Saturday, May 23, 2020

THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961) Blu-ray Review



The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) d. Terence Fisher (UK) (93 min)

Set in 18th Century Spain, this (very) loose reworking of Guy Endore’s 1933 novel The Werewolf of Paris sees a ragged beggar (Richard Wordsworth) entering the disenchanted village of Santa Vera where a corrupt nobleman, the aptly named Marques Sinestro (Anthony Dawson), holds sway. In “service” for his supper, the Marques has the hapless homeless bark and crawl about like a dog before being imprisoned and forgotten by everyone except the jailer and his mute daughter (Yvonne Romain). 10 years of isolation drive the poor soul out of his mind such that, when the jailer’s daughter is thrown into his cell for refusing the lecherous Marques’ advances, he rapes her and promptly dies. Upon her release, the young victim murders the evil lord before escaping into the countryside, where she is discovered, pregnant and on the brink of death, by a kindly aristocrat, Don Alfredo (Clifford Evans). Her offspring, dubbed Leon (Oliver Reed), is raised by Don Alfredo to manhood where it is revealed that his unfortunate family tree and birth date (Christmas) have cursed him with bestial leanings whenever the moon is full and lust is on the rise….


Thursday, May 21, 2020

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID (2017) Blu-ray Review



Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) d. Issa López (Mexico) (83 min)

Set against the backdrop of Mexico’s drug wars, this dark fairy tale follows Estrella (Paola Lara), whose school is closed due to a shooting, an act that unleashes a mysterious, potentially malevolent force that marks the young girl, tracking her to her home where she discovers that her mother has gone unexpectedly missing. She ultimately falls in with a group of similarly abandoned children, led by the fiery pre-teen Shine (Juan Ramon Lopez) who has stolen the cell phone (and pistol) of a former drug cartel member, an act that has the young gang running for their lives. Estrella, having been given “three magical wishes” by her schoolteacher, is tasked with facing one of the criminals as an initiation into Shine’s gang, an assignment that only escalates their perilous situation, leaving them pursued by dark forces both of this world and from beyond.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

SWORD OF GOD (aka THE MUTE) (2018) Movie Review



Sword of God (aka The Mute) (2018) d. Bartosz Konopka (Poland) (100 min)

In the early Middle Ages, a contingent of knights embarks on a dangerous journey to spread Christianity and baptize the pagan inhabitants of an isolated village hidden deep in the mountains of a faraway island. After being shipwrecked, the two survivors, the elder Bishop Willibrord (Krzysztof Pieczynski) and a younger subservient (Karol Bernacki, credited as “Noname”), proceed with their mission, but as they attempt to convert the tribe, their diverging beliefs put them at odds with one another. Soon, love is confronted with hate, peace with violence, sanity with madness, and redemption with damnation.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Fool's Views (5/1 – 5/10)


"G'day, mate! I'll have the Double Impossible Whopper...
What do you mean no substitutions? Let me talk to your manager..."

Hey there, kids!

Hope everyone is staying safe, staying healthy, and staying the course!

The opening May Day celebrations entailed knocking out the remainder of the Death Wish films (special thanks to Dan and Tim for riding shotgun), which was quite the cause for celebration. We also clocked a couple more Bronson flicks (over 30 for the year!), as well as sampling a double scoop of Stallone, a pair of peliculas peligrosas for Kitley’s Krypt, and kept things reel/real with another smattering of documentaries.

We’ve got a ton of fun stuff on the to-watch stack, so let’s get to it without any further delay.

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

Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2020

WOLF CREEK 2 (2013) Blu-ray Review



Wolf Creek 2 (2013) d. Greg McLean (Australia) (106 min)

In 2005, audiences were introduced to Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) stalking tourists in writer/director McLean’s supremely nasty and well-executed slice of suspense and pain, based on Australia’s notorious “backpacker murders.” The young filmmaker’s debut outraged mainstream critics who ignored the slow-burn character development, palpable disorientation, excruciating suspense, and late great cinematographer Will Gibson’s breathtaking lensing of the bucolic Outback vistas, focusing their ire on the admittedly brutal third act of young bodies being bloodied and broken. Horror fans, however, immediately identified one of their own, embracing McLean and his psychotic creation with open arms.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Fool's Views (4/24 – 4/30)


"Is it safe to go out yet....? I need some Cheetos."

Hello again!

