Tuesday, November 21, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Bloody Pit Of Horror (1965)

A few thoughts: Luckily I knew what I was getting into before I started this one, otherwise we very well might have an 'F' on our hands. As it stands, this is merely a pretty lousy movie with some unintentional humor and a good deal of delightfully over-the-top torture devices that are never believable enough to be even remotely scary. Storywise, I wouldn't even be able to tell you what this was about because it honestly stopped being interesting to me pretty fast. Bad acting and writing took over immediately, but I was reinvigorated during the second half, where bloody torture started to occur. While the movie does take its time to get here, some of the goofiness found in the latter half makes it worth sitting through to an extent, but only because of how stupid it all is. There's a particularly bizarre device that involves a giant fake spider, a web, and a bunch of arrows. It makes very little sense, but it's sort of fun to watch. It's too slow and dumb for its own good, sucks as a horror movie, but is campy enough to be mildly amusing.

Monday, November 20, 2017

200 Items Or Less: The Lost Boys (1987)

A few thoughts: After rewatching 'Near Dark', it was only natural for this to be one of the next movies for me to see. Easily one of the most entertaining vampire movies ever made, riddled with all the campiness and hilarious one could expect from Schumacher in his prime. Everything about this movie is calculated greatness, from the crazy hair and fashion, to the vamp faces and flashy action scenes. Though I find it hard to call this a horror movie, if the label fits I would have to consider it one of my favorites of the 1980s. The sort-of theme by Gerard McMann (cryyyyy little sistahh!) is one of my favorite movie songs, too, so the movie succeeds in that way as well. I'm not going to pretend this is a perfect movie by any means, but I've seen it a dozen times and it's never less than entertaining. I enjoy the cast, the levity, the setting, the style...it's one of many great cult films of the 1980s, and for me it's easy to see why. It's never boring, it's well-paced, and just overall a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Haxan (1922)

A few thoughts: A thoroughly unique experience, this psuedo-documentary about witchcraft tackles various scenarios with actors playing them out, many of which involving witches (of course), witch hunts, and the Devil himself. It's a visual masterpiece with some of the most incredible sets, costumes, and overall production I've ever seen in a silent film, rivaled only by 'Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari' and other similarly striking movies. Though the film doesn't have an overarching narrative, the way the film is laid out gives it plenty of opportunity to tell stories while also handling larger themes -- sort of like an anthologized 'Reefer Madness'...but good. While it's definitely a hard movie to sit through at times, the experience is incredibly memorable, and anyone with any interest in witchcraft from a historical perspective should consider this essential viewing. As far as silent horror goes, it's in a category of its own. This film is dripping in atmosphere and can't be compared to nearly anything else, past or present.

200 Items Or Less: Creepshow (1982)

A few thoughts: A horror anthology with 5 short stories and an overarching one, all of which written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero. Normally I wouldn't feel the need to point out the fact that a movie has only one writer and director, but with an anthology, this is definitely something I see value in. Though not all 5 of these stories are equal in terms of quality, the production of each are fairly equivalent. There's a childlike nature to most of these segments, even though the film is rated R, which is very much a Stephen King-like thing. I love the lighting found throughout this movie, utilizing very Italian style visuals reminiscent of Bava, and the cinematography is pretty wonderful as well. With especially memorable performances by Hal Holbrook and a particularly sinister Leslie Nielsen. It's uncommon seeing Nielsen playing a non-comedic role like this, and he does it remarkably well. It's overall a pretty silly movie, but a good deal of fun, even if tonally it is a bit strange.

Friday, November 17, 2017

200 Items Or Less: The Pit And The Pendulum (1961)

A few thoughts: One of the first of the wonderful Corman/Price Poe adaptations, and also one of the best. Sort of a midway point for Price's performances in 'House Of Usher' and 'The Masque Of The Red Death', this time getting to play both the nebbish "victim" as well as a deranged killer, which is a good blend for him, even if I prefer when he goes full evil. Just like the rest of this unofficial series of films, the visuals (set and costume design, cinematography, all that fun stuff) are terrific and make up a good part of the appeal. Storywise, I don't really think this is an actual adaptation of the Poe story, but who really cares? As far as Corman goes, this is right near the top of the list, several steps above most of the pulpy trash he made at the time. This is a pretty big and impressive production, a well-lit and beautiful looking gothic castle serving as the setting throughout. Though it's not as sinister as 'Masque' or as haunting as 'Usher', there's still a lot to love here, and as far as '60s horror goes, it is among my favorites.