Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/1/18 — 10/7/18

Horrorthon is underway!

Movies I Watched:

  1. Beat the Devil (1953)
  2. The Brotherhood (1968)
  3. The Encounter (2011)
  4. The French Connection (1971)
  5. Full Circle (1981)
  6. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
  7. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971)
  8. A Mother’s Worst Fear (2018)
  9. No Escape Room (2018)
  10. A Star is Born (2018)
  11. Venom (2018)
  12. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
  13. Who Saw Her Die? (1972)
  14. You Might Be The Killer (2018)
  15. Zombie Nightmare (1986)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
  2. American Horror Story
  3. Better Call Saul
  4. Dancing With The Stars
  5. The Deuce
  6. Doctor Phil
  7. Face the Truth
  8. Fear the Walking Dead
  9. Fixer Upper
  10. Ghost Whisperer
  11. Ghostly Encounters
  12. Hell’s Kitchen
  13. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  14. King of the Hill
  15. Last Call With Carson Daly
  16. Manifest
  17. A Million Little Things
  18. New Amsterdam
  19. Night Gallery
  20. One Step Beyond
  21. The Purge
  22. South Park
  23. Survivor 37
  24. Thriller
  25. Twilight Zone
  26. Van Helsing
  27. The Walking Dead
  28. You
  29. ZNation

Books I Read:

  1. The Killer Inside Me (1952) by Jim Thompson

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Armin Van Buuren
  2. Avicii
  3. Avril Lavigne
  4. Basshunter
  5. Beck
  6. Big Data
  7. Bradley Cooper
  8. Calvin Harris
  9. Cedric Gervais
  10. Charli XCX
  11. David Guetta
  12. Dillon Francis
  13. Goblin
  14. Icona Pop
  15. Jakalope
  16. Jake Bugg
  17. Jarina de Marco
  18. Josef Salvat
  19. Karin Park
  20. Lady Gaga
  21. LCD Soundstystem
  22. Martin Garrix
  23. Sleigh Bells
  24. Swedish House Mafia
  25. Taylor Swift
  26. Thom Yorke
  27. Tiesto
  28. The Ting Tings
  29. twenty one pilots
  30. Zedd

Links From Last Week:

  1. On her photography site, Erin shared: One Fall Day, Dark Gray, Purple, Tis The Season For Halloween Cookies, It’s Still The Season For Halloween Cookies, Tree Limbs at Night, and Black-and-White Tree.
  2. On my music site, I shared music from Cedric Gervais, Karin Park, LCD Soundsystem, Jarina de Marco, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, and Beck.
  3. On Horror Critic, I reviewed Lisa, House of Dark Shadows, Night of Dark Shadows, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, Night Slaves, and Reeker!
  4. At Sleeping Lisa, I shared a dream about reality TV! 
  5. At the Reality TV Chat Blog, I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor!
  6. At SyFy Designs, I wrote about why we should repeal the 17th Amendment!
  7. Character Actor Scott Wilson 1942–2018
  8. Why is there so much Hell in video games and so little Heaven?
  9. John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’ Was Supposed to Be a Warning. We Didn’t Heed It. We Didn’t Even Understand It.
  10. Aziz Ansari’s New Standup Tour Is a Cry Against Extreme Wokeness
  11. To PG-13 or Not To PG-13?
  12. Chronicles of Narnia heads to Netflix
  13. Banksy art ‘self-destructs’ right after selling for $1.4M at auction
  14. A Century Of Film: Suspense Films
  15. Dying, lying, and you
  16. Welcome To Venice! Arriving By Boat To The World’s Most Magical Floating City!

Links From The Site:

(Over 100 posts in one week!  That’s why I love October….)

