Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, September 29, 2023

Ghost Ship (1952)

This low budget British made movie is an interesting ghost story. Instead of being set in a spooky old house it is on a luxury yacht. We meet a young couple, Guy and Margaret, played by real life man and wife Dermot Walsh and Hazel Court. They have returned to England after Guy’s company transferred him home. They are looking for a place to live and have decided that a boat will meet their needs. They arrive at a shipyard only to find the harbor master trying to steer them away from what appears to be a perfectly fine ship. It seems that the ship, The Cyclops, has a bit of a nasty history. Her previous owner, his wife, and their friend disappeared during a voyage. Since then there has been a series of owners who all sell the ship not long after buying it.

The only constant from owner to owner is a local named Mansel who is hired on by Guy as his engineer after the others quit due to seeing a ghost. He claims to have never seen nor heard anything strange on the ship, but himself seems a bit odd. There are some twists and turns, the reason for the haunting is revealed (though not onscreen as that would have been a bit too gruesome for the fifties) and we understand why Mansel hasn’t seen any ghosts. I’ll not spoil any of it here because I’m going to recommend Ghost Ship. Though I suppose that itself is a bit of a spoiler. Read more to find out why.

The movie clocks in at a reasonably tight seventy-two minutes. It does take a while for the spooky stuff to start as we don’t even get a hint of a ghost for the first half hour. But there is a decently entertaining getting the Cyclops seaworthy montage that was fun. This is helped by the obvious chemistry that married couple Walsh and Court have on screen. There performances carry the movie along nicely. This earlier part of the story also leans more into the comedy than it does any ghost related stuff. I’m also a huge fan of Court who most of us know from her work with Roger Corman. Here she is not only as beautiful as ever but is excellent in her role. All in all, I’d say that this early portion of the movie is pleasant and entertaining.

When the characters finally relent and admit that something spooky is happening, they call in an investigator to see if the ship is haunted. He brings in a medium which leads to an extended flashback to the final voyage that explains the who and why of the haunting. This portion of the movie is tonally much different and gets rather melodramatic before becoming gruesome. They also do a decent job with a final twist that gives Ghost Ship a decent final act.

I wanted to point out and applaud the movie for being as creepy as it manages to be. This story takes place almost entirely during the day so pulling off a haunting in the broad daylight not only bucks the usual setting for a proper haunting. But it does work very well. It was also interesting that the setting of the yacht was used because the director/writer owned it. This is a prime example of using what you have when setting and shooting a movie on a budget. He had the boat and set the story there.

If you are looking for a movie with a ton of jump scares or that is set in a creaky old mansion during a thunderstorm (which always seems to be blowing) then Ghost Ship is not for you. On the other hand, if you have grown a bit weary of the same old familiar tale and are looking for something a bit different then this one is for you. I liked it quite a bit and recommend giving the movie a chance. It is easy to find online to watch.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Throwback Thursday – The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene

note: Earlier this year I posted another old review from a Brian Keene book, Dead Sea. I’ve read a lot more of his stuff, but I think these are the only two that I actually reviewed for the old Gutmunchers site. I certainly need to revisit more of them as I’ve never been let down by his books.

This is a very interesting novel from a writer that seems to be cranking out some decent genre related fiction. The story centers around an elderly man named Teddy Garnett who lives in a small town in West Virginia. We quickly find out that one day it started to rain and never stopped. While everyone in his neck of the woods is already gone and most of the surrounding towns are under water Teddy and a few of his neighbors are still hanging on refusing to leave. After more than forty days of rain everything is soaked and there is strange mold growing on most of the remaining animals and trees.

As if this disaster of biblical proportions wasn’t bad enough the raised water levels have driven some rather large earthworms to the surface. We are talking house-sized earthworms that seem just a bit aggressive. Part way into the story Keene has a helicopter full of additional characters show up and immediately get shot down by one of Teddy’s less sane neighbors. This allows Keene to introduce another group of survivors from a city on the East Coast. He tells their story of sea monsters, Satanists, and their eventual escape from the hotel that had been their home just before everything came tumbling down on them. It allows him to broaden the scale of the story and add some fun background to the end of the world. The final act of the book is Teddy and his new friends trying to fight off the horrors that are coming up from beneath the ground under their feet.

I find myself going thru long stretches of time where I end up reading book after book form the same author. The Conqueror Worms is probably the third or fourth book I’ve read from Keene, and I have to say it is one of my favorites. I’m a big sucker for the end of the world survivor type of books where you are introduced to a cast of characters, only to have them picked off one at a time. But the key for this type of story is that you need to really care about the characters, or at least have some sort of vested interest in what happens to them. Keen does a great job with The Conqueror Worms in establishing the characters, giving each a unique background and personality. When they start to get picked off it means something to the reader. I also think the idea of breaking the story of Teddy in half and wrapping it around the other survivor’s story makes for a much more interesting book and helps with the pacing of the story. 

If I have one complaint about much of Keene’s work it is that he has this nasty tendency to end all his stories ending on depressing notes. Everyone is always either dead or doomed. Traditionally that is a fine way to end a horror movie, story, or novel, but it sucks when it becomes predictable. The Conqueror Worms hints at an ending like this but does leave the door open for a potentially happier ending. I appreciated that slim ray of hope for the characters.    

In the end I found this effort from Keene to be an entertaining and fun read. At just over three hundred and twenty five pages it is an easy read and well worth your time. I recommend tracking yourself down a copy of this one.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

War of the Worlds: The Attack (2023)

I decided to check out what was available on my various streaming services. I’ve always been a big fan of H.G. Wells so when I saw that someone had taken another shot at the classic War of the Worlds story I was interested. I really shouldn’t have been.

Things kick off with the familiar voiceover warning us that the Earth has been watched by it’s closest neighbor Mars. If you have ever watched any of these movies, you know the drill. Then there are some annoying college kids riding their bicycles in the woods. They are all apparently astronomy students or some nonsense like that. They are looking for a meteor that has crashed in the nearby woods but give up and go to Herbert’s house to crash for the night. Oh yeah one of them is named Herbert Wells as in H.G. Wells… uh oh.

The rest of the movie is them, Herbert and his friends Hannah and Ogilvy, alternately running away from aliens, running into crazy human beings, and then running away from aliens again. Along the way we get all the greatest hits like people being used as fertilizer, a crazy authority figure, and of course a science person explaining that they invaders got a cold or something microbial and died off. Why did I waste eighty-five minutes of my life on this?

This is another example of a movie that has no reason to exist. I have said repeatedly that not everything needs to reinvent the wheel and I stick to that. But War of the Worlds: The Attack begs the question “did we really need to see this same story rehashed again?” Honestly this is the same exact story only with college aged kids being the central characters. Now had they done something with that new perspective that told the story with a slightly different twist then sure good on them. But this is almost scene for scene the same story. So why?

Were the original movie and the Tom Cruise remake (which itself was somewhat interesting as it was seen thru the perspective of a father trying to save his daughter and reunite his family) not good enough? Just because something has hit public domain and is now free game for anyone to cash in on the name recognition doesn’t mean that you can’t at least try and tell your own version. In the end I found watching this incredibly boring. I’ve seen this very same story done way better several times if I include the mediocre nineties television show.

All of the above is further complicated by a production that clearly lacked the resources to bring to screen what the wanted to. Can’t drive cars because the aliens can track you, so I guess bicycles it is for our characters. Saved some cash there even if it does come off as absurdly stupid. I mean we see aliens sneak up on people standing near windows… so yeah. The few alien attacks we do see are brought to the screen using horribly rendered CGI that would have embarrassed even the fine folks over at the Asylum. Also the crowded survivor scenes is populated by at most twenty or thirty folks some of which are clearly crewmembers that weren’t needed behind the camera.

It is time for me to sound like a broken record again. Indy filmmakers please remember one of the biggest pitfalls of low budget movies. Shoot what you actually have the resources for. Sometimes that means writing a script with that in mind. Though I’m sure the scriptwriting process only went as far as “Hey War of the Worlds is in the public domain. People recognize that title grab the camera and make a movie.” The filmmakers really should have put more thought into their script. This is a terrible and pointless movie that simply didn’t need to be made. Obviously not a recommendation from me.


Ó Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Featured Post - Annual October Shenanigans

October is a big time of year around my house. As a lover of all things spooky I dive head first into the shallow end of the festive pool. If you haven't been around the site before that means I not only try to post a new movie review every day for the month of October but I also watch as many horror flicks as possible as well. 

Will I succeed in breaking my previous best? Likely not as during COVID when I had nothing else to do I watched an impressively stupid SEVENTY FIVE flicks in a single month! I doubt I can equal that but I'm going to try. What may be easier to do is drop a new horror movie review every day. I can't believe that I've been doing this for seven years now. Time just flies by. 

In case you are interested in my previous October marathons I've linked them below. Below that is the running total for how well I'm doing on this year's marathon. I love this time of year and can't wait to revisit some old favorites and maybe find a couple new ones. 

October 2017

October 2018 Zombie edition

October 2019

October 2020

October 2021

October 2022

Movie Review Marathon - New reviews!

*click on the titles for the full review link

October 1st - Evil Dead Rise (2023) - Never let it be said that I don't watch new horror flicks. That said I was very worried in checking out this new entry into the Evil Dead franchise. 

October 2nd - Mark of the Dead Man (1961) - I'm always looking for Mexican Horror/Mad Scientist fun.

October 3rd - A Werewolf in England (2020) - Low budget werewolf horror/comedy that works well!

October 4th - The Alien Within (1995) - Roger Corman produced "homage" to much better creature features that stars a lot of familiar "B" movie actors including my personal favorite Roddy McDowall. 

October 5th - Deadly Manor (1990) - Never watched this one before and won't ever do so again. This is the first real stinker of the month. You can read my review for more details but really don't bother. 

October 6th - Night of Terror (1933) - This is one of those "Old Dark House" movies that could fit equally in either the horror or mystery genre. But since this one has Bela Lugosi in a supporting role I thought it fit nicely in with this marathon. 

October 7th - Dark Places (1974) - I had never heard of this one before but when I saw that Christopher Lee and Joan Collins had supporting roles I added it to my must watch list. I wasn't disappointed. 

October 8th - Curse of the Screaming Dead (1982) - This one, also called The Curse of the Cannibal Confederates, is a real stinker of a zombie flick. Sometimes when you go digging for new stuff you end up watching some real crap. 

October 9th - Unwelcome (2022) - This dropped on Shudder a while ago but I wanted to save it for the marathon. It looked like something I was going to dig and I wasn't disappointed. This is a fun one!

October 10th - Pooka! (2018) - I've been meaning to check this one out since it hit Hulu a few years ago. Finally got around to it for this year's marathon.

October 11th - Zombies of the Living Dead (2015) - I keep swearing off low or in this case no budget zombie flicks only to watch more. This one is miserable and I had many "regerts" just a few minutes in.

October 12th - Huge Shark (2021) - This always happens to me. I go digging deep for new stuff to talk about and I go too far. This made for Chinese television flick is a poorly executed copy of much better movies. 

October 13th - Frostbitten (2006) - I had to toss a new vampire flick into the mix. Well okay this was new to me... regardless I was surprised at how much fun I had with this low budget vampire horror comedy.

October 14th - Blood Bath (1966) - I think that I've seen this one ages ago maybe on one of my local horror hosted shows. That said I didn't remember anything about it. Cobbled together from another project that Roger Corman made with some added footage from Jack Hill this one is a mess. 

October 15th - Return of the Killer Shrews (2012) - This is a sequel that I've been waiting to watch for quite a while now. I've actually had a copy for a while but forgot about it. 

October 16th - The Last Matinee (2020) - I've been seeing this one pop up on Shudder but I've been ignoring it. I mean the idea of a Giallo/Slasher style flick is right up my alley but there always seemed to be something else to watch. Finally watched it for the marathon and it was damn good!

October 17th - Girls with Balls (2018) - This movie has been on my radar for a while having been on my Netflix queue. This marathon seemed to be a perfect excuse to finally check it out. 

October 18th - Slotherhouse (2023) - What happens when you swap out the killer in a slasher movie with a homicidal sloth? You get a movie that is a complete blast! Really Slotherhouse might be my favorite movie of the year!

October 19th - Killer Book Club (2023) - I've been having great luck this year with new or new to me horror flicks. This one has an old school slasher movie vibe with a killer in a creepy clown mask. Toss in a solid if not unfamiliar twist for a bit of fun. 

October 20th - Totally Killer (2023) - Another new horror flick that I loved! How long can I keep this positive vibe going? Spoilers it is going to end soon. This one can be found on Amazon Prime and is worth taking a look at. 

October 21st - 13 Eerie (2013) - I thought I'd take a shot at another indy zombie movie. This one isn't as bad as the last one I looked at but it also isn't great. 

October 22nd - Plaga Zombies: American Invasion (2023) - Well shit. I did it again I watched an indie zombie flick. IT ended up about who you would expect it to have. I really need to stop doing this. 

October 23rd - Ready or Not (2018) - This is one of the best movies I've seen in the last five years. I caught it at the drive-in, which was a perfect place for a first watch. If you haven't seen this one before you need to give it a chance. 

October 24th - My Best Friend is a Vampire (1987) - I remember this movie from the theater as well as my early rental days. I think that the last time I checked it out was when I rented it from Blockbuster Video (how is that for a blast from the past?) in the early '90s. 

October 25th - Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey (2023) - If you were interested in checking this one out don't. It totally wastes the twisted idea of using a beloved children's icon recently dropped into public domain in a horror movie and basically puts a Pooh mask overtop of a generic backwoods hillbilly killing city folk movie. Terrible idea and an even worse flick.  

October 26th - Blood Beast from Outer Space (1965) - Dug up an old science fiction flick I had never seen before. Stars John Saxon and is about an alien come to London to kidnap ladies to take home to repopulate. It is pretty bad. 

October 27th - Night of the Hunted (2023) - This is another new horror movie. It popped up on Shudder and the plot synopsis read about a woman seemingly targeted at random by a sniper at a lonely gas station in the middle of the night. It seems relatable and that always makes for a scary horror flick. 

October 28th - Spasmo (1974) - I thought I should switch things up and drop a Giallo on you. There is a murderer, a body count, and a few scares along the way. This is a decent movie and might be a fun change of pace if you are looking to add some variety to your own spooky movie marathon. 

October 29th - Dead Meat (1960) - I watched this flick many years ago but haven't ever covered it for the site. I remember sort of liking it so despite being an independent zombie flick I'm sure it will be fine. Plus it is Irish so that is different.  

October 30th - Zombie Town (2023) - I was never a Goosebumps kid as I was a bit too old for it so I don't have any nostalgia when it comes to the work of R.L. Stine. That said I have dug some of the adaptations of his work as well as some of the old Saturday morning shows that I've seen. When this popped up on Hulu I thought I'd give it a watch. 

October 31st - Mammoth (2006) - I thought I'd finish up the review marathon by covering my favorite Sci-Fi channel original. I honestly thought I had covered this a long time ago but didn't. This one is just the right combination of silly and serious. 

Wrap up of the Review Marathon

Thirty one days and thirty one reviews. I'd call that a success. I checked out some new movies that were good like Evil Dead Rise and others that weren't so good (I'm looking at you Blood and Honey!). I checked all the horror boxes with Slashers, Zombies, Vampires, Aliens, and even found a solid Werewolf flick! This year I even snuck in some Giallo goodness. I hope you guys enjoyed seeing what I did for this most festive of holiday seasons... seriously Hallmark dump the Christmas bullshit and make some horror! Until next year keep it spooky. 

What I've Watched

Movie 1 (October 1st) - Frostbitten (2006) - random vampire flick from Sweden. New to me. update: I posted the review here

Movie 2 (October 1st) - Blood Bath (1966) - Been a while since I've watched this Jack Hill flick. update: review posted. 

Movie 3 (October 1st) - Return of the Killer Shrews (2012) - The sequel to a favorite of mine. Forgot that I bought a copy five or six years ago. Time to check it out. update: here is the review. 

Movie 4 (October 1st) - Willy's Wonderland (2021) - Nic Cage has been making some awesome flicks over the last few years. This is one of my favorites. Click here for my review from a couple of years ago. 

Movie 5 (October 2nd) - The Legend of Hell House (1973) - This is my favorite haunted house movie. Not only is it spooky as hell but we also get Roddy McDowall as one of our protagonists. Click here for the review I did five years ago. Damn has it been that long? 

Movie 6 (October 2nd) - The Last Matinee (2020) - I bought this movie a couple of years ago and just now am getting around to watching it. This is a new to me flick and is new horror rom Uruguay which is a first for me. I'm excited. update: finally posted the review

Movie 7 (October 2nd) - Blood Fest (2018) - Been a while since I've watched this one but I like it. Check out my full review here

Movie 8 (October 3rd) - Dawn of the Dead (2004) - The original Dawn of the Dead is my favorite movie ever. You will be seeing it on this list before the month is over. While I wish they had called this one Wisconsin Zombie Mall instead of Dawn of the Dead it is one of the better remakes. Check out my full review here

Movie 9 (October 3rd) - The Mad (2007) - Billy Zane in a zombie flick that is being played for laughs. Trust me it is way better than it sounds. This has become a yearly tradition for me. Check out my full review at this link

Movie 10 (October 4th) - Girls with Balls (2018) - In an effort to find some hidden gems I thought I should check out this one. It has been floating around Netflix for a while so why not. update: the review is live now. 

Movie 11 (October 4th) - House on Haunted Hill (1959) - This is a true classic. Not as spooky as The Legend of Hell House but special in it's own cheesy way. Plus Vincent Price! Check out my full review here

Movie 12 (October 5th) - The Evil Dead (1981) - I watch this every October and have since I was fourteen... which was a long damn time ago! Not sure that I need to say much more about this genuine horror classic. I did a review of it a few years ago that you can check out here

Movie 13 (October 5th) - The Fog (1980) - I figured why not make tonight a classic horror movie double feature. This is my favorite ghost story not called The Legend of Hell House. It is also one of my favorite Carpenter flick, maybe second only to Halloween. You can check out my review here

Movie 14 (October 6th) - Slotherhouse (2023) - I've been very excited about this movie since teh trailer dropped. Not sure how well the admittedly silly premise will hold up over the duration of a feature film. Fingers crossed it is as awesome as I hope. update: the review is live. 

Movie 15 (October 6th) - Cooties (2014) - Bad chicken nuggets turn kids into homicidal killers... Sign me up. We also get an appearance from an Assistant to the Regional Manager as well as a Hobbit! Enough laughs and mayhem to make it a perfect fit this time of year. My full review is here

Movie 16 (October 6th) - V/H/S/85 (2023) - I liked the last installment of this series so I thought I'd check out this new one that just hit Shudder. Not a huge found footage fan but these have been mostly okay. 

