Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween!

Well, it's Halloween night, kids! And time for the official end of this year's Countdown. 

It's been such a blast taking part this year, as it has been for the past fifteen years, and I fully plan on partaking again next Halloween. Already have some movies on my "To Watch" list.

Thanks to all those who have stopped by, it means a lot! And thanks to Michelle and Dex for once again keeping this Countdown to Halloween alive. Or should I say, undead?

Below is a list of all the movies I featured this year, with links to their posts. If I've encouraged you to check any of them out, let me know what you thought of them. As for me, I think I'm going to spend the rest of the evening finishing up Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities. 

Have a terrific rest of your Halloween, and an even better end of the year. Here's to 2023!

A Banquet (2021)

Antlers (2021)

Barbarian (2022)

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)

Candyman (2020)

Dashcam (2021)

Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Dracula (Spanish, 1931)

Halloween Ends (2022)

Hellbender (2021)

KIller Party (1986)

Little Evil (2017)

Men (2022)

Next of Kin (1982)

Offseason (2022)

Phantasm Ravager (2016)

Rubber (2010)

Society (1989)

Speak No Evil (2022)

Strange Behavior (1981)

Tenebrae (1982)

TerrorVision (1986)

The Beast Must Die (1974)

The Body Snatcher (1945)

The Fan (1981)

The Night House (2020)

The Velvet Vampire (1971)

Trigger Man (2007)

Watcher (2022)

We’re All Going to the World's Fair (2022)

White of the Eye (1987)

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 31: Halloween Ends (2022)

Last year, I ended the countdown with Halloween Kills so I figured it would be appropriate to end this year's countdown with its sequel, Halloween Ends, which Jamie Lee Curtis (and director David Gordon Green) insist will be their final forays into the franchise.

Let's hope so.

I enjoyed the first of these three sequels, but the second one was too focused on a body count, and not enough on Laurie Strode. I openly hoped the third one would once again chuck the whole Michael Meyers thing and go for something as silly as Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Green doesn't go that route, but he does try to take the franchise in a slightly different direction, focusing on some new characters, and the idea that evil can spread from person to person like a virus, especially to those with weakened moral centers. Which, granted, is an interesting idea, certainly influenced by these pandemic times. 

But as a whole, I don't think Halloween Kills really works. For one thing, why does half the cast sound like they're from New York when this is set in Illinois? For another, it is always annoying to see a female character fall for a guy who is obviously troubled, thinking she's going to be the one to save him. That the female character in question this time is Laurie's granddaughter Allyson just makes it doubly annoying because we know she's a smarter woman than that. Honey, slashers gonna slash!

As a whole, this trilogy of sequels/reboots weren't as terrible as they could have been, owing mostly to the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis in all three. But if she's stepping away, then there is really no need to continue this franchise, and I hope that, for once, finally, Michael Meyers does not get back up.

I watched Halloween Kills on Peacock, but it is also still playing in theaters.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 30: TerrorVision (1986)

I went into TerrorVision hoping it was a long lost gem I had somehow overlooked, and,'s not. In fact, it's kind of audaciously terrible, but for me, not quite in the "so bad it's good" camp, like Troll, which was filmed around the same time in Italy, using some of the same crew and sets.

It does have Mary Woronov though, and no matter how bad a movie is, it's always good to see her. She plays an aerobics obsessed housewife and mother. Her husband (Chad Allen) installs a satellite TV system that somehow transports a man-eating alien into their home, and the teen members of the household try to tame it, ala E.T. 

It doesn't really work out.

I'll give it this much: It somehow manages to perfectly skewer the 1980's while being filmed right dab in the middle of the decade. The teenage daughter is a straight up parody of an MTV obsessed "punk rocker" (lol), along with her boyfriend. And the family home is just tacky 80's perfection.

I couldn't find it streaming on any platforms, so I watched it on YouTube, which does have a pretty good copy available.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 29: Barbarian (2022)

I had planned to post about a different movie today, but I watched Barbarian the other night, and was so impressed by it, I just had to feature it instead.

Barbarian was released at the end of August to almost unanimously positive reviews, and I came close to seeing it in a theater, mainly because I wanted to be able to see it before finding out too much about it. I never got around to seeing it, but luckily, I did avoid major spoilers, and it's now available to stream just over a month later.

