Friday, February 23, 2024

DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (1994) 30TH ANNIVERSARY ROUND TABLE!!

DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (aka CEMETERY MAN) (1994) d. Michele Soavi (Italy)

 


Dellamorte Dellamore (aka Cemetery Man) is arguably the last great Italian horror movie of that country’s heyday, and yet somehow still struggles for a place of respect amidst the masters. Originally a novel by Tziano Sclavi, and later adapted by Gianni Romoli and directed by Argento protege Michele Soavi, the story follows Buffalora Cemetery groundskeeper Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) spends his days helping the living put their loved ones to rest, and his nights keeping the dead in the ground.

Friday, February 16, 2024

MESSIAH OF EVIL (1974) TURNS 50!!!

MESSIAH OF EVIL (1974) d. Willard Hyuck (USA)




Clearly inspired by Night of the Living Dead and possessing the dreamlike, doom-laden tone of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, 1974’s Messiah of Evil is a thoughtful, introspective, original and regrettably neglected low-budget horror effort.

Friday, February 9, 2024

VAMPIRES IN 1979! (DRACULA, NOSFERATU, SALEM'S LOT, LOVE AT FIRST BITE, THIRST, VAMPIRE)

DRACULA (1979) d. John Badham (USA)
NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (1979) d. Werner Herzog (Germany)
LOVE AT FIRST BITE (1979) d. Stan Dragoti (USA)
THIRST (1979) d. Rod Hardy (Australia)
VAMPIRE (1979) d. E.W. Swackhamer (USA)
SALEM'S LOT (1979) d. Tobe Hooper (USA)

 


The year was 1979, and it was a time of disco, political unrest, walkmans, and vampires. No fewer than six major film and TV projects premiered across the globe, providing a spectrum of bloodsuckers not seen before or since. Played for laughs (Love at First Bite) or steeped in social commentary (Thirst), from tortured souls (Nosferatu) to top of the food chain (Vampire), adapted from literary works old (Dracula) and new (Salem’s Lot), or completely original storylines, you just couldn’t keep the undead dead, and the shock waves have continued to reverberate throughout history.

Friday, February 2, 2024

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) / YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL!!

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) d. Rowland V. Lee (USA)
YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) d. Mel Brooks (USA




From the moment the original Frankenstein from Universal Studios was released in November of 1931, the landscape of cinema changed forever as Mary Shelley’s creation became a household word overnight. Unsurprisingly for Hollywood, further adventures featuring the Frankenstein monster followed, some critically acclaimed, others derided, while the fan base grew, passed on through generations of horror fans.

Friday, January 26, 2024

GREMLINS (1984) / GHOULIES (1985) DOUBLE DOUBLE FEATURE!!

GREMLINS (1984) d. Joe Dante (USA)
GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH (1990) d. Joe Dante (USA)
GHOULIES (1985) d. Luca Bercovici (USA)
GHOULIES 2 (1987) d. Albert Band (USA)





The early 1980s were a magical time for fans of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy fare at the cinema, with genre fare being cranked out by the fistful and practical effects ruling the day, making viewers gasp, gag, gawk, and greedily gobble up all they could find. Tonight, we’ll take a look at two franchises birthed by two mighty masters of the art form, at different points on the budgetary spectrum.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT ARI ASTER (HEREDITARY, MIDSOMMAR, BEAU IS AFRAID)

HEREDITARY (2018) d. Ari Aster (USA)
MIDSOMMAR (2019) d. Ari Aster (USA)
BEAU IS AFRAID (2023) d. Ari Aster (USA)





From his Sundance smash debut, Ari Aster has been a rising star in the "elevated horror" firmament, challenging audiences with features packed full of adult themes, metaphor-laden subject matter, superlative performances, and gorgeous attention to production design. Polarizing as his works might be, there's no denying that he is a filmmaker who deserves and demands our full attention and stamina. (Three-hour running times, amirite?)

Saturday, January 20, 2024

AUGUST UNDERGROUND TRILOGY (AU, MORDUM, PENANCE) Round Table Discussion

AUGUST UNDERGROUND (2001) d. Fred Vogel (USA)
AUGUST UNDERGROUND'S MORDUM (2003) d. Fred Vogel (USA)
AUGUST UNDERGROUND'S PENANCE (2007) d. Fred Vogel (USA)


Inspired by the videotaped home invasion scene from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and the documentary aesthetic of both Man Bites Dog and The Blair Witch Project, makeup artist-turned-writer/director Fred Vogel elected to burrow below the surface of human depravity for his 2001 debut feature, August Underground. Playing the lead character Peter himself, Vogel takes the viewer, or perhaps kidnaps is a more appropriate word, on a journey alongside a thrill killing monster who seeks to match his damaged psyche blow for blow against an unsuspecting world.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

THE TERROR (1963) / TARGETS (1968) BORIS KARLOFF DOUBLE FEATURE!!!

