Movies

October 2018

October was an insane month and I absolutely binged hardcore on movies. My goal was to tie last year’s amount at 41. Well… I definitely beat it. I watched a total of 46 movies with an average rating of 6.78 and an enjoyment rating of 0.5 which is about a mid enjoyment rating for the year. I also met my arbitrary goal of at least 50% new movies, by reaching nearly 75% new. Finally, I managed to knock out 5 TSPDT movies which I’m pleased with considering I watched none in September. I don’t feel like doing a normal monthly summary since October is special, so just like last year I’m going to rank all the movies.

This is a weird month, it took me a long time to come up with the rankings because when I ranked them by my rating it didn’t feel right. I’ve ended up with a list that I basically ordered by my gut feeling. I wasn’t in love with any movies as much as I was last year. My favorites were actually mostly re-watches which I can always count on for some entertainment.  Overall though, I’m really happy about the month. I saw some great movies, some of which made my jaw drop and some which I actually had to stop half way through because I couldn’t mentally prepare myself for what was coming. As usual, I also watched some absolute stinkers. These movies got some of my lowest ratings of the entire year! An interesting trend seems to be me reviewing the worst movies I watched and not even discussing my top ones. It’s a bit of a shame, I wish I could’ve talked about all of them but I’m already back logged as it is. But without any further ado, here are my final results:

  1. Backcountry (2014) – 8.4/10
  2. The Tall Man (2012) – 8.2/10
  3. We Are What We Are (2018) – 8/10
  4. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) – 8/10
  5. Videodrome (1983) – 8/10
  6. The Loved Ones (2009) – 7.85/10
  7. Hereditary (2018) – 8/10
  8. Charismata (2017) – 7.8/10
  9. Psycho (1960) – 8.5/10
  10. Child’s Play (1988) – 8.3/10
  11. Child’s Play 2 (1990) – 8.2/10
  12. Martyrs (2008) – 8/10
  13. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – 7.7/10
  14. Peeping Tom (1960) – 7.5/10
  15. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) – 7.3/10
  16. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) – 7.5/10
  17. Starry Eyes (2014) – 7.3/10
  18. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) – 7.1/10
  19. Here Alone (2016) – 7.2/10
  20. Lake Placid (1999) – 7/10
  21. Beyond the Gates (2016) – 7/10
  22. Halloween (2018) – 7/10
  23. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) – 7/10
  24. Ringu (1998) – 7/10
  25. The Phantom of the Opera (1925) – 7/10
  26. XX (2017) – 7/10
  27. The Wolf Man (1941) – 7/10
  28. The Innocents (1961) – 7.2/10
  29. Halloween’: A Cut Above the Rest (2003) – 7/10
  30. Cat People (1941) – 6.9/10
  31. The Lazarus Effect (2015) – 6.76/10
  32. The Similars (2015) – 6.5/10
  33. Look Away (2018) – 6.5/10
  34. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – 6.4/10
  35. Malevolent (2018) – 6/10
  36. The Meg (2018) – 6/10
  37. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) – 6/10
  38. Annabelle: Creation (2017) – 5.99/10
  39. Wolf Creek (2005) – 5.8/10
  40. High Tension (2003) – 5.5/10
  41. Anaconda (1997) – 5.4/10
  42. Slender Man (2018) – 5/10
  43. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) – 4.5/10
  44. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986) – 4.5/10
  45. Leatherface (2017) – 3.5/10
  46. Lake Placid 2 (2007) – 2/10

Thanks for tuning in all month, I hope you enjoyed your Halloween as much as I did mine. I can’t wait for next year and I’m going to have to plan even more to top 46, but I’m prepared for the gruesome challenge.

Advertisements
Movies

#390 The Innocents (1961)

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

I won’t beat around the bush, I’m normally not a huge fan of British movies. Nor do I usually get scared by the supernatural or creepy kids. This movie absolutely had the deck stacked against it, and the only reason I watched it was to mark it off my lists. I think that definitely affected my enjoyment and sort of biased my opinion. It was always going to be difficult for this movie to impress me, and in the end it didn’t really. This is one of the big reasons why I like to know as little as possible about a movie before I go into it. It’s hard to pre-judge something you know nothing about. With all that said, this wasn’t my most favorite movie, but there are some great moments in it.

