Monday, November 29, 2021

SILENT NIGHT (2021) Movie Review



Silent Night (2021) d. Camille Griffin (UK) (92 min)

With Michael Bublé blaring through the soundtrack, far-flung members of a British family converge on the moneyed country homestead of Nell (Keira Knightly) and Simon (Matthew Goode) for the Christmas holiday. Her posh sister Sandra (Annabelle Wallis) arrives with her soft-hearted and soft-bodied husband Tony (Rufus Jones) and holy terror offspring Kitty (Davida McKenzie) in tow, while her other sibling Bella (Lucy Punch) sails along with partner Alex (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), taking odds as to how long before one of them needs to drink themselves into a stupor. The final party to arrive is schoolmate chum James (Sope Dirusu) with his younger girlfriend Sophie (Lily-Rose Depp), who have a rather portentous announcement to make. Rounding out the crew are Nell and Simon’s eldest son Art (Roman Griffin Davis) and their younger twins Thomas (Gilby Griffin Davis) and Hardy (Hardy Griffin Davis), all of whom swear like longshoremen and add lively color to the proceedings. This eclectic cast of characters squeeze in tight for an evening of “truth, forgiveness, and love,” a holiday they will never forget.

Because it’s the last one they will ever see.

"Wait... what?"

Thursday, November 4, 2021

DR. AC ON THE AIRWAVES!!! (RECENT PODCASTS, INTERVIEWS, ETC.)



Howdy, folks!

As you might have noticed (last month not withstanding), things have been a little quiet around here lately. Chalk it up to a fairly nonstop schedule of personal training, health coaching, and self-defense workshops which has not afforded me the chance to dedicate much brainspace to the moving image. (Although it has afforded me some pretty substantial IRA contributions, heyooooooooo....)

However, please don’t infer from my relative silence that I have given up on chatting about all things spooky and ooky. Far from it, in fact. I’m still a regular foot soldier with the Kryptic Army over at Kitley’s Krypt, I served as both contributor and co-copyeditor for Vanessa Morgan’s latest book, Evil Seeds (celebrating malevolent kiddies onscreen over the last century), I was invited to participate in Webster University’s month-long “April Fulci” program, I was a recent guest on the sensational new podcast It’s Not That Scary, and our old pal Ian Simmons over at Kicking the Seat has been kind/foolish enough to offer me a place at the table at least once a month (and sometimes more) to chat about all things Hammer, gialli, and Scare-a-Thon over the past year. I’m wildly blessed to be surrounded by all manner of prime movers who are willing to have me ride along, even when I’m not producing on my own platform.

With that in mind, I thought this would be a grand time to highlight some of those programs, in the hopes that you, Faithful Readers, will BOOKMARK THIS POST and give them a listen, watch, or read during your next patch of quiet time.

Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

2021 SCARE-A-THON FINAL RESULTS!!!



And that, my candy corn comrades, brings us to the end of Scare-A-Thon 2021 and yet another OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE!

As always, the Challenge itself is to watch (at least) one fright flick for each of those glorious 31 days that make up the month of October, 16 of which must be first time viewings. I am happy to report that goal has been accomplished, along with this year's added BONUS CHALLENGE of watching 31 movies from 31 different countries. Along the way, thanks to the generous hearts and minds of fans like you, over $2,900 has been raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT, with additional funds still coming in, making this one of the most successful Scare-A-Thons to date! (Yes, you can still drop a line at drach101@gmail.com if you wish to donate!)

My thanks to everyone who participated in some way, whether it be reading the reviews, making a contribution, watching the Kicking the Seat podcasts, sharing a YouTube link, or just stopping by to chat. During these isolated times, it's nice to connect with each other in any way possible, Sharing the Scare across the ether as best we can.

Below are the 31 "official" international features viewed (with links to full-length reviews), as well as 8 additional horror and horror-adjacent titles "just for fun". Beyond that, there is the usual assemblage of useless factoids you might enjoy, like reaching around in the bottom of your popcorn bag to see if you missed anything. You just never know.

Have fun!