Hope everyone is staying healthy, staying hopeful, and staying at home as much as possible. With the exception of recent trips to the community garden to prep our plot for the summer (I swear, we’re not burying bodies!), we’ve been doing our best to flatten the curve without getting too curvy ourselves. Between the flicks, there have been push-ups, planks, squats, pull-ups, and crunches, at least 100 of each every day, in the hopes that once we’re allowed to re-enter this strange new world post-COVID, we’re not looking like total tubs of goo. So far, so good, building those good habits and trying to stay positive. After all, there are movie marathons on the horizon and we’ll need all our strength to see them through! THIS IS WHY WE TRAIN….

On that note, rediscovering the Chicago Public Library’s FREE streaming service Hoopla has been a total delight, stumbling across tons of films that I had been meaning to catch up with for months or even years. The “to-watch” stack just got a whole lot higher, for better or worse! For those in the Windy City area, I highly recommend it, and for those out-of-towners, try checking your own local library’s website and see what they have to offer. Despite all propaganda to the contrary, the world does not revolve around Amazon Prime and Netflix alone!

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

Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

VFW (2019) Blu-ray Review



VFW (2019) d. Joe Begos (USA) (92 min)

After attempting to stretch with his modern vampire flick Bliss, Begos crashes back to earth, seemingly content in being the worst kind of Tarantino imitator, i.e. interested only in serving up “tributes” of established tropes and subgenres under his own byline. Having done body snatcher (Almost Human) and psychokinetic (The Mind’s Eye) flicks, he now offers up a siege film (Assault on Precinct 13 is the obvious model and, yes, I know that John Carpenter was himself riffing off Rio Bravo, thank you very much) combined with Stallone’s The Expendables series by hiring over-the-hill cult actors (Stephen Lang, William Sadler, Martin Kove, Daniel Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Fred Williamson) to play a group of retired soldiers defending their local watering hole from a horde of strung-out (and wildly ineffectual) druggies.


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Fool's Views (4/16 – 4/23)


"I'm alright. Nobody worry 'bout me..."

Howdy folks!

I wish I May, I wish I Might, post these Views before the fall of Night…..

This week’s offerings were kind of all over the place, with the Arrow Blu-ray stack, Chicago Public Library’s streaming platform Hoopla, the doc’s personal DVD collection, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and blood brother Dan Kiggins’ proffering their capable services. From cursed films to Argento’s origins, from worlds of water to Elvira’s cuttting comments and curves, we’ve got a little bit of something for everyone.

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

Enjoy!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

A PERFECT DAY... for female-centric horror! (Guest Video)



Happy Belated May Day, everyone!

I'll be posting the latest batch of Fool's Views later on this weekend, but in the meantime....

My buddy Mackenzie Parker, professional actor, editor, and horror fan extraordinaire, put together this nifty batch of clips showcasing fantastic female frights throughout the ages. I enjoyed it mightily and I think you will too.

I'm including the video window below, but I know that the blog formatting doesn't always jive with it, so here's the direct Vimeo link as well.

https://vimeo.com/410203297

Have fun!

Perfect Day (A Scream Queen Compilation) from mackenzie parker on Vimeo.

Monday, April 27, 2020

FURY OF THE DEMON (2016) / ANTRUM (2018) Movie Review




Fury of the Demon (2016) d. Fabien Dulage (France) (60 min)

Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2018) d. David Amito / Michael Laicini (Canada) (95 min)

The concept of a “movie that kills” has been explored before, most notably in Ringu (1999) and its remakes/sequels, and also on the small screen with John Carpenter’s 2005 Masters of Horror episode, “Cigarette Burns.” Now, fans can enjoy a diabolical double dip of creepy cursed celluloid from both sides of the Atlantic, and while neither are perfect in execution, both offer enthusiastically macabre mythos designed to arouse imaginations and inspire conversations beyond the closing credits.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Fool's Views (4/1 – 4/15)


"Anybody need a hand? HAHAHAHAHA OH I LOVE THAT ONE."

Hey there, team!

I know, it’s shocking to have the Views actually up to date. Crazy what happens when you have a shorter commute (i.e. not leaving the house!) I even knocked out my Kryptic Army mission before the month was even halfway through. I was going to make a joke about that being one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse, but I'm not going to tempt Fate, if you know what I mean....

Pretty happy with how this year is going thus far in terms of hooking up the holiday horror with the corresponding dates. Not only did we do a double feature of My Bloody Valentine back on Feb 14, we got in an April 1st viewing of April Fool’s Day. (Both courtesy of Shout! Factory.) True, I missed seeing a Jason Voorhees feature back in March, but we have another Friday the 13th coming up in November, so I’ll have another shot at it. (I confess, I didn’t really work that hard to find anything Easter-related, but there are only so many times you can watch Night of the Lepus.)

