Watchin’ Stuff

What a great cover! So naturally it’s a disappointing snoozefest. Fulci actually plays himself in this, in a weird story where he’s starting to lose his mind after directing all those nasty horror movies and his psychiatrist uses it as an opportunity to go on a killing spree and try to pin it on his patient. Wait, wasn’t that the plot of Night Breed (and many others)? While the movie Nightbreed actually came out the same year as this, the book came out a few years earlier. Tsk tsk. It doesn’t actually share any similarities beyond that though. It’s just a kind of boring slasher movie that’s apparently supposed to be a satire, but there isn’t a laugh in sight. Certainly not Fulci’s finest moment.

This Fulci film was much better. It’s kind of a cross between Carrie, Suspiria, and Patrick. An unpopular girl gets tricked Carrie-style, but then ends up getting knocked into a coma in the course of the prank, and then starts possessing another girl and causing strange things to happen to her tormentors with her mysterious coma-witch powers. It’s everything Cat in the Brain wasn’t, with cool over-the-top synth music and a lot of bizarrely memorable death scenes. Great stuff.

Another strange giallo movie. Pretty standard giallo stuff, with bizarre, compelling characters wrapped up in a murder mystery full of crazy twists and turns. Not amazing, but strange and interesting enough to be decently enjoyable.

This is a classic that I’ve seen quite a few times already. Sexy energy vampire from space invades London and causes an epidemic of weird life-sucking zombies. A must-see 80’s sci-fi/horror that was written by the late, great Dan O’Bannon and directed by the also late and great Tobe Hooper.

An interesting werewolf movie from the 90’s. A bit goofy, but the effects were pretty good for the time (except for that one awful CG transformation scene). The interesting hook is that the family dog is really kind of the main character here, with everything kind of revolving around him, as he’s the only one who realizes what’s really going on and trying to do something about it. The writing of the human characters is actually a little frustrating. Spoiler alert: the tough lawyer mom who is supposed to be the actual main character ends up becoming unbelievably stupid. She sees news reports about a bunch of people being found savagely killed in the place her brother just moved to her place from, goes in his trailer and finds pictures of girlfriend having been horribly mutilated, and even finds a journal where he flat out says I’M A WEREWOLF AND I’VE BEEN KILLING A SHITLOAD OF PEOPLE, but when the police find a mutilated dead body near her house after all that she says “OH. I GUESS MY DOG MUST HAVE DONE IT. BETTER SEND HIM TO THE POUND TO BE PUT DOWN!”. Pretty bad even by conveniently dumb horror movie character standards. Still, the rest was good enough to be enjoyable despite that.

This is one of those ones where I really should have known better. The horrible quality was actually kind of funny at first. It seemed like some college kids just made this on their personal camcorder and they seemed to be having a good time and not taking it too seriously, but the novelty wears off as the story just stops going anywhere at all after the first 20 minutes or so. You can’t be awful AND boring. That just doesn’t work.

This is like a cheap, Italian version of The Exorcist. Oddly enough, it’s by the same director as the infamous Troll 2, but it’s nowhere near that level of awfulness. It’s not great, but it’s not completely terrible. I enjoyed it a bit, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to recommend it to anyone else.

Hm. Another winner, surprisingly. This is a very strange horror comedy about two brothers who run a popular vegetarian diner, but secretly make all the food out of people, but that’s also a cover for their real goal of creating a patchwork body for a ritual to summon their weird fake Egyptian goddess, Sheetar. One of the brothers is also a wrestling fan and ends up doing an exhibition match against a guy called Jimmy Hitler. Very strange stuff. I got a good laugh out of it though.

And finally, we binge-watched the new Punisher series. It’s sure a very different version of the classic Punisher origin, leaving all the familiar Vietnam War ties behind and pretty much cutting the mob out of the story altogether. It was an excellent show though, one that I’d think would be enjoyable for both fans and newcomers to The Punisher. Extremely violent at times, not that I’m complaining.

Watchin’ Stuff

This one I’ve seen before, a very long time ago. It presents itself as a standard 80’s slasher, but of course there’s a twist to it all. There’s not really very much graphic violence at all for an 80’s slasher, but it does have a decent, familiar 80’s cast and is paced pretty well. Still holds up decently, though it’s not what I’d call a great film.

I don’t know why I even tried this. It’s very rare for a killer animal movie to actually be worthwhile. I guess the fact that it takes place in Chicago swayed me. Anyway, it’s not very good. Not enough actual alligator action. Mostly just the main characters standing around talking about the alligator, and “why won’t anyone believe me about the giant alligator”, and blah blah blah. Time wasting snoozefest.

Why did I try to watch the second one too then? Well, sometimes horror sequels are better than the originals, like with Food of the Gods 2. This isn’t one of those movies though. This was even worse than the first one. Again, just a lot of talking about the alligator and no one believing the existence of the alligator, and with even less alligator appearances this time. Honestly, you could cut the alligator right out of this movie and it wouldn’t even make much difference. It felt like some bad tv drama that someone just decided to toss an alligator into after the fact. I don’t understand why people try to make movies like this if they have no intention of even trying to make it about what they’re presenting it as. “Hey, let’s make a movie about a killer alligator, but then barely have it be about an alligator at all and just put it straight to video! We’ll be rich!”. Awful.

