Tonight has been, in the long-standing history of 32 Days of Halloween, a night for vampires. And we're not going for your traditional bloodsuckers...instead we look to vampires from space! Because when your planet needs blood, send somebody out to get take out from the humans. Earth, a blood bank that's open 24/7. Such is the original Not of This Earth.
What's weird is that while I knew this had been remade with Traci Lords in 1988...I had no idea it had been remade again in 1995 with Michael York of all people. Also in this original 1957 Corman-directed classic...Dick Miller. Of course.
There needs to be a technical term for the weird feeling you get when reading a book that was set in the writer's future but now is in your past. For example, I Am Legend was published in 1954 and set in 1976. I was reading it for the first time in the mid-1990s. That feeling. You can get a version of that feeling--but with hilarious results--when watching tonight's pick (brought to you despite many attempts by the power grid to stop us) Phantom Planet from 1961. It's not even the weird and glorious retro costumes and sets--it's the amazing dialogue. Apart from it being, you know, terrible...I think there should be some sort of drinking game for every time somebody throws out a technical term like "recording reproduction unit." Enjoy. And try not to get too plastered.
Yes, we posted the trailer last year but now it's time to enjoy the entirety of Roger Corman's take on House of Usher from 1960. The first of Corman's series of films based on (but more simply "inspired by" as time went on) Poe, it has many things to commend it: an awesome array of costumes and sets that are 60s-horror-cinematastic; the script by Richard Matheson; and Vincent Price rocking the role of Roderick with so much gravitas it's amazing any light could escape. Fun as hell, it's amazing--even knowing that it's Corman--that it was shot in fifteen days. (That fact per Wikipedia, which is always right.) Enjoy.
Update: The full film is gone, so we'll drop back to the trailer and punt...
Well, previously on Movie Night #27, we've checked out films about evil women and evil children. But I couldn't find anything this year that really made the grade. So when all else fails, you can always fall back on Mad Science. Here we have Konga--and Michael Gough as a scientist that creates a giant ape and decides to use it as a weapon against the people who have wronged him. And of course, this is Gough--who most of you know only as Alfred from the Tim Burton Batman movies. Here he is a perfect mad scientist.
And Konga starred in a Charlton Comics adaptation that spun off into an actual twenty-three issue run. Go figure. Anyway, enjoy. And also: science.
It's Mario Bava Night here at 32 Days of Halloween and we're watching Twitch of the Death Nerve (although it's shown here under the alternate title of A Bay of Blood). The film that launched a thousand slasher flicks--watch the murders in this film and you'll get the funny feeling you've seen them before. That's right: the old "Spear Through the Copulating Couple" (not a euphemism) trick started here. It apparently was way ahead of its time because although it flopped and flopped again, it's still got better makeup and dialogue than some of its progeny today. Go figure.
Written by: Simon Barrett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Nicholas Tecosky, Chad Villella & Ti West Directed by: Bruckner, McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, West & Wingard
V/H/S is a new horror anthology film (ala Creepshow, Trick 'r Treat, Black Sabbath, and everyone's favorite... Tales From The Hood) from a group of independent film writers and directors. The two biggest names involved are Ti West (who we'll get to later) and Glenn McQuaid (Stake Land, I Sell The Dead). I'm going to try to review this without spoiling it, but I'm not usually very good at that. So, if you feel the need to bail--even though you've probably made up your mind just by the cup rating above, I'll say it's worth a shot. It's well put together, but with some glaring flaws.
My chief complaint with V/H/S isn't its wonky premise, or even its inconsistency; that's just the nature of anthology films, really. There will always be hits and misses and there are certainly hits and misses here. It's more about its casting and characters. The film is comprised of about 90% douchebags. So when I say the phrase "white college frat boy douchebags" to you...you know that person you immediately picture in your head? There are about fifteen of them in this film. A few of the men depicted show redeemable qualities, but they are a small minority. And not only are their personalities the same, they look remarkably similar between the stories as well. The film has been criticized for being misogynistic. While some of the stories come off that way, I don't feel myself qualified to deem the entire film one way or the other. I can most certainly say is that none of the men shown here are people that anyone reading this will want to be around for long periods of time.
So Day 26 is when we usually pause and reflect on a bit of Italian horror that all makes us scratch our heads and say, "WTF was that all about?" Previous exhibit was the awesomely titled Don't Torture a Duckling. Now we come to the amazingly weird trailer for Mill of the Stone Women. Now, let me be clear: I'm not saying that the films themselves are incoherent parades of nightmarish images--I'm just terribly amused that a film that actually holds together (or at least as much as usually weird Italian horror films do) can be reduced to a trailer in which you really have no damn idea what's going on. There's a hanging woman! There's a dead body! Women are turning to stone? Wait, there's a musical number! Is it the ELO song "Turn to Stone"? No? What the hell is going on here?
Prepare for two minutes of a narrator struggling to try to get you to see a film in which he himself probably has no idea what's happening.
Since it's silent horror feature night at 32 Days of Halloween, we figure we'll take you back to 1925 and Wolfblood, which has been referred to as the first werewolf film ever made. I certainly haven't seen any earlier...you? Anyway, our protagonist Dick is the head burrito at a logging company. After a vicious attack, he's lost a lot of blood and in desperation--since no human will volunteer to give blood--the doctor uses the blood from a wolf. And you can...pretty much anticipate what is supposed to happen next.
Well, we had When Animals Attack as the theme previously for Day 25 of 32 Days of Halloween...but then I was seduced away from the path by The Giant Behemoth. But who can blame me? And now we combine giant monsters and killer animals and get a monstrosity that's half-man, half-walking catfish, all rubber suit. It's Zaat from 1972, raised from relative obscurity (under its alternate title of The Blood Waters of Dr. Z--which quite frankly sounds like a rap album) by our friends in MST3K. It is nothing short of amazing in its WTFery.
"How could it happen? No one knows. But it did." What, you mean the funding?
It's a free form night on 32 Days of Halloween, so we're going with the film that inspired a Tom Waits song. It's The Earth Dies Screaming from 1965. What happens when you get back from your flight and see that everybody's dropped dead? You go sidestep into what's essentially a one-act play set in a pub and every so often dodge some of the slowest moving robots in sci-fi history. If there was anything that ever screamed low budget sci-fi, it's this. It's Tuesday night cheeseball goodness.