, being simply the director in a dime-store gorilla suit, isn't well done.  Really the entire film is there to watch mostly naked, attractive women walk around outdoors or do things like play volleyball, swim, or square dance.  Mostly naked, because they are never shown full frontal, and - even though this is a nudist camp - most of the men wear shorts the entire time, and a lot of the time everyone is clothed.  So it's just a lot of boobs and butts - but though they're naked, it's treated so casually that there's not really any titillation.  I guess it's actually like a real nudist camp in that respect, except that all of the women are attractive.  Despite there being a monster, and a woman that gets killed, there isn't any horror to this film either.   So, recommended for aficionados of bad films, or anyone who wants to look at attractive girls from the 60's topless.  Otherwise, this is a terrible film and you should skip it.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 1.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2013, 02:08:05 AM »
As I wrote in my review back in 2008... hard to believe I wrote for so long here.

"This is how to view and understand those films : They were the way to show woman nudity on screen legally more than forty years ago."

"If you want to pass an hour in front of your TV without thinking too much and seeing some beautiful and natural looking woman (and some men bottom), this is the movie for you."

A warning for you, don't watch The Monster of Camp Sunshine this isn't just an awfull film but also a really boring one.

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2013, 02:23:25 AM »
Yeah, that's pretty accurate to my experience.  It was something to watch with lovely women while I was sewing.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2013, 05:43:26 AM »


The Killer Shrews
Year of Release: 1959
Directed By: Ray Kellogg
Starring: James Best, Ingrid Goude, Ken Curtis, Gordon McLendon, Baruch Lumet
Genre: Horror, Science-Fiction

Overview:
A fierce hurricane strands a group of strangers on a remote island.  They stumble upon a crazed scientist working on a way to shrink humans to solve the over-population problem.  Unfortunately, his wild experiments have created some giant shrew creatures hungry for human flesh.

My Thoughts:
This is a laughably bad movie that takes itself way too serious for a film with this title.  The characters are stock, the dialog is lame, the outcomes are completely predictable, and the monster killer shrews are played by dogs that appear to be wearing bathmats!  Or, for closeups, an extremely bad puppet. 

Yet - cue ominous music! - it's still an entertaining watch if you like B-grade monster movies from the 50's.  The premise is sound enough, and the cast and crew seem to actually be giving it a good effort.  It's a kind of bad movie with spunk.  The actors, for the most part, are giving it their all and trying to portray and develop their stock personas into characters.  The hero is a bit more articulate than usual, the scientist not exactly mad, and the brutish spurned lover is also a coward.  The hero's best friend is also the token black guy, so naturally he's the first to go - but how often do you see a friendship across color lines in films of this age anyway?  I can't remember very many.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys 50's B-grade monster movies.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 2/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline GSyren

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2013, 09:23:20 AM »
Spot on, Danae!

The Killer Shrews is definitely in the category "so bad it's good". I love 50's B-grade monster movies, and I enjoyed this movie a lot.

I haven't seen the 2012 (better late than never?) sequel. Not sure I want to. But it's fun that James Best is in that one, too. He's 87 years old now, and still working. That's strong. He co-wrote it, too.

I don't know... I think that the original shrew design (dogs with bathmats, as you put it)  was more fun.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2013, 03:13:09 AM »
James Best?  Roscoe fighting killer shrews?  Well..that just might get me to hunt these down sometime.

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's 2013 Horror Marathon
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2013, 04:57:22 AM »


Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face)
Year of Release: 1959
Directed By: Georges Franju
Starring: Edith Scob, Pierre Brasaeur, Alida Valli,
Genre: Horror, Suspense/Thriller

Overview:
Secluded in the French countryside, a brilliant, obsessive doctor attempts a radical plastic surgery that could restore the beauty of his daughter's disfigured face - but at a horrifying price. At once ghastly and lyrical, Eyes Without a Face is a true rarity of horror cinema and has influenced countless other films. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Georges Franju’s classic in a long-awaited, fully restored DVD edition.

My Thoughts:
This was a really great film.  We have a doctor - in a brilliant portrayal by Brasseur - who seems on the surface to be motivated by the love he has for his daughter, and his desire to help her, but as the movie progresses we realize that it isn't love at all, but as Christiane tells Louise, it is his desire to play God, and have her as his human guinea pig.  It's a film of true horror, a horror grounded in reality rather than the supernatural.  Yet there's little gore, outside of a single scene, rather there is the horror of emotion.  One can so easily sympathize with Christiane's feelings of powerlessness and imprisonment - which makes the ending such a wonderful payoff.

(click to show/hide)

All together a wonderful film - great performances, great cinematography, a strong grounding in the horror of human nature - highly recommended.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield