October Horrorshow: Alien: Covenant, or, An Endless String of Stupid Decisions: The Movie

Every artist reaches, and then passes, their creative peak. It happens to everyone involved in creative endeavors should they survive long enough. Bands grow stale, the words of authors lose their ferocity, and auteurs show their viewers passable films where once there were epics. Declaring an artist as being past their prime is a bit like writing an obituary while a person is still alive, but those are the feelings that are evoked by watching a film like Alien: Covenant. It’s gorgeous to look at, and is still obviously the construction of a master filmmaker, but the deft touch and tight focus that made Alien a classic is all gone. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Alien: Covenant, or, An Endless String of Stupid Decisions: The Movie”

October Horrorshow: Frankenstein Created Woman

Baron Victor Frankenstein is back. At the end of the previous film, The Evil of Frankenstein, the series’ antihero was dispatched along with his box-headed creation. It was a scene of ultimate finality, even if there wasn’t a shot of a dead Frankenstein putting an exclamation point on his story. But death is never permanent in film should the producers wish it. I don’t just mean the death of a character, either, but the actor who plays the part. This film’s star, Peter Cushing, finds his character resurrected for further use in this film, but Cushing himself was resurrected digitally, more than twenty years after his death, to make an appearance in the latest Star Wars flick. It won’t be much longer before actors find themselves under the same threat of obsolescence as the rest of us in the workforce. But I digress… Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Frankenstein Created Woman”

October Horrorshow: Cold Prey

Cold Prey, the 2006 debut feature film from Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug (whose excellent film, The Wave, led to his being hired to direct the Tomb Raider reboot), is a paint-by-numbers slasher flick. From beginning to end, there isn’t a moment that won’t be familiar to fans of horror films. And that’s okay. Cold Prey is a case study of the maxim that as long as a film does old ideas well, it’s still a good film. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Cold Prey”

October Horrorshow: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

It is now the halfway point of this year’s Horrorshow, and I’m enjoying watching all these classic Hammer horror flicks. But, watching them all close together like this means I’m more aware of when they are repeating themselves compared to watching them on a normal release schedule. For example, the three Mummy flicks I’ve reviewed so far this month have basically been the same film. There is still a good film to be made from the idea, but by The Mummy’s Shroud, I’m not sure the filmmakers were trying. Today’s film, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, suffers from some of the same sort of creative malaise that doomed The Mummy’s Shroud. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave”

October Horrorshow: The Abominable Snowman

The Abominable Snowman, director Val Guest’s film from 1957, has sort of fallen through the cracks. Well, most Hammer films have fallen through the cracks in one way or another, but this flick is the most obscure of those I have seen so far this month. Hammer has a legendary reputation when it comes to their horror. Much of the films aren’t great, but Hammer was persistent and fertile, never going more than a few months before bringing audiences something new. But their catalogue has been mistreated, much of it only available on out of print, and thus hard to find, DVDs and VHS tapes. The big flicks are available in places like Prime and iTunes, but if one wishes to watch something like The Abominable Snowman without searching for physical media, the options, and quality, are very limited. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Abominable Snowman”

October Horrorshow: Them (2006)

I sometimes wonder if Eastern Europe is as mysterious a place for people in Western Europe as it is for people here in the United States. For us, it’s an obscure place — a somewhat monolithic land still struggling after throwing off the yoke of communist oppression. It’s a place of strange languages and cultures. For those with some familiarity with history, it’s a land of continual strife. For those of us interested in tales of the supernatural, Eastern Europe looms as the birthplace of vampire tales and werewolf stories. Whether we are conscious of it or not, Eastern Europe, as seen through western or American eyes, is a threatening locale. It’s the perfect place to set a horror flick. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Them (2006)”

October Horrorshow: Quatermass and the Pit, aka Five Million Years to Earth

It’s a new era for Quatermass. Because of Hammer’s success with its horror films, the third Quatermass film had an increased budget compared to the previous entries. Whereas The Quatermass Xperiment had to get by on a mere £42,000, Quatermass and the Pit had an astronomical £275,000 with which to work its magic. Gone is the inexpensive black and white film stock, replaced with color. It’s still an inexpensive stock, but COLOR. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Quatermass and the Pit, aka Five Million Years to Earth”

October Horrorshow: Jason X

It’s Friday the 13th! In October! Missile Test couldn’t possibly let the day go by without watching a Friday the 13th flick, and this one is a doozy. By 2001, the original Friday the 13th franchise was on its last legs. The producers, recognizing that the old formula had been ground into dust by overuse, decided to shake things up. And by shake things up, I mean they all contracted serious cases of the awfuckits and sent their franchise property into space. That’s right, no more summer camp and no more Crystal Lake. This film takes place in outer space…in the future. Hell yeah. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Jason X”

October Horrorshow: The Mummy’s Shroud

Hammer must have been out of ideas by the time they made The Mummy’s Shroud in 1967. At least, that’s what it feels like. There is not a single moment of tension or surprise in writer/director John Gillings’ film. But that isn’t to say The Mummy’s Shroud is a bad film. It’s not. It’s cheap and fairly stupid, and it doesn’t bother to challenge any of the tropes audiences had come to expect with a mummy film, but it has its charms. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Mummy’s Shroud”