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WELCOME TO HALLOWEEN HAVOC 2019 - The Reviews

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14 minutes ago, J.T. said:

I am just happy I got the nod to review the movie.   I still had it on my DVR from last Halloween from when it was broadcast uncut on TCM and I cannot remember what came up that caused me to forget to watch it.

It is a terrific and underloved classic that was way ahead of its time.

I see that I submitted yet another review without benefit of one final run of spell check again.  I am old and dumb.

I'm glad you liked it.  This was the first real chance I'd had to sit down and watch it all the way through, and I just sat there, amazed at it.  Julian Karswell's exclusion from any listmania about great cinema villains is a travesty.

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33 minutes ago, nate said:

Julian Karswell's exclusion from any listmania about great cinema villains is a travesty.

The brilliance of the story lies in Karswell's arrogance. 

He has no endgame strategy or a master plan.  He's simply using his command of diablerie to commit murders because he can.

The beauty is that if you are going to investigate such a string of crimes, coming to the proper deduction hinges on FAITH, not methodology.

You either need to have an intrinsic belief in the supernatural (or at least a healthy respect or fear for it), or you need to have your mind open to the idea of the existence of such things as demons and angels...…..  which also means acknowledging a belief in or accepting the existence of God and Lucifer.

I enjoyed how this movie entertains the idea that belief in the preternatural and in science don't have to be mutually exclusive.   It fully embraces the logic of Occam's Razor and applies it to the netherworld.  

To paraphrase Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speaking through Sherlock Holmes, when you remove all incredulous possibilities, the variables you are left with, albeit seemingly impossible, are the most likely choices.

If the murders are committed by the work of a demonic force, then the demonic sorcerer is the obvious culprit.

Naturally, a protagonist the likes of Professor Harrington will needlessly struggling with that and waste precious time that could be spent on thwarting Karswell's next crime.... and Karswell EXPECTS THAT~! because no one in their right mind would suspect that the murder weapon is devil magic!  Rational people don't believe in such folklore bullshit, right?

And all of this comes bundled in a movie made in the fucking FIFTIES~!  This is the kind of plot for a movie you'd expect to see made as a modern day Netflix film or maybe in the sixties and seventies during the golden age of Satainc horror films, not a classic scary joint from even the late fifties.

Edited by J.T.
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Never in a million years would I have ever expected myself to defend Eli Roth, because he pretty much is terrible, but I did kind of like Cabin Fever. That pancakes scene has my sides hurting just thinking about it. So damn funny. Of course, that’s the only thing I remember from it and have youtubed since watching it ages ago. 

The cannibal one I wanted to like. Just like I want to believe in Chupacabras and Sasquatch. That ‘s damning with faint praise, though. You guys are right. 

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I also wanted to join you guys this year, but I told my brother I was going to watch all the Leprechaun movies in sequence in October and knowing I still haven’t started on that because I fear my mental state after marathoning them I couldn’t in good conscience participate. 

 

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We could always have you review an Xmas horror movie for Chaos. Like, a really bad one, since you're willing to subject yourself to Leprechaun sequels. 

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I thought we had already done Curse. Not complaining, mind, as it's a great picture.

If you make it into Science Fiction Double Feature...

Edited by odessasteps

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5 hours ago, J.T. said:

The brilliance of the story lies in Karswell's arrogance. 

He has no endgame strategy or a master plan.  He's simply using his command of diablerie to commit murders because he can.

The beauty is that if you are going to investigate such a string of crimes, coming to the proper deduction hinges on FAITH, not methodology.

You either need to have an intrinsic belief in the supernatural (or at least a healthy respect or fear for it), or you need to have your mind open to the idea of the existence of such things as demons and angels...…..  which also means acknowledging a belief in or accepting the existence of God and Lucifer.

I enjoyed how this movie entertains the idea that belief in the preternatural and in science don't have to be mutually exclusive.   It fully embraces the logic of Occam's Razor and applies it to the netherworld.  

To paraphrase Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speaking through Sherlock Holmes, when you remove all incredulous possibilities, the variables you are left with, albeit seemingly impossible, are the most likely choices.

If the murders are committed by the work of a demonic force, then the demonic sorcerer is the obvious culprit.

Naturally, a protagonist the likes of Professor Harrington will needlessly struggling with that and waste precious time that could be spent on thwarting Karswell's next crime.... and Karswell EXPECTS THAT~! because no one in their right mind would suspect that the murder weapon is devil magic!  Rational people don't believe in such folklore bullshit, right?

And all of this comes bundled in a movie made in the fucking FIFTIES~!  This is the kind of plot for a movie you'd expect to see made as a modern day Netflix film or maybe in the sixties and seventies during the golden age of Satainc horror films, not a classic scary joint from even the late fifties.

All this.  It's assessments like this why I do this each time I can.

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Oh hey, Tales from the Crypt '72 is airing on AMC early next Friday morning, I think it said around 11 or so, maybe earlier. DVR that shit.

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I am starting to feel like I need to rewatch Best Worst Movie and bonus review it

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If you don't I will. I almost watched it the other day but Shudder started acting up (as it has been doing, I hope it's just my laptop)

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10 hours ago, The Magnificent 7 said:

I also wanted to join you guys this year, but I told my brother I was going to watch all the Leprechaun movies in sequence in October and knowing I still haven’t started on that because I fear my mental state after marathoning them I couldn’t in good conscience participate. 

 

I actually just did that last month. Some of them are pretty fun, some of them are just plain awful, one of them really surprised me, and one of them is In Space *shudder*

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On 10/18/2019 at 4:19 PM, The Magnificent 7 said:

Never in a million years would I have ever expected myself to defend Eli Roth, because he pretty much is terrible, but I did kind of like Cabin Fever.

Cabin Fever is a great movie and Eli has been riding its coat tails ever since.  The critical success of that movie went straight to his head.

Hostel was okay if you like that sort of thing, but Roth believes it's the best scary movie ever made and mostly faults lack of taste or vision for people that don't "get it."  You know what they say about directors that blame the audience...

Then he went and made Green Inferno to celebrate the 1960's cannibal exploitation movies.  Who asked for THAT shit?  Not me. 

Given his love of horror exploitation movies of the past, I feel that Eli wants to be the Quentin Tarantino of fright films.  I like where his head is, but he needs to start making movies that people other than him actually want to watch.

I feel that his films will return to the glory of Cabin Fever once he figures out how not to take himself so seriously.   When that will happen, if ever, is anyone's guess.

Edited by J.T.

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On 10/18/2019 at 4:57 PM, odessasteps said:

I thought we had already done Curse. Not complaining, mind, as it's a great picture.

If you make it into Science Fiction Double Feature...

I don't think anyone has reviewed it for HH.  I do remember it making a lot of 31 Days watchlists last year around this time after both of us posted in the Good Stuff on TCM thread that it was on light rotation and available on TCM On Demand for a limited time.

Edited by J.T.
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I've tried to watch Green Inferno three times. Couldn't do it. The bits at the start, before the actual horror kicks in, those are to help you get to know who the characters are, who deserves the painful deaths later in the movie and who doesn't, yeah? I couldn't get through them. Didn't feel like real people were talking in any way natural way humans would.

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7 hours ago, J.T. said:

I don't think anyone has reviewed it for HH.  I do remember it making a lot of 31 Days watchlists last year around this time after both of us posted in the Good Stuff on TCM thread that it was on light rotation and available on TCM On Demand for a limited time.

My memory is so poor these days that I can often remember that something has been discussed here, but not where and when or  on what occasion. 

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Work has finally stopped kicking my ass so I will post a couple of reviews after lunch

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PHANTASM (Coscarelli, 1979)

IMDB : ROTTEN TOMATOES (73/67)

SELECTED BY: @Travis Sheldon

A great flick that plays with your mind, leaving you wondering if you're watching a nightmare unfold.

REVIEWED BY: @odessasteps

Phantasm (1979)

Directed by Don Coscarelli

We all know the Phantasm series, right? Tall Man, silver flying spheres with deadly forks and drills that kill folks. 

I probably have not watched this movie since the mid 80s when I saw it as a teenager. Do not remember off hand which of how many of the sequels I have seen over the years.

I think it holds up well forty years later. Other than the spheres, the most interesting thing about the film may be its unpredictable turn into being a Sci-fi film and not just another slasher picture cranked out after the success of Halloween. And the thing that reminds me most of the Carpenter film is the music, although the stated influences were Goblin and Mike Oldfield.

I didn’t realize it while watching, but learning it was inspired by Something Wicked this Way Comes makes a lot of sense in retrospect.  Teenage boy protagonist versus mysterious older man with some kind of superhuman powers.

As we were discussing in one of the threads, there is perhaps surprisingly little nudity. There is a gratuitous boob shot at the very start of the film and then I think no more. 

To me, the more interesting aspect of the movie is how it was a low-budget success story, with Coscarelli doing so much of everything himself. He estimated the budget was $300,000 and the film made almost $12 million dollars in its original theatrical release. 

Definitely worth watching this holiday season.

(Editor's Note: I really should have left this in the giant 36 pt font the review was sent to me in)

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I presumably just c-n-p from the notepad app on my ipad.

