Weekly Update: This final full week of October is focused on Comedy Horror and Schlock horror movies.
Curious what else I’ve seen on my quest to watch 365 new-to-me movies in 2016? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
401. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Rick Moranis plays Seymour, a poor 20-something from Skid Row who has never done anything of consequence, working at a flower shop cleaning up. One day he introduces Audrey 2, a plant he found that immediately catches the interest of customers and makes him famous. This hides the secret that Audrey 2 (named after the girl he longs after) is also a bloodthirsty plant with ideas of world domination. This epic musical-horror creature feature takes Roger Corman’s low-budget film from 1960 and injects a massive helping of retro kitsch.
402. Nukie (1987)
Nukie is an alien who crash lands to earth along with his brother Miko. Miko is captured by evil American Scientists, and Nukie winds up on the other side of the world in Africa. Nukie interacts with a series of quirky characters, eventually befriending a talking Chimpanzee and two small children. Meanwhile, Miko is tortured by the scientists with experiments, and teaches a computer to love. You can’t make this shit up….
403. Hellen Keller Vs Nightwolves (2015)
This low-budget horror-comedy by the Writer of FDR: American Badass is exactly what the title says. The film is aggressively stupid, and knows it. It is the sort of comedy that throws jokes at the wall and sees what sticks. Many jokes that work well, others fall flat, but overall one can’t help but admire it for how low it goes for a laugh. This is the film equivalent of a Court Jester, and you’re the fat, bloated king making it perform.
404. Gremlins (1984)
When a father gifts his son an exotic pet for Christmas, he tells him there are 3 rules with handling it: 1. Keep him away from Bright Light, 2. Keep him away from Water, and 3. Don’t under any circumstances feed him after midnight. His son wastes no time in inadvertently breaking every single one of these rules, and this results in his small town being inundated by a horde of greasy, grotesque gremlins, whose cartoonish sense of humor and evil tendency towards murder make them dangerous. The film is a wonderfully cartoonish take on the monster movie genre, with the creatures being more threatening for their unpredictability than anything. A perfect film to introduce younger audiences to horror as a genre.
405. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Director Joe Dante had near total creative freedom here, and he used it to create a giant live-action cartoon. The film eschews conventional sequel status by parodying the first film’s tropes alongside other film parodies and cultural elements. Famously featuring a scene where Film Critic Leonard Maltin appears as himself, being killed for giving the first film a bad review, Gremlins 2 takes no prisoners on its way to becoming one of the great all time pop culture parodies.
406. Critters (1986)
When a spaceship of critters lands on earth, they are looking for one thing: food. To get it they attack the farmhouse of a family, laying waste to their home in the process. Meanwhile, a ship carrying two space bounty hunters lands on Earth too, and they’re seeking the Critters out. This film is often dismissed as a Gremlins clone, and of course, it does bear numerous resemblances. But the world of Critters is a fun and creepy horror world all to its own as well. Full of great low budget effects and a sense of humor all to its own, this is a must see for schlock-horror fans.
409. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1977)
This 70s classic was one of the first examples of “intentionally bad” cinema, where campy horror/sci-fi clichés are presented in an exaggerated form for purposes of comedy. This is a film that doesn’t take itself seriously for a moment, throwing joke after joke out there with utter disregard. This sometimes makes for some very funny scenes, but can drag at times due to the one-note nature to the comedy. The result being that the first half hour or so is and adjustment into lower expectations.
408. WNUF Halloween Special (2013)
This film is a painstaking re-creation of the feel of watching television in 1987, complete with a fake news broadcast, fake commercials, and a fake “special” presentation in which a reporter visits an allegedly “real” haunted house. The feeling of the film is that the makers set out to represent the feeling of watching a VHS tape recorded from TV at the time.
409. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
I’m not in the least surprised that this film became the cult force that it is. The film gleefully presents a classic throwback to sci-fi/horror films while defying sexual mores at every turn. As a midnight release, and one where fans are encouraged to come in costume, it serves as an excuse for audiences to enter a judgment-free environment and have devious fun. The film is itself a bit of a sideshow, with the music and audience participation elements serving as the main draw. Tim Curry has seldom been as unrestrained and relentless as he is here.
410. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
Luther (Don Knotts) is a high strung, excitable, 40+ year old copy boy for the local small-town newspaper. He’s a local joke for his easy to fright behavior, that is until he becomes a sensation for daring to spend the night in a spooky mansion where 20 years prior a murder-suicide occurred. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a classic family comedy from the 1960s, full of heaping helpings of wholesomeness. And yet, it takes chances, including a handful of genuinely scary moments, which makes this an excellent introduction to horror movies for children. The film doesn’t talk down to the audience, or appeal to children specifically, it’s just a simple, funny story with a fright or two. Attaboy Luther!
411. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
This quirky comedy by the popular duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello is a loose excuse in order to get the pair involved in a series of physical comedy bits with Dracula, The Wolf Man, and Frankenstein. Despite Frankenstein being in the title, only his Monster actually appears, and really he’s playing second fiddle to Count Dracula, who gets far more to do. The film manages to be quite funny while also feeling like a legitimate standalone entry in the Universal Horror franchise by itself.
412. Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four (2016)
This documentary examines the strange truth behind the original Fantastic Four film, a low-budget feature created by Roger Corman’s studios in 1993-4 in co-production with Constantin Film. The movie was allegedly made in order for producer Bernd Eichinger of Constantin Film to retain the rights inexpensively, and to angle towards a bigger-budgeted studio film deal. Once completed, the film was shelved and a check was cut to Corman for his services. To this day the film has never been released. The film is a fascinating journey through the creative process, including interviews with the actors involved, none of whom suspected their film experience was going to be disposed of so loosely.
413. Troll 2 (1990)
When young Joshua sees visions of his dead grandfather warning him against goblins, his parents think he’s just seeing things. But when the family arrives in the town of Nilbog on vacation, the townsfolk seem to fit dead grandpa’s description. They constantly try go get the family to eat their food, which if consumed will turn them into plants so that the goblins can eat them. A masterpiece of awkward filmmaking. Troll 2 has been called one of the worst movies ever, and there are definite arguments to that on display here. The film features terrible creature design, laughably bad dialogue, unfortunate editing, and infamously bad performances. Stranger still is that this film appears to have absolutely no references to trolls, just Goblins…
414. Best Worst Movie (2010)
Troll 2 was a mostly ignored horror film upon its initial release, but years later the film has garnered genuine interest for being one of the worst movies ever made. This film concerns several people who made that film years ago, most of whom have long since left the industry and gone on with their lives, as they embark on a tour of screenings. Audiences laugh at the movie, mock its numerous flaws, and revel in the excitement of meeting those responsible for helping to make the film what it is. Meanwhile, the filmmakers interview the actors, the director, and others behind the film’s production to get a better understanding of how the phenomenon began, and how a film such as this came to be so celebrated for being so derided.
415. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
Based on the H.G. Welles novel, a shipwrecked man is saved and arrives on the island of an enigmatic scientist. Here Dr. Moreau (Marlon Brando) has experimented in mixing human and animal genes in an attempt to create the perfect being. This has (naturally) resulted in an island full of horrible abominations that each exhibit their own animal instincts alongside human traits. Moreau is a strange failure of a movie that has a lot of very interesting ideas and weird/quirky performances which could have made it great. But the line of separation between genius and failure is so thin. The result is a fascinating film to experience, if only to wonder what could have been had the stars aligned differently.
416. Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)
The first half of Lost Soul chronicles the story of Richard Stanley, the director who spirited The Island of Dr. Moreau as a personal project through development and early filming, up to the point where he was fired. Stanley is interviewed at length, alongside the producers who oversaw the film. It becomes clear that the producers were worried that Stanley’s relative inexperience on a major budget project, along with his eccentric behavior, caused them to pull the plug. Stanley defends himself admirably, as a man who had a specific idea of what he was doing, and was pressured into too many changes. The second half of the film, which follows the production after Stanley’s departure, shows how badly the film was in need of a creative force instead of bringing in hired gun director John Frankenheimer, who was there as part of a larger production deal.
417. Into the Inferno (2016)
Werner Herzog’s latest documentary is about volcanoes; not just the science of them, but the impact they have on the cultures and societies who inhabit the areas around them. As with all Herzog projects, he’s there to ruminate on numerous subjects relating to the volcanoes, and wax poetic on the way humanity’s myths and religions were forged by nature. Alongside him, he brings Clive Oppenheimer, a volcanologist who serves as Herzog’s expert and companion in the journey.
418. Yoga Hosers (2016)
This is probably the worst thing I’ve seen all year, and probably will remain as such. The plot involves sausage monsters who are also Nazis and the two teenage convenience store clerks who fight them off. It’s sort of a grab-bag of pot-fueled references Kevin Smith took from his Podcasts and turned into a movie. Also, they keep saying the word “basic” like its a new thing… it is not a thing Kevin, and will never be a thing. I wish I could care enough to write a full review, but the truth is the sooner I get this piece of shit out of my head, the better.