Thursday, December 28, 2017

SCROOGED

Some may argue that this movie doesn't belong on a horror blog, but if I were in charge...and I am...here's the kind of thing I would do...

Scrooged Movie Review

In this 1988 telling of the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, we see Frank Cross (Bill Murray), the often-angry, always mean President of television network IBC, visited by three ghosts. The network is running a live performance of the Dickens story on Christmas Eve, and the ghosts arrive on this day to show Cross the mistakes he has made and the results of his future actions. Okay, so this movie is almost straight up comedy, but I can justify putting it on here because there are ghosts, death, and a disturbing scene or two.

You see?

Our ghosts are an interesting bunch--we first meet Cross' former boss Lew Hayward (John Forsythe), as he appears in Frank's office to warn him of the visitors he's about to meet.

Lew paid for the women

Soon after, Frank meets the Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen of The New York Dolls, aka Buster Poindexter of the song my girlfriend often sings during the Florida summers) and gets a trip down memory lane.

via an NYC cab

It is here we meet Frank's lost love, Claire (Karen Allen of Raiders of the Lost Ark fame), and see perhaps the best sequence in the film--the couple falling in and out of love in the late 1960's and early 1970s. From there we get the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Carol Kane (Simka from Taxi) and The Ghost of Christmas Future.

It's not a bright future

There are also a ton of fun cameos in this one, including...

Lee Majors

Buddy Hackett

Bill Murray's real life brothers...

Brian Doyle,

John, 

and Joel

We also get Mama Fratelli from The Goonies...

Anne Ramsey

...as well as Rebeca Arthur, aka Mary Anne from Perfect Strangers 

and her Christmas present for everybody

As if that wasn't enough, we also get, in their final public appearance, the acclaimed Solid Gold Dancers.

And possibly their nipples

This movie is laugh out loud funny, and is possibly my favorite Bill Murray role. There are a few shortcomings here--the end scene does seem to drag a bit, and as awesome as he can be in some movies, Bobcat Goldthwait (Shakes The Clown, God Bless America) seems very out of place as Eliot Loudermilk, an IBS employee Cross fires early in the film. After many years of watching Scrooged on VHS or Netflix, I got this on DVD for Christmas a couple years ago, and at one point in the film, subtitles randomly appear for a second, then disappear just as quickly, which is pretty awesome. Scrooged has been a Christmas tradition for my girlfriend and I for seven years now, and as much as anything to do with the holiday, I look forward to watching this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9


Scrooged Movie Review

Saturday, December 23, 2017

GIRL HOUSE (aka GirlHouse)

Girl House Movie Review

After falling for the new girl of a porn site, a psychopath calling himself Loverboy (George Carroll, aka rapper Slaine) notices somebody in the all-girl house featured on the website has posted a picture of him in their house, poking fun at him--humiliated, he shows up at the brothel seeking revenge.

Yes, this guy is a rapper

The film starts off strong--we see Loverboy as a shy child, being tormented by two young girls. Deciding he's had enough, Loverboy kills one of the girls and throws her--and her bicycle--off a bridge--not expecting much of anything from this film, this impressive opening caught my attention, and it only waned slightly as the movie progressed. We meet Kylie (Ali Cobrin), the new, "wholesome" girl, so we know pretty early who will survive this one. A lot of the time spent between the opening sequence and the third act drags--we are introduced to the guy who runs the website and a lot of inevitable victims interchangeable porn women, and Kylie starts up a relationship with an old classmate (Adam DiMarco), but things don't ever really pick up again until Loverboy arrives on scene.

