Monday, October 27, 2014


Challenge Totals to Date:

Movies Watched Today: 2
Total Movies Watched: 66
Total First Time Views: 17
Amount raised: $607.20 

Today's showcased SCARE-A-THON Charity:
ST. MARTIN DE PORRES’ HOUSE OF HOPE, sponsored by Sheila Ralston

To showcase your charity, send an email to with your pledge amount and the charity's website!


The Orphanage (2007) d. Bayona, J.A. (Spain) (2nd viewing) 105 min

Despite a few bloodcurdling shocks, this handsome Spanish ghost story follows in the suggestive, richly romantic tradition of Val Lewton’s chillers of the 1940s. Gifted with an extraordinarily expressive face, Belén Rueda is mesmerizing as a woman who has moved into the country home where she once lived as an orphan. Her young son reports encounters with invisible children and eventually disappears himself, leaving the mother distraught and increasingly open to supernatural explanations. Screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez intuitively taps into the crucial elements of the best cinematic ghost stories: Dread of the other side tempered by deep longing for those who have crossed over. There are several standout scenes, including one where medium Geraldine Chaplin attempts to contact the missing child, where I found myself gripping my armrests with that rare, joyful fear that brings genre fans back time and again. One of the best ghost stories in the past decade, equaling and/or surpassing The Sixth Sense, The Others, and executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s own The Devil’s Backbone.

Death Spa (1989) d. Fischa, Michael (USA) (2nd viewing) 87 min

Not content to let David A. Prior’s ridiculous sauna slasher Killer Workout monopolize the health club horror subgenre, this goofy little late-80s entry explores technophobia, mental psychosis, possession, and restless spirits hungry for love and revenge, all set to a bouncing new wave beat and featuring enough dayglow spandex to choke a horse. Within the fully automated Starbody Health Spa, the attractive patrons sweat it out utilizing the most modern equipment (and some meticulously choreographed aerobic routines). When a spate of increasingly implausible freak accidents threaten the clients’ safety, manager William Bumiller suspects his computer geek brother-in-law Merritt Butrick and partners Robert Lipton and Alexa Hamilton of sabotage. While this isn’t entirely false, the real phantasmagorical story is that his year-dead wife Shari Shattuck is haunting the joint, jealous of Bumiller’s taking up with comely blonde Brenda Bakke and ready to lay waste to the place to get him back. Director Fischa deserves points for dishing out the creative kills and hot bods in equal measure, complete with rib-cracking, face-melting, body-slamming gore set-pieces every 12 minutes or so. It’s a shame that his interstitial pacing and deadly dull characters occasionally bog things down, but once the over-the-top finale gets rolling (blender hand, resurrected frozen eel, sauna shard to the face, exploding mirror/head), Death Spa approaches cheesetastic classic status. With Rosalind Cash (The Omega Man), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Chelsea Field (Dust Devil), and Tane McClure (Crawlspace).

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