The music was particularly effective and was the first opening to creep me out since Halloween. It’s so good in fact that you have to listen to it right now.

This does a fantastic job of setting the tone for the movie and puts you on edge immediately. While my expectations started out high, they steadily fell with each scene. Once I realized where the story was going, creepy kids in a big old ghost house, I rapidly lost interest. Although there were moments that drew me in again for awhile. My favorite scene of the entire movie was the one scene that actually managed to scare me.

the_innocents.png

You see this ghostly man walk out from the shadows to wordlessly stare at you through a window, then he silently moves back into the darkness. The final thing you see before he completely fades away is the shimmer in his eyes. I don’t get scared easily by supernatural but this definitely did it for me. If that happened to me I would burn my house down. Sadly, after this scene it went back to creepy British children as the scare factor and my interest died down again.

That is until the movie made an egregious error and almost lost me for good. There is a scene down by the pond where Mrs. Giddens is talking with young Flora. She says something to upset her and the girl starts to scream bloody murder. It’s the most grating sound you could ever hear. I re-watched the scene to write this review and it just sent chills down my spine in the worst way possible. Not only do I dislike “creepy kids” in movies, but I hate their “creepy” laughs and their annoying screams. I wanted to tap out right then and there, but I hate to give up so I pushed forward. Annoyances aside, this movie takes some very interesting turns that I didn’t see coming. What I first thought were creepy kids, turn out to be something more. I actually did like that little twist and going into the final scene of the movie I thought I knew how it would end. Out of nowhere I was wrong for a second time because it went down in almost the exact opposite way from what I expected.

Clearly this wasn’t my favorite movie in the world, but I can see why it’s a classic. It’s a great supernatural horror movie. It was never going to be my cup of tea, but it did manage to pull me in a few times so for that it has to get some points. If you like creepy kids, creepy houses, and ghosts then I really do think you’d like this.

Verdict: 7.2/10

Movies

#548 Cat People (1942)

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

I’m shocked to see Cat People on TSPDT because this really wasn’t that great of a movie. And since I’m binging on horror movies, I can fully say that this wasn’t that great of a horror movie. This was my 41st movie of the month and at the end I was just laughing. I’m going to unfairly compare this to my 40th movie, Backcountry, where there’s a scene of a bear just outside the tent and all you can hear is breathing and growling. That scene was terrifying, with very little actually happening. It was the fear of the unknown that made it so good. There is a similar scene in Cat People where a woman’s in the pool and she hears this cat growling but doesn’t actually see it. I wanted to feel terrified, and I distinctly remember trying to find that feeling deep inside me, but it just wasn’t there. It was supposed to be a jaguar prowling in the shadows, but the title is Cat People. As much as I’m not a fan of cats, that animal doesn’t exactly strike fear into my heart. It was doomed from the start.

cat_people.png

But before you sit there and tell me it’s not fair to compare a modern movie to a movie made in the 40s, I’m also going to compare this to The Wolf Man which was released in 1941. Similar in concept, this movie features a person who turns into an animal. In this one, you actually get to see the manimal whereas in Cat People, not so much. I’ll admit to laughing at the wolf man in full costume because it looked like just that, a costume. He was wearing a fur suit and a mask… not exactly the stuff of nightmares. I still felt compelled to finish watching the movie and in Cat People, I honestly wasn’t that interested. I hear that this movie had great lightning and camera work, which may very well be true. I can’t attest to that myself, but if it did then that’s great. All I can say is that I wasn’t drawn into the story as much as I was into The Wolf Man. Werewolves are much more familiar to me so part of it is that I draw from my own modern knowledge to sort of craft an image in my mind of how this could’ve been scary back then. I don’t think I’ve even heard of the cat people lore, which does appear to be a real thing, and as a result, it just felt well… silly.

I didn’t find this scary or particularly interesting, so for me I wouldn’t have it on the list of the top 1000 movies ever made. It may very well be an excellent movie to study for cinematography or film making in general, but again I can’t say this for sure myself.

Verdict: 6.9/10

Movies

#302 Videodrome (1983)

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

No one is more surprised than me to see Videodrome so high on TSPDT, sitting at #302. I’ve heard about this movie and I had always thought it was nothing more than a cheesy cult classic. More often than not, these aren’t my cup of tea so I steered clear of it as long as possible. At least, that’s what I thought until I went to the IMDB page afterwards and saw that I had already rated it back in 2011. Apparently I was not a fan because I gave it a 5/10. I don’t remember a single thing about this movie watching experience which is both sad and disappointing to me. Thankfully, the second time around I enjoyed the movie and am writing words down about it so that I won’t forget again in 7 years.

Let’s jump into my favorite part which are the impressive effects. One of the repeating shots is the hole in the main character, Max Renn’s, stomach. Sometimes it looks really convincing, sometimes you can tell it’s fake but I don’t even care because in actuality it is real. Somebody shoves their hand, a VHS tape, and a gun in there and regardless of how it was done, real things were used in the making of these shots. I wholly appreciate this kind of work over some of the CGI that I see today. I know people worked hard to make it happen, but practical effects stand out way more to me. The fact that almost 40 years later, I can still watch this and not laugh is a testament to how well practical effects can stand the test of time.

videodrome_2videodrome_1

So I was intrigued by the effects, and stayed for the story. This movie is incredibly weird and I’m sure I didn’t understand a lot of the deeper meaning behind it. I’m sad even writing about this movie because I think this is going to be a rather incomplete post. I can’t complain about or praise the story in this movie because I really need to watch it again to be able to form some opinion. I did, however, enjoy it overall and absolutely would watch it again. It reminds me of eXistenZ which is another extremely weird David Cronenberg movie with awesome effects. If you’ve seen that movie and enjoyed it, I think you’ll enjoy this one, but even if you don’t and you’re just a fan of cool effects you have to give this one a watch. Hopefully in a few years I can come back to this and try to really understand more of what I just watched.

Verdict: 8/10 Definitely not a 5

Movies

Friday the 13th Parts 4-6

FridayThe13th

It’s that time of year again! Can you really have a horror movie binge without watching some Jason movies? Sadly, we didn’t get another actual Friday the 13th this year, so I settled for starting this on Friday the 12th. If you’d like to catch up on parts 1-3 you can find last year’s post here.


The Final Chapter

friday_the_13th_the_final_chapter.png

In Part III I commented that they broke continuity by switching over to roman numerals. Well this movie breaks it again by tossing out the idea of numbering the movies at all. I had to go look up what the 4th movie actually was because I’m no super genius but I feel like this won’t be quite the final chapter it set itself up to be.

But enough about the name of the movie, let’s get into the movie itself. I’m in absolute shock that a 4th movie in a series was able to get some good actors in it. This movie has Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman who make this more than just a dumb slasher movie. Both of their characters have a well established personality that makes you actually care about them. Crispin Glover plays a nice guy who just wants to be good in bed but is a terrible dancer. His character arc comes to a climax when he sleeps with a woman who tells him he did good. Just when you’re feeling happy for the guy, he goes and gets himself all murdered. In a slasher movie, I should’ve been expecting this, but I honestly thought he’d be a final guy. I wanted to get a screenshot of him dancing, but the quality isn’t that great and you can’t get the right feel… so how about a video?

Now for little Corey Feldman who plays the main non-Jason character. He’s a young boy who enjoys making masks and practical special effects. He also knows a lot about cars and is totally fine asking a strange hitchhiker up to his room to show him his mask collection. Super weird kid, but ends up totally saving the day at the end. I’ve seen this movie in bits and pieces before, but I always remember a kid at the end who shaves his head and his hair is all patchy. Corey Feldman is the shaved head kid. He shaves it to try and look like Jason so he can like get inside of his head and mess with him. It sort of works… but so does the machete. This is one kid that knows what’s up in a horror movie and finishes the bad guy off.

As far as the bad guy himself goes. Well… I have the same criticism I gave to Part III. I hate supernatural, unkillable villains because there’s no suspense. You know he’s going to be around the corner, you know he’ll find you where ever you go, and you know you can’t kill him. At one point, his big plan was to climb up the side of the building, wait outside a window for one of the girls to walk by and then when the moment is just right punch through the glass and pull her out the window to her death. A lot of the kills in this movie just annoyed me because they were so convoluted and unrealistic. I shouldn’t have expected more, but I did.

Verdict: 6.4/10


A New Beginning

What a surprise, it wasn’t really the final chapter. It didn’t even close off the plot line because little Tommy is back in the next installment as a grown man with some serious PTSD. I’m pretty sure this is the beginning of the end because this movie was so unwatchable.

About 15 minutes in, we’re introduced to 2 of the worst characters in the series, the hillbilly mother and son.

In one scene, the son rides around in circles on his motorcycle screaming like a mad man. It was the worst offense to my ears since Ghostland. This alone was enough for me to want to shut the movie off, but it gets worse. We’re also treated to, what appears on

friday_the_13th_a_new_beginning_3

the surface, to be a scene of some random guy killing a “kid”. The cute little kid on the right here. Take a look at this adorable little guy. He’s balding with a 5 o’clock shadow and look at him, he has chocolate all over his face and hands. Silly kids, they’re so messy! He ends up getting murdered for being really annoying which means pretty much nothing for about 80% of the movie. That is, until the ending where the killer isn’t actually Jason, but the father of the dead kid! What a twist! He pretended to be Jason to get revenge on the people that… didn’t murder his son and had nothing to do with it. Clever move, sir.

Oh and there are some real classic moments in this one, like one guy having to take a shit really bad in a disgusting port-o-potty when wouldn’t you know it, “Jason” finds him. Oh crap! And how can I forget the latest shy guy who just wants to confess his love to a girl he likes. Well, she literally laughs in his face. It’s so sick and twisted that I was hoping she would be the one to die next because out of everyone I think she might deserve it. Is that what ends up happening? Well, you take a guess based on the track record of these movies.

Just like Part 4, Part 5 ends with the audience being firmly convinced there will be some continuity in these movies. Jason’s still dead, and it turns out that Tommy’s gone insane and is now going to take up the hockey mask and machete in his place. I can’t wait to watch Tommy as the bad guy in the next movie because that’s what’s set up in this movie and that’s definitely going to happen.

Verdict: 4.5/10


Jason Lives

First off, I have to talk about the title… the full title is Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI. So not only did they decide to go back to roman numerals, but they also wanted to keep the sub-title as well. Did they take those 3 components and roll dice on which one goes where? This title doesn’t make any sense. Call it Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Or scrap the Jason Lives part, or the roman numerals… anything but making up a new naming scheme. I want some damn title consistency, you’re ruining my format for these posts. Between the title and the first 10 minutes, it tells you all you need to know. Forget about Tommy turning into Jason because that isn’t happening. Then prepare yourself for the realization that this series is now a total joke. Feast your eyes on Jason, reflected in an eyeball pretending to be 007. Hilarious!

friday_the_13th_jason_lives.png

Obviously, Jason comes back to life in this one and and he isn’t happy. Tommy is trying to stop him and everyone thinks he’s crazy and making it up. What follows is Jason murdering lots of people but the police going after the wrong guy until they realize he’s right. Of course by this point it’s too late.

The acting in this one is atrocious at times and as usual the decisions the characters make are out of this world. Little girl brings you a machete covered in blood and you think it’s a practical joke? I’d at the very least be slightly worried. Jason’s kills are kind of ridiculous too. Like he really enjoys squeezing people’s heads because he does this a lot. Not that I care much either way but his M.O. is supposed to be machete kills. At this point though he’s pretty much invincible since he can survive as many bullets as you can shoot. Since he’s so invincible, the ending just baffles me. He gets chained to the bottom of the lake by a large rock. The chain around his neck isn’t that tight so I think he could just slip it off. Or since he has the super strength to break skulls, he can just break the chain or walk along the lake bed and drag the rock with him. Maybe next year I’ll find out that that’s exactly what he did so that he’s able to appear in Part 7. I can’t say that I’ll be excited to find out because these movies aren’t fun to watch anymore. All they are now are murder set pieces by a supernatural thing with no compelling narrative or characters.

Verdict: 4.5/10


I know these movies aren’t meant to be taken too seriously, but I really thought they did a good job with the first 2 so it makes me sad to see how bad they’re getting. As much as I didn’t like these, I’m committed to finishing the series so I’ll be back next year for Parts 7-9, or whatever they’re called now… Part 7: Jason’s Still Alive: Friday the 13th?

Movies

#26 Psycho (1960)

psycho

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

I had the wonderful pleasure of seeing Psycho on the big screen at my theater’s monthly classic movie event. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the basic story of Psycho and know that it’s widely regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time. This movie ranks in at #26 on TSPDT and, as of the minute I’m writing this sentence, #1 on IMDB’s top 50 horror movies. Those are some big expectations to have to fulfill for a movie.

This is, I think, my 2nd time seeing this movie so I already knew all the main plot points going into it. Keep in mind this was made in 1960, so if you watch it through modern eyes expecting modern scares you would probably laugh at the effects or the murders. To really be able to appreciate this movie, you have to try and watch it through 1960 eyes. This is something I’m trying to get better at, especially going through these TSPDT movies. Through 1960 eyes, this movie is insane. The main character that you become attached to dies half way into the movie. If that’s not enough of a shock, she’s killed naked in the shower. That scene is an absolute masterpiece. From the iconic music, to the creepy shadow behind the curtain inching closer, to the beautiful camera work of zooming in on the bloody water going down the drain then zooming out from Marion’s lifeless eye. Everything works perfectly together to set up one of cinema’s best scenes. There is so much to appreciate here and this was the highlight of the entire movie for me.

Another thing I noticed on this viewing was the quality of the acting. I didn’t expect Norman, played by Anthony Perkins, to be so young. He seems like such a nice, innocent guy. He’s kind of weird and lonely, but seems harmless. He played his part perfectly. The way he smiles and softly laughs when he talks, to the way he stutters trying to finish his sentence sets him up as a likable character who… wouldn’t hurt a fly. I don’t know if anyone else could’ve played the part as well as he did. Not to say that Marion Crane wasn’t a good character as well. I loved the depth her character was taken to. The thoughts swirling in her head of what she thinks people will be saying about her are such an effective way of bringing us into how she’s feeling at the moment. However, she does some incredibly stupid things throughout the movie and brings more suspicion on her than there needed to be. Did she deserve to die for this? Well, no of course not, and she decides that she has to go back and do the right thing… unfortunately too late. It’s so cruel to tease the audience with her big redemption arc, only to have it snatched away from us like the shower curtain being pulled off the rail.

As much as I enjoyed everything up to this point, there was something that was weighing on me the entire movie. It takes a really long time to get to the motel. There is a lot of setup with Marion and Sam, then stealing the money, encountering the cop, swapping out her car and finally making it to her final destination. It was absolutely all required for the story to make sense and have credibility to it, but there were a few points where I was like just move on already. If you don’t happen to know anything about the movie, you might be led to believe it’s all about her taking the money so it probably doesn’t seem so drawn out. I knew everything that was going to happen and I was waiting for it, so it felt like it took her ages to get there. I liked the added touch of the police officer watching her for acting suspicious, and the man at the used car lot also being suspicious. They were good scenes, but part of me wonders what the movie would be like without them.

Even with my mixed feelings on the setup of the movie, this was just magnificent. It’s wholly deserving of a place in history and I’m glad I was able to see it in theaters. If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to for this Halloween because you won’t regret it. Unless you accidentally watch the 1998 version…

Verdict: 8.5/10 It was the first time the customer ever high-pressured the salesman.