Movie 17 (October 7th) - I Drink Your Blood (1971) - Rabid Hippies terrorizing an almost abandoned town. This is one of my personal favorites that I always watch this time of year. If you want to read more then check out the review

Movie 18 (October 7th) - Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972) - I think that today might turn into watching some old favorites of mine and this falls squarely into that category. I love this Bob Clark flick. Check out my full review here

Movie 19 (October 7th) - Killer Book Club (2023) - I changed my mind. Instead of grabbing a familar flick from the shelves I decided to check out this one on Netflix. This Spanish production looks to be a new take on a slasher/giallo flick. update: Finally got the review live. 

Movie 20 (October 7th) - Haunted Mansion (2023) - I know that this one had some bad reviews but I love the ride at Disney so I have to watch this one. As an added bonus my wife, who normally doesn't participate in the spooky stuff, wants to watch it with me. Can't pass up a movie with my Boo... see what I did there? 

Movie 21 (October 7th) - Hubie Halloween (2020) - This has been an annual tradition of mine since the movie came out three years ago. I know that some folks aren't Adam Sandler movies, but when they are funny they are funny. This one is funny. 

Movie 22 (October 8th) - Terror Train (1980) - I'm a sucker for slasher movies as well as flicks set on a train. Terror Train is both! You can check out my full review here

Movie 23 (October 9th) - The Thing (1982) - I seriously can't have a spooky October without watching this classic John Carpenter flick. Great cast, cool special effects, and an awesome sense of isolation and paranoia. Perfect movie. In the unlikely event you haven't seen this one before you can check out my full review here. 

Movie 24 (October 9th) - Tremors (1990) - This is one of my favorite monster movies and one that spawned some decent sequels. I'll never forget looking up at the marquee at the theater in the mall and convincing my friends to check it out. Speaking of checking things out here is my review from a few years ago. 

Movie 25 (October 10th) - The Deadly Mantis (1957) - I can't celebrate Halloween without some fifties giant bug goodness. I've always loved the ending of this one in the fog, it is spooky. You can read more here

Movie 26 (October 10th) - Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988) - I've always enjoyed this sequel. Not as good as the original but I enjoy the zombies, humor, and generally just find this to be a fun time. Check out my review at this link

Movie 27 (October 11th) - Totally Killer (2023) - This one was pitched as a Ground Hogs day/Slasher movie mashup. I'm getting some Happy Death Day vibes but I dig that movie so I figured I'd give this a chance. update: The review is live. 

Movie 28 (October 11th) - 13 Eerie (2013) - I've had this movie in my Amazon watch later list for a while. It looks like an interesting folks go into the woods and bad things happen movie. I'm always down for one of them. This is another new to me flick. update: The review is live

Movie 29 (October 12th) - Prince of Darkness (1987) - Time to get back to some old favorites after checking out some new flicks. I watch a lot of John Carpenter flicks this time of year and this is a great one. Check out my full review at this link.

Movie 30 (October 12th) - Night of the Creeps (1986) - This is another old favorite of mine that I need to watch every October. This was a tradition when all I could get was a bootleg, but thankfully that changed many years ago when it finally hit DVD and Blu-Ray. Check out my full review here.

Movie 31 (October 12th) - My Name is Bruce (2007) - I love Bruce Campbell and how he is the first one to goof on himself. Between that and being in awesome movies is why he is loved so much by fans. If you haven't seen this flick you need to check it out. I always watch it around Halloween.

Movie 32 (October 13th) - Friday the 13th (1980) - Well it is Friday the 13th and it happens to be October. I can't remember the last time that happened. Check out my full review here if you don't know already how awesome this flick is.

Movie 33 (October 13th) - Jason X (2001) - Well it is still Friday the 13th and I haven't watched this one in a long time. Thought I might as well revisit it. Plus I've never reviewed it for the site so two birds one stone.

Movie 34 (October 14th) - Intruder (1989) - If you haven't seen this gem of a slasher you are missing out. Created by some of the folks responsible for the Evil Dead franchise you will see many familiar faces in this one. I always watch this one in October. Check out my full review here.

Movie 35 (October 14th) - The Midnight Hour (1985) - This is another Halloween tradition. This made for television flick has stars a lot of familiar faces and is family friendly. My full review is here.

Movie 36 (October 15th) - Mutant (1984) - This flick from stuntman/director/actor John "Bud" Cardos is one of his better directorial efforts. It feels a bit like a zombie flick but has a fun chemical spill subplot. Regardless it is a good time and something I like to revisit every year. You can find my full review here.

Movie 37 (October 15th) - Plaga Zombie: American Invasion (2021) - This is a new to me movie. It is also an independent low budget zombie flick. Yeah I know I just said I needed to stop doing this to myself but I can't help it. update: The review is live.

Movie 38 (October 16th) - The Prowler (1981) - Had to work another slasher into the mix. This one has great kills and a killer that looks awesome. I get that it isn't everyone's cup of tea but I dig it. Check out my full review here.

Movie 39 (October 16th) - Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948) - I need some comedy in my horror marathon. This is one of my favorites with the comic duo of Abbott and Costello meeting up with Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Lon Chaney as the Wolfman. This movie is a real classic.

Movie 40 (October 17th) - Ready or Not (2018) - I first saw this at my local drive-in during the initial release. I loved it and the drive-in was the perfect place to see it. Not sure if I've watched it in previous marathons but it does deserve a spot this year. update: Just uploaded the review.

Movie 41 (October 17th) - Little Monsters (2019) - Time for a legit funny zombie comedy from Australia. This flick made me sort of tolerate Josh Gad. He is gleefully funny. You can check out my full review here.

Movie 42 (October 18th) - My Best Friend is a Vampire (1987) - I honestly haven't watched this movie in maybe thirty years! I picked a copy up at the local big box store. I always like adding at least one movie to my collection every October. update: Here is the review link.

Movie 43 (October 18th) - The Monster Squad (1987) - Kids movie or not this one is way too much fun to not watch every Halloween. If you haven't seen this one or just want to hear more from me you can check out my full review here.

Movie 44 (October 18th) - IT! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) - I haven't had nearly enough fifties goodness in my marathon. This movie is one of the lesser known but decent sci-fi/horror flicks made during that most magical of decades. Check out my full review here.

Movie 45 (October 19th) - Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey (2023) - Been doing so well with new horror I decided to press my luck. Plus I honestly wanted to see what sort of nonsense this was going to be since the first trailer hit the web. Here goes nothing... update: The review is live.

Movie 46 (October 19th) - The Burning (1981) - After the last movie I needed something to restore my faith in decent filmmaking. I guess that is a spoiler but yeah it sucked. I thought a classic slasher flick from the eighties was just the ticket. You can check out my full review for The Burning here.

Movie 47 (October 20th) - Demons 2 (1986) - This one isn't normally in my marathon but Joe Bob Briggs is showing it on his Halloween special so I'm in. Not nearly as fun as the original this one still has enough shenanigans to be fun.

Movie 48 (October 20th) - All Hallows' Eve (2013) - This is another movie that I normally wouldn't watch. But it is the second movie of the Halloween special from Joe Bob Briggs so why the hell not. Plus it is good to check out different things and expand your spooky movie horizons.

Movie 49 (October 21st) - Night of the Living Dead (1968) - I can't have Halloween without some Romero! Thought I'd start off with this true classic and where the modern zombie mythos was created. You can read my full review here.

Movie 50 (October 21st) - Zombie Town (2023) - I'm a fan of R. L. Stine so when I saw this hit Hulu as well as the relaunch of the Goosebumps I was excited. It might be a bit juvenile but I dig it. Just hoping it is as much fun as the Jack Black movies. update: Check out my full review here.

Movie 51 (October 22nd) - Evil Dead II (1987) - Time to dive into another classic horror flick. I can't have October without some Evil Dead. I checked out the original earlier this month so this was the next one up. Be sure that I'll get to Army of Darkness before the month is out. You can check out my full review here.

Movie 52 (October 22nd) - Blood Beast from Outer Space (1965) - This British sci-fi/horror flick is new to me. The only reason I even found it was that it stars John Saxon! I'm pretty excited to check it out. update: The review is live.

Movie 53 (October 23rd) - The Crazies (1973) - I always like to check this one out every October. I'm always surprised by how many professed Romero fans ignore and/or don't like this one. I've always dug it. It is a perfect bridge between Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Check out my full review here.

Movie 54 (October 23rd) - Super 8 (2011) - I've loved this movie since it first came out. I can't believe that was twelve years ago! This is a perfect bit of nostalgia that reminds an eighties kid like myself about all the cool shit we used to have. You can check my review here.

Movie 55 (October 24th) - Night of the Hunted (2023) - This just popped up on Shudder and looks to be a genuinely scary bit of modern horror. There is a sniper terrorizing a woman at an isolated gas station in the middle of the night. That synopsis got under my skin so I need to check it out. update: Here is the review.

Movie 56 (October 24th) - Dead Meat (2004) - An Irish indie zombie flick. Yeah I know I keep saying that I need to stop watching low budget zombie flicks... but Ireland! I think I watched this one a few years ago but don't remember a thing. That probably isn't a good sign. update: The review is available now.

Movie 57 (October 25th) - The Thing from Another World (1951) - I can't have a Halloween season without this classic sci-fi monster movie from the '50s. I love this movie. Check my full review here for more.

Movie 58 (October 25th) - Mammoth (2006) - This Sci-Fi channel movie is probably the best one they ever made. The cast is great with Sumer Glau and Tom Skerritt appearing. Plus we have aliens and a reanimated Mammoth! I end up watching this one every couple of years. update: The review is posted here.

Movie 59 (October 25th) - Night of the Living Dead (1990) - This may be the best remake I've ever seen. Overseen by Romero and directed by Tom Savini this flick is awesome. The special effects and zombies kick ass. I have to watch it every October. The full review is here.

Movie 60 (October 26th) - Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) - I though movie sixty should be something special. This one is special... know what I mean Verne? It has been a couple of years since I popped this one in so I figured it was time to rewatch it.

Movie 61 (October 27th) - Eight Legged Freaks (2002) - This is another yearly tradition for me. I consider this to be one of the better monster movies of the last couple decades. I remember watching this when it first hit theaters. Damn that was twenty one years ago... I'm old. My full review is here.

Movie 62 (October 27th) - The Night Stalker (1972) - I can't have a spooky season without some Carl Kolchak. This is the movie that kicked off the brief but awesome Kolchak franchise. If you haven't seen this or the movie and series that followed you need to check them out. My full review is here.

Movie 63 (October 28th) - The Beast Must Die (1974) - Another must have every October is a werewolf break! This is the only place you can get one of those so I had to watch The Beast Must Die. It also happens to be a good movie. You can check out my full review here.

Movie 64 (October 28th) - Gangnam Zombie (2023) - Okay another low budget zombie movie... I know what I keep saying. But this one is Korean and they tend to make good stuff regardless of budget so I have hope.

Movie 65 (October 28th) - Meg 2 The Trench (2023) - I needed some shark action in the marathon. My only hope for this flick is that Statham finally punches the shark. Oh and the Yorkie needs to be okay again. I hate it when a horror flick kills the dog. That is a total dick move.

Movie 66 (October 28th) - Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) - This has become a must watch every October. Billy Zane gleefully chews the scenery in this over the top horror flick. Check out my full review here.

Movie 67 (October 28th) - Feast (2005) - This is another movie that I have to watch every October. This is another great monster movie with some comedic elements. You can check out my full review here. But bottom line is if you haven't watched this yet check it out.

Movie 68 (October 29th) - 13 Ghosts (1960) - I needed more William Castle goodness in my annual marathon. This one is a bit cheesier and silly than most of them but I've always dug it. You can check out my full review here.

Movie 69 (October 29th) - Maximum Overdrive (1986) - This is another favorite. It has a body count but I supposed some argument could be made that it is science fiction. But this is my marathon so its horror. You can check out my full review here.

Movie 70 (October 30th) - Dawn of the Dead (1978) - Two days left and we are now officially entering the classics portion of the marathon. This is one of my favorite movies that I always save for this time of year. If you need more check out my review here.

Movie 71 (October 30th) - Army of Darkness (1992) - I had to finish the trilogy before the month ended. This is the silliest of the Evil Dead movies and is a blast. I always check it out for Halloween. You can read my full review here.

Movie 72 (October 30th) - Slither (2006) - Funny, gross, and scary. That is the horror trifecta. I remember catching this movie in the theater on my way back from a movie convention. Since then it has been in my yearly marathon. I love this flick to read more why check out my review.

