30 Days of Horror – Part 6

We’re up to 23 movies now so technically I’m ahead of the game.  If you want to check out what I’ve reviewed up until now, check out the tag of “30 Days of Horror” on the side panel. Seven more films to go between now and Halloween!

Masters of Horror: The Black Cat:

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of the Masters of Horror series. I have yet to make my way through all of them, but I’ve rather enjoyed the majority of the ones I have seen. This piece may be a contender for best I’ve seen so far. I wanted to check this out because I admittedly have not seen a lot of Stuart Gordon’s work and I wanted to become a bit more familiar with it.   I was pleasantly surprised.

I loved the addition of an interesting film technique where the color was washed out to appear like an old photograph for everything except the blood… like Sin City, except this was more sepia and less black and white. I WILL warn you, there is some animal violence (especially if you’re a fan of the felines) that may make you a bit squeamish. After William Lustig’s Maniac and Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers, both of which feature cat mutilation, I thought this was pretty tame.

But the film is about Poe and his slouch into madness. Amazingly well done and I didn’t realize until halfway through that it was none other than Jeffrey Combs who looks eerily like Poe. I found his performance riveting as we descend into madness right along with him.  Interweaving the narrative with actual moments from Poe’s life is divine as the story is written in first person. There is little of Gordon’s signature gore on display here, but when he does present it, it leaves a big impact. This episode does what few Poe adaptations have managed to do (if any at all); it captures the morbid, Gothic nature of the story without letting go of the ever-present psychological resonance of his stories.

Moon of the Wolf

This one was a made-for-TV 70’s film set in the Cajun bayou of Louisiana.  It begins with a woman found killed and thus a murder investigation begins. Despite it being made for television, it was more of a typical small-town crime melodrama as opposed to a horror or a thriller. Nonetheless, the setting worked for this movie. I’d say it’s entertaining… in a formulaic kind of way. For at least the first half of this film, there’s really nothing to suggest that a werewolf is responsible (unless you’re familiar with werewolf folklore and know what ‘loup garou’ means).

The werewolf makeup is what you’d expect given the parameters. It’s pretty hokey.  I would say this is your average werewolf B-movie which I’d recommend to werewolf enthusiasts if you happen to get a chance to see it.

How to Be a Serial Killer

I’m a fan of black comedies. However, they tend to be a hit or miss because the formula is so delicate. You have to have that right balance or morbidity and humour and considering I enjoy serial killers, I thought this might be enjoyable. I actually turned this off within 20 minutes in, it was that annoying. Don’t bother with this yawnfest.

Call of Cthulhu

Considering that I am a self-proclaimed big fan of the Cthulhu mythos, I am pretty ashamed to say I hadn’t seen this one.  I think part of it was because every film adaptation I’ve seen based on a Lovecraft story fell flat and just bored me. I’d come to conclude that Lovecraft’s stories simply do not translate well to the screen. Many excellent and unique movies have incorporated elements and themes from his stories (The Ninth Gate, Cast a Deadly Spell, The Evil Dead movies, In The Mouth of Madness, etc.), but many of those taken literally from his writings (Dagon, Beyond The Wall of Sleep, The Curse, etc.) just don’t work.

However, I was blown away by this film. What it is and succeeds in is a very faithful adaptation of the original story, following also its non-linear storytelling and describing events around the globe. The movie is also atmospheric pastiche of the 20s impressionistic silent movies. The filmmakers had a deep admiration for Lovecraft which is essential for something of this caliber. They did an amazing job with the costumes and the relics — I couldn’t imagine them any better than they appear in this film.  It was a visual masterpiece, incorporating art deco and stunning  filmwork. I would have liked to see Miskatonic University rather than the university they chose, but I suppose there’s the chance of overdoing it. Even  a stop-motion of mighty Cthulhu doesn’t take away from this fantastically twisted vision. Cthulhu lives in this great little treat!!

Netherbeast Incorporated

As I mentioned, I am a fan of black humour. I saw Netherbeast and found the premise to be an original one: a satire of corporate America by using vampires. A fresh approach to vampires… Hmm. Okay. Like The Office, but with vampires.

It features an all-star ensemble cast with names like Darrell Hammond (as the boss who gets “vampire Alzheimer’s”), Dave Foley, Judd Nelson,  Robert Wagner, and my local boy done good, Jay Mewes.  I actually laughed out loud about a half-dozen times. The back-story was complicated but I thought it was some imaginative story telling with the whole power point presentation images.

The big surprise for me didn’t come until halfway through, and because of it, I enjoyed the film that much more. The star of the film? Steve Burns. Don’t know the name? I’ll give ya a hint: Blue’s Clues. That’s right. Steve from Blue’s Clues is a vampire. Love it.

I will admit the last quarter of the film gets a little hokey and seemed hastily-thrown-together, but for the most part, it was very enjoyable. I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a good laugh and can appreciate a great tasteless joke.

Eye of the jackal, baby!

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About Dementia

Said to be the demi-spawn of the Old Ones, Dementia was conjured up in Darkness (some say by the devil himself) in a small village in the Banewoods where she began her torrid love affair with all things supernatural horror. She has been sighted chasing serial killers, cavorting with demons, exploiting ghostly entities, and fiendishly plotting with various nocturnal bloodthirsty creatures. These sightings have lead to a small but devout cult following to spring up around her at the various conventions she attends. Dementia spends her free time designing epic costumes, being a snarky horror snob, and generally enslaving humanity. Beware the woods at night… beware the lunar light…