Horror 365 Movie(s) 362: Thrift Store Thursday XVIII

So my youngest daughter is in a dance group at her university, and they put on a show every semester. The school is only a couple of hours away, so I always drive up for it. There’s also a Goodwill there with a pretty sizeable DVD section, so I make sure I go early enough so as to stop in and endeavor to procure some stuff I ain’t got.

As I’ve mentioned previously, that’s getting harder and harder to accomplish. Still, I did manage to pick a few things up.

Anacondas- Who in their right mind would pass this by? Okay, almost anyone in their right mind. We here at Castle Blogferatu, however…well, if you know, you know.

Blood & Chocolate- Werewolves. Not a big fan. But I’ve heard nothing but good things about this, and for $2, one can’t really go too terribly wrong.

Cry_Wolf- I don’t know much at all about this movie other than the fact that one of the horror nerd YouTubers I follow (can’t for the life of me recall which one) mentioned liking it.

Fragile- Another one I’m unfamiliar with, but I like Calista Flockhart, and it was part of Fangoria’s Frightfest. Plus it’s Jaume Balagueró (Inside, To Let, the REC series).

Get Out- I’m not sure how I managed to not own this until now. I’ve seen it 5 times, including back to back screenings whilst it was in the theater.

Paranormal Activity 3- Yeah, as the series goes, this one’s a bit less than, but gotta complete the set, right?

Suspect Zero- I had this for a while but somehow managed to lose track of it somewheres. Probably more psychological thriller than straight up horror, but it is Ben Kingsley.

So there’s this week’s haul. More than I’ve been finding lately, so overall I’m pretty happy with it.

 

 

Horror 365 Movie 361: Sightseers

Ben Wheatley is another name on that short list of directors whose movies I’ll see automatically just cuz it’s theirs. Obviously the height of Ken Russell-level weirdness is A Field In England with Kill List not being too terribly far behind.

There’s just something about the feel of a Ben Wheatley film that’s just so delightfully off, and that includes Sightseers. At first blush, I suppose one would classify this as a sometimes unpleasantly pitch black comedy.

Tina (the never not watchable Alice Lowe) has both a fairly shielded life and tense relationship with her mother. It’s strained further after Tina accidentally kills her mother’s dog, Poppy (her mother maintains it was on purpose and in the movie’s cold open calls her a murderer).

Tina’s boyfriend Chris (Steve Oram) thinks she needs to get out. See some things. Have some experiences. So, despite mother dear’s disapproval, she heads off with him in his caravan for a week long sigthseeing adventure. As you may well imagine, hilarity ensues right from the off. First, Chris backs over a litterbug.

It’s not completely clear how accidental this is, but it definitely gives Chris a satisfied grin. Incidentally, the guy drops a toy he was holding which we see later on Chris’s dashboard. Nice lil touch of creepy, that. Anyway, the police rule it an accident, and our couple is off again after an intense roadside roll in the hay.

Next they stop at a campground where they meet Janice, Ian (huh…Janice Ian? Interesting), and their dog Banjo. Ian and Janice are kinda snooty, uptight, and standoffish which sets Chris off again. The next morning, he catches up to Ian during a walk, bashes him with a rock, and tosses him off a cliff. Banjo runs off but later wanders into their campsite, and they make off with him on the way to Blue John Cavern where nobody gets killed.

Right. Another park, another murder. This time some guy insists Tina pick up after the dog (which she should in fact do). But his air of snobby superiority is shittier than anything the dog left behind, so Chris has another go at some head bashin’ justified by saying “He’s not a person Tina. He’s a Daily Mail reader.” Ultimately, nobody in this movie is likeable, and the second half carries on in pretty much the same fashion whilst also growing progressively darker.

Much like, say, Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) or John Waters’s Serial Mom (1994), Chris and Tina mainly kill off the kinds of folks many of us would like to at the very least smack across the face in real life—the pompous, the pretentious, the self-important, the entitled, the self-righteous, and those with no self-awareness. After about 50 minutes though , this gets less and less amusing and more and more uncomfortable which is, it seems, the whole point.