And the movie really does benefit from not knowing too much. It begins with a mix up with an Airbnb rental on a dark and stormy night, and two strangers needing to share the house. And that's all you really need to know, as I do think one big joy of the movie is how unpredictable it is, and how all the pieces and themes fit together perfectly by the end. (Don't worry that the trailer below gives away too much; it's kind of masterfully oblique.)

Barbarian is one of the best horror movies of the year, and is currently streaming on HBO Max (and is still playing in some theaters).

Friday, October 28, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 28: Rubber (2010)

I included two films by Quentin Dupieux in last year's countdown, Deerskin and Mandibles, and while I liked them both, Mandibles ended up being one of my favorite films of 2021, and made me a Quentin Dupieux fan for life. 

I decided to save watching his 2010 horror comedy Rubber for this year's countdown, and man alive, this is one weird movie! Yes, even weirder than a movie about a pair of idiot criminals who want to train a giant fly to rob banks!

At its center, Rubber is about a tire that becomes sentient and can kill animals and people using psychokinetic powers. So, you have lots of shots of a tire rolling across an American desert, defeating what he (his name is Robert) perceives to be his enemies. (They usually aren't.)

Then around that, you have a meta story of an audience of people who are watching this all play out, somewhere in the distance, using binoculars, and commenting on the film you, and they, are watching.

You know what? I've already said too much. Go into this one knowing it's going to be weird, and may not make complete sense, and just enjoy the ride

Rubber shows up on free streaming services now and then, but I had to rent it via Prime Video.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 27: The Body Snatcher (1945)

Once again, I am catching up with a Val Lewton production I had not previously seen. This year it's 1945's The Body Snatcher starring Boris Karloff, one of three pictures Karloff made with Lewton. (The other two are Bedlam and Isle of the Dead.)

It's clear Boris Karloff has a lot of fun in his role as John Gray, the blackmailing body snatcher. He's always got a sly smile on his face, which works particularly well next to the perpetually scowly Henry Daniell as Dr. MacFarlane, the recipient of Gray's grave robbing. Bela Lugosi also has a small part as a lab assistant, and this would mark the final time Karloff and Lugosi appeared in a film together.

This was also the second film Robert Wise directed for Lewton, after he successfully replaced the fired first director of Curse of the Cat People. This movie isn't as good as that one, or some of Lewton's bigger hits, but it's still fun, with an ending that's completely silly, but also kind of perfect.

I watched The Body Snatcher on TCM.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 26: A Banquet (2021)

Food and body issues are the common teenage issues running through A Banquet, and let's face it, both being a teenage girl, and being the parent of a teenage girl, can have their moments of outright horror in the best of families.

But this family has things a little rougher. After the gruesome death of her husband, Holly Hughes is left to raise their two teenage daughters alone. After a possibly supernatural experience in the woods during a party, eldest daughter Betsey stops eating, becoming violently ill if she even tries. But this isn't teenage anorexia, as Betsey is not losing any weight despite her zero calorie diet. She says it's all part of her "higher purpose" and the coming end of the word. Is it true? Or is she crazy?

Honestly, by the end of it, I really had no idea. The ending is a bit of a head-scratcher. But it kept me engaged, and I'm not sure any other movie has made normally delicious meals looks so menacing.

I watched A Banquet on Shudder.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 25: Dracula (Spanish, 1931)

Like most fans of classic horror, I have long been aware that when the 1931 Bela Lugosi Dracula was being filmed, there was a Spanish version being filmed at night, once the American crew went home. They used the same sets and same script, but had a different crew and different actors, and some claim it's actually the superior version of the two Draculas.

I wouldn't go that far.

Anyone who has sat through Tod Browning's Dracula knows, it's a bit of a snooze. Based on a play, the movie is slow, stiff, and stagey, and is really only saved by Lugosi's performance, which, while definitely hammy, still gives the movie needed jolts of energy. And while Browning's direction isn't exactly dynamic, he does some interesting things with key-lighting and camera movements that are pretty impressive for the time.

