Halloween Month! Also, month of craziness as I was teaching a class (on classic horror films) and both our moms were/are having serious health issues — so our lives are in the middle of changing.
But, despite that, if my math is right, I watched 59 movies in October, for an end of month total of 407 films this year. The final Halloween Push was hindered slightly by trick-or-treaters, but bumped mightily by Monster Kid Radio’s online viewing party, which proved that I can watch two movies at once — if I’m familiar with at least one of them. 🙂 TCM’s great end-of month marathon was a huge help, too. I also managed to get through all the Hammer Frankenstein films, and all but one of their Mummy films (and that one I watched first in November). Overall: Good Halloween Month!
So, all that said, here’s the list…
Ratings are out of five stars. Here’s what those stars mean to me…
* – This film is not good. Avoid it unless you tolerate dreck well.
** – A flawed film. You may enjoy it if you like this genre or the folks in it.
*** – A good solid film. If you like this genre, you’ll probably like this film.
**** – A superior film within its genre. Thoroughly enjoyable.
***** – An outstanding film on many levels. A great example of its genre.
Tomb of Torture ** Disfigured torturer in a hidden dungeon sets his sights on woman who may be reincarnated former castle owner.
Dungeon of Harrow ** Shipwreck survivors run afowl of strange family on isolated island. Torture ensues & several love interests, too.
Bloody Pit of Horror ** The Crimson Executioner is back from the dead & setting his torture devices against a castle full of models.
Telltale Heart, The (1960) ** Only the heartbeat has to do with Poe. Mostly a story about a timid man who kills his best friend over lost love.
Curse of Frankenstein ***** Hammer’s 1st Frankenstein film remains the best, with Cushing as the Dr. and Lee as the monster. Classic.
Revenge of Frankenstein **** Cushing is great in his return, and though the monster is not so monstrous, the story is strong in this sequel.
Evil of Frankenstein *** New take on the monster doesn’t fit in with the original, though this is treated like a squel. Still, Cushing good fun.
Frankenstein Created Woman **** A personal favorite in the series, where a more sympathetic doctor transplants vengeful man’s soul into woman.
Thing from Another World, The ***** A classic and one of the great SF/Horror films, packed with great dialog & characters. (Not true to original story.)
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed *** Cushing’s Frankenstein is back to his brain translpant tricks, but again no monster. Unnecessary rape scene, Ugh!
Where to Invade Next ***** Michael Moore “conquers” the world (mostly Europoe) for better ideas to bring to the US. Inspiring & uplifting.
Vampire, The (1957) *** Scientist accidentally takes pills that turn him into a bloodthirsty scientific fiend. (Not a real vampire.) Fun 50s.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ***** Disney’s classic deserves its rep for amazing animation & a tuneful score. Old-fashioned sex roles barely hurt.
Hanna-Barbera’s Alice in Wonderland *** Trippy 60s-70s kids’ story, Great voice cast, memorable musical numbers, & Sammy Davis Cheshire Cat.
Horror of Frankenstein **** Black comedy makes this “reboot” of Hammer’s Frankenstein fun & Bates is really good as the title character.
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell *** Fairly creaky ending to Hammer Frankenstein series. Cushing still good, but monster is mishmash. Open ending.
Mummy, The (1959) ***** Lee towers as vigorous Mummy & Cushing is usual greatness as archeologist in pseudo-remake of Universal set.
Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb **** Mummy makeup isn’t as strong, but production values are high & cast is great, plus some wierd twists. Worth it.
Mummy’s Shroud, The *** Mummy makeup deteriorates more & some characters unlikable, but still fun in this. Great final end for mummy
Faust (1926) ***** Murnau’s Faust is filled with amazing visuals, SFX, & camera work that brings the eerie tale of soul selling to life.
Black Hole, The ** Great production design can’t save a poor script & juvenile (& unconvincing) robot work plus metaphysical end.
Cat from Outer Space, The ** Alien cat gets stranded on Earth, is helped by Ken Berry & McLean Stevenson. Spend $ on ending sequence.
Isle of the Dead **** Karloff is creepy as hell in a Lewton film filled with shadows & paranoia caused by either plague or vampires.
Bedlam **** Karloff is great as the cruel master of the asylum, using the mad inmates to his own ends vs. crusading woman.
Salome ** Beautiful production & lovely Rita Hayworth shine in fairly standard Biblical potboiler. Worth seeing for dance.
Last Flight of Noah’s Ark ** Pilot’s plane of animals & relief worker (& kids) becomes sea ark after crash on island with lost WWII Japanese.
Pharaoh’s Curse, The ** Army guys search for archaeologists searching for lost tomb, find it, run afoul of ghoulish tomb guardian. Tepid.
