Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hurry up, it's Halloween!

Before I get into today's marathon, what did I watch yesterday?

Creepshow - Continuing my King marathon (which I'll keep going the next couple months), we have the delightfully cheesy Romero-directed Creepshow. This movie delivers exactly what it intends to deliver, the feeling of being a kid reading an old horror comic under the covers in the middle of the night. I love the little animated interludes between each vignette, as well as the kid's story that bookends the movie. Each of the vignettes has its own creepy charm, but The Crate is my favourite and probably the most memorable. Great cast, great performances, great direction, with just the right amount of over-the-topness without descending into goofyville.

Hell Night - continuing my Blair-a-thon, this is one of my favourite standalone 80s slashers. It's pretty standard in most ways, but what really sets it apart is the setting. Spooky old abandoned house with secret passageways and a deranged killer on the loose? Hell yeah, this is my jam. Oh, and don't go in the basement!

Final Exam - this came up in relation to Hell Night (same year, also a college slasher), so I figured why not. This is a basic campus slasher, but it was a decent late night diversion. Can I just say, I miss the 80s "nerd" trope so much? The classic nerds were these sweet, sincere, smart guys, and you can't really do that anymore unless you set your story in the damn 80s. That innocence is gone, and now nerds are just as jerky as everyone else. *sheds a tear for the bygone nerds*

Anyway, the movie. The killer was kinda Michael Myers-y, I guess. No mask, but he seemed extra... durable? Also he was just some random dude. Not sure what was going on there. Not great, but fun if you wanna add a guy named "Radish" to your 80s nerd list. This thing is SO tropey it's almost like, is this the movie that MADE the tropes in the first place? It's kinda charming in that way, honestly.

Hack O'Lantern - oh, Lordy, children. I was gonna watch this tonight but I just couldn't wait, so I made it my Halloween Eve movie instead. I probably should have waited for the day after Halloween, cause this is one discarded candy wrapper of a movie. It's GLORIOUS though. This is perfect Rifftrax fodder. They'd have to cut some nude scenes, but it's not like they're integral to the plot. Well... "plot." They'd have a field day with the evil folksy grandpa alone. Driving his evil pumpkin truck! Spooky! (No. Pumpkin farmers are not scary, no matter how much they overact. No.)

Come for the dramatic pumpkin flinging, stay for the dramatic headband-tying-on! Enjoy a random music video with a lady shooting green lasers out of her eyes! Cool! Enjoy a random, unfunny stand-up act right smack in the middle of a "horror" movie! (My guess: dude helped fund the movie in exchange for getting his schtick on.) In fact, this movie is kinda The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies of the 80s, with all the weird padding that has nothing to do with the plot. Well... "plot." Then you have the girl who just found her boyfriend's murdered body and almost got killed by her folksy satanic grandpa and what does she do when she arrives at the party to find help? Fixes up her makeup, of course! Let's party! And then acts shocked when she finds more bodies, like that hasn't happened before. Oooh, short term memory loss? Spooky, I guess?

Best of all, I don't think this movie is meant to be funny, except the stand up act, which is the only part that isn't. I think this is pure, genuine, Troll 2 style badness. Rifftrax, I'm begging you, you've got a classic here.

I probably won't watch quite as many movies today as I was planning to, since I'm extending the marathon, but we'll see how many I get to! And Happy Halloweeeeen, though it's much more Overlook Hotel than Haddonfield here in Edmonton today. :(❄️ I guess it's an excuse to stay in and watch movies.

To-watch list (today and the coming week):

Conjuring 1 & 2
Trick r Treat
The Thing
The Exorcist
Halloween III
Stranger Things season 2
Graveyard Shift
The Gate 2
Lost Boys
Legend of Hell House
Just Before Dawn

Monday, October 30, 2017

Morbid Monday

One more day till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, one more day till Halloween, Silver Shamrock!

I've gotta get my butt in gear, I really slacked over the weekend. Only 3 movies. :(

Cheerleader Camp - It's an 80s slasher called Cheerleader Camp. It's exactly what you think it is. Is it worth watching? Of course! If you want a cheesy 80s horror featuring cheerleaders... at a camp... it's there for you. It's serviceable.

Ghostkeeper - This is an obscure one, filmed here in Alberta so of course I had to watch it. For a very low budget 1981 film, this was better and scarier than a lot of stuff made today. I mean, this movie has an honest-to-God Cat Jump Scare and that doesn't even kill the suspense. (Hey, it was 1981, was that even a joke yet?) Just goes to show you can do a lot with a little when it comes to horror. This would make a nice double feature with The Shining, since they both feature a creepy old hotel in the middle of nowhere (snowhere?)

Rifftrax: Wes Craven's Mind Ripper - Of course I had to get the new Rifftrax Halloween offering. I love me some Wes Craven, and most of the films he actually directed are good, but boy did he put his name on some stinkers. This one actually has a decent concept (reanimated corpse terrorizes people in the desert), but poor execution, terrible acting, and it commits the sin of wasting Lance Henriksen. Watch the Rifftrax of this, cause it's very funny, and then watch Pumpkinhead.

I have a full slate of movies lined up for today and tomorrow, then I'm riding this crazy train right into November. Yeehaw! Or something.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Frightful Friday Part 3: Dream Warriors or Season of the Witch, take yer pick

Well, I managed to squeeze in three movies between yesterday afternoon and today. I'm actually a wizard, shhh. Two new-to-me's, one rewatch.

The Gate (1987) - Not sure how I missed this one in the 80s, I would have been the perfect age for it. Turns out, I'm still the perfect age for it. Holy shit, this was AWESOME.

The 80s was truly the golden age of kids in movies, especially adventure/horror type stuff. Before Disney Channel-style mugging became the go-to for child actors, we got to enjoy natural performances like this. Can we talk about Nerdy Metalhead Kid in the KILLER DWARFS jean vest?? Because he might be my favourite character ever. Killer Dwarfs is a real band, apparently. Guess I'll have to check them out. Man, I wish I liked metal music half as much as I like the aesthetic. Also, if jean shorts are jorts, would a jean vest be a jest?

Okay, that's all my tangents, back to the movie. Of course, Nerdy Metalhead Kid is your go-to for dealing with the occult, because he is both smart and into metal, and his favourite band "Sacrifyx" has some lyrics pertinent to the situation. This is the kid you want for your best friend when a gate to hell opens in your backyard, for he will calmly stare down into said gate and say, "you have demons," in the same way an exterminator would say, "you have termites." He is a DELIGHT, is my point. He will likely grow up to be the Badass Academic™ in another horror movie. Totally Metal Librarian. I'd watch the hell out of that movie.

This movie does have a "fag" joke, because 80s. It was at least from an annoying character you were meant to groan at (in the words of my new hero, Nerdy Metalhead Kid, "can we knock her out again?") I'll chalk it up to the times and move on. This would be a great starter horror for kids, but I had a lot of fun with it as an adult. It's likeable, it's exciting, the effects hold up, and KILLER DWARFS RULE, MAN. 🤘 (I assume.)

This is my second-fave "new to me" this year, after Pumpkinhead. There is a sequel, and I will watch it. Apparently it's not great but has its moments. Nerdy Metalhead Kid is back, so that's all I need. He was never in anything else, which is a real shame. Dude had charisma.

Scarecrows (1988) - I'm on a roll, cause this is another cool atmospheric gem from the 80s. I LOVE scarecrows in horror, they're right up there with clowns* in creepiness factor. Scarecrows that MOVE. The scarecrow episode of Supernatural is in my top 5 for sure, and this movie lived up to it. Imagine a whole field full of different, creepy looking scarecrows and an old abandoned witchy house. There NEEDS to be a Halloween attraction based on this movie, it practically makes itself. Just put a bunch of scarecrows out in a field, some of them just scarecrows and some of them live actors that move, and you don't know which is which until it's TOO LATE. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Yeah, this was pretty much an automatic win for me with that premise, and the execution did not let me down. I'd never heard of this until this year so it might not be very well-known? Highly recommended, especially if you love the creepy farm aesthetic like I do. I also like the idea that you can just randomly land a plane out in the middle of nowhere and you might end up in EVIL SCARECROW COUNTRY.

*my clown phobia is weird. I'm not afraid of them in their natural habitat, like a party or the circus, but say I was walking alone somewhere and no one was around and I heard a noise, the thing I'd be MOST afraid to see when I turned around would be a clown. :/ idk. Luckily that is an unlikely scenario.

Happy Birthday To Me - hadn't seen this in a while, and it was different than I remembered. By that I mean I only really remembered two scenes, the guy getting crushed by weights and of course THE ENDING. This was longer and slower in parts than I remembered, like it's a cool little slasher but you could easily trim 20 minutes off. Totally worth watching for the ending though. The mask thing was silly and far-fetched, but I also feel like it inspired the writers of Pretty Little Liars, so I kind of dig it in retrospect.

After the opening kill there's a stretch where not much happens, the only really important part is the bridge scene, but be patient. It does pick up. This is a 3 star movie that gets bumped up purely by how memorably batshit the ending is. It pleases my macabre little heart so much. The song that plays over the closing credits is great too; it's funny how some music just sounds creepy.

I have some stuff to do this weekend, including the last Eskimos home game, but I'll try to fit in as many movies as I can. TBH watching and writing about these movies is the happiest I've been in like, a year? So I'll probably keep this going into November, and then of course winter-themed horror in December. (I've never seen Krampus! I haven't seen Gremlins or Nightmare Before Christmas in years! I've been dying to rewatch The Visit! The Shining counts, because snow! Can I possibly withstand another watch of Black Christmas?! Wheee!)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Uh, Thrilling Thursday!

What I watched yesterday, and a test of my alliterative skills (solid). Heck, might as well do one of these every day. I have a surprising lot to say about a silly 80s slasher.

The Initiation (1984) - Starring The Sure Thing's Daphne Zuniga, Psycho's Vera Miles, Clu Gulager alert! (hi, MST3K), some totally awesome 80s fashions, and um, Barb from Stranger Things??

Barb has always existed. Barb will always exist. All hail Barb.

I had no idea if I'd seen this before I started watching it. I could have, I've seen The Initiation of Sarah, Sorority House Massacre, House on Sorority Row, Black Christmas, Sisters of Death, and probably some I'm forgetting. Sororities lend themselves well to horror movies, maybe because they're so damn weird. Think about it, you've got "normal" pretty people, the kind of girls you were probably afraid of in school if you were a shy bookworm like me, doing these crazy rituals and stuff they'd probably think were weird in any other context. It's like the closest they'll ever get to witchcraft.

Turns out, I hadn't seen this, and holy shit! First of all, this thing is pure, uncut 80s. If Material Girl-era Madonna licked a filmstrip, this is what would develop. It's also completely batshit. So it starts out as nightmare/repressed-memory-weird-family-shit movie. Okay, cool. Then it turns into sorority movie. Okay, cool. Then suddenly, it's Chopping Mall before Chopping Mall existed! Okay, cool?? It's also REALLY tonally weird. Most of the time it's your usual 80s slasher, screaming sorority girls, wisecracking frat idiots, nothing too serious. But then there's the underlying repressed memory story, which is played straight and seems like a different movie. AND THEN, in the worst tonal shift I've ever seen in a movie, 1000% SERIOUS TEARFUL STATUTORY RAPE STORY followed by SEX SCENE FEATURING SAID RAPE VICTIM?? And THEN, they get KILLED BY THE SLASHER. Really, 1984?

But other than that, I kinda enjoyed this mess. The ending is stupid. The whole thing is stupid. But it's mostly a fun kind of stupid. The part where the douchey frat guy starts randomly talking to the mall Christmas decorations made me laugh out loud.

Because of Vera Miles, I was inspired to rewatch Rifftrax: Psycho II. Believe it or not, this is the movie that started this whole crazy journey. Yup, Psycho II, pretty random I know. But that's how it was back then, you never knew what you might find on cable. When I was 13? I watched this late one night, and I was HOOKED. I'd never even seen the original, other than the famous scenes. But something about Anthony Perkins' performance (and Meg Tilly's) drew me in. I then watched the original Psycho and a few of Perkins' other movies (most of them bad, sadly, for such an engaging actor). I started staying up and watching every horror movie I could get my hands on. I was officially a ghoul, I was never happier, and I never looked back.

Psycho II may not be a great movie, but for me, it kinda is. Not only because I genuinely enjoy it, but for the memory of that night and what it represents.

Norman Bates is still my favourite horror character, maybe even favourite movie character. And what this sequel does even better than the original is get you to sympathize with him, even relate to him. It has its silly moments, but this is a movie that humanizes a serial killer and doesn't make you mad about it. You root for Norman; not to kill people, but to NOT kill. What kind of weird slasher movie is that?? Well it's not really, it's more of a character study and I find it effective, especially with Perkins' moving performance.

If I have one complaint about this movie it's the tonal shifts. It can't seem to decide if it wants to be drama or comedy. A few of the comedic moments work, and the ending scene actually made me laugh out loud - CLANG! - but it's the serious, human moments that work the best. 3.75 stars.

I also highly recommend watching Allison Pregler's Movie Nights review on youtube-

All that said, it's still rife for riffing, especially the silly ending, and I love the Rifftrax version. "Welcome to the Bates Motel, please ignore our Trip Advisory reviews!"

I might skip Frightful Friday, unless I can squeeze in a movie tomorrow afternoon. Going to a beer event tonight so only time for one movie.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

The latest thrills. And chills.

The Babysitter (Netflix 2017) - Saw this on a whim after reading positive feedback and yeah, this is definitely worth a watch. Very entertaining with some laughs, some suspense, and some surprisingly heart-wrenching moments. Kinda the perfect popcorn movie. If you like "evil cult" movies like I do, and a good mix of bloody horror, humor, and heart, check this out. It's modern, but with an 80s heart.

My Stephen King marathon continues strong with two movies I'd never seen, The Dark Half and Silver Bullet.

I'm surprised I just got around to The Dark Half, as I read and enjoyed the book as a kid, but I'm glad I did. Good performances by Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris, and especially Timothy Hutton. I LOVED Julie Harris' character, and after seeing this and another movie I watched recently, I realized I love the "badass academic." Like badass in a librarian-y, I'm gonna defeat you with KNOWLEDGE way, not "I will suddenly throw off my glasses and kickbox you!" (Because that would be unrealistic, in this movie about an evil absorbed twin come to life. Anyway.) That was her character, and she was so great. They're always open-minded too, like they're the character who will listen to you when you start spouting crazy shit and research a possible answer like they're just writing a paper, no big deal. Also Timothy Hutton in the dual role was amazing, it actually took me a moment to realize it WAS him.

Silver Bullet - This is now my favourite werewolf movie, yup, beating out The Howling and The Wolf-Man. Granted I haven't seen American Werewolf in London yet, but I'll probably still stubbornly cling on to Silver Bullet. This is just one of those 80s movies, like Fright Night or Night of the Creeps, that's fun to watch and makes you feel good. It has an uncynical spirit of adventure, and great performances by Corey Haim and especially Gary Busey.

Haim's character is in a wheelchair and he's just a kid that happens to be in a wheelchair, there's no sappy crap and he's not special or anything, he's a regular kid. He's a jerk to his big sister sometimes. I love how he's played and the family dynamic, it all feels natural. Gary Busey is the raddest drunk, foul-mouthed uncle ever who builds him this sweet wheelchair, the Silver Bullet. And oh yeah, there's a werewolf in all this, and it's obvious who it is, but it's really the stuff with the family that makes this great.

And I kick off my three-movie Linda Blair-a-thon with Summer of Fear, AKA Stranger in Our House. This seems to be one of those movies that I, specifically, love. Witchy stuff? Check. Linda Blair? Check. 70s made for tv? Check! It probably also helps that I loved the book by Lois Duncan as a kid. Like The Dark Half, this also features my beloved Badass Academic™ trope, this time the local professor of occult studies or something (of course). And of course, he listens to poor Linda Blair about her witch problem when No One Else Will™. I am seriously gonna seek out every movie with that kind of character and watch it. It's just so comforting and makes me happy, idk.

I continued my three-film John Carpenter-a-thon with The Fog (the first was Christine). What can I say about The Fog, another stylish, classic 80s gem with one of the best casts you'll see in a horror movie. We've got Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook and Tom Atkins (from Halloween III and Night of the Creeps, he sure picked good movies), but of course Barbeau steals the hell out of this thing. The way she switches between her sultry radio persona and concerned single mother, damn girl, just one of my favourite performances. This is also right up there in the coveted "atmosphere" department. VENGEFUL FOG SPIRITS, people. It doesn't get much more atmospheric than that, the monsters are literally IN THE ATMOSPHERE.

