Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Fearless Vampire Killers 1967

The Fearless Vampire Killers is another film I have had sitting around here for months that I just got around to seeing. This is a strange little horror/comedy hybrid by Director Roman Polanski. This film was sandwiched in between Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. It is almost as if Polanski said "OK, I need to make a fun movie with skiing and beautiful women and dancing now. Then I can go back to the heavy depressing shit." So he made The Fearless Vampire Killers, which is like a Hammer film with a touch of the Carry-On series. Polanski himself stars as Alfred, the young bumbling cowardly apprentice to Vampire Hunter Professor Abronsius. The two are in Transylvania hunting Vampires. While staying at a rustic Inn Alfred becomes enamoured with the Innkeeper's Daughter, Sara, played by the beautiful Sharon Tate. All Sara really wants to do is take multiple baths, hence, a lot of scenes of Sharon Tate in the tub. It is like Polanski's gift to all the men out there.

Alfred is not the only one entranced by Sara. The local Vampire, Count von Krolock, wants her for his coven, and he steals her away one night (while she is in the bath of course.) Sara's Father, the Innkeeper (played by Alfie Bass, one of my favorite Brits) is also turned into a Vampire. Soon, Alfred and the Professor are at the Count's castle, trying to rescue Sara and fend off the Vampire's son, Herbert, who has taken a liking to Alfred (see, this sounds like a Carry-on film. If you have never seen a Carry-on film, consider yourself lucky.)

This film is beautiful to look at. The cinematography and set design are amazing. Sharon Tate is gorgeous. The "Danse Macabre" at the end of the film is hilarious and scary. And the ending is kind of a downer, which surprised me but actually made me appreciate the film all the more. My favorite part of this film though is Alfie Bass. I love this guy. When the Maiden that he is trying to turn into a Vampire tries to ward him off with a cross he tells her "Oy, have you got the wrong Vampire!" Love it!!!

For a great recent review of this film check out "The Horror Digest" at :
and please don't let the Polanski creep factor keep you from watching this film!!

This looks pretty good actually.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Favorite films of the year- off the top of my head.......

I had a very well-written, well thought out list of my favorite films of the year, with in-depth explanations as to why.  I lost it.  In the general craziness that has been my life in December I lost the list.  I haven't even gotten around to taking down my Halloween decorations yet!!!  ( All of the above statements are lies.  I keep my Halloween decorations up year round and nothing I write is well-thought out.)  So here, off the the top of my head, are my favorite* flicks of the year .  Let's start with the Horror ones

I know, it would seem I didn't like this film because I sided with the anti-Paranormal Activity bandwagon.  It wasn't that I didn't like the film.  I liked it .  I just don't think it was the Second Coming.  I bought the hype and was hoping for more.  Having said my peace let me say that it is scary, especially the last few minutes.  What is important about this flick, and why it makes my list, is because for good or bad, it's success means we will be seeing a lot more horror films.  Go Paranormal Activity!!! 

One of my favorite books of all time.  This is a good scary movie for the little ones.....

Ok, this is not really a horror flick.  But it does have Zombies.  And Woody Harrelson.  And someone who pays attention to Zombie survival rules.  People think it is weird when I get drunk and lecture them on how to survive a Zombie outbreak.  They won't be laughing when they are all Zombies. 

Should have seen this in 2007.  Should have seen it in 2008.  Finally saw it in 2009.  Worth the wait and every bit as wonderful as they said.  I bought it on faith and was richly rewarded.  Plus, that little sucker is still haunting my dreams...........

The most fun I have had at the movies all year (with the exception of The Road.)  Scary, gory, and funny as hell, it marks the return of Sam Raimi to the genre where he belongs.  Plus, it has a talking goat.  Take that Anti-Christ.  Chaos reigns indeed.

District 9 is probably my favorite "horror" film of the year.  Technically it is a Sci-Fi film, but Rue Morgue and Fangoria saw fit to cover it, so I see fit to add it to my horror list.  A film like this is exciting because it is so unexpected and so damn good.  So nice I saw it twice, an honor District 9 shares with only one other film this year:  Inglorious Basterds

Speaking of Basterds, here are my favorite non-horror films of the year:
Inglorious Basterds
Star Trek
Watchmen (yes, I liked this one)
And my favorite film of the year:

This movie had me crying like a freakin baby.  I have seen very few films that capture what it is like to be a child as well as this one does. 

*There are SO MANY films I didn't get a chance to see this year that would probably be on this list.  And many films that I did see that should be on a "Best of " list, like Precious and Deadgirl, but this is my favorite list.  These are films from this year that I do or will own and watch again and again.  Like Resident Evil.  I love that flick!!  Do you know that they play it on the "Oxygen" channel all the time?!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Zombie Lolz....

Christmas Hangover........

Still recovering from fudge, chocolate, eggnog, gingerbread cookies, candy canes, etc......... Happy Belated Holidays everyone!!!! Normal programming to resume shortly.........

(Decapitated gingerbread robot courtesy of the Mindless Minion... Click to join her army.....)

Monday, December 21, 2009

SNL does Christmas- with Vincent Price!!!

SNL has been uneven all season (what else is new) but Saturdays show hosted by James Franco was really good! Enjoy these two sketches that any horror aficionado would love!!! All hail Bill Hader!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lovecraft: fear of the unknown

Finally, the excellent documentary by Frank H. Woodward entitled Lovecraft: fear of the unknown is out on DVD. I have been waiting to see this since I first heard about it a year ago. The film gives you what you would expect: the facts of Lovecraft's life and his influences. But more to the point it give you interviews with Authors and Filmmakers who have been influenced by Lovecraft, including Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Peter Straub, and my personal favorite, Guillermo del Toro.
I was particularly interested in Guillermo del Toro's take on Lovecraft since he is set (one day) to direct At the Mountains of Madness, a film I am sure is going to be so awesome that I already nominate it for "Best film of the Year" for whatever year he gets around to making it.

These Artists are not shy about expressing their love for Lovecraft, nor do they shy away from the more troubling aspects of his life including his xenophobia and anti-Semitism, issues that Lovecraft detractors love to bring up and Lovecraft fans continuously have to deal with. There is little "defending" of Lovecraft here, except pointing out the obvious fact that he was a product of his time. The film also delves into Lovecraft's involvement with "amateur journalism," which introduced him to a whole new world of like-minded individuals (reminds me of our blogging community) and his relationship with his Jewish wife, Sonia H. Greene. Interspersed throughout this timeline are in depth examinations of Lovecraft's work, including Dagon, The Outsider, Herbert West: Reanimator, The Rats in the Walls, and At the Mountains of Madness.
Add to this a collection of Lovecraft inspired art by the likes of Lee Moyer and Tom Sullivan and you have a pretty complete primer on all things Lovecraft.
I find myself, with great regularity, falling into what I call my "Lovecraft Obsessive Phase." For a good amount of time I will read, devour, buy all things Lovecraft until I find that I have to pull myself out before I lose all sanity. For me reading Lovecraft is like having a terrible fever. The hallucinations are fun but when you start to feel better you go "what the hell was I thinking?" But I love the crazy guy.
By the way, one of the best parts of the film is a section where all of the talking heads argue on how to pronounce Cthulhu. I am still not sure how to say it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chuck D's Christmas Ghosts........

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant, C.D.
December, 1843.

Does anyone else think that Joel Grey is the scariest ghost here?  I have never seen the Patrick Stewart televised version of "A Christmas Carol."  However, I did see his live one man show because that is the kind of geek that I am.  Everyone has their favorite version of "A Christmas Carol."  Mine, the one that I grew up with, is Scrooge from 1970 starring Albert Finney.   And it is all because of this song:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Edge of Horror: Aguirre, the Wrath of God...

OK, I know it is a pretty lame title, but I couldn't think of anything else for this new series of "non-horror" horror films. Plus, it reminds me of that soap "The Edge of Night." Best name for a soap EVER. So for my first edition of "The Edge of Horror" (cue dramatic music here) I am going to take a look at Aguirre: The Wrath of God, starring the completely bat-shit crazy Klaus Kinski as Don Lope de Aguirre, madman Spanish conquistador. For those not familiar with the historical Aguirre, please check this out: But be warned: proper citations are needed....

I am in the midst of a full-on Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski obsession. Don't ask me why, I don't know how I get myself involved in these things. For a full background on this duo's relationship, might I suggest you check out My Best Fiend: Klaus Kinski by Werner Herzog. It is an awesome documentary and it will make your jaw drop in horror at the behaviour of Mr. Kinski. Of course, I am totally obsessed with him now.....

Look at him! He looks all kinds of crazy. His performance as the mad Conquistador is a thing to behold. Aguirre is an egotistical madman, convinced of his own superiority and unwilling to let anyone stand in his way (much like Kinski himself). On a mission to find the legendary "El Dorado," Aguirre stages a mutiny and then leads his ragtag crew down the Amazon on a journey of fear and madness. Along the way they encounter hostile and cannibalistic Indians and face starvation and disease. All the while Aguirre holds on to his delusions and declares himself ruler of all these lands, even though all he has to his name is a capsizing raft and an army of monkeys. The last few scenes look like the painting "The Raft of the Medusa" only with about 100% more monkeys.

Aguirre's Second in Command....
So why do I consider this film to be "On the Edge of Horror?" First of all it is a tale of madness and fear. Aguirre is mad enough to be a leader, and the poor crew are fearful enough to follow him to certain death. Second, the setting is so remote, so foreign, that one does not know what may be peeking out from behind the trees. More often than not, it is hostile Indians, with their short poisonous spears and their more "fashionable" long ones (see the movie to understand this reference.) Third, the film is rather claustrophobic. The majority of the action takes place on a hastily built raft that is slowly falling apart. And finally, Kinski himself is DAMN SCARY!!! He is creepy and projects controlled craziness so well I would have loved to see what he would have done with a role like Hannibal Lecter. Kinski also has piercing, huge, blue eyes. They are the scariest eyes I have ever seen. Of course, blue eyes tend to freak me out anyway. Blue eyes and men who wear turtlenecks are right at the top of my list of irrational fears. If I ever see a picture of Kinski in a turtleneck I might not sleep for a week.
If I haven't convinced you to watch Aguirre: The Wrath of God yet let me leave you with this little nugget. This film features One Of The Best Decapitation scenes I have ever seen. Trust me, it is awesome.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Hanukkah-Eli Roth edition...

Found this video of horror hottie Eli Roth playing "Jew or not a Jew" on TMZ (a guilty pleasure.) The multiple videos go on for about 20 minutes, but it is worth a watch if you are a Roth fan (I am) or you just have time to kill and have ever wondered if Daniel Day-Lewis was Jewish.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Original Wolfman

Normally I would do my "vs." thing here, but since I have already posted The Wolfman trailer a couple of times I thought I would just go old school today. As I love Zombies, my Father loves The Wolfman. So I grew up with Werewolves, and Chaney's remains my favorite. Chaney's Larry Talbot is a poor schmuck who can't catch a break. First of all, he has to wonder how Claude Rains could possibly be his father (his mother must have been an amazon or something) and then, he gets bit by a gypsy who happens to be a werewolf. Unable to live with what he has become he begins a quest for death. This is like tragic Opera. This would actually make a pretty damn good Opera. Opera folks, you can thank me later for the idea.

Lon Chaney Jr. was a perfect choice to play the Wolfman. Larry Talbot is a bit of a lumbering oaf with sad eyes that you can't help but feel sorry for. Anytime I see Chaney in a film I can't help but think of his signature role. Lets hope that Benicio Del Toro (who I think is pretty awesome) can fill these very big shoes....

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Wolfman: Rated R!

I really, really want The Wolfman to be good. There is hope: Universal announced that the film received an "R" rating. Meaning there must be quite a bit of my three favorite things in the film: "bloody horror, violence, and gore." This means one of two things. Either Universal has some balls and they are not going to cut the film to try to get the more "family friendly" PG-13 rating (almost all horror films with this rating suck, with a few exceptions- more on that at another time.) Or, as rumored, this "cursed" film is so bad they are they are just going to throw it out there with the R and see who bites. Director change, Composer change, shitty CGI effects, re-shoots, 18 month delay: this film has had a lot of problems. Working in the film's favor is a really good trailer- I watched it multiple times and got little horror goosebumps. Here is is again for your viewing pleasure.....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kiss of the Vampire 1963

I saw this flick about a week ago and I have put off writing about it. Why you ask? Because I didn't like it- and I hate admitting I didn't like a Hammer Film Production. I LOVE Hammer films. The atmosphere, the costumes, the ridiculously beautiful women, Lee and Cushing: what is not to like? But Kiss of the Vampire is a rare misfire. Yes, the classic Hammer Gothic atmosphere is there (I want my apartment to like a Hammer castle: it is getting there), and the women are ridiculously beautiful, but something is missing. I know what it is: a compelling storyline. Kiss of the Vampire is about newlyweds Gerald and Marianne who are honeymooning in Bavaria (Hawaii too bourgeoisie?) Their "motor coach" breaks down and they are forced to spend a few nights in the village "Grand Hotel" until they can procure fuel (this is set early 20th I think.) While they await salvation they are invited to dinner by Dr. Ravna, the most exalted member of this small community. While attending the dinner, Marianne (the beautiful Jennifer Daniel) seems to fall under a spell. Later we learn that Dr. Ravna is the leader of a Vampire Cult (think "Heaven's Gate) and he has decided that Marianne is to be his new recruit. Poor Gerald is left in the dust until he recruits the local crazy, Professor Zimmer, a Van Helsing stand-in, to help him win back his blushing bride. Spoiler Alert: in the end all of the Vampires are killed by bats (ironic.) Snooze: the end. This is the first Hammer film that I actually was bored watching. Maybe I was just missing Christopher Lee (horror crush.) Maybe I was just so stressed out by my new job I couldn't enjoy it (which doesn't compute because horror is a stress relief for me.) Whatever the case: Pass on Kiss of the Vampire. Goodnight.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

RIP Paul Naschy

I have been so preoccupied this week (started a new job and am still in the "feeling like a moron" stage) that I didn't know until today that the great Paul Naschy had passed away. I don't know much about Naschy but he was top of my list to learn more about. I have only seen one of his films, Vengeance of the Zombies from 1972. It was quite freaky-deaky so of course I loved it. Look for more on Naschy in the weeks to come. In the meantime, check out this great site: for all things Naschy.