THE TERROR (1963) d. Roger Corman (and others) (USA) 
TARGETS (1968) d. Peter Bogdanovich (USA)



1963’s THE TERROR, celebrating its 60th anniversary, is a legendary curiosity item from producer/director Roger Corman, more famous for its origins than the finished product. According to legend, when Corman wrapped shooting on The Raven ahead of schedule, he took advantage of Boris Karloff’s two extra contracted days to slap together this tale of a reclusive baron with a dark secret.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Civilian 2023 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, since I was toiling away at the H101 YouTube channel for much of the time, less attention was paid to the less scary fare. I dutifully viewed the prestige flicks in service of providing an informed vote for the SAG/AFTRA awards, and that was pretty much it outside of the random slices of comfort food cinema. Only 74 non-horror titles? What the heck?

In the meantime, let’s get on with the business at hand! As always, the non-horror titles listed below were encountered for the first time from January 1 to December 31, 2023 (i.e. no repeat viewings were eligible), and there is the usual (if diminished) collection of random trends that appeared organically or by design. Hope you enjoy the read.

Stay strong, stay safe, stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Dr. AC's 2023 Horror Wrap-Up Extravaganza!

Hello, Grue Crew and Monster Masters!

2023 was quite a memorable year at the Doc’s office, both in regards to online events and out in the (ahem) Real World. With regards to the former, exploring the world of social media and the HORROR 101 with Dr. AC YouTube channel have been unlike anything else I’ve ever tried before. The end result was that I got to hang out with 80 other horror fans mixing and matching over the course of 80 episodes (31 Scare-a-Thon shows plus 11 months of Friday Night Frights) covering 135 films in all and I have to say, it’s been a BLAST.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

THE WICKER MAN (1973) 50TH ANNIVERSARY ROUND TABLE!!!

THE WICKER MAN (1973) d. Robin Hardy (UK)

 


Released the same year as The Exorcist, The Wicker Man also wrestles with religious rituals and fading faith. However, while the former was an instantaneous sensation that garnered Oscar nominations and huge box office receipts, its poor British relation suffered the indignities of studio-imposed edits and general public disinterest. However, as time has shown, this literal cult classic has endured for 50 years and is now regarded as one of the finest horror movies of the early 1970s.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

NYC VS. GIANT MONSTERS (BEAST FROM 20K FATHOMS, GODZILLA, CLOVERFIELD) ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION

THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953) d. Eugene Lourie
GODZILLA (1998) d. Roland Emmerich
CLOVERFIELD (2008) d. Matt Reeves




Ever since King Kong tore up the town in 1933, New York City has played host to a number of giant monsters stomping their way down 5th Avenue and giving colossal headaches to insurance companies. Tonight, we’ll be paying homage to a trio of cinematic goliaths, all of which are celebrating significant anniversaries this year.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, THE LEOPARD MAN, and THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943 VAL LEWTON SPECIAL)

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) d. Jacques Tourneur
THE LEOPARD MAN (1943) d. Jacques Tourneur
THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943) d. Mark Robson


From 1942 to 1946, when rust was appearing on the Frankenstein Monster’s neck bolts, Dracula was growing longer in the tooth, and swaddled, swollen mummies were limping along, both literally and figuratively, a savior appeared on the horror horizon, who would provide welcome counter-programming to the usual parade of fur, fangs, and putty. That man was Val Lewton, and his debut production with RKO, 1942’s Cat People, heralded a new style of horror, where less was infinitely more, where shadows grew ripe with menace lurking just beyond the edge of the frame.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

IT CAME FROM 1953!! (INVADERS FROM MARS, WAR OF THE WORLDS, ROBOT MONSTER)

IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953) d. Jack Arnold
INVADERS FROM MARS (1953) d. William Cameron Menzies 
WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) d. Byron Haskin
ROBOT MONSTER (1953) d. Phil Tucker


By the closing of the 1940s, it seemed that audiences had grown weary of the classic monsters of yesteryear, and were hungry for new thrills. Those exciting new stories came not from moldy crypts or ancient curses, but rather from beyond the stars. With space exploration already a going concern among the world powers and reports of UFOs starting to make their way into the public consciousness, it was no surprise that filmmakers also cast their gaze to the heavens, imagining what fresh wonders and threats might make their way toward our little planet.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

KING KONG (and SON OF KONG) 90TH ANNIVERSARY JAMBOREE!!