  1. Leonard reviewed Venom!
  2. Erin welcomed us to October and asked if we were scared of snakes.  She shared the following artwork: Twin Vampires Getting Ready For A Night Out, Burn Witch Burn, Alone in the Dark, The Amazing Transparent Man, The Bat People, Cannibal Girls, and Cult of the Cobra!
  3. Gary took a look at The Invisible RayGahan Wilson, Strange Brew, Werewolf of London, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bride of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, The Invisible Man, Secret of the Blue Room. and Frankenstein!
  4. Jeff shared his weekly trailer round-up and music videos from Stabbing Westward, Candlemass, Echo and the Bunnymen, KISS, Lordi, another video from Lordi, and Alice Cooper!  He reviewed Shock ‘Em DeadZombie Nightmare, Cthulhu Mansion, Ticks, Happy Hell Night, Voodoo, and American Crime!
  5. Case reviewed All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, Harrow County, Gerald’s Game, and American Vampire!
  6. Ryan reviewed Tinderella, Nocturne, and A Lone Deer At The End of the World.  He also shared his weekly reading round-up!
  7. I reviewed Don’t Look Now, Raiders of the Living DeadGhost Whisperer, Ratman, Carrie, Hellmaster, Mom and Dad, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, 666, Christina’s House, Jaws 3, The Last Shark, The Zero Factor, Bait, A Quiet Place, Cannibal Apocalypse, The Killer Inside Me, The Cannibal Man, Unsane, Who Saw Her Die, Night of the Ripper, Bits and Pieces, From Within, The Long Hair of Death, Rapture, Rasputin the mad monk, Invaders From Mars, A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, and Frankenstein: The First 200 Years!  I also invited you to start your day by watching Robot Monster, What Waits Below, The Lodger, Cast A Deadly Spell, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Equinox, and The Tower!  I invited you to end your day with TV episodes like The Death WaltzTo Serve Man, The Mask, Delusion, Earthquake, Yours Truly Jack the Ripper, and Make Me Not A Witch!  I shared scenes that I love from They LiveThe Wizard of Oz, Pandora’s Box, A Quiet Place, The Shining, and Glen or Glenda!  I shared 4 Shots From 4 Films that paid tribute to Martian invaders, witches, the London fog, non-Martian invaders, crazy nature, dysfunctional families, and the year 1973!  Finally, I shared my Oscar predictions for October!
  8. Arleigh reviewed Hold the Dark.  He shared a scene from Ghost Ship, a song from Prince of Darkness, the latest Hellboy poster art, and the latest trailer for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!

(Want to see what I accomplished last week, before the madness of Horrorthon set in?  Click here!)

“Happy Halloween!”

Horror on TV: One Step Beyond 3.3 “The Death Waltz” (dir by John Newland)

Tonight’s episode of One Step Beyond is called The Death Waltz.  It’s about what happens when, in 1860, two calvary officers fall in love with the same young woman, Lillie (Elizabeth Montgomery).  Lillie has a great time playing the two men against each other but, when one of them is killed by Apaches, she rather heartlessly goes to a dance with the surviving suitor.

Unfortunately, for her, the dead man’s ghost decides to go to the dance as well….

The episode originally aired on October 4th, 1960.


The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Raiders of the Living Dead (dir by Samuel M. Sherman and Brett Piper)

Wow, were to even begin?

The 1986 film Raiders Of The Living Dead is not an easy movie to describe.  It’s a film that somehow manages mix terrorists, zombies, journalists, movie theaters, a sociopathic kid who somehow invents a death ray, and the Three Stooges.  If that makes it sound like something you want to see …. well, good.  You should see this movie, just so you can say that you’ve had the experience.

On the plus side, Raiders of the Living Dead opens with one of the most brilliant songs that I’ve ever heard.  Seriously, take a listen and then ask yourself why Olivia Cooke was covering Bob Dylan in Life Itself instead of this song:

So, I know what you’re asking.  “What’s this movie about?”

I’m not really sure.  Here’s what I can tell you.

The movie opens with a truck apparently being hijacked.  At least, I think it was a hijacking.  A guy jumped in a truck and drove off with it and then some police cars started following him down a country road so I’m going to assume that some sort of law was broken.  Anyway, the truck gets away because a dump truck pulls in front of the police cars.  The dump truck driver isn’t an accomplice or anything.  He’s just having engine trouble.  I guess the cops just decided they had wasted enough time chasing the other truck so they decided to just sit around and watch the dump truck driver work on his engine.

Suddenly, we’re in a nuclear power plant!  Oh my God, a terrorist is trying to blow the place up!  That will lead to an environmental catastrophe and …. oh never mind.  Two SWAT guys just showed up and shot the terrorist with a taser and then the terrorist stumbled into a circuit box and got electrocuted so I guess that’s a god thing.

Now, I’m not sure how either of these scenes are connected to the rest of the film.  In fact, we soon abandon the nuclear power plant so that we can send time with Jonathan (Scott Schwartz, the same kind who got his tongue stuck to the flag pole in A Christmas Story) and his grandfather, Dr. Corstairs (Robert Allen).  Dr Corstairs is having trouble with whatever the 80s equivalent of a DVD player is and he gives it Jonathan to see if he can fix it.  Somehow, Jonathan turns it into a death ray and accidentally atomizes his pet hamster.  Jonathan never seems to be too upset over killing his pet, which leads me to suspect that Jonathan is a sociopath.

Meanwhile, there’s a reporter named Morgan (Robert Deveau), who drags his girlfriend with him to an old farmhouse in the middle of the night.  He says that he’s investigating something for a story but I think he just has a thing for farmhouses.  Anyway, they get attacked by zombies.  Morgan escapes.  His girlfriend doesn’t.  Morgan never seems to be too upset about it, proving that Morgan is as much of a sociopath as Jonathan.

Anyway, Morgan goes into hiding, which in this case means getting a room in a nearby boarding house and looking for clues at the library.  He also gets a new girlfriend named Shelley (Donna Asali).  They go to a Three Stooges film festival together.  They watch a Three Stooges short which means that viewers of Raiders of the Living Dead also have to watch it.  This actually happens more than once.

Anyway, it’s all somehow connected to a mad scientist who is creating zombies out in a deserted prison somewhere.  I’m not really sure how it all connects and neither is the film.  Jonathan’s death ray does kind of play a role in resolving the whole zombie subplot but to be honest, I was so curious about why no one was freaking out about a kid having a death ray that it was sometimes hard to focus on just what exactly was going on at the prison.

So, this is a very strange film.  Apparently, it was shot over a lengthy period of time, with footage being shot until the production ran out of money and then filming resuming whenever some more money came in.  That probably explains why Raiders of the Living Dead seems to actually be five or six films in one.  As bad as the film is, I am going to give it a cautious recommendation just because it’s so damn weird that I think everyone should experience it at least once.

Plus, I love that theme song!

Faust Goes Metal: Shock ‘Em Dead (1991, directed by Mark Freed)

Spastic Colon, an up-and-coming metal band, desperately needs a new guitarist, so much so that they allow a nerdy pizza boy named Martin (Stephen Quadros) to come in off the street and audition.  Martin, with his thick glasses and his total lack of talent, blows the audition and is told to leave and never return.  Not only does Martin lose his chance to be a rock star but he also loses his job when his boss (Aldo Ray) fires him for leaving work to audition.  While wandering around dejected, Martin runs into the local voodoo priestess (Tyger Sodipe), who offers to make him a rock star in exchange for his soul.

Martin agrees and after a ceremony involving a double neck guitar, Martin wakes up to discover that he is now an extremely talented guitarist who lives in a gigantic mansion with three outrageously hot groupies.  Martin now has big, heavy metal hair and no longer needs to wear his glasses.  Renaming himself Angel Martin, he not only becomes Spastic Colon’s new guitarist but he also pulls the band’s manager (Traci Lords) away from her boyfriend.  The only problem is that Martin cannot eat normal food and has to regularly feast on the souls of his groupies in order to stay alive.