The Spanish language version has neither Lugosi nor Browning, and it suffers for it. What it does have, and why it is perhaps held up as the better film, is a bit more lust, and a lot more cleavage.

But there's no doubting the film's biggest deficit is its Dracula. He's played by the actor Carlos Villarías, and...he's no Bela Lugosi. He looks more like a waiter at an Italian restaurant than a Count from Transylvania, and at times (OK, most of the time) his facial expressions are more goofy than creepy. I mean, compare for yourself.

I don't think the Spanish Dracula is a must see, but I do think it's fun to watch the two side-by-side. Doing so actually made me appreciate Browning's version a lot more than I had originally! Both versions are currently streaming on the Criterion Channel.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 24: Offseason (2022)


Well, they can't all be winners!

I watched Offseason on a whim, primarily because it stars Joceline Donahue, the lead actress in The House of the Devil, one of my all-time favorite horror movies, and because it was on Shudder, and therefore was easy to watch. It starts off promising, with Melora Walters as a clearly terminally ill woman giving a disturbing monologue from her sick bed. Some time later her daughter (Donahue) gets a message that her mother's grave has been vandalized, so she and her husband (played by perennial mumblecore presence, Joe Swanberg) return to the desolate Florida island she used to call home, and which her mother never wanted to return to. Pretty soon we find out why.

The parts are all there, the setting is eerie, and the acting is good. But it all felt like something I had seen before, and done better before, ultimately leading to an ending that was completely predictable.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 23: White of the Eye (1987)

I don't think I had ever heard of White of the Eye until I saw it included in the Criterion Channel's lineup of 1980's horror movies. It was directed by Donald Cammell, a Scottish painter-turned director who only made a few films, most famously Performance (which he co-directed with Nicholas Roeg), and Demon Seed, the horror movie where Julie Christie gets raped by a computer (!). His personal life was almost as weird as one of his movies: He married his second wife, China Kong, when she was 18 and he was 44, but they started their relationship when she was only fourteen, (yikes!) and he died by suicide in 1996.

The screenplay for White of the Eye was actually co-written by Cammell and Kong, and she also has a tiny part in the movie. The main stars are David Keith (of An Officer and a Gentlemen and Firestarter) and Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull) as Paul and Joan, a married couple in Arizona. He installs expensive stereo systems in wealthy homes while she raises their mullet-haired daughter. When a serial killer begins to murder rich women in their homes, Paul is the primary suspect.

There's a lot of cross-cutting between the past and the present in the film, which is definitely Cammell's style, but it doesn't completely work, and is sometimes a tad confusing. I'm not sure the movie really brings much that's new to the serial killer genre, but it's definitely got style, a great soundtrack, and an ending that's kind of nuts.

I watched White of the Eye on the Criterion Channel.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 22: Dashcam (2021)

First off, I just need to say Dashcam really should have changed its title to Bodycam once it was known that there would be another 2021 movie titled Dashcam coming out. So, to be clear, this Dashcam is more of a thriller, while the other Dashcam is a more straight-forward horror film. (Haven't watched that one yet, but do plan to.)

The reason this Dashcam could have gone by a different title is that dashcam footage is only one part of the story. There's also a cop's body cam footage, and lots of FaceTime phone call footage as well. Filmed and set during Covid times, it takes full advantage of it, and how forced isolation can become comfortable, but can also lead to suspicion and paranoia. But then again, it's not paranoia if people are really out to get you, is it?

I really enjoyed this tight, modern riff on films like The Conversation, Blowup and Blow Out. It's available to stream free on several services; I watched it on Tubi.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 21: Society (1989)

I'm not going to even begin to explain what the above gif is all about, because it has to be seen to be believed, which pretty much sums up Society in general.

I don't think I was even aware of this movie until a few years ago, which probably has something to do with its marketing way back in the 1989; they had no idea how to sell a film like this. Comedy? Social commentary? Horror movie? All of the above? 

It is all of the above, though not quite as funny as it should be, all things considered. Billy Warlock (!) is Beverly Hills teenager Bill. He's handsome, and popular, but doesn't really seem to belong in his well-off family of WASP-y blondes. He soon finds out why.

I'm not sure it all works entirely, and it takes a little too long to get to the point, but man, is it audacious. And I promise you it has an ending that you will never forget.