Hope everyone is keeping healthy and hopeful out there. And remember: The only thing more fun than watching movies is talking to other people about the movies you’ve watched! (As long as they’re six feet or more away, of course.) So, make sure you’re doing plenty of both during these strange days.

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

Enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Fool's Views (3/23 – 3/31)


Still a little unclear about this social distancing thing....

Greetings, my friends!

The last week of March was not quite as frenzied in terms of intake of the fluttering image. (Although some may debate this, based on the number of flicks consumed, there was a little more structure and pacing than the week prior.) In addition to increasing the All Things Bronson tally, Amazon Prime graced me with three worthwhile documentaries about fright flicks and the creative forces behind them while Shout! Factory delivered the goods both on physical media and streaming.

I also knocked out my Kryptic Army Assignment just in the final lap (inspired by personal fears, mine being of sickness and infirmity – nice timing, right?), and sampled the debut features from two filmmakers who would change the face of cinema, John Hughes and George Lucas.

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

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

LA BRUJA (1954) Movie Review



La Bruja (1954) d. Chano Urueta (Mexico) (82 min)

When Dr. Boerner (Julio Villareal) refuses to sell his revolutionary anti-aging formula to a trio of enterprising businessmen (Ramon Gay, Charles Rooner, Fernando Wagner), they send two thugs to his laboratory to procure it by means fair or foul. Unfortunately for all involved, the doctor is not home and the villains murder his daughter Myrta when she attempts to stop them from entering. Wracked with grief, Boerner seeks out Paulesco (Luis Aceves Castañeda), the king of the gypsy underworld, and calls in a favor (the good doctor saved the criminal’s life the night Myrta was killed) to enact his revenge. By transforming the horribly malformed Nora (Lilia del Valle) into a stunning beauty and passing her off as a visiting countess, Boerner plans to lure each of the businessmen to his respective doom….


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Fool's Views (3/16 – 3/22)


Feeling a little lost in the woods? Join the club.

Greetings, my friends,

Well, not a lot to say that hasn’t already been said. It’s a bit of a zoo out there, so this might be a good time to step into the Wayback machine and revisit the cinematic climate of Dr. AC’s office three weeks ago, just as the COVID-19 crisis starting hitting Chicago. We got the word to shelter-in-place, and we took Gov. Pritzker (who’s been doing a damn fine job, I gotta say, along with Mayor Lightfoot) at his word and stayed home as best we could. I ventured out at one point to donate blood/platelets when I heard that there was an understandable shortage due to a drop in donors, and we went to the grocery store a couple times, but that was about it.

As I’m sure many of you experienced for yourselves, there was a sense of stunned shock and disbelief and “what are we supposed to do?” in the air, so I immediately dove into my coping device of choice: watching as many movies as possible. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this is a one-week report as opposed to a bi-monthly!) As luck would have it, I had a pile of Bronson all ready to go, and Shout! Factory TV and my new four-pack of Coen Brothers movies took care of the rest quite nicely. And you’re not mistaken, there wasn’t much in the way of horror Views – the real world seemed scary enough.

I didn’t ONLY watch movies during the first week of the crisis. But I’m not gonna lie, I watched a mess of them. Try not to judge too harshly.

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

Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2020

THE ASTROLOGER (1977) Blu-ray Review



The Astrologer (1977) d. James Glickenhaus (USA) (79 min)

The deep Deep DEEP undercover U.S. government organization Interzod, run by Dr. Alexei Abernal (Bob Byrd), specializes in tracking individuals’ life and career paths based upon their astrological birth coordinates. (Aren’t you glad you know where your tax dollars are going?) On the other side of the globe in India, the mystical leader Kajerste (Mark Buntzman) has been captured by the government and placed under arrest, but his captors are unprepared for his overwhelming hypnotic powers and he quickly escapes back to his cadre of devout followers. What do these two have in common? Both are searching for the exact time and location of the Virgin Mary’s birth, hoping that if another person’s zodiacal potential were to coincide, the outcome would be the Second Coming of Christ. Judging by the way Abernal is keeping a close eye on Kate (Monica Tidwell), to the point of wedding her but refusing to consummate the marriage, it’s pretty clear who he’s putting his money on.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

THE WITCH (2015) Blu-ray Review



The Witch (2015) d. Robert Eggers (USA) (92 min)

In 1630s New England, the pious William (Ralph Ineson) is banished from the Puritan homestead, along with his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their five children, for speaking against the church elders for their fixation on wealth and status. He scorns their golden candlesticks and religious trappings, preferring to make his way in the wilderness alone with his family, closer to the land, closer to God. But when their infant child Samuel is spirited away into the woods whilst under the care of eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), it sets in motion a crumbling of the familial unit, a dissolution spurred by suspicion, hunger, lust, jealousy… and perhaps a little help from beyond the veil.


