Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me (1981 - Original Theatrical Trailer)

The horror flick for this Saturday, Happy Birthday to Me.  Since it's my birthday I chose one to go along with the theme however, it's one of my all time favourite horror films simply because it scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid. 
My brother, John, and brother from another mother, Chad, thought we were brave enough to watch this movie and not be scared. We watched the whole thing and nobody batted an eyelash until Chad had to go home. He lived behind us, just catty corner across the back yard, maybe 80 yards from back door to back door and he was too scared to walk home alone. Considering the content of the movie it really was no surprise we were freakin' terrified. Made in the early 80s this movie hit on a lot of things we were familiar with, dirtbikes, older brothers lifting weights pretending to be tough guys and crazy angry people. Angel dust was the drug du jour and whenever we saw a juvenile delinquent getting in trouble adults would immediately blame the angel dust. You know, because that kid came from such a nice family, it could only be drugs that would cause them to act that way. So it wasn't far fetched in our young 5 and 7 year old minds that an angry angel dusting pissed off prom queen could be lurking in the darkness between our yards. That night we spent most of the evening walking each other back and forth home. We had to walk Chad home because he was too scared. Then Chad had to walk us home because we were too scared. This went on and on until Chad finally was brave enough to just go alone.  I remember waking up the next day with a great urgency to go check on my best friend. You can imagine how horrified I was when I looked out my bedroom window and saw his body impaled on the neighbour's fence. OK, that didn't happen but that's what I thought I was going to see when I woke up. You'll be happy to know Chad is still alive and well and telling stories about how my dad used to make us breakfast before we went to school. 
Aside from the personal trip down memory lane I do enjoy this movie. There are a few movies similar to this so we could almost come up with a category called adolescent revenge horror or something like that. It was just creeping into the gory horror but not ridiculous or overly cheesy. The early 80s were good for horror in that the special effects were still special and not all computer generated. When an artist has to create a reality they tend to use a few more tricks, causing the viewer to fill in the blanks.  With computer generated effects it's spoon fed to the audience, no imagination involved. This one may be a little more nostalgic for those who grew up in the 80s, but definitely worth watching if you're a fan of horror. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Cabinet of Caligari (1962) - Trailer

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of those old horror flicks where you're not sure you know what the hell you're really watching. It stars Glynis Johns and everybody knows her as the mother in the movie Mary Poppins. The first time I saw Johns in a movie aside from Poppins was in The Vault of Horror. Of course she was also in the Batman TV series as Lady Penelope Peasoup, but that's not a movie. Anywho, after seeing her in Vault of Horror I wasn't as surprised to see her in another horror flick. This one is more of a psychological thriller type. The cinematography is fun in this one but the dialogue might make you a bit uncomfortable. Jane Lindstrom, Johns' character, is seeking help after her car breaks down. She finds a house and asks for help but soon she finds she's being held prisoner in this home belonging to a man by the name of Caligari. He says highly inappropriate things to her, watches her while she's in the bathtub, just all around creeper kind of things.  She believes he's some sick sort of pervert, keeping her there against her will just for some sort of amusement. The end comes and you think this is where the idea for Shutter Island came from which isn't a bad comparison because in both movies there's still that slim chance that the "crazy" person may really be the sane person and we were all tricked. There are a few unanswered questions that make you wonder.
This movie is worth watching for the cinematography alone, it's all black and white and the lighting is fantastic. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Apprentice To Murder Trailer 1987

The last few Saturdays were spent at painting competitions and I didn't set up any posts to have ready while I was gone so now I'll play catch up. The trailer for this movie makes it look REALLY creepy. In parts it really is creepy but mostly I walked away asking myself, what exactly were those Pennsylvania Dutch smoking back in the day? 
At first it looks like a cheap made for TV movie, the kind that used to come on late afternoon on a Saturday and you'd watch only if it were hailing outside or the other kids were trying to shoot you with their BB guns and you went indoors for safety. It says it's based on a true story, which usually hooks me. I'm a sucker for those kinds of stories.
 The eerie music really makes this movie up until you near the end of it. Before that it's more of a pervy kinda creepy and not a scary/horror kinda creepy. Donald Sutherland plays John Reese, a "powwow" medicine man.  Basically he's like a cult leader who seems to believe in his own powers to heal. He takes a liking to Billy Kelly, played by Chad Lowe. Billy is an aspiring artist and John teaches him to read and how to practice the "powwow" medicine. It's really unclear who the evil person is in this movie and it ends without ever really telling you, it's just that bizarre.  It's absolutely worth watching just to see a man spit fire.  
At the end of the movie it states that Billy Kelly and his wife Alice, played by Mia Sara in the movie, lived happily ever after in Philadelphia where he became a successful commercial artist. I tried to look up information on this story and Billy Kelly but didn't get anything. 
As far as horror movies go, this one isn't bloody and gory but it gets you thinking and has its moments of suspense. My favourite line in the movie, "The Lord loves artists, Billy". 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Trailer: I Bury the Living (1958)

This Saturday is "I Bury the Living" from 1958 starring Richard Boone. It begins with Boone's character getting the rundown of his inheritance, the Immortal Hills Cemetery.  He runs a department store but this year he's been given the task of being director of the cemetery. There's a very elaborate map that shows the cemetery, where an occupied space is it has a black pin, and the space with the white pins are not occupied but spoken for.  It's quite possible this is how cemeteries actually work in real life, it seems like such a strange business to be in. Robert Kraft (Boone)  gets a strange feeling that pushing those pins in the map is somehow a curse or oddball coincidence that people are dying when he pushes in the pins.
It's a typical black and white horror film, lots of suspense, a pretty damsel in distress and tons of foreshadowing. Stephen King refers to this movie in one of his books, "The Bazaar of Bad Dreams".  Apparently when he wrote the story "Obit", a story about a guy who could kill people by writing their obituary, he had this movie in mind. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Chaos and the Undertaker

In an attempt to refresh this blog, I'm going to start by bringing back my Saturday Screamfest. I used to do a yearly Halloween "special" where I'd recommend horror movies and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This time around though, I'm going to share all of the movies, not just the ones I thought were good.

The Undertaker and His Pals, maybe you should watch this twice. It was released in 1966 and is labeled as a horror comedy.  IMDb has it at 4.9/10 stars.  Perhaps you just have to be in the right mood to watch it and appreciate it. It's low budget which probably gives it it's low rating. As far as entertainment value it's at least an 8/10. The whole time I watched it I thought, with all of the movie remakes that don't need to be remade this one should be.  It could actually be a really good movie with some better quality film and effects.
It's a strange story that doesn't make much sense until about half way through.  Young, single women are turning up murdered and a shady undertaker is scamming the victim's families. That is a story that could be well developed on it's own but that's not the "meat" of this movie.  Two guys running a diner are what the movie is really about. At first it seems it's the way they're cutting costs for the restaurant, but it's even more strange.  The cook is a nut job trying to become a surgeon or something. He's practicing surgery on these women for what reason, it wasn't really clear. Real life horror rarely gets a straightforward explanation so why should it in the movies? The sound quality is crap, the acting is mediocre, the music is fun and it's only 63 minutes long so definitely worth watching. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