Movie 73 (October 31st) - Halloween (1978) - Saving the best for last. Well I mean Dawn of the Dead is my favorite all time movie but you can't go wrong with this Carpenter classic. I'll be watching this as well as the sequel. But I suppose that is spoilers. Here is my full review but honestly if you haven't seen this yet go do so now!

Movie 74 (October 31st) - Halloween II (1981) - I've always loved how well this and the original Halloween mesh together despite this one being more of a traditional slasher flick with kills and gore. You can check out my full review here.

Movie 75 (October 31st) - Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) - Last movie of the month and of this year's marathon also completes the Tom Atkins triple feature. I already had Night of the Creeps and The Fog out of the way so why not Halloween III? You can check my full review out here.

Wrap up of Movie Marathon

Damn I managed seventy five flicks which ties my all time record. I hadn't thought I'd do that well but I suppose I just got on a roll. Managed to revisit a lot of old favorites, checked all the must watch boxes, and added a few new flicks. I think I might have added a few to the must watch every October list as well. The highlight for me was Slotherhouse.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful October, watched some spooky movies, and got their fill of candy. Until October 2024 keep it creepy. Don't forget to stop by Crappy Movie Reviews all year to get new horror movie and book reviews. Here every day is Halloween!

Monday, September 25, 2023

Six She’s and a He (1963)

I was in the mood for something weird so when I dug thru my to watch pile and found Six She’s and a He from Something Weird Video I thought to myself, ‘this seems like a good choice.’ See what I did there? For the uniformed the previously mentioned company is best known for saving and releasing oddball and sometimes thought lost regional low budget cheapie drive-in flicks. But was this one worth the effort? Lets check it out and see.

A voiceover tells us that the man floating along in a raft is a bomber pilot from World War II. This is immediately after us hearing voices talking about a rocket launch over some stock footage of the space program. Um okay movie this isn’t a good start. The astronaut/bomber pilot, Fred, lands on a beach and is rescued by six lovely ladies in bikinis. After reviving him with some water they show a severed head on a stick and tell him that he is now their slave. This is because they are the Love Goddesses which explains the excruciatingly bad song of the same name that they keep playing.

The rest of the movie follows a pattern. Fred has to “service” the ladies at night and then is hooked to a plow or forced to mow the grass (with a scythe no less!) during the day. This “torture” is almost unbearable. Mixed in is a flashback where we see them kill a Nazi… okay so it is World War II. Luckily one of the ladies, Desiree, offers to help him escape if he will take her with him. Seems she isn’t a fan of the island and the Love Goddess gig at all. He agrees and they execute the worst escape plan since… well maybe ever! The lifeboat goes back in the ocean and with some more stock footage and voiceover work Fred is back to being an astronaut in the sixties. Well shit…

In the sixties there was a trend from regional filmmakers when they made content for the drive-in circuit. Since they didn’t have the budget, crew, gear, and in many cases the talent to compete with Hollywood they had to find another way to get the audience to show up. The easiest way to accomplish that was to titillate the audience with things that they weren’t getting elsewhere. That is exactly what Six She’s and a He is trying to do. While we don’t get any nudity, it was the early sixties and Florida was still a bit restrictive as to what you could get away with, there are a lot of lovely ladies dancing around in bikinis. In fact, that is most of the story if you can even call it a story. The pattern is some day labor with a bit of dialogue followed by a lady in a bikini dancing in a pool waiting for Fred to “take care of business”.

That is the plot in it’s entirety. This is repeated four times before Fred is strapped to a pole and cut/beat until the ladies close their eyes and hum/moan. It is at this point Desiree cuts him loose and they make a break for it. Why does this work? How come none of them notice this? Has anything I’ve mentioned so far make you think they are going to take the time to explain? There is a girl fight and then they leave on the lifeboat. There is really zero story here. The script is from actor William Kerwin who appeared in several movies from directors H.G. Lewis and William Grefe who shot a lot in Florida. This is his first writing credit, and I can confirm he doesn’t get better with practice.

There are a few attempts at gore with the severed head and an extended sequence where the Nazi is stabbed and his guts are pulled out. I imagine that this was horrifying for an early sixties audience so that had to be effective. This is another example of indie filmmakers giving the paying customer something Hollywood wouldn’t or couldn’t. While the gore is still fun it is far too brief to make this movie worth a watch. The ladies and implied naughty activities haven’t aged well and while they may have shocked when new it has gotten tedious. Though to be fair to all involved in the making of Six She’s and a He I don’t think they were trying to make art or expected the movie to still be around. This was a quickie shot on the cheap cash in to play as the second or third feature at the local passion pit aka. drive-in. Again, I can’t recommend this one, but it is an interesting bit of cinematic history.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Friday, September 22, 2023

Curse of the Reefer Beast (2023)

I’m a huge fan of the Trailer Park Boys and have a subscription to their website/streaming service Swearnet. I was very surprised when a horror comedy showed up on their site as that normally isn’t their thing. Since I’m a fan and already watch a lot of low or no budget independent movies I thought I’d give Curse of the Reefer Beast a shot.

The movie opens with a woman being chased thru the woods before running up to a cabin. There she is killed offscreen by an unknown person or creature. Well, that is a fairly generic way to start things off but I suppose one can’t argue with the classics. Then we are introduced to our main characters. They are in class, which is being taught by John Russo of Night of the Living Dead fame. His best student is Angie. She is going off to the woods with her friends, who have invited a couple of stoners along without asking for her permission. This annoys Angie but she relents. There is also a guy who is hitting on her, Gunner, who ends up being invited without Angie’s knowledge as well.

With the characters introduced they then spend time talking about nonsense, especially the stoners, before getting in a car and driving to the woods. While driving they talk more, and we also see Gunner’s car break down. This allows him to run into some “influencers” aka. more victims for the eventual killings. Which by the way is taking way too long to happen. There is also a bit where they stop at a gas station for beer and the warning from the locals to “stay away from that place”. Eventually they arrive, most of them die, and a big twist is revealed.

If the above plot synopsis seems half assed and boring it isn’t a reflection of a lack of effort on my part but more so a lack of effort from the filmmakers. Curse of the Reefer Beast is one of those movies that copies all the familiar themes from other movies without adding anything new. Harbingers of doom warning you not to go to your destination… check. Arriving and setting up camp/moving in montage… check. Smoking weed and premarital naughty activities… check. I think you are getting the idea. Now if that is done well then it can still be a fun flick, but here we get pale imitation surrounded by far too much padding for a movie with a meager seventy six minute runtime to approach being entertaining. For context after the first kill it takes forty minutes of the runtime to get the characters to the lake and for the first of them to die!

