Sunday, February 5, 2023

Fool's Views (1/1 – 1/31)



I know, right? Who the holy heck is this?

Yup, giving this another go, after two years of lax and laze. The intention is that it’s going to be a bit more freewheeling and fun, with less self-imposed pressure to deliver the game-winning pass every time. Instead, we’re going to run this ball down the field yard by ever-loving yard and that’s about it for the sports metaphors.

We started off the year with a smattering of old and new in many regards, with the current prestige pics mixing with the 1970s schlock, amply supplemented with a nosh of noir. In other words, it’s business as usual around the Doc’s office, and we hope you enjoy the buffet.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Civilian 2022 Wrap-Up and Year-End Stats!



And we’re back!

Having addressed the horror genre in the previous entry (hey, this is HORROR 101 after all), it’s now time to give the Civilian flicks a moment in the sun.

This year, however, was bound to be different. As an experiment in time management, I implemented a policy that (for the most part), I would only watch movies in the company of another human being or if I was planning to discuss said film for a scheduled event (podcast, lecture, etc.) As a result, the random flights of fancy (chasing down an actor or director’s C.V. or various other infinite rabbit hole themes) which had made up my viewing patterns for the past 40 years were almost entirely absent. The results were equal parts frustrating, fascinating, and liberating.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Dr. AC's 2022 Horror Wrap-Up Extravaganza!



Hello, my horror-loving homebodies!

It’s been a curious year, where I once again was less-than-vigilant about setting down thoughts on every flickering image that passed my eyebrain. However, despite its complications, 2022 proved to be a shift back toward “the good old days” where I actually started venturing out of the house to enjoy horror-themed events amidst the faithful.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

ALL JACKED UP AND FULL OF WORMS (2022) Movie Review



All Jacked Up and Full of Worms (2022) d. Alex Phillips (USA) (72 min)

Motel mop-boy Roscoe (Phillip Andre Botello) is introduced coming down from a trippy tantric experience involving Samantha (Betsey Brown) and third wheel Jared (Noah Lepawsky). “I think I just killed my own childhood,” he breathlessly proclaims to his giggly, gurgling girlfriend, followed shortly by “I think that’s enough hippie stuff for today.” Meanwhile, across town, the schlubby, unkempt Benny (Trevor Dawkins) thrills at the arrival of his mail-order infant sex doll, intending to lovingly nurture it, excited at the prospect of finding a partner with whom to share his bundle of plastic joy. His initial choice, Henrietta (Eva Fellows), is a gentle, groovy prostitute who, unflapped by her would-be client’s inability to perform sexually, offers up a box of hallucinogenic worms as an alternative means of pleasure. Initially repulsed by the notion, Benny later returns to discover Roscoe tidying up and, upon consuming the creepy crawlers, the two strike up a surprisingly warm if twisted friendship that leads to encounters with strange, dark places and stranger, darker people.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

SCARE-A-THON 2022 FINAL RESULTS!!!


And that, legions of licorice-loving loonies, brings us to the end of Scare-A-Thon 2022 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 handily accomplished, with all of the 31 official Scare-A-Thon movies being FTVs as well as being released (wide) between 2020 and 2022. (Call it the year of "catching up." Thanks, Chicago Public Library!!) 

Along the way, thanks to the generous hearts and minds of fans like you, over $6,000 has been raised for the WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ASSISTANCE PROJECT, with additional funds still coming in, making this the most successful Scare-A-Thon EVERRRRRRRR!

Thanks to the 17 (!) guests who showed up at all hours from across the globe to chat on the HORROR 101 with Dr. AC YouTube channel, as well as everyone who participated in some way, whether it be making a contribution, liking a Facebook post, watching or listening to a partner podcast, leaving a comment, suggesting a movie, or just chatting about what we were respectively watching this month. 

The October Challenge can actually be pretty lonely work at times, but such was not the case this year and I'm deeply grateful for all the connections made and shared. Extra Special Thanks to Gert Verbeeck for his tireless efforts in creating video thumbnails, testing out AV equipment, and countless other favors. I owe you one, amigo!

Below are the 31 "official" features viewed (with links to full-length reviews), as well as 15 additional horror and horror-adjacent titles "just for fun". Before we get to that, however, there is the usual assemblage of useless factoids to ponder while you're thinking ahead to next year's costume.

Have fun!

CHALLENGE STATS: 
Total Movies Watched: 46
First Time Views: 37
Total Scare-A-Thon Donations: $6,120

Monday, October 31, 2022

SCARE-A-THON 2022: WEEK 4!!!!


Biggie and Nessie salute you!