You're Now at DEFCON FOUR

So many people say they hate Math, the adding, subtracting and oh my God, FRACTIONS!  Seriously, there are people who will go out of their way to avoid doing any kind of math. What's so scary about math?
Well, the other day I was in line at the grocery store and it hit me, parents are putting the fear of numbers into kids heads right from the start. This little kid, maybe he was three years old, was being very cheeky.  He just wanted a bit of attention and he was fussing with the grocery bags and that sort of thing. This sort of behaviour was unacceptable to his mother so she started counting to him. "You're at ONE".  This was funny to me so I chimed in, "Uh oh, you're at one".  Couldn't wait to see what he would do to get to two. He started pulling on the rope that blocks off the aisle. "You're now at TWO".  He smiled and gave another tug. "NOW YOU'RE AT THREE".  Good lord woman, how high are you going to count? At this point I was starting to fear the numbers too and thought I had better get out of there. The kid didn't do anything wrong at number three it was just that he wasn't obeying his mother's commands. She wanted him to go round the counter and stand next to the cart. "YOU ARE NOW AT NUMBER FOUR".  No, really, how high was this woman going to count? I was very close to provoking that child to do something wrong just to see what happened when she hit five. Was her head going to launch off of her shoulders like a missile and annihilate us all? What was with these numbers?  I can only imagine what's going to happen to this child when he goes off to school.  The teacher asks him what two plus two is and he'll probably wet his pants.  10+10 is probably the equivalent of digging your own grave then throwing the dirt on top of yourself. The kid only made it to number four then straightened up and did what his mother told him to do.  Still, I find it hilarious that parents can put fear into their children's heads just by counting. Poor Count von Count.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Cry, Baby, Cry

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going on a short tour of a very old theatre. I don't have the exact history of the building but the tour guides told me that the theatre began as an opera house back in the late 1800s. It then moved on to become a live theatre venue, then a movie theatre, then some sort of warehouse until it was lovingly restored to a movie theatre again. Some of the lights were original and the windows in the projection room are also original. One thing that was also preserved was the door to the cry room.
I've spent a fair amount of time in theatres but have never had the pleasure of being able to send a mother with a crying baby to a room where they'd no longer be seen nor heard. Seriously, the last time I went to a movie theatre a two year old was allowed to run around the dark theatre, unattended, while the movie was playing. Not only was that dangerous for the child's safety but it was incredibly annoying for the other patrons. They also strategically started screaming every time there was a quiet part in the movie. Don't get me started on what I thought of the parents who took their young child to The Wolf of Wall Street. Back to this cry room. From what I understood, the cry room was a place where mother's could take their children but there was still a window for them to watch the show, but it would muffle the sound of their upset child.  This particular theatre only had the evidence of where the window once was. It was covered over when converted to the projection room/office area.
After doing a quick search the cry room is still being put to good use in some theatres and churches. Unfortunately they just aren't in use at any of the theatres I frequent. So it got me thinking, when did they go out of fashion? According to this Mental Floss article cry rooms aren't the only thing to go out of fashion.  What happened to the movie going experience? It seemed like it was such a formal experience to go watch a show, or "the pictures" as my grams would call them. Besides having to put up with crying babies some theatres now charge you a ticket price but it also includes popcorn and a soda. OK, that's not that huge of a deal, but what if I don't want soda and popcorn? You don't get a discount you just don't get the "free" junk food. Another theatre I go to assigns you seats. Well, technically you get to pick them but you don't just walk in a grab an empty chair. What kills me about that is, the theatre can be relatively empty and some weirdo will choose seats right next to you. Then  the theatre where I go the most barely gives you any sort of service. You can go to the concession stand and get popcorn and pay for everything else but that everything else you have to get yourself. Yea, they can't even take five seconds to grab you a box of Junior Mints, you have to do that yourself. It's a far cry from free pieces of china with your movie.
So the cry room is a new to me concept that I think is a genius idea. Can we get a cry room in every type of building or for every situation?  What other cry room type amenities are we missing out on? We could use sneeze/hack rooms for those obnoxious gross people who hack and insist on blowing their noses at the dinner table. We could have a shut the hell up room for those awful people who yell at their family members in public. We could use a check writing line for the old people at the grocery store who insist on waiting until the last item is rung up before they even put the date on their check. Also, why are you still writing checks at the grocery store?
So what do you think, should we bring the cry room back in fashion? We could probably all spend some quality time in a cry room from time to time.