I watched Society on the Criterion Channel.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 20: Antlers (2021)

Antlers is not the first horror movie to take on the Native American myth of the Wendigo, a humanoid creature with a hunger for human flesh, but it may be the most depressing, as childhood abuse and lingering trauma are at the center of the story.

The cast, at least, is excellent, with Keri Russell as Julia, a school teacher who has returned to her hometown after the suicide death of her alcoholic father. She lives with her brother, Paul, played by Jesse Plemons, who is also the town's sheriff. As she deals with the memories of her own childhood abuse, she begins to suspect one of her students may also be the victim of an abusive father, but she doesn't know the half of it.

Guillermo del Toro was one of the film's producers, and there's a bit of his touch in the creature design for sure, but I can't say I entirely enjoyed watching Antlers, as at times it's just terribly bleak, and watching terrified little kids living in squalor isn't exactly fun. If you want to watch less depressing takes on the "Wendigo" legend, you might want to try Wendigo, or The Last Winter instead.

I watched Antlers on HBO Max.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 19: Next of Kin (1982)

In many ways Next of Kin feels like an Italian giallo. It's got a central heroine, a spooky house, and mysterious deaths that may or may not be murders. But the movie is actually a product of Australia's 1980's "new wave," and owes a lot to classic Victorian gothic literature.

Linda (Jackie Kerin) inherits an old folks home when her estranged mother leaves it to her after her death. As she contemplates whether or not she should keep the place open or shut it down for good, she starts to grow close to some of the residents, while also dealing with some of their deaths, which may or may not be accidental.

Next of Kin is not an action packed horror movie. It takes its time, more interested in mood (enhanced a lot by its excellent synth-heavy score) than scares, at least until the end, when the movie almost goes off the rails before settling into a satisfying climax. It's a bit of a forgotten haunted house (or is it??) movie that deserved a bigger audience at the time.

Including a trailer below, despite it being one of those annoying trailers that basically sums up the entire movie. 

 I watched Next of Kin on the Criterion Channel.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 18: Hellbender (2021)

One of my favorite discoveries during last year's countdown was The Deeper You Dig, which introduced me to the Adams Family, two sisters and their parents who make low-budget films, mostly horror, out of their Catskills home.

Their latest is Hellbender, starring mom Toby Poser and daughter Zelda Adams, as a mother and daughter who live together in a remote house in the woods. They spend their time practicing their two person rock band, Hellbender, while mom occasionally ventures into town for groceries. Teenager Izzy isn't allowed to come along, or talk with strangers, as she's been told it's too risky to her health. 

But soon Izzy begins to venture out on her own, and she realizes her mother has not been entirely truthful about her condition, or their family history

I think I liked this one a little bit more than The Deeper You Dig, though they'd really make a good double features. Two horror movies centered on a mother and daughter bond that is both unbreakable, and scary.

I watched Hellbender on Shudder.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 17: Strange Behavior (1981)

For years I had assumed I had seen 1981's Strange Behavior, but turns out I was thinking of 1983's Strange Invaders, which was actually the second film in a proposed "Strange" trilogy that never got to film number three since film number two was a flop. (Strange Behavior was also released under the title Dead Kids.)

This is an odd movie in many ways, and not just the plot, which involves an evil scientist, mind control, and major daddy issues. It was filmed in New Zealand, but features majority American actors (and a few New Zealanders that were clearly dubbed to sound American). Director Michael Laughlin does his best to make the setting look like small town Illinois, but it just doesn't feel right, making the already creepy film almost otherworldly.

It's also got a stellar cast, including Louise Fletcher (RIP!), Michael Murphy, and Fiona Lewis, and was co-written by future Academy Award-winner Bill Condon.

Instead of a trailer, I'm going to add a clip of the best part of the movie, which is just another thing that makes Strange Behavior so...strange. It's a costume party scene that evolves into a choreographed dance sequence set to Lou Christie's "Lightning Strikes."

I watched Strange Behavior on the Criterion Channel.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 16: Little Evil (2017)

I'm not sure why I waited this long to finally watch Little Evil, a comedic riff on movies like The Omen and The Exorcist. Maybe it was the presence of terrible people Evangeline Lilly and Chris D'Elia in the cast? Or maybe it's just that my Netflix watch list is awfully long, and things can get easily overlooked.

And the casting, aside from those two, is otherwise pretty amazing, with Adam Scott leading the pack as a stepfather trying to connect with his new stepson, who may be the devil. Bridget Everett is a fellow stepdad (yes, stepdad) in a counseling group that includes Donald Faison and Kyle Bornheimer. Sally Field also makes an appearance as a social worker.

There are plenty of laughs, and a few scares, but most surprisingly it's actually kind of...touching?

Little Evil is available to stream on Netflix.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 15: The Fan (1981)

Let's continue this week's women-and-the-men-who-terrorize-them theme with today's entry: 1981's The Fan, starring Lauren Bacall and Michael Biehn.

I never bothered to watch this movie in all the years since it first came out because I had always heard it's terrible. kind of is! But it's not so bad that it was worthy of ignoring for decades, mainly because Lauren Bacall is so good in it. She plays, basically, herself, a Hollywood legend who is living in New York, doing theater. As she rehearses for a new musical, she begins to get letters from an obsessive fan who is not at all happy that her assistant keeps intercepting them....

For a movie that's pretty dumb, it sure does have a stellar case. Along with Bacall and Biehn there's James Garner as Bacall's ex-husband, Héctor Elizondo as a detective, and Maureen Stapleton as Bacall's long suffering assistant. Its late 1970's, early '80's in Manhattan aesthetic is enjoyable, and kept reminding me of The Eyes of Laura Mars, (which would make a good double bill). And to top it all off, there's an extensive musical sequence, with songs by Tim Rice and Marvin Hamlisch!

I watched The Fan on the Criterion Channel, where it is part of this month's excellent '80's horror collection.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 14: Watcher (2022)

In some ways, Watcher (not to be confused with the Netflix series The Watcher), reminded me of Men, the film I featured yesterday, as they both feel like "Me Too" horror movies, centered on women terrorized by a man (or men), and whose terror is not believed by those around her.

Of course, none of that is exactly new in the realm of horror movies, and isn't just a reaction to Me Too. In fact, Watcher also brought to mind classics like Rear Window, Rosemary's Baby, and Repulsion, illustrating that its themes are not novel. Perhaps that should just serve as a reminder that the horror genre has often been a vehicle for channeling women's rage and frustrations.

Maika Monroe is excellent as Julia, a young wife stuck in Bucharest, where she does not know the language, after her Romanian-American husband (Karl Glusman) gets a job there. When she starts to notice someone staring at her from the building across from them, she begins to wonder if they may be more than just a voyeur.

I watched Watcher on Shudder.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 13: Men (2022)

Oh man. Or should I say, oh Men? This movie is at times completely baffling, and at other times just way too on-the-nose with its metaphors. Despite its many flaws, it still had me thinking about it days after I saw it, and I welcome any chance to talk with anyone about it, because it's definitely worth some discussion.

After a tragedy, Harper (Jesse Buckley, love her) decides to get away from the city with a holiday at a countryside home. There, she meets a series of men (and one boy), who are all similar in a number of ways, the biggest being they're all various forms of creepy. Some are super creepy (like, showing up in the yard naked creepy), while others are the kind of creepy that comes out in much subtler ways (like, in the condescension that sneaks into their conversations). 

All of the men she meets are actually played by the same actor, Roy Kinnear, including the boy (through some CGI that maybe isn't supposed to be as creepy looking as it is?), which plays into what may be one of the film's metaphors: that ultimately, for women, all men are a potential threat, to our safety, our sanity, or just our peace of mind.

As it progresses, what writer and director Alex Garland is actually trying to say gets a little muddier, and I don't know if we are supposed to laugh at the very end, when that title card pops up, but oh man - oh men - I sure did....

I watched Men via a DVD from Netflix. I don't think it's streaming anywhere yet, but it is available to rent from most VOD platforms.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 12: The Beast Must Die (1974)

Because I had never actually seen The Beast Must Die, I didn't recognize its clear influence on last year's Werewolves Within (a film a enjoyed a lot). I also didn't know that the film's star was not Peter Cushing, as I had assumed, but Calvin Lockhart, (Cushing's role is much smaller).