IT IS ACCOMPLISHED!

Before we get to the final grab-bag of features that passed through our blurry and bloodshot eyes during the final lap, I'll make a short entreaty for folks to head IMMEDIATELY to the Scare-a-Thon fundraiser link and consider adding to our already record-breaking total. All month, we have been raising funds and awareness for the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization assisting women who are financially unable to pay for safe, legal abortions or emergency contraceptives. WRRAP works directly with pre-qualified, reputable reproductive health clinics across the U.S. on behalf of the person in need.

NOTE: If you are reading this after the fundraiser is closed, you can go directly to the WRRAP website and make a donation directly. Now is the time. You can make the difference for someone's sister, mother, daughter, or friend. Even if you are only able to pledge $5, you can still send a message of hope. Please do. Someone right now needs your help.

The H101 with Dr. AC YouTube channel has 31 more reviews and conversations with fellow film fans than it had one short month ago. Thank you for watching, subscribing, and Sharing the Scare. Click on the links below - looking forward to reading your thoughts and comments!

We'll be back with one final post to bind them all. Stay tuned!

Here's that donation link once again:

https://www.plumfund.com/charity-fundraising/october-scare-a-thon-2022

And here are the flicks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

SCARE-A-THON 2022: WEEK 3!!!


It's not my birthday, so it's not a birthday suit...

Heading into the back half of October with high spirits and ghoulish gusto!

But first, HUGE thanks and gratitude to everyone who has contributed already to our Scare-a-Thon fundraising efforts, as we just blasted through the $5,000 mark, and I see no reason for us to stop now! All month long we are raising funds and awareness for the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization assisting women who are financially unable to pay for safe, legal abortions or emergency contraceptives. WRRAP works directly with pre-qualified, reputable reproductive health clinics across the U.S. on behalf of the person in need.

Now in its third week, the new H101 with Dr. AC YouTube channel is loading its larders with oodles of reviews and conversations with fellow film fans. Click on the many links below to be part of the fun, Share the Scare, and let your voices be heard!

As before, hats off to everyone who has lent their support thus far, in whatever means you're able. If money is tight this year and a monetary donation is not possible, please consider spreading the word via your particular networks and circles. Every little bit helps, every little bit is appreciated, every little bit makes a difference.

Here's the donation link:

https://www.plumfund.com/charity-fundraising/october-scare-a-thon-2022

And here are the flicks!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

SCARE-A-THON 2022: WEEK 2!!



Seasons shriekings, boils and ghouls! Back with another grisly group of monsters and murderers for your viewing delights!

Our Scare-a-Thon fundraising efforts are cresting new heights this year, having just sailed past the $3,400 mark on our way toward our $5K goal benefitting the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization assisting women who are financially unable to pay for safe, legal abortions or emergency contraceptives. WRRAP works directly with pre-qualified, reputable reproductive health clinics across the U.S. on behalf of the person in need.

As before, the new H101 with Dr. AC YouTube channel is the place to be for the lowdown on our thoughts for this year's selections, the poster art and links for which are below. Stop on by, pull up a virtual chair, and enjoy the blithering and the blathering in equal measure!

Thanks to everyone who has lent their support thus far, in whatever means you've done so. If money is tight this year and a monetary donation is not possible, please consider spreading the word via your particular networks and circles. Every little bit helps, every little bit is appreciated, every little bit makes a difference.

Here's the donation link:

https://www.plumfund.com/charity-fundraising/october-scare-a-thon-2022

And here are the flicks!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

SCARE-A-THON 2022: WEEK 1!

Hello, everyone!

Wow, what a great start this has been already. The flicks have been flickering, the funds are raising, spirits are high, and temperatures are low. As you may have noticed, there has not been a lot of action here on the blog because ALL the action has been taking place over on the new H101 with Dr. AC YouTube channel, which has been rocking and rolling. I'll provide poster art and links below for the first week's Views.

In the first week, we raised over $2,500 for the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Fund, with new pledges coming in every day. Thanks to everyone who has lent their support thus far, whether it be in terms of making a donation or sharing a link or just lending an enthusiastic virtual backslap. It all helps so much, I assure you, so keep it coming!

Here's the donation link:

https://www.plumfund.com/charity-fundraising/october-scare-a-thon-2022

And here are the flicks!

Friday, September 30, 2022

SCARE-A-THON 2022: VOICES AND CHOICES



Greetings, my blood brothers and sanguinary sisters! It’s that time of year again, when the night air turns crisp and cool, the shadows contain mysteries dark and deep, and tricks and treats trade beats with greets on the streets....

