This week, let's look at a few 80s horror movies, and also a handful of 1930s horror classics. As always, my ratings are what I think the films should be rated on IMDb.
Child’s Play (1988)
Creepy little doll. A minor horror classic of the 80s. There is a risk of this scenario being silly and laughable, but that wasn’t the case for me. Was actually quite effective.
The Lost Boys (1987)
Rewatch. I didn't get what the big deal was, when I saw this 80s classic 2-3 years ago. So I gave it a second chance. It has atmosphere, and a cool soundtrack(Cry Little Sister is a highlight), but Joel Schumacher was never a great director.
Near Dark (1987)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The first 15 minutes are effective, but the rest didn’t engage me to the same degree. I thought the story was a bit weak. Just a group of vampires going around killing. The scene when vampires get burnt by the sun was well-done. But the whole kidnapping thing, why would the vampires risk their lives in daylight for that? Bill Paxton in maybe his best performance. I’m surprised Near Dark is considered among Kathryn Bigelow’s best films, to me it’s decent, yet overrated. Maybe I should rewatch it some day.
Enjoyed the score by Tangerine Dream.
The Fog (1980)
Not one of John Carpenter’s best, and honestly difficult to keep a straight face. The fog effects are pretty good, and does a fine job of concealing the evil. Useful when you have a small budget.
Day of the Dead (1985)
We get to see a doctor operating and conducting experiments on zombies, in order to alter their behavior.
The gore effects are very realistic, for example when a zombie gets a drill to the head, or a guy’s head is ripped off.
Not a bad zombie movie, but ultimately, I think this third entry in Romero’s trilogy is the weakest of the three.
Favorite quote: “It takes more energy to keep quiet, than it does to speak the mind. Go ahead, let go of what you’ve got now”
Loved the opening theme
Rewatch. It has some cheesy, cliche dialogue, but the special effects are good. At first the attacks are scary, but after a while not so much. Maybe they got the idea from Return of the Jedi, the sand creature in the desert? What kept me watching is the enemy seems impossible to defeat. The ending is stupid, though, how do they know how many are left?
Brian de Palma horror/thriller. Features a number of surprises. The split screen scenes may annoy, I felt that added to the suspense. The birthday cake scenes were memorable. The twist I managed to guess pretty early on, but a good movie. People have complained the Quebecois accent sounds Parisian, I guess only Canadians would be bothered by that. Another minor complaint is the blood is unrealistic and too red.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1931)
Great acting, great screenplay, great visuals. Enjoyed this adaptation of the classic story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Especially the first half hour I was hooked. The rest is good too, and is all about the performance of Fredric March. It’s astonishing he played both roles, during the movie, I thought it was a different actor playing Mr Hyde.
I’m going to have to track down the other films by director Rouben Mamoulian, Queen Christina (1933), and The Mark of Zorro (1940).
The Old Dark House (1932)
Many of these 30s Universal horror films are only about 65-70 minutes long, so you get through them quickly. By director James Whale, who made the classic Frankenstein movies. This is regarded as among the best of his other films.
A group of travelers are caught in a storm. The residents of the old house are creepy, the butler (an unrecognizable Boris Karloff) speaking a language we can’t understand.
It isn’t scary by today’s standards, but is good for pacing. We are slowly introduced to the ensemble, and I wanted to know what happens to the characters. While it may not have any stand-out scenes, in some ways it’s a film about prejudice and openness, when you meet new people.
Favorite quote: “I could do with a drink. If people have to be soaked, they should be soaked inside, not out”
Here we are, six people, sitting around, and we’ve been talking now for nearly two hours. What do we know about each other? Not a thing.
The Invisible Man (1933)
Directed by James Whale. Tricky to review, because the special effects are amazing, and deserve 10/10. It's a pity the story is just ok.
The freedom of doing what you want when you're invisible is quite mind-blowing, but also a lonely place to be, because other people are scared of your appearance.
The story is simplified by having him insane. To me would have been more interesting, if he was sane.
On a side note, the innkeepers wife’s screaming is seriously annoying.
The Wolf Man (1941)
The story feels contrived, but on second thoughts, as with The Wicker Man (1973), I get the feeling events are pre-planned, that what happens was meant to be.
Most of the film is the build-up, once we see the werewolf, unfortunately the creature doesn’t really do that much. Bonus points for the cute girl.
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
Loved the opening credits, with the water splashing over the text. It draws you in with its atmosphere, especially the first half hour. But it kind of lost believability, when Dr Moreau talks of animals converted to human form, because they don’t look like that.
Favorite quote: “Say, what is all this mystery about Moreau and his island? I don’t know. If I did know, maybe I’d want to forget”
Agree or disagree? Have you watched any of the above? Which horror films do you plan to watch this October?
Next week, I'll blog about horror again, Japanese & South Korean, Vincent Price horror from 1960s, and a couple of Peter Jackson's splatter movies, stay tuned!