That casting helps elevate the movie above its clear Hammer influences and into something a bit more interesting. It's not quite in the realm of Blacksploitation horror - it's a much better movie than something like Blacula - but having a Black couple at the center of the story (Marlene Clark, who was in a film I featured last year, plays Lockhart's wife), makes it a lot more interesting than your standard 70's horror flick.

The film famously features a 30-second "werewolf break" asking you to guess who the werewolf is before the final reveal. I wonder if people actually screamed out their answers in the audience when this movie was originally released?

I watched The Beast Must Die on TCM, but it is available to stream on several platforms, including Tubi.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 11: Phantasm: Ravager (2016)

I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Phantasm: Ravager, the fifth, and at this point, last film in the Phantasm franchise, is just terrible. The fact that original director Don Coscarelli did not direct this one probably has a lot to do with it. But I think it's mainly that it looks cheaply shot on HD video, with bad special effects, and a plot that doesn't make much sense at all.

Sure, it's fun to see the old Phantasm gang together again, with Reggie, Mike, Jody, the Tall Man, and the bitchin' '71 Cuda all in attendance. And yeah, none of the sequels has ever lived up to the weirdo brilliance of the original. But this one should only be viewed by masochistic completists like me. Angus Scrimm, RIP, deserved a better send-off.

I watched Phantasm: Ravager on Shudder.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 10: Speak No Evil (2022)

America isn't a country that suffers from too much politeness. Watch any "Karen" video on TikTok if you need proof of that. So the message of Speak No Evil may not hit as hard with American audiences as it may with European audiences.

A Danish couple meets a Dutch couple while they are both vacationing in Italy. They hit it off, and their kids seem to get along. A few months later, the Danish couple gets a postcard from the Dutch couple, inviting them to spend a long weekend at their Holland home. They go. And when things start to feel...weird, the Danish couple too often chooses to remain polite over coming off as rude and getting the hell out of there.

But are things actually weird? Or is it just a matter of cultural and class differences? (The movie made it this countdown. You can probably guess the answer to that!) I won't say more about the plot, but will say director Christian Tafdrup amps up the tension from the very beginning, with an opening that echoes the opening of The Shining. Even a stunning vista can seem evil with the right soundtrack.

I watched Speak No Evil on Shudder.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 9: Tenebrae (1982)

Every year, I need to watch at least one Dario Argento flick, and this year, I chose Tenebrae, which is just pure giallo

Paul Neal (Anthony Franciosa), an American author of horror novels, is in Rome promoting his latest book when a murderer, seemingly inspired by his work, starts to take out people in his circle. Is the killer a crazed fan? Or someone Neal knows?

Of course this being an Argento flick, those murders are all gory, garish, and gruesomely gorgeous, with a final death that's so ridiculous it can only be called brilliant. Not the best Argento movie I've seen (that remains Suspiria), but definitely one of his better ones.

I watched Tenebrae on Shudder.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 8: We're All Going To the World's Fair (2022)

We're All Going To the World's Fair is another entry into what must surely be a genre unto itself now: the Movie Shot During the Pandemic Using a Lot of Web Cam Footage To Tell Its Story genre. In this case, it's also a horror movie, centered on Casey, a teenage girl who decides to partake in a viral game/challenge called We're All Going To the World's Fair. 

Participating involves saying the name of the game three times in a row, drawing some of your own blood, and then smearing it on your computer screen. Participants then start to film themselves and the "changes" their bodies begin to undergo.

Casey is a lonely teen who lives with her father (who is heard and never seen), and it's obvious she uses the internet and this "challenge" to connect with people. And while the movie has its weird and creepy moments, it's ultimately about self acceptance and trust, inspired in large part by the experiences of its non-binary director, Jane Schoenbrun.

At times, it's a pretty challenging watch, but by the end, I was moved by its story. And its star, Anna Cobb, who is excellent despite it being her first movie role, is already set to star with Timothée Chalamet in an upcoming drama. 

I watched We're All Going To the World's Fair on HBO Max.

Friday, October 07, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 7: The Velvet Vampire (1971)

The Velvet Vampire came out the same year as Daughters of Darkness, the movie I featured yesterday, which is pretty weird considering both are centered on a married couple who get ensnared into a female vampire's web. It's also an "erotic horror movie," though it comes closer to being a straight up nudie flick than Daughters does.

But it does have a few interesting things going for it. For one, it was directed by a woman, Stephanie Rothman. For another, it takes place in the desert, a place not known for its lack of sun and overabundance of shade, which tells you the rules for this vampire are a little different.

What it also has in common with Daughters of Darkness is its central vampire-as-fashion-icon. Diane LeFanu (Celeste Yarnall) spends most of the movie in fabulous red outfits or nightgowns.

As silly as Daughters of Darkness may be, it's nowhere near as silly as The Velvet Vampire. But that leads me to this: the two have one last thing in common, it had me at the outfits, the rest of the movie be damned.

I watched The Velvet Vampire on TCM, where it will also be airing tonight (appropriately followed by The Hunger). It is also available to stream on Shudder.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 6: Daughters of Darkness (1971)

The English-language, Belgian produced erotic horror film Daughters of Darkness is, at times, pretty silly when watched with modern eyes. But star Delphine Seyrig and her fabulous wardrobe make up for any problems with its clumsy action sequences and melodramatic performances.

A couple on their honeymoon check into an empty hotel in Belgium. The wife is a tad naive, and the husband is...well he's just a straight up asshole. When the mysterious Countess Báthory (Seyrig) arrives with her "secretary" Ilona, the four socialize, and...things get weird. Then sexual. Then bloody.

Like The Hunger, and a movie I will be talking about tomorrow, this queer vampire flick is all about presenting the lady vampire as the ultimate in glamour and sophistication. Báthory looks like a platinum-haired 1930's movie goddess, and her companion's resemblance to Louis Brooks is not accidental. 

I'll admit I laughed more than once, and the movie is in no way supposed to be funny. But if you can get past some of its sillier moments, and just relish in those visuals, it's a worthy viewing.

I watched Daughters of Darkness on the Criterion Channel and it is also available to stream on Shudder.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 5: Trigger Man (2007)

Ti West has directed some of my favorite horror movies of this 21st century, but I realized I had never seen his second film, the very low budget, shot on video 2007 thriller Trigger Man, or, if I HAD seen it, I have no memory of it. 

Turns out, I wasn't missing much. Which isn't to say it's a complete waste of time, especially if you love to watch shaky cam footage of men in orange vests wandering around the woods. A lot. And when I say shaky cam, I mean reallllly shaky. It was a movie I didn't feel bad looking at my phone through much of because if I didn't, I'd probably have ended up puking from motion sickness. That said, within the simple story of some hunters becoming the hunted, West does craft some effective moments of suspense and surprise, techniques he was able to perfect once he had bigger budgets and larger stories to tell.

I couldn't find it streaming free, so watched it via DVD from Netflix.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 4: The Night House (2020)

The movie that I immediately thought of while watching The Night House was 2000's What Lies Beneath, as both deal with possible ghosts, possible infidelity, and definite houses next to lakes. But The Night House is far stranger.

Rebecca Hall stars as a recent widow living in the lakeside house designed by her architect husband. A cryptic suicide note, and weird nocturnal visions, have her questioning whether her husband was crazy, she's crazy, or she's being haunted. The truth turns out be weirder than any of that.

Hall's performance definitely helps the film rise above some of its weaker story aspects, and it has some good, spooky moments. Not completely successful, but not a waste of time either.

I watched The Night House on HBO Max.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 3: Killer Party (1986)

I really only watched Killer Party, a disjointed 1980's slasher-meets-demons flick because Martin Hewitt is in it. Who's Martin Hewitt? He co-starred with Brooke Shields in the movie Endless Love...and that's about it. I always wondered what happened to him. Apparently, this did.

It's not the worst slasher movie I've ever seen, and its odd combination of an April Fools Day kind of set up combined with Evil Dead-like demons definitely makes it unique. Plus, an appearance by Paul Bartel. But it doesn't have much else that makes it memorable, and damned if I can really remember much about it, a week after watching!

 I watched it on TCM, but it's available to rent via Amazon Prime Video.