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Thread: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

  1. #161
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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    I enjoyed Rec2 - and Rec3 for that matter - but totally agree on it not being near as good as the first. I dig that they went a fairly different direction with things, rather than simply trying to recreate the first one again, like most sequels do.
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  2. #162

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Day #28
    Title: Ginger Snaps
    Country: Canada
    Year: 2000
    Director: John Fawcett




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    Ginger and her younger sister, Brigitte, are social outcasts and their hatred of the world have forced them to make a pact to commit suicide together by age sixteen. Their morbid way of living their lives takes a real life macabre detour when Ginger's "Becoming a woman" attracts a werewolf that had been killing local dogs. Now infected with the werewolf curse, Ginger experiences life with new feelings and desires. As she descends into the madness of craving the slaughter of lives at her own hands (Paws?), Brigitte is left to try and figure out a way to save her big sister from her werewolf ways. Joined by the local drug dealer/biology fanatic, Sam, Brigitte believes she has solved the mystery of how to transform a werewolf back into a normal human. The only problem is that Ginger is having too much fun indulging in her werewolf ways. Can Brigitte save her sister or will she merely become yet another victim of her new werewolf cursed sister?


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    Truth be told, I'm not a big werewolf movie fan. Oh sure, I loved The Wolf Man and the Howling was loads of fun, but it's mostly a sub-genre filled with mediocre films that fails to reach the heights of the vampire sub-genre. Yet, a little film came around and swept all gore hounds up in werewolf fever. Filmed in 1999, Ginger Snaps is a film that went through many obstacles in order to be seen by it's future fans. With the Columbine High School shootings happening shortly before filming, it was different to gain much positive backing. As a result, it wasn't until 2001 until the film began to receive that all important cult level fame by word of mouth. I imagine I first saw it (After positive feedback from Fangoria Magazine) sometime around late 2001-early 2002. Over the next year, it slowly became one of the must see movies for any horror fan. By 2004, Ginger Snaps even came out with a sequel and a prequel (Really a remake set in the 19th century) to cement it's place as a movie that mattered. So why did a self admitted werewolf detractor like yours truly enjoy the movie? Well, it's not your average werewolf flick.


    Yup, that's a werewolf.

    At it's heart, Ginger Snaps is not a movie about werewolves. In reality, it's a coming of age tale. This is showcased in two different ways by the two sisters, Ginger and the younger Brigitte. For Ginger, the werewolf curse coincides with her "Becoming a woman". I'm not going to get too much into the whole period sub-plot because I'm a guy and I'm a bit uncomfortable about it all! But yeah, Ginger finds her sexuality and realizes that she's changing in many different ways (Including growing a tale). On the other side of the coin is Brigitte. Over the course of the film, she finds her own identity. For years, she had mindlessly followed her big sister and was stuck in her shadow. Even though they've both agreed to off themselves by their 16th birthday, the viewer can tell that it's mostly just Ginger's decision and Bridgette goes along with it. By the end of the film, Brigitte has realized that she doesn't want to follow Ginger's path of becoming a werewolf and she wants to live. Brigitte has become empowered and she's finally stepped out of the shadows.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjh2IZ4Yvwg
    The amazing opening credits.

    The differences of the average werewolf film and horror movies in general doesn't stop there. The whole dynamic of the typical male and female roles are reversed. Here, Ginger is the one in control and her poor male target is practically raped by her. Likewise, the girl's father spends most of the movie silent and isolated from his family. This is a film where the guys lack their proverbial manhood and the women have all of the power. Ginger Snaps also manages to avoid some of the cliches in films. In most movies, Brigitte and her partner in crime against the werewolf condition, the older Sam, don't fall in love. This isn't a tale of romance, it's one of sisterly love and thus the relationship between Brigitte and Sam is purely platonic. Even the old Hollywood rules of werewolves do not apply in this film. The original werewolf that bit Ginger is killed when Sam hits it with his van. Silver is tried out, but fails to help Ginger. It's a different sort of werewolf film and that's so refreshing.


    The uncomfortable look all guys have when girls are talking about their "Time of the month".

    A big part of the fun value of Ginger Snaps comes from the black comedy. While the final act does take a much more serious approach to the story, a large portion of the film has a light tone. Part of this is accomplished by the wacky character. The girl's mom (Played wonderfully by Mimi Rogers) is the type of mom that gets giddy and so excited because "Her little girl is now a woman". It's both uncomfortable and hilarious how enthusiastic she is when she's talking about periods with her daughters. While the scene is brief, the scene with the school nurse when she's describing the usual timeline of events for a girl's "Time of the month" is a downright laugh riot. His role is brief, but there's a fat kid in a hockey uniform that provides a few laughs with his interactions with his little dog, Baxter. Lastly, I loved the scene where Trina is accidentally killed in Ginger's kitchen. With the parent's just arriving home, the girl's have the brilliant idea of hiding the body and having Ginger lay in the blood, as if it's just another one of their faux death scenes. The look of the father when Ginger offers him a taste of the "Corn syrup".


    Time to dethaw your bitchy classmate.

    Overall, Ginger Snaps is a rare gem that faced many obstacles, featured a sub-genre I'm not too fond of and had an entire plot based around periods, yet it's still one of the better horrors of the 2000's. I feel like I say this a lot, but it's a probable top 10 for the decade. The dark humor will keep you entertained until the real action begins in the final twenty minutes with Ginger in full werewolf mode. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Ginger Snaps is that it didn't create a new hot horror director in John Fawcett. Outside of one more movie, Fawcett would spend the next ten years working entirely in TV work. It's quite a shame because he showed a lot of potential to be one of the new crop of leaders of horrors with the likes of Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, Lucky McKee and Ti West. Then again, most of those directors failed to create the legacy that I had originally expected. If you want to see a rare great modern werewolf movie, check out Ginger Snaps. In addition, Ginger Snaps 2 quite the quality direct-to-video flick. Ginger Snaps 3 is decent, but it's not in the same league as the previous two movies.

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    Grade: A

    Favorite characters: Ginger's mom

    Fright in Motion:



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    Coming up next, you can't have a Halloween season without some Vincent Price.
    Last edited by Jim; 09-28-2017 at 11:39 AM.

  3. #163

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Day #29
    Title: The Fly
    Country: United States
    Year: 1958
    Director: Kurt Neumann




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    François (Played by Vincent Price) receives a distressing phone call from his sister-in-law, Helene, where she reveals she had just murdered her husband. Helene has Francois contact the police and when they arrive, she doesn't even attempt to deny the crime of murder. While the death creates a lot of questions, the biggest unanswered one is why? Unfortunately, that's the one question Helene refuses to answer. Little does Fancois or the police know that one of Helene's husband's experiments went terribly wrong and he was transformed into something so grotesques, freakish and mind altering that he begged Helene to put him out of his misery. This is the story of one woman's trials and tribulations of being the wife of The Fly!


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    A couple of years ago, I finally got around to watching 1986's The Fly (Reviewed in Fright Fest 2). After being so impressed with it, I wanted to see the original film for which it's based off of. It seemed like a can't miss movie. As amazing as Jeff Goldblum is, the original Fly had my pick for the best horror actor of all time - Vincent Price. In reality, the original Fly has a completely different feel and Vincent Price's role is not nearly as large as they'd leave you to believe (He's on some of the posters and DVD art). The truth of the matter is that 1986's Fly is a rare movie that blows away it's original. Yet, is the original Fly bad? Not at all. It's just not that near perfect film that it's remake was.


    The machine that started it all.

    The tone of the film is a lot lighter than the remake. The big difference between the two films is that the original focuses on the wife of the man who became the fly as she admits to killing her husband and later we learn what really happened. Like a classic monster movie, we see very little of Andre as the Fly. Meanwhile, the remake opted to show the transition from man to fly-like creature in all of it's gore greatness. For the original, it's merely a man with the cartoony head and one hand of a fly. The amazing visuals of Jeff Goldblum's transition isn't here.


    The horror icon - Vincent Price.