KING KONG (1933) d. Merian C. Cooper / Ernest B. Schoedsack (USA)
SON OF KONG (1933) d. Ernest B. Schoedsack (USA)


It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance the original 1933 King Kong has had on the monster movie genre and on the history of cinema overall. As such, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there was a time before Kong, and that there were individuals who brought the character and the film surrounding him into existence. People like producers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, writers Edgar Wallace, James Creelman, and Ruth Rose, special effects wizards Willis O’ Brien and Marcel Delgado, composer Max Steiner, sound effects pioneer Murray Spivack, and stars Robert Armstron, Bruce Cabot, and the legendary Fay Wray.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

CURTAINS/PSYCHO II - 1983 DOUBLE FEATURE!!!

PSYCHO II (1983) d. Richard Franklin (USA)
CURTAINS (1983) d. Richard Ciupka/Peter Simpson (Canada)


Tonight we're jetting back to 1983 to discuss a couple of undersung gems from the heyday of the slasher boom, one a belated sequel to a groundbreaking masterpiece, the other a curious Canadian feature made all the more appealing by its troubled production, release, and subsequent obscurity.

Monday, November 27, 2023

BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE, GIANT GILA MONSTER, and KILLER SHREWS (1959)


THE BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE (1959) d. Monte Hellman
THE GIANT GILA MONSTER (1959) d. Ray Kellogg
THE KILLER SHREWS (1959) d. Ray Kellogg


The good folks at Film Masters have taken it upon themselves to rescue oodles of public domain titles, some of which they've even gone through the time and effort to give the stand-up, high-def presentations these orphaned films deserve. Or do they?

Thursday, November 16, 2023

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) TURNS 45!!!


I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) d. Meir Zarchi
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (2010) d. Stephen R. Monroe
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 (2013) d. Stephen R. Monroe
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: VENGEANCE IS MINE (2015) d. Richard Schenkman
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DEJA VU (2019) d. Meir Zarchi
GROWING UP WITH I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (2019) (documentary) d. Terry Zarchi


I was a relatively inexperienced viewer when I first encountered the original 1978 I Spit on Your Grave. As a result, while I understood that the terrible situation that our main character Jennifer Hills (played by Camille Keaton) was in, the execution of the story itself couldn’t get past the filter of my Hollywood-honed sensibilities, with its rough edges and middling makeup effects keeping me at a distance.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973) 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!!!

GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973) d. Jun Fukuda (Japan) (81 min)


A far cry from the anti-nuke statement that spawned the large lizard’s origins, this entry (#13) serves up twice the monster mashing and half the “plot” of other installments. Throwing caution and physics to the winds, this installment features the underwater race of Seatopians who, ticked off by another round of nuclear testing, unleash the giant beetle-looking monster Megalon to destroy Tokyo. In response, the Ultraman-inspired Jet Jaguar robot enlists the help of Godzilla, whereupon the Seatopians bring back Gigan from outer space, and the remainder of the movie is an oversized wrestling match for the ages.

Monday, November 6, 2023

SCARE-A-THON 2023 FINAL RESULTS!!!


And that, my mutual minions of mischief and mayhem, brings us to the end of Scare-A-Thon 2023 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 official Scare-A-Thon titles being FTVs. (Thanks, Shudder!)

Along the way, thanks to the generous hearts and minds of fans like you, over $6,600 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! (The fundraiser link will remain open for another two months, so if you would like to make a donation, there is still time!)

SCARE-A-THON 2023 FUNDRAISER LINK

Thanks to the 40 (!!) 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.

Extra Special Thanks to Gert Verbeeck for his tireless efforts in creating all the fantastic YouTube thumbnails, as he has all year long for the H101 channel. Thanks for making us all look so good.

Below are the 33 "official" features viewed (with links to the online panels), as well as 14 additional horror titles viewed in October. 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: 47
First Time Views: 36
Total Scare-A-Thon Donations: $6,676