Tag Archives: horror

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

the-beast-from-20000-fathoms.24135Starring: Paul Hubschmid, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway

Directed by Eugene Lourie

Format: DVD

Near the Arctic Circle, an atomic bomb is detonated. This fearsome experiment disturbs the sleep of a giant rhedosaurus encased in ice over 100-million years and sends it southward on a destructive, deadly rampage!”

There is a chance I attempted to watch this flick a few times, but to no avail. This particular version is part of a Sci-Fi Double Feature DVD from Warner Brothers, with Them! on the other side. I’m pretty sure I bought this DVD for Them! after hearing Joe Dante speak about it on some documentary. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms has some incredible Harryhausen work I have only seen clips of,  so I’m excited to watch the film in its entirety. I’m particularly excited that it’s also only 80 minutes long. The perfect duration.

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Thoughts:

  • “Operation Experiment” is a terrible name for an operation. Or an experiment.
  • Ugh, the nuclear stuff is actually giving me a decent amount of anxiety.
  • AND it’s in the Arctic, mind you. Only adding to global warming. Not to mention a freaking monster is gonna be unearthed.
  • Oh wow, they did a full monster shot right away!beast
  • First stunt was hysterical. Looked like he took a sick wrestling bump. ECW! ECW! ECW!
  • Just realized that “prehistoric” literally means before written history and it kinda blew my mind. Looks like I also should go back to school and pay more attention. My wife was not as impressed.
  • I feel like if someone say a dinosaur, I actually wouldn’t think it was a hallucination. Like, there are definitely creatures in the Arctic that we don’t know about.
  • My nearly-psychologist wife is sitting next to me, and she’s really questioning this psychiatric exam.
  • I’m so bad with character names, I’m sorry, but the dude who just walked into the museum at 23 minutes has an odd accent.
  • I love that the first thing they say about the introduction of Lee Hunter is that she’s “very pretty” and that she’s “Dr. Elson’s assistant.”
  • “I made coffee strong enough to enter the Olympics.”
  • I love that Prof. Nesbitt is identifying the monster but shows no real signs of the PTSD I know I would if I saw a GODDAMN DINOSAUR.
  • People in the 50s YELLED on the phone.
  • The museum director is about to take a vacation after 30 years and BOY he doesn’t know what he’s in for, huh?
  • How much is a fathom? I can’t quite fathom it…
  • I do like that this movie is showcasing that it takes time for this monster to arrive on the coast. I feel like a lot of movies during this time, the monster just appears.
  • Man, I want to play the accordion.
  • Wow. I knew Harryhausen was an artist but holy shit, that first monster attack is gorgeous.
  • You can’t see this, but the subtitles are awful on this DVD. They are missing full sentences.
  • Our characters are at a ballet. You ever been to a ballet? I haven’t.
  • I also know nothing about the geography of Canada.
  • Oh damn, this museum director is the guy trying to save the creature. I wonder who the character would be trying to save the beast in the 2010s?
  • There is an octopus vs. shark sequence in this film that is unnerving. AND THEN THE BEAST.
  • I was worried the museum director was going to be a caricature of a greedy, money hungry businessman. Instead, he just never got to take his vacation.
  • This one cop going after the beast with a pistol is a real hero. 7-beast-20000-720x480
  • I’ve seen my fair share of monster films, but only a Harryhausen film could include a monster, show it multiple times in-full and in-motion and it wouldn’t feel cheap or “fake.” The monster’s movements are beautiful.
  • How do these guys not know where the monster went after it was on Wall Street? Is it a metaphor?
  • They really lucked into this powerline/bazooka combo to attack the creature.
  • How many war rooms exist in the U.S.?
  • The beast’s biology is a total game changer, damn.
  • Radioactive isotope, huh?

The Verdict:

Fun and short, great creature with an abrupt ending. The special features on the disc are pretty good, I’m listening to them while I write my verdict. Actually, listening to Harryhausen talk is kind of influencing my verdict, so I’ll have to put them on hold. I loved that the there were a couple factors that made the beast dangerous, not just that it was a terrifying monster. There seemed to be logic to this creature feature, not just chaos and destruction.