Rifftrax: City of the Dead - The Rifftrax is fun, but this movie is super watchable on its own imo. On the surface this seems like a pretty standard witch movie, but something about it got under my skin. Maybe it's because I love these kind of movies, and the fog-shrouded, nearly-abandoned New England village was a perfect setting. Maybe it's because it felt like our lead actually travelled back in time when she visited the town, it seemed so out of step with modern times (well, 1960, but you know). The whole thing kind of felt like a dream, and it's actually really well done. What can I say, atmosphere can really make a movie.

Dead and Buried - this is a 1981 film that was New to Me, and just another great 80s watch. This one was really different, a take on "zombies" (of sorts) I've never seen before. I did guess the final twist, but it's still fun and suspenseful even if you do. Great concept, well-executed. It kind of seemed like a Stephen King story, mysterious goings-on in a small town, locals who aren't what they appear, spooky!

I still have lots more to watch, including my Halloween All Day and All of the Night Spooktacular, which I've tentatively scheduled as: The Conjuring 1 and 2, Trick r Treat, The Exorcist, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and possibly the hilarious Hack O'Lantern if I have time. If I have even more time, Rifftrax Plan 9 is always fun to throw on. I might go to sleep to that one lol.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Man, October *ahem* Rocktober is just Peak Content time here at Straight on Til Morning. After this I probably won't post again till next year lol. Or maybe I'll keep the horror stuff going... Frightful Friday Part VIII, Melissa Takes Manhattan?? No, I'm in Canada. Melissa takes Manitoba. Okay, well now it HAS to happen.

Frightful Friday Part 2: The Revenge

The last few night's fine film selections.

Rocktober Blood - That's right folks, I just watched an 80s rock n roll slasher movie called ROCKTOBER BLOOD. I think I have fulfilled my final purpose on this earth. Farewell.

Okay, maybe not. So who's the real star of this movie, Headband Skeleton (totally metal, man!) or the worm playing pinochle on his snout?

Bloody Birthday - not to be confused with the gleefully demented Happy Birthday to Me, this is a decent watch if you're looking to complete your 80s holiday horror bingo card. (Y'know, My Bloody Valentine, April Fool's Day, Trick or Treat, Hack O'Lantern, Home Sweet Home, Silent Night Deadly Night, New Year's Evil, etc. Has there ever been an Easter horror film? Arbor Day? Canada Day? My guess is the answer to all of those is "yes, but it sucks." This one has killer children by way of astrology, so if that sounds like a good time, go for it.

Oh and the real star of this movie, this sweet vintage 7up can!

I'm not saying the movie was upstaged by a soda can, just that I'm interested in weird things.

And continuing down the holiday road, I rewatched April Fool's Day. WARNING: SPOILER FROM 1986

Usually this kind of movie would annoy me, but this is just campy enough to be fun. It's set up so you think it's gonna be an April fool from the start, but as the movie goes on you're like, is the twist that it's NOT an April fool? Has Muffy (yes, MUFFY) really gone off the rails on the crazy train? I love how forgiving all her friends are (oh, that wacky Muffster!) and how she didn't get like, totally murdered by any of her "victims." Ridiculous, but fun if you like 80s cheese and the girl from Valley Girl.

I have lots more movies left on my list, and I'll be staying Up All Night* to watch them all. Stay tuned!

*Man, I miss that show. Nothing else will ever be watching Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou or Night of the Creeps at 2AM when your mom's asleep and you're a dumb kid and the rest of your life kinda sucks but that night, man, that night of watching horror movies... that belongs to YOU.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It occurs to me that some people might think using horror movies to escape, well, the horrors of the world is a bit odd. But give me a good old fashioned spine-tingling SCARE over the real life creeping dread of say, a disgusting stupid bigot who might blow us all up, any day. Most of the movies I watch tend to be supernatural themed. I'm not saying that witches, ghosties, demon possession and the like are 100% not real, because idk for sure, but I can tell you they're not plastered across the depressing ass news all day long making me want to hide under a rock. Horror films are fantasy, often with a note of reality to make them actually scary. But not this reality, not the constant onslaught of man-made injustices, cruelties and atrocities. So yes, I escape that stuff with the kind of fear that gets my blood pumping, not the kind that defeats me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Creeper update


Turns out they're not touring with Silverstein at all anymore, and I was looking at out of date info. I wonder what happened? Still super bummed, but no longer feel conspired against by the universe so got that goin for me. 👌

On the subject of live shows

I used to go to quite a lot of them, rock and country, mostly smaller shows. Biggest name I saw was probably R.E.M. A lot of my concert-going has been dictated by geography and having someone to go with, obviously, which brings me to where I am now. I moved to Canada five years ago and haven't been to a show since. To put this in perspective, the last show I saw was DIO, and he died in 2010 (RIP man).