It’s time for SCARE-A-THON 2022.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

POST MORTEM (2020) Blu-ray Review



Post Mortem (2020) d. Peter Bergendy (Hungary) (115 min)

Following a near-death experience in the final days of World War I, former soldier Tomas (Viktor Klem) adopts a very specific and macabre profession. As a portrait artist for the recently expired, he allows the bereaved an opportunity for closure, creating family photos that combine living and dead subjects. Whilst working with a traveling sideshow, a young orphan girl Anna (Fruzsina Hais) asks him to come to her village which has recently been decimated by the Spanish flu; with the winter ground too hard to bury the bodies, it seems like an ideal opportunity for Tomas to snap a few more pics and pocket a few more coins. However, he and Anna discover a powerful supernatural force surrounding the small community, one that proves increasingly violent toward the locals. Teaming up with a kindly spinster Marcsa (Judit Schell), the two race against time to find the answers before the restless spirits tear the place apart.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

CAT PEOPLE (1982) Blu-ray/UHD review



Cat People (1982) d. Paul Schrader (USA) (118 min)

After years in orphanages, Irena (Nastassja Kinski) reunites with long-lost sibling Paul (Malcolm McDowell), who soon reveals a more-than-brotherly attraction to her. Seems the two are the supernatural offspring of panthers, doomed to mate only with their own humanimal kind, as any other coupling results in fanged-and-clawed death for their unsuspecting partner. Needless to say, this throws a wrench into zookeeper Oliver's (John Heard) romantic designs on the exotic female newcomer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

DOG SOLDIERS (2002) Blu-Ray/UHD Review



Dog Soldiers (2002) d. Neil Marshall (UK) (105 min)

Dispatched to the Scottish Highlands, a half-dozen soldiers find their special training maneuver exercises interrupted by an S.O.S. signal flare. Upon arrival at the distress site, they discover the sole remaining member of a Special Ops team, Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham), raving and bleeding profusely. Moments later, the team is besieged by mysterious, snarling assailants that decimate one of their number and leave their leader, Sgt. Harry G. Wells (Sean Pertwee), grievously wounded. Their panicked retreat under the command of Pvt. Cooper (Kevin McKidd) leads to a chance encounter with a local woman, Megan (Emma Cleasby), who helps them escape to a secluded cabin in the woods. Low on ammo and facing periodic but increasingly effective attacks, the pinned-down troops must use their every resource to combat the lycanthropic menace until the full moon sets.

Monday, August 22, 2022

CHILD'S PLAY (1988) BLU-RAY/UHD REVIEW



Child’s Play (1988) d. Tom Holland (USA) (87 min)

After Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), the notorious Lakeside Strangler, is cornered and shot in a Chicago toy store, he uses his dying breaths and voodoo mystic abilities to transport his soul into that of a Good Guy doll, the red-headed, freckled, talking sensation on every kid’s birthday wish list. Young Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) is one such lonely youngster, hoping that his newly widowed mother Karen (Catherine Hicks) can somehow come up with the funds to buy him his very own “friend to the end” to ease the pain of his father’s death. She manages to secure a deal with a back-alley peddler, not knowing that the doll in question is in fact harboring the serial killer’s spirit, and equally ignorant of “Chucky’s” plans to inhabit Andy’s body! Mysterious deaths begin to surround the young lad, arousing the suspicions of Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), the level-headed detective assigned to the case. Will anyone believe Andy’s story or will he become the vehicle for Chucky’s future crimes?

Sunday, August 7, 2022

YELLOWBRICKROAD (2010) Blu-ray Review



YellowBrickRoad (2010) d. Jesse Holland / Andy Mitton (USA) (98 min)

“One morning in 1940, the entire population of Friar, New NH, walked north up an unmarked trail into the wilderness. Some were later found frozen to death. Others were mysteriously slaughtered. Most, however, were never found. Among the classified records is [an] audio recording of a lone survivor, conducted at the outset of investigation.” So reads the pre-titles onscreen text, after which it is revealed that in 2008, the coordinates for the “YELLOWBRICKROAD” trailhead have been declassified and investigative photojournalist Teddy Barnes (Michael Laurino) is eager to explore the legend of Friar. He assembles a team comprised of his wife Melissa (Anessa Ramsey), the brother/sister mapmaking team of Erin and Daryl Luger (Clark and Cassidy Freeman), the Luger’s intrepid intern Jill (Tara Giordano), forestry service rep Cy (Sam Elmore), and behavioral psychologist Walter Myrick (Alex Draper), with a last-minute addition in the form of Friar local Liv (Laura Heisler), and into the woods they go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966) Blu-ray Review