Speaking of the kills they are mostly lame. I get a lack of budget limiting what can be done. But even bad practical effects are a better idea then having most everything happen offscreen. Remember that this movie was being played for laughs so bad latex kills might have worked fine. We do get a decapitation and a baseball bat thru the chest. Both are cheesy but okay. The best kill is saved for a character that shows up for a hot second to die and involves him getting torn in half. But this is too little too late as the other five kills are all offscreen and lame.

Other things to note are the generic and terrible rock music that plays over the montages, the awkward cameo from John Russo who stumbles over his lines, and the same old stoner jokes that might have landed thirty or forty years ago but are far too familiar to be funny now. This last bit proved to me that the boys clearly just put their names on this as they have written much better stoner humor themselves over the years.

Curse of the Reefer Beast is a prime example of how to do an independent horror flick wrong. A lack of budget doesn’t stop you from having a fully formed story with your own twist on the genre. Would it have killed them to figure out a few more jokes that were actually funny before running off with a camera instead of just copying shit you have seen other movies do? I can’t recommend this one at all.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Throwback Thursday – The Nestling by Charles L. Grant

note: I had completely forgotten I had an earlier run in with Charles L. Grant as an author. I’ve covered a couple of his Oxrun series books here and here. While I enjoyed those, I didn’t like The Nestling at all. I don’t think I ever got around to reading the Raven. I’ll have to check and see.

Jason Clarke is a reporter from back east that is summoned to the valley he spent part of his childhood in by a desperate relative. There is something wrong in Windriver Valley. First there were the animal attacks and then the deaths started which only adds to the tension between the Whites and Native Americans, who infused suddenly with cash started buying up ranches. The Native Americans buy them, but don’t work them cutting off the only source of money for the town. The local businesses, all owned by whites, suffer from the lack of money coming in from the closed ranches. Jason’s relative, Galen, expects him to sort out what is going on and tosses him into this powder keg. This in spite of the fact that Jason and his mother were run out of town after his father was killed after going on a bender. Jason realizes before most everyone else that there is something way beyond a simple disagreement or conspiracy and that that valley has been targeted by something evil. 

I had heard good things about author Charles L. Grant. That combined with the nice blurb on the cover from Stephen King (yes, I know you should never buy into those) convinced me to pick a couple of his books up from the local used bookstore. I haven’t read the other book yet, but I honestly have to say that I wasn’t all that impressed with The Nestling. The story is interesting and I’m always up for a good horror story that integrates Native American beliefs and folklore. But there are a couple of things that just killed the book for me. First of all there are just too many characters in the book and it gets really hard to follow who is who. Again and again I had to backtrack to figure out what character just got killed or beaten up and how they relate to each other. Really there are several minor characters that have their entire families mentioned in passing with the reader supposed to make those connections later on. If you don’t then the story makes no sense. What makes it worse is when you get the to the end of the book only to find out none of this mattered as it has little to do with the story and resolution! 

My second problem with the book partly relates back to the first. Like I said there are too many characters, but if that weren’t bad enough the book jumps between different characters and storylines constantly. Now I will give Grant credit all the various storylines do end up connecting in the end but this constant jumping between characters and story made The Nestling a very frustrating book to read. Just about the time that I had some interest in a character or had gotten into a rhythm reading the book it jumped to another character or story. Grant keeps shooting himself in the foot every time the plot starts building up momentum by stopping and restarting with new characters.

I know that this book was up for some awards when it came out in eighty two, but I found it a real chore to get thru and just didn’t like it. I can’t recommend The Nestling. That said I have the other Grant book, Raven, that I picked up and will give it a chance.  Maybe this one just didn’t work for me.

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Hickey and Boggs (1972)

This is an interesting movie that I was recently reminded about when some folks online were talking about it. It had been on my to watch list before but as is the case when I have so many damn movies to check out, I had forgotten about it. Based on a script written by Walter Hill (48 Hours, The Warriors) and directed by Robert Culp, who also stars, it follows a pair of detectives played by Culp and frequent co-star Bill Cosby. Am I allowed to like a Bill Cosby movie anymore?

We follow along as they are hired to find a woman named Mary Jane, which seems like a simple job. But this gets them into a lot of trouble as Mary Jane is tangled up in some missing money from a robbery that the mob wants back. I think it is her husband that was part of the crew that stole the money and then hid it from the gangsters that were either owed a cut or planned the crime. The movie doesn’t really tell us too much about that. What we do see is our detectives Hickey (Cosby) and Boggs (Culp) running around Los Angeles dodging mob hitmen, the police, and other folks looking for Mary Jane and the missing cash which she is trying to launder. This leads to some shootouts, fist fights, and a finale that honestly, I didn’t see coming.

I’m trying to keep things a bit vague as much of the fun here is watching the story unfold. What I’ve shared about the stolen money, Mary Jane, and the mob is shown early on. But there are some other plot twists that I don’t want to spoil. What I can say is that I rather enjoyed the movie. The story plays out like an old film noir with some hardboiled detectives dealing with the criminal underground dodging bullets while trying to get some resolution. Even after getting fired they keep at it. Why? I’m not entirely sure but I get the feeling that they have some sort of code that makes them feel they must see it thru. But then again by then they have figured out that some serious cash is involved. Plus, there is a thing that happens later which makes it very personal for Hickey.

I will admit that like many of the hard boiled detective flicks this one does meander a bit and leans so heavily into the dozens of characters that it can feel a bit long and confusing at points. The filmmakers don’t feel obliged to spoon feed the audience how all the characters and goings on connect to one another. This is the sort of movie that you have to pay close attention to and even then, might lose you. Now I like that sort of thing, so I had no issues with it. I just wanted to point it out.

The cast here is solid and filled with many familiar faces. Not only do we have the stars Culp and Cosby, but this is a whose who of seventies television stars and character actors. Rosalind Cash (Good Times, Uptown Saturday Night) is Hickey’s ex, Robert Mandan (Soap, Kojak) is the mob boss, Michael Moriarty (Law and Order, The Stuff) is one of his henchmen. Hell Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons) has a blink and you will miss it bit part. When you have a cast this good it is hard to make a bad movie.