CHALLENGE STATS:
Total Movies Watched: 40
First Time Views: 19
Total Scare-A-Thon Donations: $2,902.85

Sunday, October 31, 2021

EVIL ED (1995) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 31
Total First Time Views: 19
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $2,583.85

Evil Ed (1995) d. Anders Jacobsson (Sweden) (96 min) (2nd viewing)

A raucous blood-soaked joyride, revolving around timid film editor Edward Tor Swensen (Johan Rudebeck) who is pulled off his regular duties working on black-and-white Bergmanesque art films and tasked instead with trimming particularly offensive scenes from ponytailed sleazebag Samuel Campbell (Olog Rhodin) T&A horror romps for international distribution. With the overload of blood and gore being pumped into his brain, Ed soon loses his marbles and begins seeing demons, talking to corpses, and chopping up everyone in sight.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

NIGHT WATCH (aka Nochnoy dozor) (2004) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 30
Total First Time Views: 19
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $2,500.50

Night Watch (aka Nochnoy dozor) (2004) d. Timur Bekmambetov (Russia) (116 min) (3rd viewing)

An epic blend of horror, action, science-fiction, and fantasy, all set in the humdrum workaday world of modern-day Moscow, where yellow power truck whiz back and forth carrying all manner of supernatural powers wrestling with unimaginable forces. We are dealing with no less than the Forces of Light and Darkness, with two epic armies filling the ranks on either side. An uneasy truce formed hundreds of years ago, the Night Watch governs the vampire-like creatures that make up the dark side, while the Day Watch keeps the various shapeshifting wizards in check. But now, the prophecy of a Great One has come to pass, He whose path (and to which side His alliance is cast) will decide the fate of the universe.

THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE (1972) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 29
Total First Time Views: 19
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $2,417.15

The Twilight People (1972) d. Eddie Romero (Philippines) (81 min) (3rd viewing)

During a deep-sea dive in the Pacific, “scholar, soldier of fortune, hunter, and the Last Renaissance Man” Matt Farrell (John Ashley) becomes the prize capture of bleached-blond gun-for-hire Steinman (Jan Merlin) and gorgeous Neva Gordon (Pat Woodell), the latter the daughter of the infamous Dr. Gordon (Charles Macauley), shunned by the scientific community for his literally inhuman experiments. You see, Dr. Gordon, has been working in seclusion on his secret island laboratory, attempting to cross-breed the local natives with various species of wild animals, and has designs for Farrell's prime DNA to serve as the final touch for his already impressive collection: Ayesa the Panther Woman (Pam Grier), Kuzma the Antelope Man (Ken Metcalfe), Darmo the Bat Man (Tony Gosalvez), Primo the Ape Man (Kim Ramos), and Lupa the Wolf Woman (Mona Morena). Luckily for our hunky hero, Neva also has her eye on him, ultimately planning a mini-revolution/escape of the motley herd.

Friday, October 29, 2021

THE THIRD PART OF THE NIGHT (1971) Movie Review


Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 28
Total First Time Views: 19
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $2,333.80

The Third Part of the Night (1971) d. Andrzej Zulawski (Poland) (107 min) (1st viewing)

A young man, Michal (Leszek Teleszynski), watches helplessly from the edge of the woods as his mother, son, and wife (Malgorzata Braunek) are senselessly murdered by passing German soldiers during the Polish occupation of WWII. Driven by vengeance, he joins the resistance fighters, but his first assignment goes horribly wrong, with his mission partner killed and his own life saved only due to a freak accident where a neighbor wearing the same beige overcoat is mistaken for Michal and shot by the Gestapo. Astonishingly, the neighbor’s pregnant wife Marta looks exactly like Michal’s murdered bride (again played by Braunek) and, after helping to deliver her baby, Michal and she form a deep attachment. She gets him a job in the typhus center, allowing lice to feed off his blood in order to create vaccine; as a typhus patient, the Nazis leave him alone (as does everyone else), isolating him even further, allowing his pain and delusions to grow.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

BHOOT (2003) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 27
Total First Time Views: 18
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $2,250.45

Bhoot (2003) d. Ramgopal Varma (India) (110 min) (1st viewing)

Mumbai stockbroker Vishal (Ajay Devgn) moves into a new apartment, unconcerned with the previous tenant’s apparent suicide, leaping to her death after murdering her young son. After revealing the residence’s sinister past to his wife Swati (Urmila Matondkar), she begins experiencing episodes of sleepwalking, as well as seeing apparitions of Manjeet and child. During one of these nighttime jaunts, the complex’s creepy night watchmen is discovered dead, his head wrenched completely around. With all fingers pointing toward Swati as the main suspect, Vishal seeks the help of a benevolent psychiatrist, Dr. Rajan (Victor Banerjee), and Sarita (Rehka), a much-celebrated medium, in the hope of breaking the spell Manjeet holds over the couple.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

THE NOONDAY WITCH (2016) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 26
Total First Time Views: 17
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $2,167.10

The Noonday Witch (aka Polednice) (2016) d. Jiri Sádek (Czech Republic) (85 min) (1st viewing)

During a blisteringly hot, drought-filled summer, Eliska (Ana Geislerova) and her daughter Anetka (Karolina Lipowska) arrive at the rural village where their husband/father Tomas grew up as a child. The cause of their journey is a sad and muted one, that being Tomas’ demise, perhaps by his own hand, but Eliska hopes to get a fresh start having inherited her late husband’s small farm. She has yet to muster the courage to inform Anetka of his passing, responding to her daughter’s frequent inquiries as to “When will daddy be joining us?” with “Soon.” The villagers are welcoming to the widow of their much-beloved Tomas’, although the mayor’s wife Mrs. Mrazova (Daniela Kolarova) senses that Eliska is in danger from the same spectre that haunted her years ago: that of the fabled noonday witch, wandering the wheat fields, sowing pain and discontent in her wake….

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

DEAREST SISTER (2016) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 25
Total First Time Views: 16
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $2,083.75

Dearest Sister (2016) d. Mattie Do (Laos) (101 min) (1st viewing)

Nok (Amphaiphun Phommapunya), a poor peasant girl from a rural Laotian village, is asked to come to the capital city of Vientiane to serve as personal assistant to her cousin Ana (Vilouna Phetmany) who is slowly losing her eyesight. Married to Jakob (Tambet Tuisk), a hustling European entrepreneur attempting to set up solar farms, Ana remains isolated in her home, a luxurious abode that is slowing turning into an unnavigable abyss (especially when her conniving maid/cook continues to move the furniture as a means of petty rebellion). Nok envies her cousin’s lifestyle, if not her life, and when she discovers that Ana’s frequent encounters with otherworldly spirits yield the side benefit of the next day’s winning lottery numbers, she begins to cash in and get a taste of “the good life.” Her fortune sparks jealousy and suspicion from those around her, only increasing her desire to get above it all, to have “enough,” and when a cure for Ana’s blindness arrives on the horizon – as well as an end to her visions – that dream is threatened….

Monday, October 25, 2021

OUT OF THE BODY (1988) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 24
Total First Time Views: 15
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,920.00

Out of the Body (1988) d. Brian Trenchard-Smith (Australia) (87 min) (1st viewing)

Aspiring musician David Gaze (Mark Hembrow) works at the local university with his ex-wife as his now-boss (which has got to be loads of fun), wiling away the nighttime hours romancing his lovely girlfriend Neva (Tessa Humphries) and working on his latest keyboard/guitar compositions. But our bleached-blond bohunk has a problem: When he falls asleep, he either has premonitions of successful professional women being brutally and bloodily murdered or he is witnessing the murders in real time from the killer’s point-of-view. In the spirit of good citizenry, David tries to tell the police, who dismiss him as a loon, then tries to tell the prospective victims, who dismiss him as a creepy loon. As the body count piles up, David understandably finds himself the chief suspect in the case, with matters only growing more confusingly dire night after night.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

LA CASA MUDA (aka THE SILENT HOUSE) (2010) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 23
Total First Time Views: 14
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,760.00

La Casa Muda (2010) d. Gustavo Hernandez (Uruguay) (89 min) (2nd viewing)

Laura (Florencia Colucci) and her father Wilson (Gustavo Alonzo) arrive at their friend Nestor’s (Abel Tripaldi) secluded cottage in the woods, planning to spend the night in order to get an early start on the cleaning and rehabbing job for which they’ve been hired. However, as they settle in for bed, the house reveals itself to not be as vacant as originally believed.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957) Movie Review


Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 22
Total First Time Views: 14
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,760.00


The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) d. Jack Arnold (USA) (81 min) (8th viewing)

Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is getting smaller.

No matter how strongly he denies it, no matter how his devoted wife Louise (Randy Stuart) reassures him, no matter that the doctors and specialists are stumped, there is no avoiding the truth of the situation. This once full-grown, everyday ad executive is slowly diminishing in size, with his normal surroundings becoming an ominous reminder of his plight. Wearing clothes that no longer fit, dwarfed by ordinary home furnishings, and with the race against time becoming increasingly desperate every day, Scott is literally reduced to reassessing his place in the world, one which – pardon the expression – grows ever more threatening.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

TETSUO: THE BULLET MAN (2009) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 21
Total First Time Views: 14
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,674.75

Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009) d. Shinya Tsukamoto (Japan) (71 min) (1st viewing)

A couple’s life is shattered when their son is brutally, intentionally run down in the street, their grief driving them into separate spirals of misery. The businessman father Anthony (Eric Bossick) seeks muted solace in endlessly humming the “Mockingbird” nursery rhyme that his parents taught him while Yuriko (Akiko Mono) announces that she must have revenge on Tom’s murderer (played by writer/director Tsukamoto), eventually leaving Anthony. His inner turmoil – and his mysterious genetic origins, thanks to his mad scientist father Ride (Stephen Sarrazin) – transform him into a hulking metal beast, literally armed to the teeth with firearm muzzles. Now the past and the present will collide, with mayhem on the menu.