In the end it all goes off the rails. Any semblance of what Tina and Chris may have considered “control” is gone. We’ve seen from the start that she’s kind of an idiot, and like his victims, he’s a bit of an insufferable bastard himself, and this finally goes about as far as it can. I won’t give away the big finish, but movie’s very end is also by far its darkest turn.

Well like they say, whoever they are. Take only pictures. Leave only footprints…and, y’know, a bloody trail of bodies.


 SKULLS- 10
 BODIES- 7 onscreen
 Streaming- Hulu
 Rent- Apple TV, Google Play, Prime, YouTube

Horror 365 Movie(s) 360: Top 10 Tuesday, Top 10 Stop Motion Horrors

So yeah, writing about The Gate got me all up in my stop motion animation feelings, so much so that I may have to pop Jason And The Argonauts into the ol’ DVD player later and make an evening of it. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve loved stop motion since I was a kid, so here’s a list of my Top 10 Stop Motion Horrors.

For this list, I’m focusing on movies that combine stop motion animation with live action So Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle Of Dogs, and Nightmare Before Christmas, as much as I love you all, sorry, but you’ll have to sit this one out. That said, let’s jump in.

#10 King Kong (1933)

The original all-time stop motion classic. The animation still stands up strong to this day, and the end still makes me mist up a little.

#9 It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955)

Gotta have an early Ray Harryhausen on this list, and for some reason, this one has always appealed to me more than Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Maybe it’s the tentacles. I am a big Lovecraft fan after all.

#8 Subspecies (1991)

Radu’s demons. Despite being formed from Radu’s bloody, snapped off finger tips, they’re cute lil guys.

#7 The Gate (1987)

Also cute lil guys, and mischievous. I especially love the scene when they scurry under the door like silverfish then reshape themselves.

#6 Equinox (1970)

Got a two-fer on this one—the ape-lookin’ thing and the winged demon. It’s such a fun watch, and lays so much groundwork for later movies like The Evil Dead.

#5 The Puppet Master Series (1989-2020)

There’s just so much stop motion to appreciate throughout all these movies. I love Blade, and Tunneler and Pinhead are high points as well, but by far my favorite has to be anything involving Six-Shooter. Imagine a kind of demented, evil looking, six-armed Woody who actually shoots people.

#4 Dead Alive (1992)

Who doesn’t want a Sumatran rat monkey? Back before Peter Jackson started taking himself and Tolkien wwwaaayyy too seriously, he made some damn funny horror comedies. The part where this rabid-lookin’ beastie attacks a monkey in the cage next to it is fairly nasty. When it bites the protagonist’s overbearing mother, however…a yuk tsunami.

#3 Alice (1988)

If you like your nightmare fuel in stop form, you owe it to yourself to check out Jan Švankmajer. A lot of his work is just so surreal and bizarro that it stays with you for a quite a while. Alice, an unpleasant imagining of Alice In Wonderland, is a great place to start with this particular brand of weird.

#2 The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits (S1 E14 1963)

“The Zanti Misfits” is, hands down, the single most terrifying episode this show ever aired. It’s bad enough that they’re basically ants the size of your hand, but then they turn their heads and have sinister little human faces. I still shudder a bit just thinking about these nasty buggers. I’m reasonably sure that the weird insectoid critters in “The Sandkings” from the 1995 revival of The Outer Limits were modeled after these vicious little fuckers.

Honorable Mentions

  • American Horror Story: Freakshow- Intro
  • Clash Of The Titans- Medusa
  • The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad- Kali
  • Laserblast- aliens
  • Q: The Winged Serpent- well…the winged serpent duh
  • XX- Intersegment animations

And in the #1 spot we have…

#1 Jason And The Argonauts (1963)

First of all, this movie contains some of my all time favorite stop motion sequences and is also one of my all time favorite movies in the history of ever. The segment with Talos is super effective in the sense that the stop motion movement is perfect for capturing the movement of a bronze statue. But by far one of the best stop motion sequences ever filmed is the skeleton attack. I love this so much that eventually I’m getting one of these guys as a tattoo.

Stop motion animation just gives me so much unexplainable joy that it was extremely difficult to limit myself just 10 for this list (which, really, with 6 Honorable Mentions I kinda didn’t), and I’m sure I’m missing a few that some of you may hold near and dear to your own hearts. If so, tell me about them in the Comments.