Friday, October 24, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Twins of Evil (1971)

October Movie Challenge: Twins of Evil (1971)

I watched this one back in 2012 and lamented at the time that many of the scenes seemed cut. So I picked up the Blu-Ray hoping that the "deleted scenes" were included this time.

Not so much.

There is a deleted scene; Where Anton is playing his new song to the girls school.  Glad it was deleted.

There is however a very interesting documentary on the making of the Hammer Karnstein that might be worth the price of this disc alone.

The Blu Ray itself looks fantastic.  Much better than the version I watched in 2012.

It still has it's 87 minute running time I have read there are some scenes that were filmed and never made it to the theatrical release and others that were cut afterwards.

Plus, given the recent death of Madeleine Collinson (the evil Twin Frieda) I wanted to watch this one again.

I am still hoping for a restored edition, but not holding my breath.

Tally so far:  31 Total Watched / 20 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Nosferatu (1979)

I am not sure how to classify this one really.  I thought I saw it years ago, but once I started watching it again I was less sure.  By the end I was really unsure.  Some scenes were familiar, others I remember really differently.

This movie of course is a remake of the classic 1922 Nosferatu.  Remake is somewhat of an inadequate word.  This is a re-visioning of Dracula from the 1922 source.

Klaus Kinski was one of the greatest actors to grace the screen. A strange man by all accounts, but also a brilliant actor and quite brilliant in this role.  Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker is also quite fantastic and undoubtedly the hero of this movie outshining both Johnathan Harker and Van Helsing both..

Nosferatu (either version) gets it right where Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) gets it wrong. Vampires are monsters and they carry plague, disease and death.  Dracula is a bringer of death.

Like the Hamilton Deane play and the 1979 Dracula movie reverse the names and roles of Mina and Lucy.  Unlike the Deane play and the original novel nearly everyone dies.

Watching this movie is treat for the eyes. Like the 1922 Nosferatu the cinematography is a marvel to behold.

I am calling this one as a re-watch.

Tally so far:  30 Total Watched / 20 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Vampire's Night Orgy (1973)

October Movie Challenge: Vampire's Night Orgy (1973)

Well after last night's suck fest (eh eh) tonight's movie was a pleasant surprise.  While searching for more Bathory movies this one came up.  I had never heard of this one before and really did not know what to expect, but the title was not giving a lot of faith.
But I have discovered that there is a certain charm to Spanish Horror of the 1970s and this one did not disappoint.

A group of travelers looking for work end up stranded in a remote village. They arrive at night and no one is around. They soon discover that everyone was at the cemetery where they stood vigil over the grave of a recently deceased towns person.   In truth they are all vampire spawn controlled by the local countess (played by Helga Liné) who plans to feed of these new comers.

In what has to be the creepiest scene in the movie the Mayor informs some of the towns-folk that the countess will provide them with the meat the new-comers need to eat.  So the villagers take to chopping up others to provide them with the meat they need.

Our hero is not like some of the virtuous found in most horror movies.  He is a lone American and something of a Peeping Tom. He finds a hole in the wall that separates him from the our heroine.

All in all there is some very creepy scenes and elements in this movie and it makes actually quite fun to watch.  I could have done with out Violet's death though.

The DVD I have is presented in a very odd format. It looks like a letter box transfer from a VHS.  The image is not very sharp but still pretty clean.
I will admit I am not a big fan of the soundtrack, but it is the 70s so that is to be expected really.  A little too experimental jazz/Jean-Luc Ponty for my taste.

It dawns on my that this would make for a great adventure.  The PCs come to a town and all the villagers are acting weird. They fear the count living up in the castle. Turns out they are all the vampires and the Count is the only human for miles and he/she is the only keeping them from spreading out into the world.

Tally so far:  29 Total Watched / 20 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Mama Dracula (1980)

October Movie Challenge: Mama Dracula (1980)

Oh gods. This one is so bad.

I love a good tale involving Elizabeth Bathory.  This is not a good tale.

Ok. Lets focus on what is or at least could have been good.
Well, Louise Fletcher is good, but she is an Oscar winning actress. Good, but not great.

The vampire twins (played by Alexander and Marc-Henri Wajnberg) are way creepy.  If the camp was turned down and their vaugley homoerotic, twincest was turned up they would positively uncomfortably creepy and great for a movie involving one of history's more disturbing sexual predators.   Here they are just some sort of freak show carnival act.

The scientist making the fake blood substitute is awful.  Though a movie that delves into the creation of what is essentially True Blood would be interesting.  Oh and his "medical "techno babble" is complete bullshit.

About half way through the movie we are finally introduced to the "love interest" of the tale played by Last Tango in Paris' Maria Schneider.  Love interest in the sense that everyone wants her.

