Sunday, October 5, 2014

So once again I'm trying to do the October horror challenge and watch a new-to-me horror film each day of the month.
So far I've kept up despite not having written about them... so... catching up:

Oct 1st. I Vampiri. A B&W Italian horror with Mario Bava's influences all over it. It's got a 'vampire', a mad scientist, a resurrected corpse, a dungeon full of skeletal victims, a creepy castle w/ nearby creepy crypt accessible by secret passageways, nubile coed victims, determined reporters and an electronic gargoyle burglar alarm.
The story is nothing special but that's more than made up for by all the gonzo elements at play.

Oct 2nd. The Demon. Another old B&W Italian movie. This one is much more cinema verite... most of the cast seem to be non-actors and there are no overt FX or gore to be seen. The sets seem to be real buildings though in some cases I wondered why people were living in what appeared to be ruins.
Here it's the story that's of main interest. A young woman named Purif is romantically obsessed with a local stud named Antonio... based on some earlier roll in the hay it seems. Purif goes a bit nutty when she learns that Antonio intends on marrying another local girl and sets out to put a curse on him that will either ruin him or bring him to her arms.
I'm not real clear on what Antonio has against Purif, she's the definitely the prettiest girl in town and has a load more personality than the bland woman he's betrothed to.
Anyway, the curse leads to the rest of the townsfolk wanting to chase Purif out of the village. Purif herself gets so distraught over Antonio's wedding that she tries to chase a herd of goats into the church and then... appears to become possessed.
At some point she has a chat with a dead boy... undergoes and exorcism that might include being raped by a priest... does the Linda Blair spider-walk (a decade before Linda did)... and generally acts like a bit of a loon.
The scary/creepy stuff is a combination of Purif's bizarre behavior and the rampant old world superstitions of the townspeople. Purif might just be insane but the local nuns just seem to think she's got a bad attitude... meanwhile the townies are running through the streets with burning branches looking for her.
This one is kind of bleak and doesn't have much nice to say about rural Italy.

Oct 3rd. On the mention of someone in my reading group I watched Wolf Creek 2... which I'd been avoiding after only barely enjoying the first one.
The first one played a bit coy with its villain, not giving him all that much screen time and kind of lulling you into thinking he might be an OK guy to have a beer with. The sequel just drops all pretenses of such mystery and puts him on camera, spouting wise-cracks, every chance it gets.
In the original the guy was menacing, creepy, mysterious... a decent monster. In this one he's just fucking annoying. I kept hoping someone would manage to kill him, or at least break his jaw... but that obviously wasn't in the cards.
Another thing that bugged me was how the sequel felt the need to be much BIGGER... we've got Mick driving all over the outback, shooting random locals and police... using a semi truck as a torpedo, riding a horse into the sunset, showing off his fancy new tunnels of terror complete with pit traps and attack dogs. It's MORE not less. 
About midway I was actually considering turning it off and looking for something less stupid... but then it kind of got better... or less bad... as it closed frame and got up close and personal between the two leads. Still not good, but less annoying... and I made it to the end.
I fully expect the next installment to have Mick on a Carribean cruise ship or maybe in space.

Oct 4th. I kind of copped-out here and watched the first several episodes of the original Dark Shadows... which were new to me since I'd only seen later episodes and even on Netflix they usually only have the later episodes from Barnabas onwards. I've always had a soft spot for the show... despite it's soap opera failings... and it's fun watching the pre-Barnabas episodes, knowing that Barnabas was only ever intended to be a brief storyline, not the primary protagonist he became. 

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