Riding The Bullet (2004)

riding-the-bullet-movie-poster-2004-1020241986Starring: Johnathan Jackson, David Arquette, Barbara Hershey, Erika Christensen

Directed by Mick Garris

Format: DVD

Tagline: “The Dead Travel Fast”

“Alan embarks on a 100-mile hitchhike to see his mother in the hospital. Along the way he must confront his many demons – both living and dead – and in the end make the ultimate choice that will mean life or death for him and his mother!”

Early 2014(?), the Blockbuster in South Pasadena was getting read to shut its doors, which meant a million DVDs were gonna be on-sale. I loaded up with a lot of trashy horror, a few documentaries and some really bad Christian films, because that’s just what I do. There were a few gems, or movies I at least wanted to give a chance. This was one of them because I’m a big King and Garris fan. I haven’t read this novella, so we’re going in blind.

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Thoughts:

  • Mick Garris is the authority. Love that guy.
  • Alan draws like Bernie Wrightson…hey…wait a sec…Bernie?.png
  • My tagline for this flick: “If you liked the Summer of ’69, you’re definitely going to enjoy the Halloween of ’69!”
  • I can’t. I can’t watch anything with a razor blade or shaving. And this isn’t shaving.
  • Whoa, that bathroom scene.
  • This flick is so goofy. The tone is so odd.
  • I can’t imagine what hitchhiking is like. Even getting into a Lyft freaks me out.
  • I dig Alan’s split personality thing.
  • While I haven’t read this novella, I feel like Garris has such a way of visualizing King’s words in his other projects. This one feels goofy but genuine and reflective.
  • There are portions of the flick that feel like creepypasta.
  • Oh man, this was King’s internet debut? Fascinating.
  • Alan can’t catch a break, 2 for 2 drivers almost in head on collisions.
  • I think Alan was just dropped off in downtown Haddonfield from Halloween II.
  • Road rage incidents are my nightmare. Watching this movies makes me realize I’m actually a big wuss who is afraid of a lot of stuff, mainly confrontation and hiding in refrigerators.
  • AND THEN HE HID IN A REFRIGERATOR. ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
  • Both King and Garris have such a way of building fear and dread, even in silly premises.
  • Man, I don’t know what’s going on anymore.
  • Former WCW World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette!
  • “That’s about as funny as a screen door in a submarine.” DUDE, GREAT LINE.
  • Nicotero and Berger effects are so clutch.
  • It feels like this conversation between Alan and George is supposed to be deeper but I don’t quite…oh, okay, we’re “Riding The Bullet” now. Nevermind.
  • The soundtrack in this is so rad.
  • Arquette is underrated.Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 1.32.19 AM
  • Shit’s kinda falling apart for me. Though “Thrill Village” is a great amusement park name.
  • Thrill Village scene is fun.
  • MICK CAMEO.
  • “A little bit of death can help you grow up real quick.”
  • Alright, the last 10 minutes are gorgeous.
  • “I never made a living as an artist, but I still paint because that’s what I do.” God bless it.

The Verdict:

I enjoyed the first half of it and I thought a lot of the visuals were great throughout. Then the story got stale and sort of fell apart on me. I could’ve done without so much back and forth in Alan’s head. But right at the end, that final hospital scene, absolutely beautiful. Made me almost not mind all that confusion I had through most of the last act. Garris has got a way of visualizing that emotion that King dives into so deeply. Yeah, man, those last 10 minutes. Really stuck it to me. I really, really didn’t think I was going to like the rest of the flick once I got all confused in the middle. You can even see it in my thoughts up top. But that emotional ending. Worth it.

Edge Of Sanity (1989)

MV5BMTA3MDAwNjYzMTNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU2MDg0NTU5OA@@._V1_Starring: Anthony Perkins, Glynis Barber, Sarah Maur-Thorp

Directed by Gérard Kikoïne

Format: DVD

Tagline: “Double The Terror. Double The Fun.”

“Anthony Perkins, famous for his compelling performances in Psycho and Crimes Of Passion, creates a new face for the tormented Henry Jekyll, the respected physician whose dangerous experiments with cocaine unleash his alter ego, the uncontrollable Jack Hyde.

Under the drug’s powerful influence, Hyde has perverted nightmares of sex and violence that consume his soul. Drawn to London’s prostitute district, Hyde’s rage explodes in a killing spree. Could the Real Jack the Ripper have been someone like fictional Mr. Hyde? Explore the terrifying possibilities that lie on the EDGE OF SANITY.

Somehow I owned two copies of this movie at once. One copy on VHS (which ultimately has better cover art that Scream Factory used for their release), and one copy on DVD that was part of a four-movie pack I bought specifically for 1946’s The Spiral Staircase. I ditched the VHS and kept the DVD. The Jekyll/Hyde story has never been of much interest to me, except for when I heard that David Hasselhoff was in a musical theater version. But even that was just a flash of excitement. I do love me some Anthony Perkins, though, so let’s fire it up.

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Thoughts:

  • Sex in a barn at the turn of the century must have been as popular as sex in a car is now. Like, popular enough but not the ideal place, right?
  • Whoa, crazy little dream sequence kicking things off.
  • Oh I definitely thought this was going to be a modern retelling of the story. Damn.
  • OKAY BUT THEY’RE STILL GONNA BE GRAPHIC ABOUT SOME SHIT.
  • Cue Buckcherry’s “Lit Up” through the whole rest of this movie.
  • “Darling come and see this [I’m feeding cocaine to the monkey we have in the house]!”
  • Cocaine Monkey is my band name.
  • Uh oh, monkey spilled some sort of chemical on the cocaine and I think he’s now basically making crack? Is this all a reflection of the crack epidemic in the United States?
  • Crazy how monkey-produced crack will make you look like you’ve already been on a week-long bender.
  • Johnny is supposed to bring in customers for Flora’s brothel and he chooses meth face Mr. Hyde? Not the clientele you want if you were to judge a book by its cover.
  • Also, straight-up, not even 20 minutes in and we are just FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS. vlcsnap_2015_08_26_23h39m05s108
  • Visually, this feels very Western European. Ken Russell and Peter Greenaway combined.
  • Anthony Perkins massaging a woman’s butt and exclaiming “look at that!” is freakin’ bizarre.
  • I love how, even on crack, Jekyll/Hyde can cleanly slice a woman up.
  • Ah, looks like Kikoïne was quite the porn director at one point. No wonder this feels so free and unreserved.
  • And this was his second to last film, and it looks like he straight up fell off the face of the Earth except for some festival appearances and a book last year. I’m so intrigued by what this director is all about.
  • Perkins is so underrated.
  • Homegirl, he paid in advance, just get outta there! Don’t go chasing crackheads.
  • Okay, I’m uncomfortable.
  • Okay, I’m uncomfortable.
  • Okayyyyy, I’m uncomfortableeeeeee.
  • Hyde looking for love in all the wrong places.
  • Crack is whack.tumblr_oo3o62CQcj1uls1d1o2_1280
  • How come no one at Madam Flora’s is skeptical of Hyde? Oh, because brothels are terrible places and their clientele are often terrible people.
  • WHOA allusion to daddy issues. Allusion? Nah, more like weirdly blatant disclosure.
  • Anthony Perkins facilitating this rapey, crack-fueled threesome in a brothel is insane.
  • Jekyll, now you’re letting the drugs affect your work and your marriage. Someone needs a sponsor.
  • Nothing I hate more than constant lightning. Storms don’t work like that.
  • WOW, this climactic descent into total madness is beautiful and bizarre.
  • Now we know what repressed sexual shame, trauma and drug abuse can do to a person.
  • Poor Mrs. Jekyll, though. Drug and sex addicted multiple personality husband.
  • I really thought Cocaine Monkey was gonna save the day.

The Verdict:

What an unpleasant and unrelenting film. A retelling of Jekyll/Hyde and accounts of Jack the Ripper have room to be expound upon and told in a brutal fashion. But this was just bizarre. The performances were fantastic; Anthony Perkins is probably at his creepiest and Sarah Maur-Thorp was brilliant. It was visually very interesting and even beautiful at points, but the tone of the thing was just icky, honestly. It will forever in my collection, though, because the flipside of the DVD I own is The Spiral Staircase.

Vault Of Horror (1973)

the-vault-of-horror-1973-movie-posterStarring: Dawn Addams, Daniel Massey, Tom Baker

Directed by Roy Ward Baker

Format: DVD

Tagline: “Everything that makes life worth LEAVING.”

“Trapped in an office building basement, five men reveal their darkest dreams in this compilation of chilling tales pulled from the E.C. Comics archives. In ‘Midnight Mess,’ a man stumbles into a restaurant after murdering his sister, only to discover that he’s surrounded by diners with an insatiable appetite for blood. But that’s only one of the terrifying gems you’ll find locked in the Vault Of Horror.

Picked up the MGM Midnite Movies double features of Tales From The Crypt and Vault of Horror specifically for Tales. Haven’t heard much of anything about Vault Of Horror. I had no real desire to watch it, so it sat in the back of my DVD binder for a very long time. It wasn’t until I heard the “horror anthology” episode of Shock Waves (Ep. 43) that I thought I might want to expand my anthology palate a little more. Granted, I don’t believe anyone mentioned any segments from this flick on the show, but we’re gonna venture into the Vault anyway and see what we find.

My Thoughts:3czhrTxGy0kBq.gif

  • What a strange wraparound story. Five men stuck in the basement of an office building in some weird marble lounge with plenty of drinks to be had. I’d say they might have planned this all along.
    • Segment 1: “Midnight Mess”
  • Yo, Brits are weird. The definition of shady.
  • The restaurant looks like someone turned an apartment into a cafe. The place is hideous.
  • Harold (Daniel Massey) kills his sister (Anna Massey), and then gives himself a corsage! That’s cold!
  • Beautiful mirror trick in the cafe, though.
  • Award for worst fangs goes to “Midnight Mess.”VOH.jpeg
  • Ah, we’re just talking about dreams. This wraparound is weak.
    • Segment 2: “The Neat Job”
  • Homeboy has a sick bar and a sick record collection. This dude rules.
  • And the gap between his two front teeth is perfect for camel spitting.
  • Nevermind, this dude Arthur (Terry-Thomas) needs to chill, he’s having a panic attack about moved furniture.
  • Eleanor’s (Glynis Johns) reckless moving of items in this house is gonna make this dude screw up dinner. He’s already on his last leg, c’mon Eleanor.
  • Oh god, this dude has a crazy way of organizing his pantry. Yet somehow, I also think its a great idea.
  • Still crazy to me that “trophy wife” is a thing.
  • Eleanor, you’re down a slippery slope trying to fix this broken home.
  • Oh my god, the building dread of Eleanor just screwing up this whole house is insane.
  • Classic EC ending.
    • Segment 3: “This Trick’ll Kill You”
  • I don’t think I like this dude’s magic trick delivery…
  • Wait, why the hell is this tourist putting this street magician on blast?! That’s rude as shit. Isn’t there a magician’s code this dude just broke?! I’M INDIGNANT.
  • Both Sebastian the rude tourist/magician (Curd Jürgens) and his wife (Dawn Addams) are really going all in on trying to get this woman’s magic trick. HOLY SHIT.
  • I don’t think you ever take a dead lady’s rope, I think that’s a general rule.
    • Segment 4: “Bargain In Death”
  • They remade this segment as Buried with Ryan Reynolds. Not true.
  • This dude Maitland (Michael Craig) faking his death for insurance money, holy cow. More vintage EC.
  • “There’s no money in horror.” LOL
  • Great Vault Of Horror comic placement in this segment.
  • A little excessive on the Tales From The Crypt novelization placement, though.
  • This one is a little farfetched because no one gets buried within 24 hours, right? That’s some crazy turnover.
  • This seems to be the only one with a little comedic relief.
  • Ohhhhhh Alex (Edward Judd), you double-crossin’ yella-bellly son of a bitch. HE HAD IT COMIN’.
  • Great segment.
    • Segment 5: “Drawn and Quartered”
  • Moore’s (Tom Baker) beard is something.
  • How come whenever you walk into a place of voodoo, there are tribal drums to be heard but none to be seen? That’s the magic I guess.
  • Homeboy is DIPPING HIS ART HAND IN BOILING WATER I WOULDN’T. But ah, the power of voodoo.
  • A vase mysteriously breaks and Moore IMMEDIATELY slices a piece of bread. Oh, it’s for an experiment, nevermind. He just seemed so determined.
  • Wow, art dealers are the devil. This revenge is gonna be too sweet.
  • Bob Ross jacking Moore’s style.
  • tvoh8.jpegThere could be such a great modern day retelling of this story.
  • Whoa, paint thinner.
  • Gentleman’s club time is over, uh, gentlemen.