Looking like this

While the acting throughout the film is shaky, it's not as bad as you likely will expect, and it actually improves when the killings begin. The death scenes are pretty gory, which always scores points. The ending is far too predictable, but it is rather brutal as well. While it doesn't bring anything really original to the table, and occasionally suffers from timeless cliches, Girl House is a better than expected slasher flick that turned out to be a pleasant surprise. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Girl House Movie Trailer

Monday, December 18, 2017

THE DAY MARS INVADED EARTH

The Day Mars Invaded Earth Movie Review

Martians from Mars come to Earth to eliminate the scientists studying The Red Planet and replace them with alien doppelgangers who will report nothing is happening back home. This 1963 science fiction flick is unique in that the aliens are not necessarily coming to Earth to take over, but more so to stop us from taking them over, but otherwise it plays out as a low-budget knock off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and The War of the Worlds--but not, you know, anywhere near as good as any of those. We spend the first half of the movie with little to nothing happening, and when things do begin to happen they're...well...rather boring. The scares are few, limited primarily to the end sequence.

Florida in August

The acting is bad, and the dialogue, while having a bit of Leave It To Beaver charm, is rather uninteresting. What really saves this movie from being a complete disaster is the music, the preventative angle, and the ending. Also worth noting is this was filmed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills--having been to this mansion, is was pretty cool seeing it here (and I highly recommend heading there should you find yourself in Los Angeles). 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


The Day Mars Invaded Earth Movie Trailer

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

THE FROZEN GHOST

The Frozen Ghost Movie Review

While performing a show with his fiance, Gregor The Great (horror legend Lon Chaney Jr.) uses his mind to kill a heckling drunkard. Feeling guilty, Gregor, now going by his real name, Alex Gregor, begins working at a wax museum filled with people he can't trust, and when the owner, Valerie (Tala Birell) turns up missing, Alex becomes the main suspect. As much as anything, this movie is remembered for being one of Universal's six movies based on the Inner Sanctum Mystery, a radio program that began in the 1940's --it's also one of my personal favorite Chaney performances. Another horror legend, Evelyn Ankers (The Mad Ghoul, The Wolf Man), also turns in a fine performance in this one, and one can tell the obvious chemistry these two often-coupled up actors share.

Here's our legendary couple now!

This movie really plays out more as a whodunit than a straight up horror film, but there are some scary moments here and there. The story is an interesting one, but does slow at times. Unfortunately, a lot of the supporting cast leaves a bit to be desired, and the ending is a bit anticlimactic. Don't watch it expecting a terrifying story, but The Frozen Ghost is a decent mystery film, and fans of Chaney and/or Ankers should certainly give it a viewing. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


I couldn't find the trailer for The Frozen Ghost, but I came across this cool promo for the Inner Sanctum VHS collection from 1997. 

THE HAUNTED PALACE

The Haunted Palace Movie Review

Alleged warlock Joseph Curwen (horror legend Vincent Price) is killed by angry townsfolk, but not before putting a curse on not only them, but their future families as well--he also claims he will return from the dead one day. Over one hundred years later, Charles Dexter Ward (also Price), Curwen's great-great-grandson, and his bride Anne (Debra Paget) arrive in the town to inherit the castle, and the new generation of locals sense something isn't quite right. That's the premise of this Roger Corman film, one of a series of eight movies loosely (VERY loosely here) based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Corman directed, though this movie is much more based off of H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward than anything Poe ever did--if this seems confusing, realize Poe was a far more marketable name (especially at the time this film came out, 1963) than was Lovecraft, so that's what they went with. It's also notable for being the first film to feature Lovecraft's fictional book Necronomicon, a book we all recognize from this masterpiece. Outside of this interesting bit of trivia, this movie falls a bit short of producing anything really memorable or particularly outstanding. Price, naturally, is good here, as we see Curwen gradually take over Ward, and there is one pretty creepy scene.

"Blame Curwen, not me!"

The pace of this film is a slow one, which can be bearable if there is enough good dialogue and interesting story to keep you hooked--it's lacking here, and the lack of a good payoff in the end only adds to the frustration. Given the players involved, The Haunted Palace is a movie that should have been much better than it was, but it is by no means a terrible movie--it's just sort of there. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


The Haunted Palace Movie Trailer