This isn't all a bad thing. My husband and I are into a lot of things like sports, beer shows, hikes, travel, etc. which take up a good part of our time and finances. It's not like I'm suffering not going to concerts, it's just something that's been put on the back burner. I remember a few years ago when Tim McGraw came here, and my first instinct was yes, he's a 90s country legend I haven't seen, I should go! But he was playing a big arena. It was expensive. It would have been crowded and trafficy and my husband doesn't even like country music. So all that hassle and expense for a show only one of us would enjoy, not worth it. And it's kinda been that way ever since. Miranda Lambert came here this month, she's one of my favourite artists and I've never seen her, but I missed the boat on that one. I was into her from the very beginning, before she was huge, and I should have seen her then. Now it'll be the same issue as Tim - a lot of hassle.

So that's the situation in Edmonton. A lot of big names come here, but I like smaller shows. If it wasn't too much of a hassle or too expensive, my husband could probably endure a few evenings of country music a year, but it's all these huge venue shows. A mid-tier artist like say, Sunny Sweeney, just isn't going to come here unless as an opener.

So that leaves rock, which still suffers from the Edmonton Problem of being mostly big arena acts, but at least my husband likes it so that's one barrier removed. Then, the seemingly perfect thing happened. I got into up and coming UK band Creeper, started following them, and learned they're touring with Canadian band Silverstein and coming to Edmonton! Now that's one way to see a smaller act here, if they get on a tour with a mid-tier Canadian act. I looked up the venue and it sounded great, a cozy tavern with tables and a dinner menu and great craft beer selection. My kind of place, 100%. I looked today to make sure tickets were still available, and saw Creeper had been removed from the lineup. :(

Okay, shit happens, but here's where I feel angry and fucked. It's not like they cancelled the Canadian leg of their tour, NO, they're still playing SK the night before and BC two nights later! It's JUST EDMONTON that's been cancelled. Why? They have to bloody well pass through AB to get from SK to BC!!! So, with the kind of year I've had, I can only presume it's to personally fuck me over. They're apparently coming next February with another UK band, but at a different venue that sounds awful. Some shitty nightclub with no craft beer. I'd say I'm too old for that shit, but I've never been young enough for that shit.

So the quest for my 1st Canadian show continues. Will it ever happen? Who will it be? Stay tuned I guess, but not like, too closely. It has been five years already. 🙄

Friday, October 13, 2017

Feel Good Friday the 13th

Rewatching The Midnight Hour reminded me of how much I love this song. Awoooooooo!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

tbt ~ Stevie Nicks

Bella Donna is a beautiful album. Everyone knows the duets with the great Tom Petty and Don Henley, but this gorgeous, country-tinged track needs more spins.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday ~ scary movies!

Don't Go To Sleep

You might not believe it, but THIS THING SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME. Yup, a TV movie from 1982 scared the pants off of this veteran horror fan. Like, you don't expect an old TV movie to be too hardcore, but this one goes there, man. This thing murders small children and has one of the scariest-looking apparitions I've EVER seen in a movie. If it were redone today, it would be fakey-looking CGI going BLARGH at you, and not scary at all.


Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings

Hoo boy. I said I would watch it, and watch it I did. Welp, nothing about it is remotely as good as the original, the end! Okay, okay. So there's a Pumpkinhead, and an old witch, but not the same old witch, and maybe not the same Pumpkinhead?? Yeah, it's one of those "sequels," where nothing actually continues from the last one.

I'll put aside that the acting, writing, story, and most sadly, the effects and cinematography are noticeably lower quality. It's a direct to video "sequel," I don't think anyone from the original returned to work on this, and boy does it show. But I could excuse all that if it wasn't missing one important thing the first one had - heart. And also a damn point. The plot to the first movie made sense - kid gets hit by bike, revenge ensues. But in part II, a bunch of dumb kids just randomly decide to raise the dead, spur of the moment like! No build up, just "welp, we're here, might as well do this!" In other words, pure contrivance. There's no reason for any of it to happen, and therefore there's no real reason to watch this movie.