The Verdict:

A little bit of research shows that this DVD version is an edited theatrical version, and that a few bits were edited out. I’m not sure even any added gore or scenes would have made up for the flick’s dullness. It’s hard not to compare this one to Tales, but drawing from similar source material, this anthology comes out feeling like a cheap knockoff. I will say, thank god the film was as short as it was. I enjoyed the last two segments, but all around the anthology was a little weak, even with the storylines being classic EC.

Bloody Birthday (1981)

am_93t28317qsnvg9135_1300x1733Starring: Lori Lethin, Julie Brown, Joe Penny

Directed by Ed Hunt

Format: DVD

Tagline: “This is one birthday invitation you can’t refuse!”

Under the spell of a total solar eclipse, three women living in the same small town give birth simultaneously. The three children are angel faced, the best of friends and oh so innocent – but these little kids are the most lethal killers ever!

Just before a giant party to celebrate their mutual tenth birthdays, a series of gruesome murders begins. Like precision killing machines, the mini murderers can’t be stopped. Blood and death fuel their existence.”

You know, this blog started seven years ago. It was a place for me to go through my movie collection, whether to purge or to praise, and have fun while watching these movies. In the past three years, I got married, I moved to California, I subscribed to Netflix and Hulu, and the way I watched movies completely changed. But the collector in me never really stopped collecting. The modes changed, my budget certainly changed, but I never stopped plucking gems at the local thrift store or rental place. I’m at a point in my life now where the way I watch movies is changing yet again, and I want to dive in to my old physical media collection and discover/rediscover these flicks I picked up long ago.

Bloody Birthday was a recent acquisition during a trip to Las Vegas where we were conducting interviews for Survival of the Film Freaks. I didn’t realize that I was familiar with the alternate birthday cake artwork until after I purchased the above DVD, did some more research, and discovered they were the same movie. Aside from being familiar with the cover, I knew nothing about the film, but I assumed it was just another slasher.

Thoughts:

  • Eclipse births. Gotta be something wrong there.
  • Look, maybe it’s a generational thing, but cemetery hookups were never in my or my peers vocabulary.
  • Punk ass kids asking for no homework on their birthday, c’mon. bloodybirthday2
  • Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy) has got such a look, actually super creepy because she looks like a little cherub.
  • But then you find out she’s pimping out her sister Beverly’s habitual (un)dressing routine and you’re like…you’re 10 years old.
  • Astrology is gonna be a huge factor in this one, huh?
  • Little blonde Steven, however, already looks like a bully and is definitely gonna mess some people up.
  • And then freaking four-eyes Curtis over here, THIS kid’s got some issues.
  • Yeah, Steven is a cop killer.
  • At least there’s one kid in this town with a good head on his shoulders. Thanks, Timmy! But now you’ve got a target on your back.
  • Curtis, that’s a really real looking fake gun, dude. Don’t tote that around the junkyard.
  • When I was a kid, I was absolutely petrified of getting locked in a refrigerator in a junkyard. Timmy is living my nightmare, while Curtis is just living his best self.
  • Timmy now you’re exposing Debbie’s pimp kingdom, you are DIGGING YOURSELF A HOLE BUDDYBOY.
  • Debbie’s got a scrapbook of victims/potential victims. This is the first recorded “Burn Book.”
  • I’m just realizing Debbie set her own sheriff Dad up to die. Cold.
  • Oh Curtis has got the sheriff’s gun. Oh he shot the gun. Oh this is a bold choice.
  • “Have you ever played doctor?” Debbie, you are 10. I know you’re cold and you were born during an eclipse and you’re killing people. But that’s a lot.
  • How these two ten-year olds are chasing Joyce through a junkyard with a car is beyond me but damn, it’s entertaining.
  • Curtis ’bout to paint the town RED with that glock. 718_bloody-birthday-thumb-610xauto-1772
  • So it’s the moon and the sun’s fault for blocking Saturn on the day of their birth. And “Saturn controls emotions and how you treat people.”
  • Is there no Lover’s Lane for these kids to park their van? We’re just gonna do it on a residential street? And then no one is gonna hear Curtis fire the gun?
  • Remember how their teacher, Debbie’s father and a handful of kids died in the past couple days and this birthday party still has fifty people there? The show must go on, I guess.
  • Mighty Mouse party!
  • All of these kids are killer kids, but Curtis is the worst by far. Debbie is the brains, Steven is the muscle, but Curtis is a god damn assassin.
  • Oh my god, Curtis, ANT POISON in icing?
  • Curtis knows, no one can resist frosting.
  • #TeamJoyce. #WhereIsSaturn?
  • Joyce’s boyfriend is a stupid idiot who can’t just sneak into houses DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THIS TOWN?
  • Ohhhhhhh Beverly, you wild child, you’re not gonna like what you find in Debbie’s room.
  • CURTIS IS THE FALL GUY. DEBBIE IS A GENIUS.
  • What I wouldn’t give to dial a rotary telephone just one more time.
  • Debbie is finally gonna do some dirty work…
  • What’s the end game for this little terrors?
  • Debbie, you’ve caused your mom to be 5150’d. You are sinister.
  • I’m realizing more and more how freaking crazy it is that these kids are just getting away with this stuff because no one believes they’d do it! That thought alone kinda freaks me out.
  • Joyce, you don’t want to babysit Debbie. And you know that.
  • Debbie, you sly dog.

The Verdict:

What a mean-spirited flick. I dug the ambiguity of their reasons behind the killings, and those kids actually freaked me out a little bit. Their ability to turn from killers into normal, innocent kids was uncanny and unnerving. The film doesn’t have a lot going on in/for it, but the last few segments of killing and uncovering more information about the murders is great. The DVD transfer that I have was garbage, but this trailer really gives a good visual.

New Feature: Fresh Eyes

Hey there everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for The Leftovers. Life’s been crazy. I graduated from Syracuse, I got married, I moved to California and finished my documentary Fantasm. Needless to say, I haven’t been visiting the forgotten gems of my movie collection recently. Or if I have, I’ve been too busy to write about them for this blog. I’ve continued my writing for The Miscreant zine, where there have been Leftovers posts included in various issues. I’ve also started writing for iHorror.com, which has been a blast.

Thinking a lot about horror, as I do, has sparked a bit of inspiration to return to this blog where I wrote a lot of my first…anything. Horror has this sort of “street cred” thing going on sometimes where you can not be a good horror fan if you haven’t seen this movie, or if you like so-and-so, etc. I really hate that. I don’t like being called out because I haven’t seen all of Child’s Play 2. By being a part of a community where most of the fans had their initial horror experiences before I was even born has made me feel like an outsider at times. And to be an outsider to something you love with a deep passion, sucks. It just sucks.

Recently though, I’ve come to terms and learned to embrace this “outsider” status. Which, in all honesty, is not an outsider status so much as it is not a widely recognized point-of-view. And I’m ready to admit more widely that I HAVEN’T SEEN A LOT OF “CLASSIC” HORROR MOVIES. I’m working to remedy this NOT to be more accepted by the horror community because, despite its occasional cockeyed look at my POV, the community will ALWAYS accept me and others. But I want to learn more about horror, the history of its fandom and why we consider this films staples of the genre.

So, I will include a new column on The Leftovers called FRESH EYES where I take a look at these notable horror titles with a clear perspective with little expectations besides the knowledge that the horror community embraces them. Some titles I plan to cover include Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Gremlins, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Halloween II, and a bunch more.

Stay tuned,

Kyle

Fresh Eyes