    I feel as if the creators of the film made a mistake making it so happy go lucky. By the end of the movie, Helene is cleared of all charges and her son is adjusting well to the one parent home with uncle Vincent Price visiting all of the time for that valuable man influence. Personally, I was really hoping they were never going to show us whether Helene's tale was true or not. It would have created a pretty killer question that could be debated for years to come. Was Helene crazy after killing her husband in cold bold (Thus lying about the half man half fly) or was everything the truth, but there just wasn't any proof of it. At the end of the day, the Fly is a rather depressing movie. Andre tried to make history and create the teleporter, but it turned him into a monster, so he begged for his life to be ended. François has lived his entire life alone because he's never been able to get over his secret love for Helene. Why do we need a happy ending when the story isn't a happy one? Those depressing plot points are still true, whether you try and have that cliche Hollywood ending or not. Leaving a mystery of what's really true would have created some intrigue.


    To scream or to laugh, that is the question.

    Not that it's uncommon for the 50's, but the scenes that are intended to creep you out will either accomplish that goal or merely make you laugh out loud. There's two scenes that stand out to me for that. The big reveal of Andre with his fly head and the later scene where the little fly is shown with Andre's head as he screams for his life while a spider approaches him for dinner. Are they scary scenes? Eh. It's hard to judge when you've grown up in a time when horror films were so much more over the top in terms of gore and attempts at freaking you out. If you just compare any of Jeff Goldblum's looks throughout the Fly remake against Andre's fly head, Goldblum wins out every time. However, it's 50's horror/sci-fi and there's a certain appreciation for it. It's difficult not to look back at the giant insects, absurd monsters and the wacky villains of the 50's with a certain fondness.


    0 days since the last on job accident.

    In some ways, The Fly, is a movie similar to Frankenstein or even the Wolf Man. In the case of Frankenstein, both Andre and Dr. Frankenstein tried to be too clever and they let the idea of worldwide fame due to a discovery cloud their judgment and they both paid the price for their creations. For the Wolf Man, both characters are sympathetic. Neither wants to be some monster and they both come to the conclusion that the world is better off without them. More than Andre, I feel bad for his family. Due to his impatience, he's dead and his family has to try and cope without him. Although, based on the final happy scene of the movie, they didn't have much trouble finding their smile again. Once again, the happy ending sucks. It's just such a different (And inferior) film compared to the '86 version, but that's also the main reason to check it out. The two different Fly movies feel like two completely different movies which helps them co-exist nicely in the land of the half man/half fly sub sub sub genre. Obviously, if you should only watch one, watch the remake, but the original does a swell job at showing the desperation of trying to get a man back to his old self after a little mishap.

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    Grade: C

    Most annoying character: Andre's obnoxious young son

    Fright in Motion:



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    Coming up next, tired of scares and spooks? Maybe it's time to celebrate a new holiday. What's this?!
    Last edited by Jim; 09-28-2017 at 11:39 AM.

  4. #164
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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Nash wants more post 2000 films please thanks.


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  5. #165

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Sorry, the one remaining movie and what I have planned for Halloween are from before the 2000's. Reviewing Saw 3-7 and the mini-review of [REC] 2, I believe there was a total of 17 post 2000's reviews this year though.

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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Didn't catch the early Saw ones, gunna have to have another look.

    Thanks Jimmy babes


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  7. #167
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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Vincent Price is the man. For some strange reason I suddenly just remembered he voiced Vincent Van Ghoul in "The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo". I'm planning on watching "House of Wax" this Halloween along with "Dracula" and "Frankenstein".

  8. #168

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Quote Originally Posted by SNerfHerder View Post
    Vincent Price is the man. For some strange reason I suddenly just remembered he voiced Vincent Van Ghoul in "The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo".
    That's part of what makes him my pick for best horror actor. Price has a huge list of horror movies he's been involved with, but he also played spooky roles in shows or movies that wasn't meant to be scary. Who could forget Vincent Price's guest starring role in the Brady Bunch when the gang went to Hawaii? Of course, there's also the single most well known music video of all time, Michael Jackson's Thriller. Price is the narrator in that.

  9. #169

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Day #30
    Title: The Nightmare Before Christmas
    Country: United States
    Year: 1993
    Director: Henry Selick




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    Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King, is the most popular member of the little village of HalloweenTown, a place filled with ghouls and creatures. However, after yet another Halloween of doing the same thing, Jack becomes bored of his hometown. After one night of wandering through the woods, Jack encounters a series of trees with various holiday pictures on them. Picking one with a Christmas tree, Jack is transported to ChristmasTown, a place that always has that special Christmas feel and magic. Having finally found something that excites him, Jack attempts to bring Christmas back to his morbid little town. Presenting a grand idea to his hometown, Jack convinces everyone in HalloweenTown to celebrate Christmas. With everyone pitching in, Jack prepares to take over the role as Santa Claus to give all of the good little kids of ChristmasTown gifts that the people of HalloweenTown feels best sums up happiness.


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    Every year during Fright Fest, I try to watch one timeless Halloween movie that is fun for the entire family. Having already watched Hocus Pocus and Casper, the next film seemed quite obvious. 1993's The Nightmare Before Christmas is probably more well known today than either of the other two films and it's fan base continues to grow. It's a film that manages to celebrate the spookiness of Halloween, while also previewing the upcoming jolly Christmas season, only with a morbid twist. If there's a reason why it's remain so popular, there's so many reasons to love it. The fact that you can experience it again in the future as a parent with your children without fear of your children being exposed to violence, gore, nudity or profanity of most horror films, makes it all the more appealing. The fact of the matter is that The Nightmare Before Christmas is a charming little movie that tells the story of some rather outlandish creatures.


    Solving the mystery of Christmas.

    Above all, the biggest selling point of the film is the songs. Lead by well known composer, Danny Elfman, The Nightmare Before Christmas offers several rather catchy tunes throughout the movie. Opening up the movie is "This is Halloween" with the entire cast of characters singing the explanation of their little town of Halloweentown. Every character gets their chance to stand out whether in a line of the song (IE. "I am the clown with the tear-away face"). From there, our main character, Jack, sings a song about his desire for something more in life will cause you to sway back and forth without even realizing it. However, the real standout of all of the tracks comes next when Jack wanders into ChristmasTown with "What's This?" It's an extremely catchy tune and it has some good comedy with how short Jack's attention spans are before something else catches his eye. Skipping forward some, we're finally introduced to the evil Oogie Boogie as he sings his own self title song to Santa Claus. This track has a different feel compared to the others. It's a bit jazzy, but like all others, massive amounts of fun. Lastly, there's "Finale/Reprise" that is a combination of "What's This?" and a love song between Jack and Sally. It's touching and a splendid way to finish out the film.


    From there, the next appeal of the movie would have to be the characters. This is where the stop motion animators should be applauded. Every little creature has it's own look and there's some rather gross, yet hilarious looking guys. Out of everyone, my favorite would just be Behemoth. How can you not love a creature that looks like he was a victim in Night of the Living Dead? Behemoth is a rather tall and fat redneck looking ghoul with an axe sticking out of his head. Not surprisingly, he's a bit slow and is a little too excited at seeing the Easter bunny for the first time. Other memorable characters would include the Mayor, who's so emotionally unstable that he has a face on both sides of his head. The one is happy-go-lucky, while the other is distressed and worried. There's Dr. Finklestein, the obvious Dr. Frankenstein-like character. The only difference is that he has a dark feel about him with his desires of creating the perfect (And obedient) wife. One of the running gags of the movie was Sally poisoning him on a regular basis in order to escape him for the night. Rounding out the characters I particularly liked are Lock, Shock and Barrel. They're three mischievous kids in HalloweenTown that are given the task by Jack of kidnapping Santa Claus. As it turns out, the entered the wrong world and kidnapped a terrified Easter bunny (Good ol' Behemoth didn't seem to mind though). If The Nightmare on Elm Street would ever have a TV series, I think these would be the characters to focus on.


    "Bunny!"

    Yet another selling point is the comedy. The best comedy just comes from the fact that the residents of HalloweenTown views things in a very different way than those in ChristmasTown. This makes for a horrifying experience on Christmas morning when the children of ChristmasTown opens the gifts given to them by the caring, yet macabre HalloweenTown gang. All of these presents end up chasing after the children, threatening to eat them alive. Even Jack gets in on the act of not understanding Christmas. There's a point in the film where he attempts to use the scientific method to learn what makes Christmas well...Christmas. Performing such experiments as looking at a berry from a Christmas wreath under a microscope and smashing Christmas ornaments up to see how they react in chemicals. At the end of the day, Jack just can't understand what's the purpose of Christmas and why ChristmasTown would be so upset with him for delivering his presents. This is where the one life lesson comes into play. It's knowing who you are and accepting yourself for you. Jack is the The Pumpkin King and he realizes Halloween is the holiday for him.


    I can't even begin to imagine how trippy Oogie Boogie Man's song would be if you're on acid.

    Clocking in at just under an hour and ten minutes, The Nightmare Before Christmas is over before you know it. That's a big disappointing since you do want to see more of the characters, but it helps the film from dragging. Frankly, I'm rather surprised that there was never a sequel. It wouldn't even need to be with the cast of characters from HalloweenTown. Instead, just focusing on one or more of the other worlds. Come on, Tim Burton, get on it already! Until then, The Nightmare Before Christmas remains a beloved dark comedy that can be enjoyed by all ages.

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    Grade: A

    Favorite Song: "What's This?"

    Fright in Motion:



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    Coming up on Halloween day, Fright Fest 4 concludes with multiple tales of cheap puns, twist endings and morality lessons.
    Last edited by Jim; 09-28-2017 at 11:40 AM.

  10. #170

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Day #31A
    Title: Tales from the Crypt
    Country: United States
    Years: 1989-1996
    Director: Various




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    Title: Maniac at Large
    Season: 4/Episode: 10
    Director: John Frankenheimer



    Blythe Danner (Ben Stiller's mother-in-law in Meet the Parents) stars as Margaret, a timid new employee at a library. In her daily job, she has to deal with an employer that well known for an unfair boss, a security guard who spends most of his time getting drunk in the basement, a band of unruly teens that are disrupting everyone and one unusual library patron that seems to be a little too into serial killers. If Margaret's job wasn't stressful enough, the city has been in the middle of a serial killer spree. With the last murder taking place just blocks away, Margaret's fears get the best of her as she begins to suspect that the serial killer may in fact be one of the people she interacts with and that she's the next target. Is Margaret letting her fears get the best of her or will a night of working late present a perfect opportunity for the serial killer to strike again?


    The most obvious serial killer ever?

    Part of the charm of Tales from the Crypt is how most episodes feel as if they could be stretched out to be feature length films. Maniac at Large is just that belief. The biggest appeal of the episode is that it's one of the scariest in Tales from the Crypt's seven year history. It's loaded with suspense, memorable characters and the natural fear that you're in danger and everyone's a suspect. Out of everyone, Adam Ant as Pipkin, a bookworm adult who seems to be obsessed with understanding serial killers, steals the episode with his creepy portrayal of the character. He seems to have inside information on the killer and his mindset. Is Pipkin a red herring or is he such a sick serial killer than he's playing with the fragile mental state of Margaret before he kills her? In addition, the episode focuses on a couple other possible identities of the famed maniac.


    The maniac's eighth victim.

    I won't spoil the twist ending (Don't worry, revealing there was a twist isn't a spoiler as every episode had a twist), but it's pretty killer and was pretty fresh for 1992. Twenty years later, it's a tired cliche, but it doesn't effect the creepiness of the big reveal and learn of just how insane the killer is. Most episodes of Tales end up falling into one of two categories. It's either wacky and hilarious or it's suspenseful and scary. If you want a classic example of the latter, Maniac at Large is a good choice.

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    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:



    Streaming Episode:

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    Title: Television Terror
    Season: 2/Episode: 16
    Director: Charlie Picerni



    Morton Downey Jr. stars as Horton Rivers, a Geraldo Rivera-like TV host, that goes around the country, meeting up with America's most bizarre people. Despite his sensationalism style of reporting, Horton is generally regarded by everyone he works with as an asshole and a pretentious putz. In this episode of his TV show, he's out to visit the scene of a series of grizzly murders committed by a little old lady to her tenets. Since she was arrested, residents of the neighborhood have been complaining of hearing strange noises coming from the vacant house. Now Horton is out to discover if her house is haunted or if all of the complaints were just a series of hoaxes.


    What a jackass.

    Much like "Maniac at Large", Television Terror was ahead of it's time. It has a feel similar to the found footage films where there's a lot of quiet build-up before all hell breaks out in the final minutes. Due to how popular that sort of sub-genre become, the twist of this episode is easy to figure out. Even without watching the episode, you can probably guess that the place is really haunted and Horton is in for a terrifying night. Luckily, the casting of Morton Downey Jr. as the star helped keep the story interesting despite how predictable it is. The highlight of the episode (Besides Downey doing his best Morton Downey Jr impression) is seeing the ghost of the old lady chasing Horton around with a chainsaw. A little grandma with a chainsaw? That's awesome.


    Yeah, it's time to get the fuck out of the house...

    The downside to the episode is that it's a bit overly simplistic. The story has two parts. We meet the characters and are introduced to the plot and then Horton and his cameraman end up just a statistic. With a running time of twenty minutes, it episode didn't even feel like it needed that much time. The other problem is Downey's character isn't unlikable enough. Is he someone you can learn to dislike and laugh at how over the top he is? Sure, but is that enough reason to relish in his death? I don't think so. All throughout the episode, one of Horton's crew members is mocking and insulting Horton every chance he gets. You get to the point where you don't understand the hate Horton's character gets from his crew and they may be more deserving of a grizzly death. Still, Downey's great character and the visuals of a little old lady with a chainsaw helps makes this a memorable episode.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Grade: C

    Fright in Motion:


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    Still to come today, Fright Fest continues with four more episodes of Tales from the Crypt.
    Last edited by Jim; 09-28-2017 at 11:50 AM.

  11. #171
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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Jim, a special Halloween question for you:You're a fan of horror movies, you're a fan of The Simpsons, so what are some of your favourite Treehouse of Horror shorts that have spoofed famous films or characters?

  12. #172

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    Jim, a special Halloween question for you:You're a fan of horror movies, you're a fan of The Simpsons, so what are some of your favourite Treehouse of Horror shorts that have spoofed famous films or characters?
    Well, I haven't seen any of the recent ones as I haven't been a regular viewer of the Simpsons for years (I imagine this goes for most people), but yeah, the old Treehouse of Horrors were some of the best episodes of the Simpsons. Admittedly, I'm cheating a bit to look over the descriptions of all of them to jog my memory.

    "Bad Dream House" from the very first one was quite good. It's just your classic haunted house tale.

    "The Shinning" is pretty easy to remember due to being a parody of the Kubrick film.

    "Homer3" from Treehouse of Horror 6 is one that pops in my head all the time. It's just a very bizarre episode with Homer entering a 3D dimension and everything looking so different.

    The shorts "The HΩmega Man" and "Easy-Bake Coven" from Treehouse 8, I remember being good as well.

    "I Know What You Diddily-Iddly-Did" is pretty memorable for Flanders being dressed up as the killer from I Know What You Did Last Summer.

    After that, the episodes become a bit fuzzy. I remember enjoying some of the earliest episodes with the pair of aliens and the one with the janitor being Freddy Krueger. My memory's just really sketchy when it comes to the Treehouse of Horrors. If I had to pick just one favorite, it would be "Bad Dream House" since it's stayed in my head all of these years. You've kind of made me want to check out all of the Treehouse episodes again.

    So yeah, I know I love the episodes, but my memory fucking sucks for it.

  13. #173
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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    God, that Homer3 one was weird as all hell, I remember that.


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  14. #174

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Day #31B
    Title: Tales from the Crypt
    Country: United States
    Years: 1989-1996
    Director: Various




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    Title: Strung Along
    Season: 4/Episode: 12
    Director: Kevin Yagher



    Donald O'Connor plays Joseph Renfield, an once great puppeteer that has now seen his career stalled out. Now an old man, he's a shut-in and spends his days talking to his favorite puppet, Coco, and watching old videos from his prime. As luck will have it Renfield receives a letter with the invitation to appear on a tribute to the 50's, where he'll be able to perform his puppet act one more time. Due to his health problems stemming from a past heart attack, Renfield feels it's best to hire on an assistant. Through his young wife's acting teacher, Renfield is introduced to David (Played by Fright Fest's Waxwork's Zach Galligan). Despite the upswing of his life, Renfield just can't seem to shake the feeling that his wife is having an affair. Is it all in his head or is "Coco" telling him the truth?


