Film Mini-Reviews October 2017 – Nosferatu to Satanic Rites of Dracula

November 27, 2017 No Comments »
Film Mini-Reviews October 2017 – Nosferatu to Satanic Rites of Dracula

I’d thought I might get back up to 50 films per month in October, but (alas!), ’twas not to be.  Only 46 films (If I’ve counted right), which is still a lot by any measure, but not up to my pre-September average.  Which, again, I have no idea if that 50 is normal, or 40, or somewhere around 30 (November is looking fairly “slow,” too).

What does all this mean?  Nothing, really.  Just that I still watch a lot of films, but some months I don’t watch as many as in others.

Oh, and my wife and I had two 3-day trips during October — one to see the new Christopher R. Mihm film, Demon with the Atomic Brain, and the other to a library convention.  So, I guess if you add in a film a day for those 6 days, I’d be back around 50.  And, of course, all the fall TV shows we watch are back, too.

At this point, the prospect for hitting 600 films in the year (an idea that seemed totally absurd to me when I started; I’d have guessed about half that) is likely out of reach.  550, though… That seems likely.

Ratings are out of 5 stars.

Nosferatu (1922) ***** Silent classic that first brought “Dracula” to the screen still scares today. Kino restoration with original music.
Demon with the Atomic Brain ***** Dimension hopping 1950s-style fun by Christopher Mihm with mix of new & returning actors & lots o’ monsters.
High Sierra ***** Gangster “Mad Dog” Earl role made Bogart a star as the anti-hero seeks one last score. Ida Lupino is fab, too.
Time Bandits **** Filled with a mad attic of items that is Gilliam’s mind, film is filled with wondrous ideas & good performances.
Silent Hill *** This one gets extra points for style & atmosphere. Though the story is disjointed, the monsters are pretty cool.
Trollenberg Terror, The (The Crawling Eye) *** Alpine resort terrorized by “things” in a radioactive cloud, this is far better than MST3K would have you believe.
Teenagers from Outer Space ** If the monster at the end were better, this film might get more credit than it does. For low-budget SciFi, not bad.
House of Dracula *** Monster rally has more story than its predecessor, but could use more monster action. Chaney & cast shine.
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula ** Aging Caradine dons fangs & terrorizes Old West. Well shot & colorful with interesting idea, but end falls flat.
Cast a Deadly Spell **** 1940s noir fantasy with Phil Lovecraft looking for Necronomicon in LA. Great cast & cleverly written. Worth it!
Son of Dracula *** Chaney is not a perfect Dracula, but the noir storyline & strong special effects work make this well worth seeing.
Dracula’s Daughter *** Stylish & moody with some really creepy scenes, but this still lacks the “zing” that would make it a true clasic.
Destination Moon **** With Heinlein working on story & script, it’s no surprise that the science still holds up on this classic Pal film.
Time Machine, The ***** One of the true classics, man invents time machine & goes to future where he finds monsters & love. Perfect.
7 Faces of Dr. Lao ***** Tony Randall’s 7 roles are amazing & the SFX top notch in this morality tale with a circus of monsters. Great.
Snake Woman, The ** Some nice mood, but too predictable tale of girl who grows up to be a were-snake to the detriment of all.
Place of One’s Own, A *** James Mason’s house is haunted & his family companion possessed in this creepy, little seen ghost story.
Mummy’s Hand, The *** Strange mix of horror & comedic elements, but still plenty creepy, esp. Tom Tyler’s blacked out mummy eyes.
Mummy’s Tomb, The *** Blu-ray rewatch. Still ruthless fun sequel.
Blade Runner (Final Cut) ***** Brilliant SF about what it means to be human – or not. Is this the best cut? Compares well to the original.
Power, The **** George Hamilton is on the hit list for a psychic killer in George Pal’s SciFi thriller. Suzanne Pleshette rocks, too!
Indestructible Man, The (TCM rewatch) ** Still a very minor effort with not enough dialog & too much narration, but a good crisp print earns an extra star.
Tarantula (Sven) **** Science is rubbery but good, sincere cast, including John Agar & Mara Corday make this a prime giant bug film.
Horror of the Blood Monsters ** Al Adamson mashes new color SF footage with a Philipino (B&W) caveman film. Doesn’t work, but some fun.
Horror of Dracula ***** Christopher Lee’s premier as the count plus Cushing as Van Helsing make this adapation an instant classic.
Dracula, Prince of Darkness ***** Lee doesn’t speak a word of dialog, yet he doesn’t need to in this mesmerizing & savage sequel. A fave for me.
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave ***** The filters are distracting, but not enough to truly hurt Lee’s 3rd outing as Dracula. Great cast & very sexy, too.
Ouija: Origin of Evil ** Not a bad recent scare story. Has a few good frights, but the ending is kind of a mess. Haven’t seen the original.
Innocents, The **** Very creepy adaptation of “Turn of the Screw.” Outstanding Freddie Francis cinematography. Great cast.
Diary of a Madman *** Vincent Price is fun as a tormented judge causing havoc under influence of an evil, invisible creature, the Horla.
Curse of the Demon ***** Even cut, US version, even with producer-inserted (cool) demon this film is a suspense-horror masterpiece.
Carnival of Souls ***** As creepy, low-budget horror films goes, this one is perhaps only matched by Night of the Living Dead. Tops!
From Beyond the Grave *** Cushing’s in-between segments cement this anthology film featuruing some good creeps & a bit of comedy.
Monster from the Ocean Floor ** The low-budget monster is goofy fun, but only shows up at the end. Too many bland diving sequences & yap.
House of Dark Shadows **** Manages to successfully cram a lot of the Barnabas-vampire storyline into short format. TV cast makes it great.
Brides of Dracula **** There’s no Dracula (Why?) but Cushing’s Ven Helsing rocks the vampire hunting. Did brides escape un-alive?
Dracula A.D. 1972 *** Translpanting Dracula to the rockin’, mod 70s is a post-60s goulash, but Lee & Cushing make it entertaining.
Mummy’s Ghost, The *** John Carradine’s priest & a prof bring Kharis back for standard mummy flick with eerie Princess subplot & end.
Mummy’s Curse, The *** Move to Louisiana can’t slow down the mummy, but it’s Ananka’s resurrection scene that makes this worthwhile.
Serpent Island * Aging & unattractive male leads don’t make this search for treasure any better. Nor does Haitian stock footage.
Taste the Blood of Dracula **** Drac is back & the men cheating on their wives get their comeuppance in this 4th Lee Dracula flick. Colorful.
Scars of Dracula *** Lee is fine, but the story’s a bit messier than usual, despite beautiful women and another unique Drac demise.
Jigoku **** Duo accidentally runs down mobster, leading to literal trip to Hell & trying to save unborn baby from damnation.
Old Dark House, The (1932) **** 2017 restoration makes Whale’s Karloff & house full of weirdos better looking than ever, but it’s still super odd.
House on Haunted Hill **** Price shines in Castle’s classic “emergo” thriller/ghost story in which 7 people are locked in a haunted house.
Satanic Rites of Dracula *** Drac’s scheme to set loose plague is almost Fu Manchu-like, but Lee & Cushing shine ’til Drac’s ignomious end.

*

Didja notice that I watched all the Kharis mummy films and all the Lee Dracula hammer films?  🙂  I love October!

More busy times in the months ahead, but we’ll see how far I get.

Should I continue this into next year (2018)?  It’s been interesting, but it’s also become something of a chore.  Your comments are appreciated.

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