A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE (1974) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 20
Total First Time Views: 13
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,595.00

A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1975) d. Leon Klimovsky (Spain) (87 min) (1st viewing)

Cigar-chomping, two-fisted Milanese cop Paulo Scaporella (Paul Naschy) finds himself chasing a serial killer whose appointed mission is to wipe out all manner of vice, with drug addicts, prostitutes, adulterers, homosexuals, and other forms of hedonists on the chopping block. After numerous members of their social circle become either victims or suspects, Scaporella and his frisky bride Silvana (Erika Blanc) combine forces, he with his unconventional law enforcement tactics and she with her “female intuition,” attempting to bring l’assassino to justice.

Friday, October 22, 2021

GRABBERS (2012) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 19
Total First Time Views: 12
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,515.25

Grabbers (2012) d. Jon Wright (Ireland/UK) (94 min) (2nd viewing)

On the small community of Erin Island, hard-drinking small-town cop Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle) is teamed with perky, by-the-book Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) when his superior goes on holiday. This strained odd-couple dynamic only gathers steam after a school of massacred pilot whales wash ashore and a few locals go missing... incidents seemingly connected with a recent meteorite splash offshore.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

SEYTAN (aka DEVIL aka THE TURKISH EXORCIST) (1974) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 18
Total First Time Views: 12
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1363.50


Seytan (aka Devil aka The Turkish Exorcist) (1974) d. Metin Erksan (Turkey) (101 min)

Once upon a time, there was a novel about a possessed little girl named Regan McNeil. It was called The Exorcist and it was written by a man named William Peter Blatty. It was supposedly based upon a real possession case, and lots of people read the novel and got very scared. Then Mr. Blatty went to another man named William Friedkin, a film director who had just become very famous for making a movie about scruffy cops and car chases. The two Williams (isn’t that funny!) decided they would make a movie about the same story and even though they fought a lot, it turned out to be a good movie. They called it The Exorcist, just to keep things simple. It made a LOT of money and even won some awards! A movie about a possessed little girl. Can you imagine? Then, other people wanted to make money and win awards, so they made movies that were a lot like The Exorcist, with other possessed little girls (or boys or grown-ups or dogs or cats) all over the world. Sometimes they got in trouble for copying, like when you cheat on a test by looking at your classmate’s paper. But the other people didn’t care and they just kept making them, even in other languages. And one of the funniest things that happened was a big fat Turkey that came from a place called… Turkey! Neat, right?

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

ALLELUIA (2014) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 17
Total First Time Views: 12
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1260.55

Alleluia (2014) d. Fabrice du Welz  (Belgium/France) (93 min) (1st viewing)

Mousy and reserved Gloria (frequent Almodovar star Lola Dueñas) falls deeply for slick, slimy shoe salesman Michel (Laurent Lucas) after their one night of passion, even going so far as to give him money when a business deal purportedly goes south, but then he disappears with the dough and her heart. What Michel doesn’t anticipate, however, is Gloria’s tenacity in tracking him down, followed by her astonishing openness, telling him that she understands and is willing to help him exploit other women in return for his devotion. Stunned into mutual adoration, Michel sets up their next target, only to find his new partner’s emotional attachment a bit complicated for his needs.

Monday, October 18, 2021

TERRIFIED (aka ATERRADOS) (2017) Movie Review



Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 16
Total First Time Views: 11
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1186.40


Terrified (aka Aterrados) (2017) d. Demian Rugna (Argentina) (89 min) (1st viewing)

On a quiet street, in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, exists not one haunted house, but a cluster of three, each presenting its own particular spirit (ha) of menace. After one man’s wife is murdered (in horrific fashion) in her bathroom by a poltergeist, an impromptu team of supernatural investigators – Mario Jano (Norberto Gonzalo), Mora Albreck (Elvira Onetto), and Dr Rosentok (George Lewis) – assembles to uncover and hopefully resolve the mystery while resident police commissioner Funes (Maximiliano Ghione) tries to keep matters under wraps and his pulse rate down (due to a heart condition).

Sunday, October 17, 2021

LA CASA LOBO (aka THE WOLF HOUSE) (2018) Movie Review


Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 15
Total First Time Views: 10
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $789.75

La Casa Lobo (2018)
d. Joaquín Cociña / Cristóbal León (Chile/Germany) (74 min) (1st viewing)

A “brilliant nightmare” painstakingly captured through stop-motion animation, The Wolf House acts as social commentary, history lesson, and a master class in unconventional storytelling. Virtually nothing I can tell you in this review can prepare you for what is a supremely unique viewing experience, which is a good thing since I can’t imagine effectively communicating the haunting and disquieting mood spun by co-directors Cocina and Leon.