    The act in happier days.

    Unlike with Television Terror, there's a lot going on in Strung Along. Directed by famed make-up and special effect wiz, Kevin Yagher, the story is actually quite good with all of the mysteries. Besides the whole question of if Renfield's wife is cheating on him or not, there's that nagging question of if Coco is really talking to Renfield or if it's all in his head. I do find that it's a bit difficult talking about this episode without giving away spoilers. I do think the three main characters all played their roles well. O'Connor played the role of a former great who was desperate for fame again, but in emotional turmoil due to his wife well. Patricia Charbonneau, played Renfield's wife, Ellen. While you can originally sympathize with her, she eventually goes into full bitch mode and is easy to hate. Lastly, there's Zack Galligan. Just try and hate him, I dare you.


    An old rich guy married to a hot younger woman? Shocking.

    Like with any movie about puppets, the main attraction is seeing the puppet come to life and go on a killing spree. You get to see it here, only with a clever little twist...s. I also liked the fact that the big twist didn't really involve the puppet coming to life as everyone would have already assumed it would have. So if you're a fan of killer puppet/doll movies, Strung Along is an obvious recommendation . Even if you're not too high on the Chucky's of the world, it's an above average episode of Tales from the Crypt that greatly benefits from having multiple twists and unexpected turns in the story.

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    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:



    Streaming Episode:

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    Title: Well Cooked Hams
    Season: 5/Episode: 8
    Director: Elliot Silverstein



    Billy Zane stars as Miles Federman a not so talented magician that is seeing his attendance drop by the show. It seems as if killing off his mentor, Zorbin the Magnificent, to steal his act doesn't mean a whole lot when you have such little talent. After firing Zorbin's long running assistant, Greta, Miles ends up meeting the mysterious Kraygen. Being a fellow magician, Kraygen invites Miles to see one of his shows where the main illusion is 'Box of Death' where Kraygen seemingly dies on stage, only to show that it was all one big and elaborate trick. Believing that Kraygen's 'Box of Death' may be just the act Miles needs to bring back his audience, he kills Kragen after Kraygen tells him the secret to the trick. Little does Miles realize just how famous the 'Box of Death' will make him.


    R.I.P. Kraygen.

    Some of the best episodes of Tales from the Crypt revolves around a sleazy main character getting what he deserves. Miles is the perfect character that is unlikable, one you can't wait to see humiliated, yet he also provides plenty of laughs. I credit the hilarity of the character based on what a horrendous magician Miles was. The creators of the episode made him as pathetic as can be, with Miles messing up the simplest of tricks. Yet, it's also what makes it so easy to hate him. He's a shitty magician who has to kill others to have decent tricks, that he still manages to screw up.


    Martin Sheen playing a character. Charlie Sheen's future look?

    If there's a star of the episode though, it has to be Martin Sheen of his portrayal of three different roles. Each one is a little wacky, completely creative and showcased a character side of Sheen I wasn't used to seeing. The character changes also keeps the story moving along at a nice pace, but without feeling as if much is going on. Overall, Well Cooked Hams is your classic tale of a sleazy guy thinking he's in control of everything until reality comes in and bites him on the ass.

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    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:



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    Fright Fest 4 concludes with Jim's favorite two episodes of Tales from the Crypt.
    Last edited by Jim; 09-28-2017 at 12:03 PM.

  15. #175

    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Day #31C
    Title: Tales from the Crypt
    Country: United States
    Years: 1989-1996
    Director: Various




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    Title: Cutting Cards
    Season: 2/Episode: 3
    Director:



    Sam and Reno are a pair of long time gambling rivals. Both guys have won substantial amounts of money from the other over the years. Now, they're both sick of their rivalry, so they want to settle things once and for all. The winner of the game gets the city to themselves while the other can never return. However, as the night goes on and their mutual love of competition takes over their judgements, the stakes are raised. Who will win and what will be left of them?


    Comic book lighting.

    Cutting Cards is a classic episode of Tales from the Crypt. It's an incredible simple story where two guys absolutely loathe each other, but they never have as much fun than when they're gambling against each other. In some ways, Sam and Reno are the best of friends, even if their hatred of the other makes them wish the other was dead. It's both hilarious and a little sweet. The episode is also one of the wackiest because of how normal things are at the start, but things quickly escalated beyond reasonable logic. When rolling dice lead to both guys rolling snake eyes, it's decided the next game should just be Russian Roulette! When that ends up being a dud, they opt to play poker where if you lose a hand, you must literally lose a body part.


    Care to give them a...hand? *Insert Cryptkeeper laugh*

    The episode also has some really strong camera work. Cinematographer, John R. Leonetti, lit the outdoor scenes (Russian Roulette) as if it was straight out of a comic book. Seeing as this is a TV show based on the classic comics of the 50's, you'd think they'd do this more often. This is also a rare episode where there isn't some huge twist nor does anyone die. The viewer can easily enjoy both characters for their gimmicks (Reno's an old school cowboy in modern times) and their obsession with gambling. If you want a great episode of Tales, check out Cutting Cards to see just how far a couple of guys will go to prove their better than each other.

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    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:



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    Title: And All Through the House
    Season: 1/Episode: 2
    Director: Robert Zemeckis



    Mary Ellen Trainor stars as an unhappy and greedy wife in a loveless marriage. On the night before Christmas, she decides to give herself the best Christmas present possible - her husband's death. Little does the newly widowed woman realize that she chose a bad time to dispose of the body. As it should happen, an escape mental patient is on the loose and he's already killed a few women. Dressed in a morbid Santa Claus costume, he's far closer to the wife than she realizes. Once the wife runs into the crazed Santa Claus, she ends up in quite the pickle. As much as she needs to contact 911, the body of her husband still lays outside in the snow. For on this Christmas, Santa Claus is here and he knows the wife has been a very naughty girl...


    Naughty or nice?

    Originally filmed as the first episode, but ended up airing as the second, And All Through the House is the ultimate Tales from the Crypt episode. It features a character who deserves what's happening to her, a lot of dark comedy and the freshness of one murderer being hunted by a far more dangerous one. For whatever reason, there's just not enough Christmas based horror movies. The holiday makes for a perfect horror film due to the contrasts of styles. Christmas is supposed to be the most magical time of the year, what could be less magical than being slaughtered in your own home by a crazed Santa Claus?


    A very festive killing.

    Undoubtedly, the best aspects of the episode was the dark comedy. Most of it centers around the wife's poor luck. Such moments include trying to slice her husband's head open with an axe (To make it seem like Santa Claus did it), but barely missing to the left and the right. Then she gets locked out of her home. Later still, she goes to get her husband's gun, but the door knob ends up falling off, thus trapping her in the closest, where the gun is located. I won't share how the episode ends, but it's yet another example of how the night that was supposed to be the wife's most rewarding (See: huge will from her husband) ends up being a nightmare. In some ways, it's similar to The Nightmare Before Christmas (Perfect movie to watch on Halloween to enjoy the horror feel of the holiday, but also a way to prepare for Christmas), but in a total opposite sort of way (Not something you want to show the kiddies). It's my favorite episode and how can you not love it for it's plot alone?


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    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:



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    And thus ends Fright Fest 4. Thanks to all that took the time to read any of the reviews or enjoyed any of the look at horror movies over the years.
    Last edited by Jim; 09-28-2017 at 11:59 AM.

  16. #176
    Big Papa's Avatar

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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Thanks for another fun ride, Jim. Enjoyed the reviews again this year.
    EVERY ENDING IS A NEW BEGINNING.
    YOUR LUCKY NUMBER IS NONE.
    YOUR LUCKY COLOUR IS DEAD.
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    LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.



  17. #177
    stressed but chillin

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    Yes, thank you Jim, for all the work you put into your reviews.




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  18. #178
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

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    Re: Fright Fest 4 - Straight to Video Hell

    Jim, you're an awesome guy. What a great month of reviews.

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