Shock “Em Dead is the 1000th retelling of the old Faust legend, about the man who gets everything that he desires but loses his soul in the process.  A real product of its time, it’s impossible to watch Shock “Em Dead without thinking about how Martin sold his soul to become the type of musician that, in just a few months, would be made obsolete by Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.  I have fond memories of Shock “Em Dead because it always used to air on HBO back when I was growing up but, for the most part, this is a really crummy movie, with a bad script, bad acting, and bad special effects.  Shock “Em Dead does prove that Traci Lords had enough talent that, if not for her background as an underage porn star, she probably could have had a mainstream film career.  The film also provided small roles for Aldo Ray and Troy Donahue while the legendary Michael Angelo Batio served as Angel’s “guitar double.”

Halloween Havoc!: THE INVISIBLE RAY (Universal 1936)

cracked rear viewer

THE INVISIBLE RAY, the third Universal teaming of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi , is probably the least discussed of their seven films together. And I don’t quite know why, because I find it an entertaining meld of horror and science fiction that holds my interest for its 80 minute running time. The two stars are well spotlighted, with Bela as one of the good guys (for a change!) and Boris giving a hammy but well crafted performance as a scientist unhinged by his newest discovery.

A curly-haired Karloff stars as Dr. Janos Rukh, awaiting the arrival of a group of his fellow scientists for a demonstration of his Invisible Ray as a storm rages outside. Rukh’s wife Diana and blind Mother Rukh greet them: Sir Francis Stevens and his wife Lady Arabella, French astro-chemist Dr. Felix Benet, and Lady Arabella’s nephew Ronald Drake, who’s along for the ride. Rukh…

View original post 426 more words

Book Review: Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years by Christopher Frayling

If you’re a fan of horror and more specifically the several different versions — both literary and cinematic — of Frankenstein’s Monster, Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years is a book that you simply must own.

It’s really two books in one.  The first half of the book deals with the original creation of Frankenstein.  It goes into a detail about not only the famous night and game that led to Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein but it also details everything that not only influenced Shelley’s imagination but which led to the world becoming fascinated by her creation.  How you react to this section of the book will largely depend on how interested you are in history.  Me, I’m an unapologetic history nerd so I loved it.

The second part of the book is a visual history of the Monster through the years, featuring everything from his many film appearances to his use in advertisements and political cartoons to his appearances in various comic books.  It’s not just a collection of pictures, though.  It’s also a testament to the power of Mary Shelley’s creation and how the Monster has come to be a universal figure, one who has been adopted by every culture and ideology.

Christopher Frayling is a witty and engaging writer, which helps to get through some of the denser sections of the first half of the book.  His love for the Monster comes through every page, which makes Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years a perfect celebration of the world’s most famous reanimated body.

Italian Horror Showcase: A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin (dir by Lucio Fulci)

The 1971 film A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin is a story of greed, love, lust, repressed desires, bloody murder, and two rather hateful hippies.  It’s a surreal tale that manages to combine LSD, politics, therapy, and a good old-fashioned whodunit.  It’s a film that clearly a product of the late 60s and the early 70s and yet, it’s also a film that is so shamelessly sordid and wonderfully strange that it feels timeless.

And not surprisingly, it was directed by Lucio Fulci.

Over the course of his career, Lucio Fulci was credited with directing 56 films and one television miniseries.  Though we tend to primarily think of Fulci as being a horror director, he actually worked in every genre.  He directed peplums.  He was responsible for some of the best and most violent spaghetti westerns ever made.  He even directed comedies and an adaptation of Jack London’s White Fang!

Still, it is for his horror films that Fulci is best-remembered and his non-compromising and frequently surreal style was perfect for the genre.  Though 1979’s Zombi 2 is frequently cited as Fulci’s first excursion into the horror genre, he had actually dabbled in it before with a set of stylish and violent giallo films that he directed in the early 70s.