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I love the Phantasm saga.  It is as close as horror movies will get to the Star Wars movies.

A real generation spanning epic with a start, middle, and end rather than an ongoing mishmash franchise showcasing a cult of personality antagonist.

That being said, watching Phantasm:  Ravager recently was a bittersweet experience.  it was good to see the story come full circle but the ending made me a little angry.

Spoiler

Reggie the Ice Cream Man is our fucking Frodo, goddammit.  He deserved to go out better than he did.  Alzheimer's?  Really?

RIP, Angus Schrimm.   The Tall Man Lives Forever.

Look to the sky.  Beware the spheres.

Reggie's iconic quad-barrel shotgun, the weapon he's used to send Gravers back to Hell since Phantasm II, needs to be enshrined at the US Museum of American History along with Fonzie's leather jacket.. It is a national treasure.

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If Phantasm is our Lord of the Rings, then the ORIGINAL BOOMSTICK is Glamdring, the mother fucking Foe Hammer.

Edited by J.T.
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BONUS REVIEWS by @Curt McGirt

MONSTER DOG (1984, Fragasso)

 

IMDB : ROTTEN TOMATOES (NA/22%)

Fresh out of his second rehab, Alice Cooper shuttled over to Spain to act as the lead in this cheapie to see if he could work sober. Its director used to play second fiddle to Bruno Mattei and would go on to direct the infamous Troll 2, so you can guess what we're in for here. Alice plays Vincent Raven, a rock star due to go back to his childhood mansion to shoot a rock video. The town has recently had a string of murders committed by wild dogs. We get a Greek chorus proclaiming the familiar cries of doom (and he gets a pretty sick nightmare sequence, along with playing the part of the undead friend in American Werewolf here) before the crew gets down to their shoot, which is interrupted first by gun-toting locals who look like they walked straight off the set of a Leone film, then by the wild dogs, and THEN by a werewolf. Aside from the amusing dubbing this is actually a fair little piece of work, chock full of gore and surprisingly well shot. Includes a scene where a sawed-off double barrel shotgun hilariously leaves a single bullet hole in a man's head. I... I don't think that's how that works. Oh, and the film's Spanish title? Leviatán. Go figure.

 

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981, Mihalka) 

IMDB : ROTTEN TOMATOES (47/52)

I forgot that I rewatched this a couple weeks ago and it's doing the rounds on Epix Drive-In right now. This is one of the earliest in the slasher cash-in and a Canadian entry to boot. The story is that there was an underground explosion in a mine up in Valentine Bluffs, Nova Scotia (at least that's where it was shot) that trapped miner Harry Warden, who went insane trapped down below and resorted to cannibalism, then killed a couple people after they dug him out, threatening to kill anyone who celebrated Valentine's Day in the town again. 20 years later, they decide to celebrate, and here we go once more. The film gets a lot of juice out of its mining town setup with the beer guzzling cast, kind of a Deer Hunter crossed with Friday the 13th deal. Real good kills but they were butchered by the MPAA and Epix is showing the rated cut so you'd better have the DVD on hand if you want to revisit. Film closes on Harry Warden's own acoustic theme song! 

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I have one more proper movie review to post which I will wait to do on Friday.

Meanwhile - there are more bonus reviews to come.

Bad news is that they are all from me.

So if you want to send in Bonus reviews - they are still more than welcome

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The fairly recent reboot of My Bloody Valentine is actually pretty good.  It was also released in 3D in semi tribute to Friday the 13th Part 3.

The original is awesome.  

Some of the early slasher joints like MBV, Prom Night, Black Christmas, and Happy Birthday To Me tried to be clever little whodunnits in addition to being mad killer movies.   Not all slasher movies were about the random violent butchering of horny teens.

The twist at the end of Sleepaway Camp still blows my mind after all this time.

Edited by J.T.
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My brain sings the tune of "My Funny Valentine" every time I see this movie's title.

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I was 9 when the original Phantasm was released, so there was no way I would have been allowed to see it in a theater.

Though I do have vivid memories of tuning in an old black and white television to a UHF station to see it a few years later. (If you've never seen classic genre films on a static-y UHF station, you're really missing out.)

It was, however, probably the first film I can remember that was a mindbender.

The concept of non-linearism, multiple timelines, timespace, etc... storylines didn't click with me until the mid-80s. (Even though I had been a Doctor Who fan since the mid-70s!)

The combination of the chemistry of the main cast, the Tall Man, the 'Cuda, and the overall fantastic tone of the film hooked me hard.

It's a film I love to revisit often and am really looking forward to WellGo USA's new box set with the remastered Phantasm II.

 

 

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