Mysterious Doctor, The *** Headless ghost haunts a tin mine needed for the British war effort. Mystery & mayhem ensue. Tight little thriller.
Dark Eyes of London (The) – a.k.a. Human Monster *** Lugosi gets to do some fine acting in this flick about insurance scam where people are killed to benefit “charity.”
Devil Bat, The *** Cheapie has a fine performance by Lugosi & is generally a lot of fun. Short runtime, but worth buying a blu-ray.
Corpse Vanishes, The ** Lugosi murders brides on their wedding day to restore his wife to youth & beauty. Cheap but Lugosi shines.
Spooks Run Wild ** East Side kids (Bowery Boys) end up in spooky house occupied by Lugosi & sinister midget. Some twists, too.
Bowery at Midnight ** Lugosi’s two-faced professor runs a soup kitchen as a front for murder & criminal activities – zombies lurk below.
Snow White & the Huntsman *** Solid dark-fantasy retelling of the classic tale with plenty of action & good SFX. Great cast inc. Charlize Theron.
Dinosaur Valley Girls ** Modern man transported back in time to lost world with topless babes & not quite enough stop-motion dinosaurs.
House of Dark Shadows **** Curtis’ jam-packed story of TV’s vampire Barnabas with strong production, acting, a bit of sex, & high body count.
Night of Dark Shadows *** Story of witches, ghosts, & reincarnation diverges from TV show but is fun, despite studio interference in final cut.
Island of Lost Souls ***** Classic disturbing tale of mad doctor turning animals into “humans” on lost island. Great Wally Westmore makeup.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) ***** March is superb as J&H, Wally Westmore’s makeup sends shivers, & fab camerawork in best J&H adaptation.
Mad Love (rewatch) **** Lorre is creepy but pitiable. Clive totters on the edge of madness. The manequin looks real at times. Love the end.
Fly, The (1958) **** Sci-Fi horror that starts as suspense mystery with Vincent Price, great color, performances, & memorable shocks.
Doctor X (rewatch – again) **** Weird science mixed with weird horror mixed with weird 2-strip technicolor, but Atwill & Wray worth the slow bits.
Return of Doctor X, The *** Fairly standard mix of reporter comedy & horror with Bogart as resurrected mad-scientist who needs blood to live.
King Kong (1933 – rewatch) ***** The perfect adventure/monster film never gets old. Dinosaurs, a brave blonde, a daring filmmaker, & Kong, too!
Ghost Chasers *** Bowery Boys get mixed up with gangsters in a fake medium racket & a real ghost. Higher production than usual.
Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters, The *** The Boys get mixed up with a family with mad scientist, vampire, man-eating, plant, robit, gorrila & more. Silly.
Spook Busters *** Bowery Boys become exterminators & only job they get is to exterminate ghosts from mad-doctor’s mansion.
Spook Chasers ** Bowery Boys get stuck with a run-down house that contains a lost fortune in money & crooks playing ghost.
Master Minds ** Bowery Boys to the rescue when psychic Satch is kidnapped to use his brain in Glenn Strange’s savage monster.
Spirits of the Dead *** French portmanteau of Poe-inspired tales with Jane & Peter Fonda, Alain Delon, Terence Stamp. Stylish, uneven.
Frozen Dead, The *** Creep factor is high as Dana Andrews has frozen Nazis & psychic disembodied head in his basement lab.
House of Wax **** The 3D is awesome, if you can get it & Price & cast are wonderful in classic high-production Wax Museum tale.
Face of the Screaming Werewolf ** Most of the footage is from Aztec Mummy movies, but some Lon Chaney Jr. in Werewolf makeup. Disjointed.
Mill at Calder’s End **** Atmospheric Poe-Lovecraft-style short film done entirely with hyper-realistic puppets. Don’t dig up coffins!
Pit and the Pendulum, The *** Corman & Price team for a tale of a madman taking revenge with title gizmo for a wife buried alive – or was she?
Twice Told Tales *** Price & co. are good & Hawthorn’s 3 tales interesting, but could probably have been told in far less time.
Masque of the Red Death (rewatch) **** Production values are high & Corman’s direction really solid. Good pacing, too. Definitely one of his Poe best.
Black Cat, The ***** Boris & Bela are at the top of their game, as is Ulmer & his crew in this creepy duel between war vet & satanist.
Furred Man, The *** Fun short film about a camp owner who decides to dress up as a werewolf in order to increase camp business.
Black Sabbath **** Bava’s stylish portmanteau with great classic ghost & vampire tales (Karloff) & okay modern horror tale.
Next Month: Honestly, I don’t know. My mom is coming to live with us, and that may cut down my monster movies a lot, as she’s never liked the genre, or it could pump up my classic film watching, or it might not have any effect at all. Stay tuned and find out.
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