Monday, October 27, 2008

Music Box Massacre 4 - Movie Reviews

In case you haven't read my earlier blog - I attended this event as a guest, for Hacker's Source magazine. I will be writing a more in-depth article that will appear in issue #26 of the magazine.
[I will let you know when that issue comes out]
In the meantime, be sure to visit their webpage:

Being that I am going to be discussing 13 films in this blog, I am going to fore-go my usual format of pictures, cast, plot summary, etc. Rather, I will just rate the movies and give small blurbs.
[They are reviewed in the order in which I watched them]

The Haunted House (Rating: 5 Skulls)
This one is a (slightly less than 30 minutes) silent film from 1921, starring Buster Keaton, and it is absolutely hysterical. Buster plays a bank clerk. Glue ends up getting spilled, which ends up getting all over the money, and hilarity ensues.
You may be asking yourself, why was this being shown at a horror marathon. Well, any good movie, about a bank, is going to have bank robbers. In this one, it just so happens that the bank robber's hideout is a supposedly haunted house (in which was featured some great skeleton costumes - I must say!) Also - the ending - Fantastic! This film is a Must-See!

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Rating: 4 Skulls)
Another silent film, this one from 1920, starring John Barrymore as Jekyll & Hyde.
[I just wanted to mention that both The Haunted House and this movie had live organ accompaniment, which was very, very cool]
John Barrymore was Superb in this movie! I do not think that it would have been as good, had another actor from that time period portrayed the title characters.

The Old Dark House (Rating: 3 Skulls)
Before watching this movie, we were treated to the vintage trailer of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
[I have always been aware of this movie - having seen the trailer, I will definitely be checking it out!]

From 1932 - The Old Dark House features Boris Karloff, and is directed by James Whale, who also directed Karloff in the classic (1931) Frankenstein, as well as its sequel, the (1935) Bride of Frankenstein.

After a severe rainstorm, which causes flooding and landslides, makes it impossible to travel on the roads, several folks happen upon "the old dark house" where Karloff is the butler. The couple who owns the house (a brother & sister) keep their 102 year old father (played by a woman!) upstairs, and their psychotic pyromaniac brother locked up. After Karloff gets drunk and sets the brother free, chaos erupts. A classic film that can be enjoyed by the entire family. :-)

Eyes Without a Face (Rating: 4 Skulls)
This one is a French film from 1959. I think that I was expecting more from it - however, that doesn't mean that it was not good. In fact, for 1959, the movie was pretty intense!
[what is funny about this movie is the fact that the director of this film was approached to make a horror film - without the horror! Okay. . .] :-) This movie predates Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Feast by about three years. The reason that I mention this is because I've always heard that Blood Feast was the 1st true "gore film" I don't know ~ the story behind this movie is a surgeon's daughter's face is tragically disfigured in a car accident. He feels at fault, and in order to ease his guilt, he, with help from his assistant, begins kidnapping women and surgically removing their faces to transplant/graft onto his daughter's face! Obviously, this fails to work. I have to say that the gore effects in the facial surgeries were pretty gory & graphic. When you 1st see the doctor lift the face from a women - Wow!
On another note, there was a scene, towards the end of the film, where a bunch of doves were released. This reminded me of John Woo, and I got to thinking that he hasn't directed anything in quite a while. . . :-(
[I'm all over the place, I know - I'll try to shorten these up a little bit!] :-)

May (Rating: 5 Skulls)
This movie was already a 5 Skull movie in my book. Watching it with a crowd of 700+ people solidified that fact even more! It is just such a FUN movie!! If you have not yet seen May, then you need to do so! Angela Bettis is perfect as the title character!

Unfortunately, the director, Lucky McKee, was unable to attend the event, as planned.
[you can read more about that in my article that will be appearing in Hacker's Source]

The Midnight Meat Train (Rating: 5 Skulls)
Before this film started, we were treated to Rodrigo Gudino's [the Founder/Publisher of Rue Morgue magazine] 6-minute short film The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow - Very Interesting and Well Shot Short!!

If you know me at all, then you know that I have been pushing Midnight Meat Train since I first saw it, back in August! In my opinion, this movie is, hands-down, the Best Horror Film of 2008, and having Clive Barker (who wrote the short story that the film is based upon) there in attendance, introducing the film and doing a Q & A afterwards, made the film even that much more enjoyable!
Not to mention the fact that the 1st time I saw this movie, there were only 4 people (including myself) in the theatre. The 2nd time that I saw it in the theatre, there were only 2 people (again, including myself) This time however, there were 700+ people!! Now this is the way this movie is meant to be seen! :-)

I found it ironic that of all 13 films that were being shown, this is the only one that I had seen on the big screen, yet the majority of the 700+ people in attendance had not seen it at all, (due to the whole Lionsgate scandal) much less on the big screen!
[More on the scandal, as well as full coverage of Barker's Q & A will appear in issue #26 of Hacker's Source! If you are a Barker fan, you will definitely be interested in what he talked about afterwards!]

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Rating: 4 Skulls)
The trailers shown before this film were Weird Al Yankovic's UHF and David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch.