For example, A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin deals with a horrific crime and features some of Fulci’s most striking and disturbing images.  The film deals with Carol Hammond (Florida Bolkan), who is the daughter of a politician (Leo Genn) and the wife of a wealthy attorney (Jean Sorel).  Carol is haunted by bizarre dreams involving her decadent neighbor, Julia Durer (Anita Strindberg).  In her latest dream, Carol not only has a sexual encounter with Julia but also stabs her to death immediately afterward!  It’s only after Julia’s dead that Carol realizes that she’s being watched by two hippies, who appear to be amused by the whole thing.

After telling her therapist about the dream, Carol learns that Julia Durer has indeed been murdered.  In fact, she was stabbed in exactly the same way that Carol saw in her dream!  Was it just a dream or did Carol really murder of Julia?  Or did someone find out about her dream (which she recorded in her journal) and then murder Julia in order to frame her?  But who would want to do that?  Could it be maybe her weaselly husband, who is having an affair with his secretary?  Or maybe someone looking to embarrass her father?

And what about the two hippies?  It turns out that they’re real and they have a story of their own tell….

The mystery at the heart of A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin is a convoluted one and while the film’s plot did hold my interest, this film is less about the story and more about the way that Fulci tells it.  Dealing with hippies, visions, LSD, and a potentially unstable protagonist gave Fulci whatever excuse he needed to turn Lizard In A Woman’s Skin into a surrealistic carnival ride of psychedelic images and sexually-charged dream sequences.  From Carol’s nightmares to the scene where an intruder chases Carol through a sanitarium, A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin is full of strange images that are designed to keep the viewer just as off-balance as Carol.  The film’s most shocking scene — which involves Carol coming across four dogs being used in a medical experiment — actually led to Fulci and special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi being taken to court and forced to prove that the dogs in the scene weren’t real.  (Fortunately, Rambaldi brought his dog props to court with him.)  It’s a shamelessly sordid film, one from which you will not be able to divert your eyes.

Florinda Bolkan gives a great and sympathetic performance was Carol while Antia Strindberg is properly decadent as Julia.  Penny Brown and Mike Kennedy plays perhaps the most hateful and callous hippies of all time and Kennedy especially makes a strong impression.  Trust Lucio Fulci to make a film where the hippies are just as frightening as the zombies who populated his later work!

A Lizard in A Woman’s Skin is a classic giallo and one of Fulci’s best.

Weekly Trailer Round-Up: Aquaman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mule, Vice, On The Basis of Sex, Mortal Engines

Last week the internet was abuzz after the release of an extended, five-minute trailer for Aquaman.  That trailer kicks off this week’s trailer round-up.  Aquaman will be released on December 21st.

Coming out the week before Aquaman, the animated Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse will provide a new look at everyone’s favorite webslinger and will help us all emotionally recover from the end of Avengers: Infinity War.  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in theaters on December 14th.

Clint Eastwood is a machine.  At an age when most people are retired, Eastwood is still cranking out movies and winning awards.  The Mule is based on the true story of the world’s oldest drug runner.  Eastwood directed and, for the first time since Trouble With The Curve, stars.  The Mule will be released on December 14th.

In Vice, Christian Bale is transformed into former Vice President Dick Cheney.  This film was directed by Adam McKay so it’s portrayal of Cheney and George W. Bush (played by Sam Rockwell) will probably not be a positive one.  Vice will be released on December 25th and will answer the question: “Does anyone other than Adam McKay care about Dick Cheney anymore?”

Vice will be getting some competition on Christmas from another politically charged biopic.  On the Basis of Sex stars Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Finally, if you’d rather escape the real world in December, Mortal Engines will be released on December 14th.

4 Shots From 4 Martian Films: A Message From Mars, Invaders From Mars, Devil Girl From Mars, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today we celebrate October’s favorite planet, Mars!

4 Shots From 4 Martian Films

A Message From Mars (1913, dir by J. Wallett Waller)

Invaders From Mars (1953, dir by William Cameron Menzies)

Devil Girl From Mars (1954, dir by David MacDonald)

Santa Claus Conquers The Martins (1964, dir by Nicolas Webster)