Hickey and Boggs has a gritty take that many later seventies flicks would share. While I won’t say that this is to the level as something like The French Connection, Chinatown, or Serpico it does scratch a familiar itch. If you haven’t seen this one before and like those movies I think you may enjoy it. If nothing else it might be worth a watch just to see an early writing effort from Walter Hill as well as the only feature movie directed by Robert Culp. That last one really bugs me because I think he had an interesting vision and would have loved to see more from him as a director. As of the writing of this review you can find this one floating around the internet to watch for free as well as a reasonably priced DVD.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Monday, September 18, 2023

Darker than Night (1976)

Doing another dive into the stacks of movies that I’ve collected but haven’t watched I stumbled over Darker than Night. This Mexican made movie bills itself as a haunted house/ghost story and quite frankly I was in the mood for one of those.

The movie opens with an elderly woman petting her black cat. We never get to see her face but do watch her tend the garden, knit, and dote on her feline friend. Though it ends when she has an attack of some sort and dies all while the cat watches traumatized. Then we meet what turns out to be our main characters. The four beautiful young women are Ofelia, Aurora, Marta, and Pilar. Turns out that Ofelia is the niece of the woman and has inherited the house as well as everything inside of it. So off they go to check it out.

When they arrive they are greeted with the creepy housekeeper, Sofia, who is clearly not pleased with the disrespect that they show towards the possessions of her former mistress (not in the creepy way but as in the long time employer way). The girls also don’t like the cat, but Ofelia is taking her aunt’s wishes that she takes care of it seriously and it does seem to grow on her. Weird stuff starts to happen though when they hear a voice calling for the cat at night in the garden as well as the house. This gets much creepier when the cat is accidentally locked in the basement and dies. Suddenly there is the apparition of the old woman, and the girls start to be scared to death.

So, is it a ghost or is there something else going on at the house? Also, what is up with the cat’s death? There are many questions that get answered before this one ends and I’m not going to spoil it here in this review. Why? Because I liked this movie quite a bit but the guessing as to what is going on is part of the fun. The guessing game as to if things are supernatural or if it a more mundane and corporeal threat killing off the girls is kept vague until the very end. Sofia at times seems suspicious and it becomes clear that she is taking blame for things that she may not be responsible for. Is she protecting someone? If so, who could it be? I like the mysterious aspects to the plot as it kept me engaged with both the characters and story.

The above is key because I’m sure many horror fans might be annoyed by how long it takes for the movie to get rolling. I will warn you that this is a slow burn to start with not much happening for the first half hour as the characters and situation is setup. After that we get a lot of sneaking around the spooky house building atmosphere before things really kick into gear. But when it does there are plenty of weird noises, moaning, and crying echoing in the darkness to set the mood. This is at times a very creepy movie and I appreciated that they filmmakers leaned into this sort of stuff rather than cheap jump scares. But then again this was the seventies when people put effort into trying to scare the audience so that isn’t too much of a surprise.

To sum things up I did really like Darker than Night. It meanders a bit in the first half, but it makes up for it by keeping us guessing as to what the hell is actually going on. There is the previously mentioned atmosphere as well as a solid ending that mostly answers all the questions we the audience have. It is worth checking this one out. I believe that Vinegar Syndrome just put it out on Blu-Ray, so it isn’t too hard to locate.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Friday, September 15, 2023

Ju jin yuki otoko (1955)

A Japanese Abominable Snowman movie… Hell yeah I was going to watch this. Before I go any further though I do need to point out that for this review I watched the movie under it’s original title and cut. There is a butchered version for the American market under the title Half Human. Basically, it got the Godzilla treatment with much of the original film cut out and inserts with American actors cut in to make it “relatable” to the market. Don’t watch that version, it is terrible, but check out the original instead if you are interested after my review.

Things kick off with some folks waiting for a train as a storm blows outside. A man walks in and starts to interview them. They are apparently survivors of an expedition and have a story to tell. Then it jumps back in time to some friends skiing and having fun on Mount Fuji. They never say this but that is where the movie was shot. A pair split off to check out a cabin while the others head down the mountain. A huge snowstorm blows in and they are all trapped. Later a search party finds one of the men’s bodies, but the other is missing.

It jumps back to the survivors at the train station before continuing in another flashback. This time it is the next summer as the sister and friend of the missing man have joined an expedition. It is looking for both the missing man as well as a legendary creature who lives in the mountains. This group is followed by another lead by a local carnival owner who wants to capture the creature. Shenanigans ensue as the creature seems to stalk them. Later they all meet up with a local mountain tribe that worships the snowman as their protector/god. The monster does somethings and the humans do some even worse things. It all leads to a finale that had me a bit bummed. See the creature wasn’t so bad. Yeah, this is another of those movies where we have a misunderstood creature that is less a threat and more of a victim of the humans around it.

I wanted to like this one. The creature effects work are good with the suit and the performer under it doing a fantastic job. That shouldn’t be a surprise since this is from the director, Ishiro Honda, and the studio that brought Godzilla out the year before. Instead of a monkey suit being repurposed it is clear some thought went into the making of the snowman. While vaguely apelike it does come off as something different. I also think that the fact we don’t have lots of cardboard buildings getting smashed and that the performer interacts with the cast in many scenes also makes it a bit more fun. Don’t get me wrong I dig Kaiju movies, but this shows the quality of their work much more. I suppose I’m a sucker for a rubber suit in a monster flick.

But there is one huge and glaring issue with Ju jin yuki otoko and that is the pacing. Clocking in at ninety four minutes there is way too much padding. There are long stretches of characters walking, talking, storms blowing, and them admiring the scenery. Don’t get me wrong the movie is beautifully shot. The black and white photography of the natural surroundings borders on art. But as much as I appreciated how it looked it was at times painful to sit thru. There is a cool story here and we do have some fun action as the story ramps up to the finale but it takes far too long to get there. Toss in the fact that the story jumps around in a nonlinear fashion and the added complication of subtitles (again I watched the Japanese version) and this is a movie you must pay attention to and that can be a chore.

I didn’t hate Ju jin yuki otoko and am glad to have checked it out. For me, the creature design was worth a watch by itself, and I consider myself a fan of Honda. But I fear that the casual viewer might find this one too much of a slog to sit thru. That said this is still a far better flick than Half Human.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer