Yup I've watched even more horror films! Were they good? Were they bad? Did I rip my eyes out? Probably all of the above!
1. SUPERSTITION (1982)
After spending a half an hour going through the free movies on on demand I settled on this one. Boy was that a mistake! The first 15 minutes alone are spent watching a young boy search a house for his friend. The suspenseful music even gives up half way through this sequence so we're just left with mind numbing silence. Yup that pretty much sums up this awful movie. Mind numbing... I will say that there are some pretty cool deaths. Including a kids head in a microwave, a boy cut in half by a window and a priest killed by a saw blade. Sadly these are the only good things to say about the movie. I wouldn't have finished the damn thing myself except I have this annoying tendancy to finish any movie I start. No matter how much I want to kill myself for it.
2. THE HAUNTING OF JULIA aka FULL CIRCLE (1977)
This is a slightly better movie than the last. At least this one is competently made and well acted. The downside is it's a pretty standard 70's thriller. Mia Farrow stars in it and seems almost as if she's trying to recapture some of that acclaim from Rosemary's Baby. In fact in some ways this movie plays like a coda to that classic film with Farrow portraying a mother who has just lost her child. Unfortunately like so many 70's horror films the movie is entirely too drawn out and very slow. Possibly worth checking out for the acting but there are much better ghost films at there than this.
3. ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957)
I didn't expect much of this movie based off the TV guide description. However it turned out to be a surprisingly good and enjoyable flick! Zombies have pretty much been done to death lately, pun intended, especially the flesh eating virus fueled kind. This movie goes back to an older version of zombies, that of the magically created ones. That may put off some but for me I found it a refreshing change. Plus there's tons of underwater zombie action! You just don't see too much of that. The real charm of this movie was actress Marjorie Eaton, the elderly grandmother who spins the tale of the zombies woe's. She really made the story believeable and gave the film some truly great performances. Fans of old horror movies should really check out this underrated classic!
4. CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955)This movie plays as a great counterpoint to the previous film. Whereas that one reanimated corpses via magic this one uses science. Sadly the film is not nearly as good as the Zombies of Mora Tau. For the most part it plays out like any 50's scifi film with the scientist and the police looking for the monsters responsible for bizarre murders. This one feels a little more like an old serial though with it's crooked gangster and mad scientist duo as the real villains. Still the opening was handled quite well with a really eerie shot of a lone man staggering towards the camera in shadows. Very creepy indeed. In fact I quite admired the camera work and direction in this film. Especially early on and at the zombie vs army finale. It's just that the rest of the film is pretty boring and meandering.
5. SWAMP THING (1982)
Here's one I remember liking a lot as a kid. In fact Swamp Thing has always been a favorite comic character of mine due to his being one of the first comics I ever collected. Thankfully the movie still holds up pretty well! That's not to say it's a great movie. It's definitely a low budget film and feels a lot more like a pilot for a cheap TV series. Still there's a certain charm to it and Wes Craven does infuse it with a bit of a comicbook sensibility. This is especially apparent through his use of wipes which I found quite enjoyable. Especially the ones that looked like alligator teeth! The worst part about the movie though are the costumes. They're just way too plain. Thankfully the Swamp Thing suit got better with the 2nd movie and USA TV series.
6. LIFEFORCE (1986)
This is a movie I've wanted to see for a very long time. I've managed to catch pieces of it over the years but never saw the whole thing straight through. Until now that is! And by god was I impressed! First off the special effects in this film are AMAZING. Sure the film came out in the 80's but even by today's standards the practical effects in this film by John Dyskstra (of Star Wars fame) blew me away. Now is this a good film? I would be hard pressed to say no. My mom for instance laughed at it and called it a "B" movie. Me? I loved every minute of it. The story from it's opening scenes set in space with a mysterious ship in Halley's comet to the apocalyptic ending had me glued to my sit. There were even times when my jaw hung open in shock. The movie basically concerns space vampires (and indeed that is the very title of the book it's based off of) but the story really kept me captivated. I also really enjoyed the fresh take on vampires and how the film related them to our own vampire mythology. If you've never seen this movie I definitely recommend giving it a shot.
7. THE HOLE (2009)
This one is more of a kid's horror movie. I don't mean that in a bad way though! The story and direction make it feel more akin to an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark or Goosebumps than a full fledged movie. Don't let that fool you though as the movie is very well made. Most surprising was how good the performances were from these child actors. No the problems with this movie is how long it is. The story is really only strong enough for something half this long, again more like an episode of a TV show. Instead the scares don't start happening till later in the film with the beginning moving very slowly. Still it's an enjoyable little film and certainly fun to watch.
8. THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1944)
Bela Lugosi returns as a vampire once more in a sequel of sorts to Dracula. Sure his name's Tesla in this one but the story is clearly that of Dracula. Actually I really enjoyed the setting of this film. The basic gist is that "Dracula" or Tesla has been revived in then present day London. The novelty for those watching now though is that this is London during the Blitz of World War 2. That means there's a vampire stalking the streets even has horrific bombs are dropped all around the city. This leads to some great scenes of an eerily lit cemetary literally exploding! Also interesting was that the "Renfield" character in this film is a werewolf. The movie does follow the usual vampire flick pattern of the monster chasing the girl but it adds some interesting levels. Such as the aforementioned werewolf's internal conflict of trying to become good yet obeying his undying master. Again there's some great cinematography to this effect with some nice shots of the crucifix. This may be your standard vampire tale but the way it was made makes it definitely worth seeing.
9. THE X FROM OUTER SPACE aka GIANT SPACE MONSTER GUILALA (1967)
It's not Halloween without some giant monster action! I decided to watch one I'd never actually seen. I was familiar with the monster, Guilala, as the design is so weird as to be unforgettable. I mean how can you forget a giant space chicken?! As for the movie it's just as odd as the titular creature. The film bounces between absurd campy 60's fun to horrifyingly serious. It also spends a great deal of time focused on a love triangle between the ships captain and two female scientist. Oh and there's a flying saucer they encounter throughout the film, but never explain! The best part of the movie is the special effects though. Especially at the beginning as the model work for the rocket launch was particularly well done. As were the shots in space and of the planets. Surprisingly though most of the effects with the suit monster Guilala are pretty bad. However the ending does feature a pretty exciting car chase scene with Guilala attacking our heroes. Definitely one of the weirdest kaiju films I've watched, but still a joy.
10. CURSE OF THE UNDEAD (1959)
Yup another western/horror movie! I don't know what it is about this kind of mash-up that I enjoy so much. Sadly this one was no where near as enjoyable as Billy the Kid vs Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter. The biggest problem with this one is it's not so much a mash-up as two films joined together. The first half of the film is your typical western with a family fighting with some evil land barons. The last half then becomes a vampire movie, albeit with a gunslinger with an overbite. Your enjoyment of the film is then divided on which half you actually like more. Me? I found the western part a bit too boring and the horror portion laughable. This seriously had the worst and most ridiculous looking scene of a vampire biting a girls neck I've ever seen! It was as if the man was trying to suck her face off! The one really good thing about the movie though was the acting. This is especially apparent during the beginning western story as some really strong performances are given. I particularly liked the young boy out to avenge his father's death as you could really see his torment. Definitely not the kind of film I was hoping for though.