6WH: Week 6.5 – Speed Round!

Only a few days away from Halloween, so I figured it’s time to cover some movies that I’ve seen recently, but that haven’t been discussed in the Six Weeks of Halloween marathon so far. Some of them just didn’t fit with a given week’s theme, and for others I only made it two movies into the theme. So here goes:

  • Horror of Dracula: First in a Hammer Horror double feature: Christopher Lee is a good Dracula, Peter Cushing is always good, and the plot is a slight improvement over the original, but I’m kinda let down by all these old Vampire movies. I liked the original better, but even that wasn’t so great. **1/2


  • The Curse of Frankenstein: Second in a Hammer Horror double feature: Peter Cushing and Robert Urquhart are excellent, but I didn’t care for Christopher Lee as the Monster (on the other hand, the reveal of the Monster is great filmmaking). The story is similar, but Frankenstein is more diabolical, with the conscience being stressed by the character of Paul. Ultimately, the original is a lot better. **
  • Cannibal Holocaust: Wow, this is a disgusting and irresponsible film. I guess it’s effective, but the real animal mutilation is inexcusable. I don’t especially want to watch this ever again…
  • The House on Sorority Row: A pretty straightforward 80s slasher, I had actually gotten this confused with Slumber Party Massacre (and am a little disappointed that those movies aren’t on Netflix). It has a few good Boo! moments, some interesting visuals, and some unexpected plot development too. Interestingly, I watched this around the same time as Slaughter High, and both movies feature quasi-jester costume hat thingys. **1/2
  • The Burning: Yet another in the summer camp slasher genre, this one is perhaps most notable for featuring Jason Alexander (with hair!) and being one of the first films produced by the Weinsteins. Maybe a bit above average, but not really rivaling the greats. **1/2

    The most awkward stabbing pose evar!

  • Prom Night: Another slasher of the high school variety. Aside from the fact that it stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen, this is fairly unremarkable. I guess the relatively few kills distinguishes this one, as does the “twist” ending (which is pretty easy to see coming). Perhaps worth watching for the absolutely horrific dance sequence in the middle of the film. Yikes. **
  • The Prowler: Yeah, another slasher… but this one is slightly above average. I rather like the backstory and the killer’s outfit. **1/2
  • The Last House on the Left: Wes Craven’s first film and from a technical perspective, one of his weaker films. However, he taps into something raw and dark with the general story, which is why it gets so much praise, even today. ***
  • Surveillance: Jennifer Lynch (daughter of David) directed this rather twisted tale. It starts with promise as something of a modern, dark Rashomon type story, but it eventually takes things in a different direction. It’s perhaps a little too reliant on a twist in the story, but I thought it was rather well done. Some interesting casting choices as well. ***
  • Final Destination 3: Surprisingly good for a third entry in a pretty straightforward series. By this film, the formula was well in place, but they were still having fun executing it. **1/2
  • Ginger Snaps: Lycanthropy as a metaphor for puberty, and reasonably well done. ***
  • Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust: I always thought vampires would make the best vampire hunters, and a number of stories play on that, but they always seem to be half-vampire, half-human. Why is that? Anyway, I rather enjoyed this film much more than the various Dracula films I saw. Also, it’s nice to sneak some anime into the marathon. ***

    Vampire Hunter D

  • Don’t Look Now: I’ve heard a lot of good things about this, so I was a little disappointed when I finally sat down to watch it. The pacing is rather awkward and I think I might just hate Nicolas Roeg’s visual style and editing (I didn’t like The Man Who Fell To Earth either). The ending of this film almost makes up for it, and there are some good moments throughout. **1/2
  • Blue Sunshine: Don’t do acid, kids. Because 10 years later your hair might fall out and you’ll go crazy and start murdering people. Or something. There are some insanely stupid things in the script (i.e. when he learns how to shoot the gun, then repeats his lesson later in the movie), but I had a lot of fun with this one, and it’s reasonably well crafted too. ***
  • Masters of Horror: Family: Norm! This was one of John Landis’ episodes, and whatever you think of the man, he’s a decent filmmaker. This is an above average MoH episode, but clearly not the best. ***
  • Masters of Horror: Valerie on the Stairs: Another above average MoH episode, this time directed by Mick Garris and based on a Clive Barker story. It reminded me a lot of other episodes, but it was also pretty good. ***
  • Nightbreed: It has its moments, but it is far inferior to the book and I’d rather Barker focused his attention on writing rather than directing. Not that this movie held anything back, but seriously man, when the hell are you going to write the Book of the Art 3 or even The Scarlet Gospels. He’s been talking about both novels for like 15 years (no exaggeration). Dammit. Anyway, the movie features David Cronenberg as an actor and a few interesting monsterous characters too. **
  • Deep Red: This one is on its way here from Netflix, I plan to view it and write something up for the Italian Horror blog-a-thon…
  • The Walking Dead: Based mostly on Karina Longworth’s recommendation on the now defect Filmcouch podcast a while ago, this one is also on its way. It stars Boris Karloff and is directed by Michael Curtiz – how could it be bad?
  • Blood Feast: Also on its way. I figure I need to see some Herschell Gordon Lewis at some point, and this seems like a good place to start.

That’s all for now. I included some films I still need to watch above, but I’ll also probably watch some of the old standbys, notably Halloween.