Movies

Battle of the Giant Killer Reptiles: Round Two

I’m a person that is okay admitting when they were wrong. I made a giant mistake when I decided I would let these reptiles duke it out here. I like going in cold to movies so I didn’t look up too much… to some disastrous results. For this round I watched Lake Placid 2 and Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. The Lake Placid series was in the lead and was poised to win it all. Then I actually watched the movie. Remember that time I watched Songbird and gave it a 4.8, claiming I don’t often give sub-5 ratings? Then remember that time just after that when I watched Leatherface and gave it 3.5? Not giving out sub-5 ratings was all just a lie because these ratings just keep plummeting. This isn’t even going to be close fight.

Let’s start with Lake Placid 2. The first thing I notice right off the bat is the awful ADR. ADR is when they re-record a character’s lines in a studio, whether to changed the line, or because the sound at the location made it difficult to hear. I’m pretty sure for this movie the sound quality wasn’t there so they had to re-record so many lines it isn’t even funny. You can tell every time they do it because the voice doesn’t sound like it’s coming from the actor. Not only is the sound of their voices annoying, but the things they say are even worse. They try to make jokes like in the first movie, but every single one falls flat. They threw away all the humor in this movie and replaced it with boobs and butts. It’s at this point, less than 20 minutes into the movie, when I start to wonder if this is the right sequel. Minutes later everything changes because I see something I can never unsee. Here is the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in my entire life. You might want to turn your children away before scrolling down…

lake_placid2_1.png

It doesn’t even look finished! It looks like they finished the skeleton for the plane and forgot to put some texture and color onto it. What was the budget of this movie?! Every single CGI image in this movie looks like steaming hot garbage. Do you think I’m being too harsh? This came out in 2007! I’m not a fan, but look at Transformers and tell me these movies came out in the same decade, let alone the same year. There is about 1 scene where they use a practical effect and that would look something like this.

lake_placid2_2.png

From the still image, it might look like it’s sort of decent, but in actuality when the thing moves it really looks like a giant hunk of rubber. Here are more awful CGI shots to burn your eyes with.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At this point I knew something had to be going on here because there is no way this is a real movie. I strolled on over to IMDB and that’s where I see this…

lake_placid2_3

Right down there in the bottom right corner where it says “TV Movie” and I realize my horrible mistake. It’s no wonder this is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen… it wasn’t even released in theaters. Why in the world did anybody make this?! I actually don’t understand and I’m not sure anyone could ever make me. But look, horrible effects alone do not make a bad movie… the story is also garbage. The characters will go from remembering the giant crocodile from 10 years ago, and forgetting about it in the next scene. They literally go to the house of the sister of the woman who bred these crocodiles in the last movie so they know what happened. Then they say there are no crocodiles in Maine. Make up your minds! Or don’t and just die off already. There are so many characters in this movie that you know they’re only there to be killed off. It’s the worst most boring, predictable story.

That was only one of the movies I had to sit through though! Was Anacondas any better? Well, of course it was, what could be worse?* This movie is by no means a gem, but it had a budget for effects, real actors, a real story and didn’t make me want to die. This is your typical blockbuster horror movie. People make dumb decisions and get eaten. Bad guy dies at the end and a couple people live… usually the beautiful leads.

This isn’t even a fair fight anymore… obviously Anacondas wins this round because it was an actual released in theaters movie. Not only does it win this round, it wins the entire battle because after I mistakenly watched one of the worst movies ever, I researched the next movies in each series and to my horror, found out they are all TV movies from here on out. As horrific as made for TV movies are, that’s not the type of horror I’d like to binge on this month and I’m going to end it here. The Anaconda series wins the Battle of the Giant Killer Reptiles because it had 2 actual movies in its series, compared to Lake Placid’s measly 1. Congratulations.

Round Two Winner & Overall Champ: Anacondas

*That’s a rhetorical question, please don’t answer that for me, movie gods.