Director Joseph Zito made it very clear, in his introduction of this movie, that Paramount, at the time, had sworn that this was indeed going to be the final Friday the 13th film!
He, along with everyone else, thought this was indeed the truth.
However, he just made too good of a flick! :-) I mean c'mon, you have Corey Feldman & Crispin Glover as well as all of the other campy goodness that this film has to offer up! :-)
[Joseph also did a Q & A afterwards, which will be discussed in issue #26 of Hacker's Source]

Okay, before I continue on, keep in mind that it is now after midnight - these next few films are perfect for the wee morning hours! :-)
Next up is Peter Jackson's gore-fest Dead Alive, but before I get there, I just have to post the trailer that was shown beforehand:
Behold - Wheelchair Werewolf (This trailer ROCKS!)

I do not know if this is an actual movie (if it is, then I must see it!) or just a spoof trailer.

If you know, please let me know! :-)

On to the remainder of the reviews:

Dead Alive (Rating: 5 Skulls)

There is nothing to say about this one, other than the fact that it is one of the goriest movies ever made!!! If you have never seen this early work of Peter Jackson (The Frighteners and Lord of the Rings Trilogy) you are missing out. . .

Phantom of the Paradise (Rating: 5 Skulls)
Before this film started, we saw trailer for Mad Max and its sequel The Road Warrior

This film is from 1974 and portrays the iconic seventies in all their glory! It is directed by Brian De Palma) and very well may be my favorite De Palma film!) I had never seen it before, but I loved it!! [keep in mind, it is now around 3:00 in the morning, and I have been awake for almost 24 hours already!] This movie is extremely bizarre, yet I cannot deny its goodness! :-)

It is basically a Rock version of Phantom of the Opera, mixed with the story of Faust.
I don't know what it is about this movie, it's just something! If you have never seen it, I definitely recommend it!

Black Sabbath (Rating: ? Skulls)
This is the 1963 Italian film directed by Mario Bava. It is actually a trilogy of tales, hosted by Boris Karloff.

The reason that there is a ? before the actual rating, is that I actually started to fade in and out while watching this movie, [it has nothing to do with the movie - again remember, it is after 4:00 in the morning!] so, I do not feel comfortable rating it, being that I only remember bits & pieces.

I know that the 1st story was about a ghost, and I remember thinking that the old woman looked a lot like Willem Dafoe! :-)

From what I remember, the movie is at least 3 Skulls, and I may give it more, once I have watched the film again, wide-awake.

Pieces (Rating: 5 Skulls)
The tagline for this movie is: "You don't have to go to Texas for a Chainsaw Massacre"
[once you have seen this film, you will understand] :-)
The movie was released in 1982, and was written by Joe D'Amato (you exploitation fans should recognize that name)
As I stated above, in Black Sabbath, by this point I was pretty tired, however as soon as this movie started, I was instantly wide awake! (there is a pretty intense scene of butchery, in the 1st five minutes of the film!) This movie is chock full of cheesy goodness! There is a brief kung-fu scene in this movie that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and the ending of this film will have you saying WHAT?!?

My understanding is that this movie is going to e released, on DVD, tomorrow! Trust me on this one and just go and buy it!! (I will be) You will not be disappointed!

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (Rating: 5 Skulls)
While the majority of the crowd did not seem to like this one as much as I did (I thought it was great!) there is no denying that it is one of the better movies released this year. The effects in this movie are all old-school, make-up & masks, etc, which is great to see, after all of the over-use of CGI out there lately.
I thought that not only were the effects great, the acting was not half-bad either, and Robert Englund was fantastic, as always!
The movie does not have the fastest pace out there, though my understanding of this is that this movie's plot is all a build-up for a bigger budget, allowing for a more action-packed sequel.
Either way, this one is definitely worth watching in my book!

The Exorcist (Rating: 5 Skulls)
Before this film started, trailers were shown for Necromancy: Life to the Dead and Death to the Living (starring Orson Welles!) and also Brain of Blood.

Do I really need to say anything about this movie? I thought not.
Simply one of the scariest/creepiest horror films ever made - I found it to be even more disturbing, now that my oldest daughter is 8 - close to the age of Linda Blair's character Regan.

Well, those were the films that I watched - all within a 24-Hour period. :-)

Let me leave you with a few pictures from the event. (of course, there will be more pictures in the article in Hacker's Source, taken by a professional photographer - none other than Independent Filmmaker Christopher Kahler - did I mention that the magazine let me borrow him for the event? :-)
These pictures, however, were taken by me:

This was part of the line, one hour before the event started!

This is a horrible picture of me, along with Director Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Missing in Action, Invasion U.S.A.)
What is Joe holding? Why nothing other than the magazine that I write for ~ Hacker's Source (Issue #25)

This is Clive Barker, signing a hand drawn portrait of Pinhead (Clive drew this, that afternoon, specifically for the event - it was then auctioned off for a charity.
The gentleman leaning over is the lucky purchaser of that drawing - to find out how much he paid, you'll have to read the article in Hacker's Source! :-)

This was taken 24 hours later - everyone (those who survived anyway) leaving the event.


Wings said...

Ok, so on your recommendation (5 Skulls!), I watched "Midnight Meat Train" last night.

I liked it a lot. The "twist" through me a bit, but it all fit in together nicely. Loved the sadistic, brutal, yet sort-a sad Mahogany.

The scene with him alone in his bathroom was creepy, almost stomach-turning.

I also liked that the end was true to the movie, and didn't end up some "happily ever after" crap.

Good film, I liked it! Thanks, Jason.

thebonebreaker said...


Glad to hear that you enjoyed Midnight Meat Train!

Mahogany [Jones] was superb! :-)