Post #377: Letterboxd Year In Review

Yeah yeah, year-end lists are a thing, and I struggled a bit to come up with one that didn’t annoy me. In my frustration I turned to Letterboxd for a kind of Year In Review. My Letterboxd Diary is interesting. To me at least. It starts on October 16, 2018 with the movie Trigger Man which was recommended by my friend and colleague William when we were working at the late great Naro Video. I had just found out what Letterboxd was, and started using it that very day.

At first I considered listing only horror movies, but decided against that. I did however set up some loose guidelines for myself. For the most part, I only listed movies I’d never seen before and not movies I’ve rewatched. There are some exceptions here and there, but there are absolutely no criteria for why any of said rewatches got included. So here, for your dining and dancing pleasure, is my favorite horror movie from each month.

Piercing (1/1)

I liked the, uh, point this movie made.

Promising Young Woman (2/13)

I loved this, but man was it bleak. Not sure why I never got around to reviewing it.

The 7th Victim (3/18)

Dunno why it took me so long to finally get to this.

Primer (4/22)

My post about this one includes a flow chart I found online. It don’t help.

WitchTrap (5/15)

I dunno what the hell happened in May, but this is the only movie I have listed for the entire month.

Solomon Kane (6/25)

I did this for blank 2021 Swashbucklathon over at Silver Screen Classics. I really need to get back to doing blogathons. Maybe I’ll even run one.

The Special (7/27)

Sticky. Gooey. Drippy. Gross. Overall a pretty good time.

Repo! The Genetic Opera (8/3)

This came highly recommended by my daughter-in-law. She was not wrong.

The Night House (9/12)

More wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

Pigs (10/15)

Aka Daddy’s Deadly Darling.

Wekufe: The Origin Of Evil (11/2)

Loved this! I can scarce overstate how much. Definitely one of my top 5 watches of 2021. I can’t wait to see what Javier Attridge does next.

Triangle (12/9)

Apparently I have more of a thing for time loop movies than I realized.

And that’s my kinda year in review folks. Cheers!


Post #376: Top 10 Tuesday, Top 10 Creepy Album Covers

So I’ve been doing a good deal of driving over the last couple of weeks, mostly to Richmond and back—one kid going this way, one that way, one coming back from one of those ways. You get the idea. I don’t mind driving too much. It lets me put on and belt out my favorite tunes on The Spotifys.

Today was another such day, and at first I was gonna come home and toss out a blog post about my favorite horror-y tunes, mainly because one of the things that shuffled through was 1965 version of “Strychnine” by The Sonics. In truth, for a long time, I always thought it was a Cramps song and, as much as I love Lux Interior, I kinda prefer The Sonics original version a tiny bit.

But then Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” popped up, and I was reminded of this religious nutjob from my yute. His name was Gary Greenwald, and he was on the front lines of the Satanic Panic of the 80s. I used to watch his show, The Eagle’s Nest, just to hear him yammer against rock music, play shit backwards, and “deconstruct” the satanosity of the album covers,  no doubt unwittingly drawing hundreds more people to the albums he tried to vilify.

Halle-fucking-lujah praise jeebus.

Anyway, that put a different idea in the ol’ gulliver—horror-y album covers which for some reason came to mind much faster than the songs. So I give you my Top 10 Creepy Album Covers.

#10 Eldorado (Electric Light Orchestra, 1974)

I’m not a huge ELO fan, but I like them fine. This particular image stands out because A) Gary Greenwald didn’t approve of it, and B) after the flying monkeys, this is one of the scarier scenes from the always terrifying Wizard Of Oz.

#9 In The Court Of The Crimson King (King Crimson, 1969)

Before Emerson, Lake, And Palmer, Greg Lake started with these folks on this album. It’s an unnerving cover, and the album’s title track, all 9 minutes and 23 seconds of it, is one of my favorite favorite songs in the history of ever.

#8 Welcome To My Nightmare (Alice Cooper, 1975)

I mean, it’s Alice Cooper. That should be self-explanatory. Plus the horns on the title track are mwah.

#7 And Roll Over (Kiss, 1976)

My favorite Kiss album, and the first one I ever bought, much to the consternation of my very catholic grandmother. I know, right? Kiss? Oh if only she knew what was to come.

#6 Hair Of The Dog (Nazareth, 1975)

This, along with No Mean City, was another one of the covers on Greenwald’s hit list and contains the aforementioned “Love Hurts.” Incidentally, until looking up this album for an image today, I never knew this was a cover of an Everly Brothers tune. And the original ain’t bad.

#5 Holy Diver (Dio, 1983)

Back in college, my dear friend Steve Frankenberry, author of Frankenberry’s Attic, would trek the hour into Pittsburgh for concerts—Triumph, U2, Quiet Riot. Actually, when Quiet Riot came on, we left, with Frankenberry announcing, “For all of you here to see Quiet Riot, we’re leaving. We only came for Icehouse” (the opener). And there was Dio. Pittsburgh Civic Arena. Floor seats. Near the tower speakers. I couldn’t hear for three days after.

#4 Brain Salad Surgery (Emerson Lake And Palmer, 1973)

Cover by pre-Alien H.R. Giger. Nothing further is needed.

#3 Uriah Heep (Uriah Heep, 1970)

“Easy Livin'” is the only Uriah Heep song I know, and it ain’t even on this album. But that cover. Sheesh. It looks Lovecraftian and also looks like the giant maggot that does you-know-what in Galaxy Of Terror.