I have a feeling that this is listed as "Comedy/Horror" only because it was so bad.

There should be a drinking game. Everytime someone says "wergins" instead of "virgins" you drink. Everytime the the inspector says "sabuu-tage! sabuu-tage!", drink twice. And when he says "you know my methods" chug.

It's the only good I can see in this movie.

BTW there is a more detailed review at if you are so inclined.

Tally so far:  28 Total Watched / 19 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Conference this Week

Hey all.

I am headed to an Education Conference this week and will be out till Friday evening.

Posting will be sporadic.  I have a few more horror movies in the hopper, but most will be this weekend.

Looking forward to talking about how The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen goes this weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

October Movie Challenge: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

We had gone to see the new Dracula movie about a week and half ago (well 10 days) and my wife and I wanted to re-watch Bram Stoker's Dracula from 1992.  Plus there had been some other movies I saw this challenge that made me want to go back and see this one.

I wanted to wait till I picked it up on Blu Ray.  I had watched the DVD a couple years back (four years) and it just didn't hold up on my HD TV.   The Blu Ray looked really nice.  It was a direct transfer, so no enhancements that I could see and I swear I noticed things in this that I didn't remember from seeing it in the theaters or on the VHS or DVD versions I have, which is cool.

I was hoping for more value added material though. There is a collection of deleted scenes, which I don't recall seeing on my DVD. There are some documentaries, which I do remember seeing.

There is something else.  I know people said this then and I ignored it, but really the acting is just not that good.  Ryder and Reeves are so horribly miscast as to be a joke really.  I like both actors, but this is kind of stupid really.  Anthony Hopkins is great, too bad he isn't really playing Van Helsing here. Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes and Billy Campbell are great in their roles as Lucy's suitors.  Sadie Frost in her first roll (if I recall right) was great as Lucy; but I don't really recall her being this lascivious in the book (it has been 3 years since I have read it last and all the Lucys blur).
Gary Oldman though gives a great performance (though sometimes coming close to being over the top) as Dracula.  Oldman is fantastic in everything he is in really to say he is good in a roll is like complaining about Nick Cage only having one character he plays in every single movie.  Tom Waits of course was an unexpected treat as Renfield.  Maybe one of the best Renfields ever in fact.

The sets, the costumes and the effects are still visually stunning 20+ years later.

I just wish we could drop this whole "Dracula and his immortal beloved" story idea.  Dracula picked Mina because she was there. She was Harker's wife and because he is an evil bastard (Dracula, not Harker) he decided to make her his bride.  We never hear stories about his three brides being his loves.  Come to think of it. We HAVEN'T ever heard of his three brides.  Do they even have names?

Ok new rule.  If there is a movie dealing with Dracula and his "murdered/suicided/dead and now reincarnated bride" then it immediately looses 1 star in my mental ranking system.  I'll give this movie a pass even though it is not the first and it is the most egregious of the error.
Remember the real-life Dracula actually murdered one of his own wives when he caught her lying to him.  So he is not the romantic ideal movies are making him out to be.
Harker is no saint either, but the book was very clear that they loved each other.

You can read what I said about this movie in 2010.
Overall I think I am a little harder on the cast now than then, but my main points remain.

Tally so far:  27 Total Watched / 18 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

The OSR Scarecrow

Here is the only OSR Scarecrow you need.  This is the Scarecrow from The Witch.
(Yeah I am a little late on the snark here, term start and I have a conference to go to this week.)

AC: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d8* (14 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 Limbs
Damage: 1d6/1d6
Special: Paralyzing Gaze, Triple Damage from Fire based attacks
Movement: 30’
No. Appearing: 1 (always in lair)
Saves As: Fighter 3
Morale: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 75

Scarecrows are basic guardians similar to golems, but not nearly as powerful. Like typical scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. The stumble about their assigned area poorly and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some Scarecrow Guardians are bound to a post. A Scarecrow can use their paralyzing gaze to imprison any trespassers (save vs. Paralysis, fail means victim remains rooted to the spot).
Scarecrows are assigned to protect a particular area. They never leave the area, even when chasing an intruder. They will attack anything, humanoid or animal like in appearance that walks into its territory unless otherwise instructed by their creator.
A scarecrow is immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease and similar effects. They are not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain or death from massive damage.
Fire Vulnerability: Because of their straw bodies, Scarecrows are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take triple damage from all fire attacks.
In addition, a scarecrow guardian will catch fire easily after any attack that would normally ignite mundane items. A scarecrow on fire receives 2d6 damage each round (do not double this damage)

All content is designated as Open for the Open Gaming License.
Art is from the Public Domain
Section 15 OGL Copyright Notice

The Witch, Copyright ©2012, Timothy S. Brannan
"Scarecrow" Copyright ©2014, Timothy S. Brannan
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