The main character girl, we'll call her not-Nicole-Eggert cause I kept having to remind myself it wasn't her, was SO DUMB. The guy she hooks up with is obviously a creep, and not in a charming "bad boy" way, he has all the blank faced charm of Michael Myers. But this girl is just like "tee hee, whatever!" I guess to show she's rebelling against her cop dad, but it would have worked better if the guy was remotely appealing. She just comes off as a future abuse victim here, and it's kind of unsettling how it's glossed over. I don't feel like she learned anything about future boyfriend selection, though I'm pretty sure her head is stuffed with circus peanuts so she might not have learned to tie her own shoes either.

Also unlike the first movie, not all of this made sense. The Pumpkinhead in this one was... son of Pumpkinhead? How the hell did Pumpkinhead conceive a child? I know that kind of thing has been done before but there's no explanation for it here, just "well, this thing happened," like you're ordering a sandwich and a demon baby from the deli, no big deal. Also, were there two Pumpkinheads in this world, or did this one just become the new Pumpkinhead? IS IT POSSIBLE I'M OVERTHINKING THIS? I should not be so confused by a movie called Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.

So, any positives? Well, the opening scene was interesting, if disturbing. It drew me in. Then the dumb kids showed up, and NOPE. When your most interesting character is the deformed guy that doesn't speak and gets killed in the first few minutes, you might have a bad movie.

Umm... Kane Hodder, Roger Clinton, and Punky Brewster are all in this, so that's a sentence I just got to say.

The blood wings imagery was cool enough, and the mystery element might have worked if they didn't give it away in the first scene. There was a semblance of an idea here, but it never took shape.


Friday, October 06, 2017

FRIGHTFUL Friday ~ horror movie spotlight


You know when a movie just hits you, just right? That's what happened with my first viewing of Pumpkinhead last night. HOW did I miss an 80s movie with pumpkin in the title all this time?? I would have loved staying up late and watching this as a teenager. Hell, I loved staying up late and watching it as an adult.

This movie has a pumpkin patch graveyard. A PUMPKIN PATCH GRAVEYARD. All your spooky Halloween imagery in one convenient location!

So first off, this movie LOOKS gorgeous. It has those perfectly creepy, atmospheric settings you want in a horror movie, from the pumpkin patch graveyard (still not over the awesomeness of THAT) to the old witch's cabin. I love movies that take place in isolated, rural settings, it just amps up the creepiness. Not only does it look great, it actually has a good and occasionally heart-wrenching story, as well as good acting. Lance Henriksen gives a great understated performance, you really feel for him, and what happens at the end makes sense and feels like a logical conclusion to the movie's events (sometimes horror films devise endings that feel like they were pulled from the nearest ass). The monster and the visual effects in general are awesome. This film is a great argument in favour of practical effects vs CGI in horror, and how much more they make you feel the movie. Not surprising, as it was directed by special effects master Stan Winston.

I am planning to check out the sequel made in 1994. I doubt I'll check out any of the other sequels, as they were made in the 2000s (ugh).

Feel Good Friday ~ 80s Fall playlist

I grew up in the 80s, and for me three things are forever linked with the decade of my childhood - Fall/Halloween, horror movies, and rock music. GOOD rock music, back when it popped, before it sludged into Nickelback and wannabes. 😡

(Forgive me if I'm a little salty. They were playing that awful "I'm sorry I'm bad" song at the supermarket.)

Anyway, here are some classic power pop/rock songs that are perfect for long walks in the crispy leaves. You can close your eyes* and pretend Journey is still together. (Just open them again before you cross the street.)

*When you close your eyes, do you dream about me? Okay, guess I have to add Night Ranger now.

Way too many songs to post videos, so here's a Spotify playlist. 31 songs (cause there's 31 days in October, GET IT??) Ft. Journey, Pat Benatar, The Cars, Huey Lewis, Marshall Crenshaw, Stevie Nicks, Asia, The Moody Blues, Prince, Tom Petty (RIP), and more.


Have a spooktacular Rocktober!🤘

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

New Music Tuesday

I haven't listened to The Killers' new album yet. It's gotten kinda "okay" reviews and of the three songs I heard, only this one grabbed me. But boy, did it ever grab me. This is my official Rocktober™ jam, crank it!