Tuesday, October 17, 2017

And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973)

Last night I decided to continue venturing down that retro path and turned to Shudder to find something interesting. After some debate, I decided on the 1973 gothic ghost story And Now the Screaming Starts!

Plot/ England, 1795: the young Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moves into his castle. She becomes the victim of an old curse that lays on the family. On her wedding night, she is raped by a ghost and gets pregnant.

This was a different film than I expected and I was actually quite entertained by the odd elements that were added in. From Amicus Studios, this gothic ghost story offers an interesting (albeit somewhat clich├ęd) storyline that was brought to life by an outstanding cast led by Peter Cushing. The performances were solid, the cinematography and setting were captivating, the atmosphere was heavy, and the visuals and color pallet used was amazing. Yes, the special effects were lacking in quality and the end game was a bit drawn out, but those are small flaws in what is definitely an underrated film in the studios' catalog. In the end, while there were some contradictory moments in the storyline and some of the low budget flaws rise up, for the most part, this one delivers. Yes, it is not perfect, but it is an entertaining movie and one that can be found on Shudder for free if you are in the mood for a classic gothic ghost story.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Schock (1977)

So, I have discovered that mentally, I am in a very retro mood and needed to continue down that road. After searching through some of my services, I decided on the 1977 Mario Bava entry Schock (AKA Shock and Beyond the Door II).

Plot/ A couple is terrorized in their new house haunted by the vengeful ghost of the woman's former husband who possesses her young son.

I love the work of Mario Bava and the entire Italian horror scene of the 1970s and this film is one of the reasons. Although it had been years since I watched it the first time, Shock continues to build on me. This film cries atmosphere and offers an interesting storyline that offers some decent twists. The performances from the minimalistic cast are solid and as usual, Bava delivers some incredible technical work and the ending is one that I truly enjoyed. Yes, some of the effects and gore may feel dated and it may feel somewhat predictable and ordinary by today’s standards, but those are but minor flaws within this film. In the end, there are enough elements inside this one to keep every fan of classic Italian horror satisfied. Sure, it is not perfect, but really, what movie is? Not only is this a good movie, with it being Bava’s last film, it is definitely a must see. Find it and check it out.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

Yesterday was one of the final long softball days of the season and will admit it took its toll on me. I was beaten down and just wanted to sleep. When I finally cleared my head, I decided to watch something older. After some searching, I decided on the 1958 classic film, The Revenge of Frankenstein.

Plot/ Baron Frankenstein escapes from the guillotine and goes to Germany. There, he names himself Dr. Stein and plans to restart his experiments by using parts of dead bodies.

I was in the mood for some type of classic last night and decided to turn to Hammer Studios and that decision was rewarded. This is one of the more underpublicized films from the catalog, but it offers everything you could ask for from one of the early Frankenstein films. More atmospheric and creepy, this movie looks amazing. The sets, the lighting, pacing, and the cinematography are perfect, the performances were outstanding, and the storyline was full of twists and turns and added some depth that many entries in the historic life of Frankenstein do not have. Yes, it may be more of a drama or thriller than a horror film and as usual, the story is more about the doctor than the creature, but any fan of Hammer Horror should already expect those elements. In the end, this is an entertaining movie to watch and a perfect movie for a quiet night with Doctor Frankenstein. If you have not seen it, check it out.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Visitor (1979)

After taking a break last night from watching any movies, I decided that today I would go back and review a movie that I caught earlier in the week. That movie is the 1979 horror/sci-fi entry The Visitor.

Plot/ The soul of a young girl with telekinetic powers becomes the prize in a fight between forces of God and the Devil.

I am a huge fan of surreal movies that make you think; especially ones that can border on confusing and this one fits that bill perfectly. An interesting storyline that seems to feed on more than a few classics, this movie has some elements that should appeal to any horror or sci-fi fan. For the most part, the performances are solid, the cinematography is interesting, and the overall tone and feel of the movie works. Unfortunately, the storyline and plot, while intriguing have so many confusing elements that it is hard to make sense out of (even if you are paying close attention) and the soundtrack feels completely out of touch with the overall tone of the movie. In the end, this one will definitely fall into the love/hate category and is extremely hard to totally describe in any way. My only recommendation is to see it for yourself (at least once) and make your own judgment. Personally, I enjoyed it, but then again, my tastes are much different than many horror/sci-fi fans out there.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Salvation: Friday the 13th and Knights Templar

The story of the Knights Templar has always been one that has given me inspiration in writing. This was never more evident than this past April when I crafted an entire epic poem, Salvation, centered on this legendary group. That idea was spawned long ago by this poem I penned in honor of Friday the 13th, where the Knights Templar take center stage.


Such a dark day in the world
Leaders defiled
The protectors destroyed in your name
Not by the masses that follow
But, from the hypocrisy of medieval royalty
For what - your secrets?
Jealousy? Fear?
Maybe it was just their shame from following the false prophet
The sinner who hid behind his disciples
And worse, women and children
Spouting lies of redemption
Preaching abstinence instead of indulgence
Creating turmoil in the perfect world
.. ..
Through it all, you stood tall
These destroyers of forged faith were blind
Failing to harness the power of your minions
By creating a day of homage of their transgressions
They granted you eternal life
History crying tears of truths in your name
You will never be forgotten
You Baphomet, will live forever
Like the Templar’s, your followers will bleed for you
Carrying on the traditions past down by the strong
Your enigma, a mystery to most
A companion to some
A day of fear to the meek
That day is today, Friday the 13th

.. ..