Friday, April 3, 2020

FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973) Blu-ray Review



Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) d. Jack Smight (UK) (186 min)

Following the tragic drowning of his beloved brother William, the brilliant young surgeon/student Victor Frankenstein (Leonard Whiting) becomes obsessed with unlocking the mysteries of resurrecting life from dead tissue. While traveling to London to resume his studies, a chance encounter with a wounded man on the highway causes Victor’s path to cross with that of the drunken and unconventional maverick Dr. Henri Clerval (David McCallum). Finding kindred spirits in one another, Clerval takes Victor under his wing, showing him the results of his unconventional solar/electrical experiments, first reviving insects, then animals, and finally severed limbs. Their next step? To bring a human body back from the dead, an opportunity that arrives in the form of a bizarre quarry accident that leaves seven men badly mangled. Assembling the healthiest pieces of each, they create a piecemeal creature (Michael Sarrazin) that, sure enough, is able to walk, talk, and pass for a member of polite society. But when the process begins to reverse itself, Victor can only stand helplessly by as his “beautiful” creation turns monstrous.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

APRIL FOOL'S DAY (1986) Blu-ray Review



April Fool’s Day (1986) d. Fred Walton (89 min)

When Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman) invited her college friends up to her parents’ secluded island home for the time of their lives, she just forgot to tell them it just might be the LAST time of their lives. As soon as the kids arrive on the island, someone starts trimming the guest list... one murder at a time. What starts out as a weekend of harmless “April Fool’s Day” pranks turns into a bloody battle for survival.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

MUNSTER, GO HOME! (1966) Blu-ray Review



Munster, Go Home! (1966) d. Earl Bellamy (USA) (96 min)

Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) inherits a mansion in England (and a lordship in the process) and sails across the ocean with the entire Munster family in tow: his loving vampire wife Lily (Yvonne De Carlo), her mischievous fanged father Grampa (Al Lewis), their werewolf son Eddie (Butch Patrick), and their “abnormal” human niece Marilyn (Debbie Watson). Upon arrival, they encounter their European relatives, Lady Effigie (Hermione Gingold) and her two conniving offspring, Freddie (Terry-Thomas) and Grace (Jeanne Arnold), who are understandably disgruntled at having been cut out of the Munster will. Soon, there are schemes devised and plots afoot and hijinks aplenty, all the more complicated when Marilyn falls for the son of a rival family, the dashing Roger Moresby (Robert Pine).


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fool's Views (3/1 – 3/15)


"Don't mind me. I'll be in here for while....."

“Beware the Ides of March.”

“He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass.”

The month came in like a lamb and, almost as if on cue, March 15 came crashing in like a ton of bricks (if the bricks were all radioactive and labeled “Stay the #$%*&$#@ in your house!!!!”) and the world will never be the same again. It’s strange, looking back on this period of time, going through it thinking it was just another ordinary couple weeks. Not so, said the crow.

Truth be told, my main focus was to watch a few VHS movies that my buddy Gert had ordered from a U.S. dealer and get them relayed onto him in Brussels. It seems so benign in retrospective: plugging in the VCR and adjusting the tracking accordingly to viddy a few flicks the old fashioned way, and then repackaging them to send overseas. (Here’s hoping they arrive soon, amigo!!!!) Then I banged out a few other films that I had borrowed from friends (Tim, Jason, Jon), thinking, “Okay, I’ll finish these up and then set up a time when I can return them and we can watch a bunch more together.”

And now, here we are. Advised to stay indoors and avoid contact with anyone. It’s looking like it will be at least a few more weeks of the same, and no one knows when the communal viewings will resume. It’s a strange realization. But the femalien and I are both healthy and hopeful, which is about all anyone can ask. We’ve got food and shelter and each other, and we live in a world where most communication occurs online anyway, so the world – while undeniably different – isn’t all that different. And there are movies to be watched and Fools to View them. For this, I am extremely thankful.

I wish you, Faithful Reader, the very best to you and yours during these strange days. Thank you for spending a little time here at the Doc’s office. It means a lot.

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

Enjoy!