One Million Years B.C. (1966) d. Don Chaffey (UK) (100 min)

“This is a story of long, long ago, when the world was just beginning. A young world, a world early in the morning of time. A hard, unfriendly world. Creatures who sit and wait. Creatures who must kill to live. And Man, superior to the creatures only in his cunning. There are not many men yet. Just a few tribes scattered across the wilderness. Never venturing far, unaware that other tribes exist even. Too busy with their own lives to be curious. Too frightened of the unknown to wander. Their laws are simple: the strong take everything. This is Akhoba, leader of the Rock Tribe... And these are his sons, Sakana and Tumak. There is no love loss between them. And that is our story.”

Saturday, July 23, 2022

THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS (1976) Movie Review



The House with Laughing Windows (1976) d. Pupa Avati (Italy) (110 min)

Art historian and restoration specialist Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) is summoned to a rural Italian town to restore a grotesque fresco (grotesquo?) depicting the death of St. Sebastian, shown in horrible torment with daggers skewering his naked body. When his friend Antonio (Giulio Pizzirani), who recommended him for the job, is found dead on the cobblestones outside his apartment, the police quickly deem it a suicide, ignoring Stefano’s claims that a shadowy figure was lurking on the balcony above. Through encounters with the town’s bizarre locals, Stefano learns more about the mystery surrounding the fresco’s artist, Legnani, dubbed the “Painter of Agony,” as well as Legnani’s equally twisted sisters who helped him procure unwilling subjects and torture them while he captured their anguished expressions on canvas.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES (1966) Blu-ray Review



The Plague of the Zombies (1966) d. John Gilling (UK) (91 min)

In a remote 19th-century Cornish village, a mysterious plague relentlessly consumes lives at an unstoppable rate. Unable to find the cause, Dr. Peter Tompson (Brook Williams) enlists the help of his mentor, Sir James Forbes (Andre Morell). Desperate to find an antidote, they instead find inexplicable horror: empty coffins with the diseased corpses missing. Following a series of strange and frightening clues, they discover a deserted tin mine where they discover a world of black magic and a doomed legion of soulless, murderous slaves... the walking dead.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS (1957) Blu-ray Review



The Brain from Planet Arous (1957) d. Nathan Juran (as Nathan Hertz) (USA) (71 min)

“Recognized nuclear scientist” Steve March (John Agar) and his way-too-young assistant Dan Murphy (Robert Fuller) pick up some troubling radiation activity on their, ahem, Nucliometer, and determine that the source of the Geiger-jiggering is none other than the ominously named Mystery Mountain (where viewers have seen a bright floating light land and explode during the opening credits). They pack up their equipment and drive out into the blazing hot desert to investigate – leaving Steve’s fiancee Sally Fallon (Joyce Meadows) to clean up the dishes from lunch – and encounter a flagitious floating flock of megalomaniacal gray matter calling itself Gor (voiced by Dale Tate). Seems Gor has escaped from his (despite its limited anatomy, this is very much a male presence) home world of Arous and is now bent on dominating ours, starting with the overtly hostile act of frying Dan and then taking over Steve’s body in order to a) threaten the world’s leaders with annihilation and b) sexually assault Sally every chance he gets. Meanwhile, Arous has sent another airborne brain, the intergalactic police officer Vol (also voiced by Tate), who allies forces with Sally, her father John (Thomas B. Henry), and their faithful dog George to deal with the mental menace from beyond the Milky Way. May the best frontal lobe win!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

TRAUMA (1993) Blu-ray Review



Trauma (1993) d. Dario Argento (Italy) (106 min)

David (Christopher Rydell), a graphic artist for a local news station, encounters a young Romanian runaway Aura (Asia Argento) contemplating suicide on a highway overpass. He convinces her to come in off the ledge, but when he tries to comfort her at a local diner, she reveals her bulimic tendencies, fleeing for the bathroom and into the waiting arms Dr. Judd’s (Frederic Forrest) Farraday Clinic cronies, from which she had recently escaped. Returning Aura to her spiritualist mother Adriana (Piper Laurie), the family reunion is spoiled when Adriana holds a séance in which she senses a murderer at the table and is herself murdered along with her husband by a mysterious serial killer known as “The Headhunter,” so dubbed for his/her decapitatory tendencies with a portable garroter. (Who knew there was a call for such things?) Aura flees again into David’s arms, and the two begin an investigation into the killer’s connections to Dr. Judd, Adriana, and the increasing number of victims, all of whom seem to be connected by a common thread…