#2 Bad Music For Bad People (The Cramps, 1984)

Ah, my introduction to the world of psychobilly. My second favorite Cramps album (the first is Songs The Lord Taught Us), but by far my favorite Cramps cover.

Honorable Mentions

Elf (Elf)

Mood Swing (The Nails)

Oil And Gold (Shriekback)

White Hot (Angel)

#1 Number Of The Beast (Iron Maiden, 1982)

One of my all time favorite covers from my all time favorite album by my all time favorite metal band. Eddie Lives!

There they are gang! What are some of your favorite creepy album covers? Lemme know in the Comments.

Post #375″ Top 10 Tuesday, Top 10 Virus Movies

Well…despite my most valiant Prospero-esque efforts to close off and shield Castle Blogferatu from the cold and flu season, plague has, as it does in “The Masque Of The Red Death,” nonetheless gripped us. The good news is that our resident physician/mad scientist, Dr. Terror, has administered tests for The Covids which were negative.

Sadly, then, today’s post will not be quite up to the haphazard incoherent ramblings exacting standards I typically strive for. Still, submitted for your approval and in keeping with the situation, I present my Top 10 Virus Movies.

#10 Contagion (2011)

This isn’t technically a horror movie I guess, but yeah, it is. What’s so terrifying about it is A) its verisimilitude and B) the fact that this movie seems more or less exactly how the current pandemic kinda rolled out in the first place. I don’t remember the exact details, but one of the people involved in writing and/or advising on Contagion was one of the folks they talked to in the Netflix documentary Pandemic. Speaking of which…

#9 Pandemic: How To Prevent An Outbreak (2020)

I love documentaries that bring a sense of terror to the viewer. Morgan Spurlock’s Rats does this well, as does this six-part series. It made me take a shower and never want to leave home or touch another human being ever again.

#8 The Crazies (1973)

I don’t love this movie, but I like it well enough to include it here. What I like most about is how it portrays the goverment’s efforts to deal with the outbreak as lame and ineffective. Plus it’s George Romero.

#7 Isle Of Dogs (2018)

Who says virus movies have to center on people? I love this movie mainly because it has 2 of my very most favoritest things in all the world: Wes Anderson and dogs. It’s funny. It’s quirky. And ultimately it’s very sweet, yet I still adore it which is weird for me. And yes, the idea of quarantining all dogs on an island to essentially fend for themselves is horrific enough for me to list it here.

#6 Cabin Fever (2002)

There are lotsa things I can sit through, but even for me, this movie is a tough watch. I can’t explain why because the effects aren’t exponentially better than anyone else’s with similar resources would be. There’s just something about the whole flesh-eating virus idea itself that makes my skin crawl, so watching a movie about it makes me pretty squirmy.

#5 28 Days Later (2002)

Another one of my all time faves. This movie never fucking lets up. I particularly love the beginning where the activists get viciously attacked basically for being completely goddamn stupid like, y’know, PETA, ALF, and whatever other eco-terrorists you care to name. Oh, and in terms of the supertired “debate” on whether or not 28 Days Later is a zombie movie, I will officially state for the record that this is one of the dumber cinematic arguments I’ve ever heard. I can’t care.

#4 Antiviral (2012)

Not really an outbreak movie, but still for sure a virus movie, and a weird as hell one at that. First off, it’s Brandon “the nut don’t fall far from the tree” Cronenberg. Second, it’s a pre-Get Out but no less icky and creepy Caleb Landry Jones. The premise is that there is a black market for pathogens and viruses harvested from celebrities who have become sick. Fans then have these injected so they can have this unique connection to their idols. The supergross part of this is the fact that in terms of fan behavior it’s not at all farfetched.

#3 Rabid (2019)

This is one of those rare occasions when I find the remake infinitely better than the original. This shouldn’t be all that surprising give that the remake was done by Jen and Sylvia Soska. In this case, the problem arises from an experimental stem-cell treatment on a woman who is disfigured in a catastrophic accident. Now, the original does showcase the fine acting skills of Marilyn Chambers, but the remake ups the ante spectacularly on the levels of psychology and gore.

#2 Infection (2004)

This is an oozy, drippy Japanese virus movie set in a run-down, understaffed hospital. There’s also a weird psychological angle that plays out nicely. I’m pretty sure that some time ago I read some place that this was part of a loose kinda trilogy, but now I can’t find any evidence of that or remember what the other two movies were. One discussion board suggests that this trilogy in fact became the 6-part J-Horror Theater series.

Honorable Mentions

28 Weeks Later (2007), The Andromeda Strain (1971), Cabin Fever (2016), The Children (2008), The Crazies (2010), I Am Legend (2007), Mayhem (2017), The Omega Man (1971), Rabid (1977), REC (2007)

#1 I Drink Your Blood (1970)

What can I say? This movie is so atrocious that it towers over everything else on this list. If you want a movie that puts together stuff you never wanted put together, then this one has everything. You want homicidal hippies? We got ’em. You want a grandfather on an acid trip? We got ‘im. You want a kid injecting rabies-infected blood into the meat pies his mom sells? We got it. You want an outbreak of rabid, homicidal, zombie-like locals? We got them too.

And there you have it. Interesting that these are either from the 70s or from 2000-2020. I’m sure that points to something interesting about something. I know there’s also lotsa stuff missing, mainly because I haven’t seen them, so let me know what your favorite outbreak movies are. I beg you, however, in the name of all that is evil and unholy, please do not even come at me with It Follows.