Friday, October 2, 2015
OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE (10/1)
Challenge Totals to Date:
Movies Watched Today: 3
Total Movies Watched: 3
Total First Time Views: 2
Amount raised: $40.65
Remember, if you would like to make a pledge toward Scare-A-Thon 2015 (benefitting PLANNED PARENTHOOD and GREENHOUSE SHELTER) at any time, drop an email to email@example.com to say how much you would like to pledge. Your donation is tax deductible and, seriously, even a penny per film helps.
Berserker (1987) d. Richard, Jef (USA) (1st viewing)
Six terminally obnoxious nubile campers head out to the family cabin (run by George “Buck” Flower) for a little R&R and stumble into a slasher-in-the-woods set-up, which is given a potentially interesting twist by having the murderer be the spirit of an ancient Norse warrior in a bearskin suit... or is it actually a wild bear? (This is a real question, since director Richard keeps showing us shots of ubiquitous '80s wildlife star Bart the Bear aimlessly wandering around and growling.) After sex-loving Linda Hamilton lookalike Beth Toussaint explicitly doesn’t pop her top during the “let’s all jump in the water” sequence, she graces us with a completely gratuitous nude sex scene with onscreen beau Joseph Alan Johnson. The “gore” sequences are comprised of the victims having blood and mud basically smeared on them whilst they scream and “ROOOOOAAAR!” plays on the soundtrack. And you gotta love the suspenseless 10-minute denouement, where we see the various survivors struggling around in various locations, almost as much as when the local badge finally shows up on the scene, finds a suspect lying helpless on the ground, and blows him away because some hysterical screaming mimi is hollering “SHOOT HIM!!!!” Miranda this, suckers. The ear-blistering “rock” songs come courtesy of Chuck Francour.
Trancers (1984) d. Band, Charles (USA) (1st viewing) 77 min
Tim Thomerson stars as Jack Deth, lawman from the 23rd century, pressed into duty to track down a dangerous psychic criminal, Whistler, with the ability of possessing the weak-minded and turning them into zombie-like slaves. And where best to find the weak-minded? Why, the year 1985, of course. Not quite sure how the time travel works here, but the past is where Whistler is and that’s where Jack’s gotta go to get him. The result is a supremely silly but energetic sci-fi/action flick indicative of Empire Pictures in its prime, with Thomerson fantastic in the lead role and, wait, what, is that future Oscar/Golden Globe/Emmy winner Helen Hunt as the chick in the Christmas mall elf suit-turned-Jack's sidekick/love interest? It is indeed, and her star quality shines even through the loopy dialogue. Also of note is the “long second” wristwatch, which allows the wearer to enjoy a leisurely stroll while those around him are frozen in time. The film proved to be such a success for producer/director Band that it spawned five more sequels between 1988 to 2002.
Reign of Fire (2002) d. Bowman, Rob (USA) (2nd viewing) 101 min
As high concepts go, you could do a lot worse than “FRICKIN’ FIRE-BREATHING DRAGONS TAKE OVER THE WORLD.” The computer-generated winged beasties are solidly realized, and there are some genuinely impactful moments of suspense, fear, awe, and triumph. Christian Bale stars as the grown-up version of the child who initially uncovered the torch-tongued ones’ lair during a London Underground expansion project, now heading up a ragtag band of survivors living in Northumberland in 2020. His leadership is challenged by brash, buff American soldier Matthew McConaughey who knows how to bring the scaly menaces down, a skill aptly demonstrated in one of the film’s best action set-pieces that combines motorcycles, airplanes, paratroopers, horseback riding, giant cannons, and battle axes. Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond girl Izabella Scorupco (Goldeneye) makes an impression as a badass pilot, Gerald Butler is Bale’s best bud, and Alice Krige has a brief cameo as Bale’s mom in the opening sequence.