Needed to go back to watching all those Argento movies to wash the bad alligator taste from my mouth. This is another giallo one. This time it’s about a guy who writes slasher novels, who apparently picks up a crazy fan that starts stalking him and reproducing scenes from his book. Naturally, it all takes some crazy twists and turns along the way. I think that’s one of the things I like most about these kinds of movies so far, that they’re so unpredictable. They’re not always entirely unguessable, but they go to great lengths to subtly make you suspect all the wrong people, and the truth ends up being so crazy and convoluted that even if you guess the right person, you still probably won’t guess their motivation. This one does a good job of that too. Very strange stuff with some great surprises.

Ok. Let’s see how many of the NINE Children of the Corn movies I can get through! Man, this movie does not hold up well at all. Interesting concept, but it’s pretty terribly executed. This couple gets lost and ends up in this strange country town where everyone seems to be missing, except for the children, who are acting rather strange. This seems like it could have made for some great tension, except they showed the children killing all the adults in the very first scene, so even though the main characters don’t know what’s going on, the mystery was already spoiled for the audience immediately and so there’s no suspense at all while they slowly plod along, building up to answers that were already given in the beginning.

The effects are so much worse than I remember them being too. I don’t think I’ve seen this since I was a kid and I seem to remember certain parts being much more sinister than they actually were. All I learned from this is that this song totally ripped off the Children of the Corn theme.

Argh. It only gets worse! This is so shitty and boring! How can there be NINE of these movies?!? Who watches all these? Fuck this, I give up already.

Had the strangest urge to see this again. Don’t think I’ve seen it since it came out. As much hate as this movie seems to get, I think it’s actually surprisingly enjoyable still. It’s a very strange movie that doesn’t seem to know who its audience is. It very much resembles a 90’s cartoon and almost seems like it’s aimed at children, except it was R-rated for being packed full of swearing and relatively graphic violence. It was too graphic for kids and too stupid for adults, and so it ended up a failure. Looking back at it now though, it’s really quite amusing. It’s just so very ridiculous and 90’s-feeling, in the very best of ways. It kind of resembles If Looks Could Kill, with a lot of cartoonish spy-movie villain characters and a nonsensical world domination plot. Everything about this movie is just completely ridiculous and insane, and it shouldn’t work at all as a movie. I have no idea how they even got everyone to agree to this thing, but it’s an oddly compelling and laugh-inducing train wreck to watch.

Not to be confused with the video game based Uwe Boll shitfest of the 2000’s, this Alone in the Dark is about some escaped mental patients terrorizing one of their doctors and his family during a blackout. Despite a surprisingly good cast, it’s ultimately just another padded out snoozefest that’s almost all buildup and little to no payoff. At least this one wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t sit through it all, but it wasn’t good enough that I’d ever bother doing so again.

Bell From Hell is some kind of bizarre thriller/”horror” from Spain in the early 70’s. I’m told that it’s about a man who was falsely placed in an insane asylum so his aunt and her three daughters could steal the family inheritance. He then gets out and plans some elaborate revenge that involves learning how to butcher cows and being some kind of home-taught gore-effects artist, I guess. I don’t know. It’s hard to actually discern this from the movie itself. Most of the time nothing really happened. He talked with his relatives a lot and there were some vague threats tossed around on both sides, and not much else.

Then there was this confusing part in the middle where some unrelated young girl runs into a group of hunters in the woods who start antagonizing her and are apparently about to gang-rape her, but then the main character comes out of nowhere on a motorcycle and rescues her, getting wounded in the process. The next scene is him walking into some fancy club with both his arms in giant casts with some elaborate metal braces holding them both up. We then see that the ringleader of the rapey hunters is in there. Main guy sends someone over to rapehunter to tell him to meet him in the bathroom. They meet in the bathroom and rapehunter is like “oh, we were just joking around, you don’t need to tell anyone about what happened, right?”, and so main guy is like “sure! but help me out here, I need to take a piss”. So rapehunter holds his dick while he pisses, then main guy takes off his fake casts and laughs. He tells rapehunter something like “I told her you’d do it!”, rapehunter is confused and asks who, main guy says “ask your wife!”. End of scene. None of this ever comes up again. What the fuck? I’m guessing his plan was to blackmail the guy by telling people he touched his dick in the men’s room? But…everyone saw him go in there with casts, and he asked him to do it, and there’s no proof, and none of this really makes any sense, and what does this even have to do with anything?

That pretty much sums up that movie. Next.

Another giallo by Lamberto Bava. Relatively well-produced, with some imaginative and disturbing death scenes. I don’t know if this one was easier to figure out than the others I’ve seen, or I’m just starting to get used to the twisted thinking of these movies, but I was able to guess the killer much earlier than usual this time. Still, it had an interesting story and kept me entertained the whole time. That’s good enough for me.

Haven’t seen this one in a long time. It still holds up pretty well. Christopher Walken plays an evil angel that has a heavy New York accent because Christopher Walken can’t sound any other way, ever. There’s a good cast overall, and they do a good job of maintaining the momentum of the film considering how blatantly low the budget was for a story of this scope. It’s the most exciting war in heaven, that actually only takes place in abandoned buildings and a hut in the desert, that you’ll ever see.

Also watched The Prophecy and 3, the straight-to-video sequels that still somehow managed to get Walken to sign on even though almost no one else involved would. They’re tolerable for straight-to-video movies, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go out of their way to see them like I would the first one (and I’m not even going to talk about the next two sequels).

That’s all for this week. Get used to a steady stream of shitty horror movies over the next year or so, as I continue my quest for lost horror treasures.