Sunday, January 31, 2010

Runts of the Litter: Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (1961)

This runt of the litter is from Italy. Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (aka Lycanthropus) from 1961was one of those movies you always read about but never saw on TV or in the video store. Classics of the Horror Film by William K. Everson had a still in the chapter on werewolves which was more information that I was able to find anywhere else.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Runts of the Litter: They Undying Monster (1942)

I'm in a werewolf kind of mood lately, with The Wolfman coming out February 12th and Saturday's full moon. Of course I pulled out Universal's Legacy Collection of The Wolf Man and watched the classic from 1941 with a bowl of popcorn and nice bottle of diet Mountain Dew (I like it because it looks like Re-Animator fluid). As I watched it with commentary by Tom Weaver, I started think of other werewolf movies. There are some that, for better or worse, are the runt of the werewolf movie litter. So from now until the release of the new Wolf Man film I'm going to list these strays.

First up is The Undying Monster(1942) from 20th Century Fox. Not as famous as Lon Chaney's hairy turn a year earlier, and the werewolf make-up is not my favorite. The werewolf, who you don't get a good look at until the end, is really just a whole lot of hair pasted on the actor's face. What I did like is the final transformation when the werewolf is hanging off a cliff, which was a sort of composite and dissolve effect that for the time looked really cool.

If you love old monster movies, give this one a rent from Netfilx.

Until Next Time, Stay Insane.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trick 'r Treat, My New Favorite Film

Recently I was lamenting the lost art of the horror anthology movie. I'm a fan of The House That Dripped Blood, Tales From The Crypt, Monster Club, and Creepshow. Unfortunately no one makes good ones anymore. The ones that are made are cheap direct to video crap that was made by people who just don't care about making a good horror movie, much less a good movie. Oh, if only there was a good horror anthology, made by someone who loves horror movies. But alas those days are done.

So I rented Trick 'r Treat (directed by Michael Dougherty) from Netflix without much hope. I had heard of it from sites like Ain't It Cool News and so forth, and they all raved about it. Still, having been burnt before I didn't have much hope. It sat on my table for a week before I decided to watch it so I could dump it back in the mail. So what did I think of it?

Thank you Michael Dougherty, thank you so very much.

This is one of the best horror movies of all time, and I don't say that sort of thing lightly. Michael Dougherty crafted a love letter to every fan out there who has been dying for a film like this. And he does it by building suspense, mood and letting the audience use their imagination (do you hear that Rob Zombie, that's what good directors do).

The usual formula for a horror anthology is there's a wrap around story that ties the different tales together. Each tales plays out one at a time. In Trick 'r Treat the tales zig and zap in and out of one another as we follow people during a Halloween night. The only constant is Sam, a creepy little trick or treater in red pajamas wearing a burlap sack for a mask.

Dougherty, who wrote X2 and Superman Returns for Bryan Singer (who produced this film), shows himself to be a gifted director. Other directors would have killed the movie by letting us see kill in graphic detail and over doing the computer effects. What I liked about this movie is Dougherty held back and let us see just enough for so we can fill in the blanks, which is creepier. Plus, where a lesser director would throw in a lot of digital effects Dougherty uses creative editing for a much better end product.

The other thing that I liked, and this is from a jaded horror fan, was that he didn't go for the easy scare. He'd set shots up so you sit there saying, “Oh, I know what's going to happen,” only to go in a totally new direction.

It's a true shame Warner Bros. sat on this film, not releasing it to theaters and sending it directly to DVD. It deserved a wide release at Halloween, I'm sure it would have been a hit. I hope people find it on DVD, there isn't a lot of quality horror movies like this and it deserves to be seen.

The DVD has the short Season's Greetings that Dougherty did in 1996 and introduced little Sam, which is hand drawn and took him 9 months to do. Other than that, there are no real extras on the disc. I was craving a director's commentary of the film (the short has one) so I looked it up and found out there is one on the Blu-ray, which I will be buying tomorrow.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Plan Nine From Outer Space-RiffTrax

I'm a big Mystery Science Theater 3000 and still harbor a grudge against the old Sci-Fi Channel for canceling it. Oh the nights sitting with friends watching the Joel or Mike and the bots riff on movies while sitting with my fiends, good times. Sure we have some of the episodes (not all because of rights issues, but that's another blog) on DVD, but I always felt there were so many more movies they could riff on that they would never have a chance too.

Fortunately Micheal J. Nelson (who played Mike Nelson on MST3K) had a great idea. Since it was too much money to secure the rights to movies to riff on, he would release the riffs on MP3 for people to play concurrent with the DVD and call it RiffTrax. Sure it's missing the host segments and the silhouette of along the bottom of the screen, but you get Mike, Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot in later seasons of MST3000), Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) as the prime crew riffing on movies from Plan Nine From Outer Space to Dark Knight.

(Note: Between MST3K and RiffTrax Mike, Bill and Kevin did The Film Crew, which was release on DVD. They only made four discs before distribution problems and delays killed the project.)

Joel Hodgson does have a direct to DVD project call Cinematic Titanic, which has old MST3K people riffing movies in silhouette.

Just wanted to point these out for those of you who want to look them up.)

Some of the RiffTrax have now been released on DVD, so I picked up their take on Ed Wood's Plan Nine From Outer Space. Now I shouldn't have to tell you how bad this movie is if you're a true blue monster fan. For those who wandered on to the blog by accident (people mistake Ormsby with Rosie O'Donnell quite a bit) I'll tell you, this is a horrible movie full of card board sets, pie pan on a string flying saucers, a ludicrous script and acting that makes amateur porn look like an Oscar worthy performance. It's so bad it's...bad.

And that's the kind of movie I love to be riffed, and the crew didn't let me down. Any attempt at describing how funny the disc was would ruin the jokes for you so I won't do that. I will say that the jokes were dead on and had me and the wife laughing all the way through.

I will admit I was a little hesitant about RiffTrax at first, wondering if it would live up to the memory of MST3K, but I have to say I really liked it and plan on sampling more. I can't wait to see what they did with Dark Knight.

If you loved MST3K like I did you'll love RiffTrax.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Basil Gogos Paints the New Wolfman!!!

I love the painted covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland by Basil Gogos.

I take that back.

I LOVE the painted covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland by Basil Gogos.

So who better to paint a poster of the new Wolfman movie (coming out on 2/12/2010) than the master of classic monsters. has the image, and a short interview with Gogos about painting the new Wolfman.

Yeah, I'm in geek heaven right now.

Until Next Time,

Stay Insane

Friday, January 1, 2010

Horror Fans Documentary on Youtube

First, Happy New Years.

I came across this great documentary directed by Michael Schwartz on Youtube today about horror fans.  Now I tend to be more of a classic monster fan myself but I enjoy a bit of the gore too.  Broken into two parts (both parts below) I liked that the makers of the documentary were able to speak to so many horror professionals.  Yes, there is the occasional psycho (like the kid who says if it was legal he'd be running around with a chainsaw, can you say creepy?) but other than that a positive light is shown on horror fans.


Oh, and until next time, Stay Insane.

Part One:

Part Two: