October 2016 In Review
October means horror films to me and I am sure I am not alone with that opinion. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to catch other genres along the way but as the end of the month approached, I primarily stuck to the films of the season and for whatever reason this year I found myself watching a number of overseas exploitation titles.
House of the Long Shadows – A must see for those that appreciate the actors teaming up for this final go around.
All the President’s Men (1976) – Number 2 son Kirk came home from college over an October weekend and asked if I’d watch this with him. With a cast like this, I’d be crazy not to revisit this after more years than I can recall. What struck me is the excitement that is captured on film in the newsroom through ingenious camera movement and the heightened sense of danger creeping in on this true tale of the Watergate scandal. We both agreed that if this was a story of fiction, there would have been a sub plot involving a hired killer within minutes of the reporters going to press. Redford and Hoffman may be stars but what a supporting cast. Jack Warden and Martin Balsam reunited from 12 Angry Men, Hal Holbrook and an Oscar winning performance from Jason Robards.
The Black Room – Boris Karloff wows with a great performance as twin brothers.
Four Faces West – Not your typical western tale starring Joel McCrea and Charles Bickford.
Below the Sea – Ralph Bellamy just might get the girl in this one….. Fay Wray.
Duplex (2004) – Black comedy rules the day in this Danny DeVito directed feature with Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore as a young couple who buy into a duplex only to be driven absolutely nuts by an elderly woman who lives in the upstairs apartment. If only she was out of the way they might live happily ever after. It’s not the best work from any of the three principles but it’ll do. Once again DeVito proves that he loves to direct these off kilter comedies like Throw Momma From the Train and Death to Smoochy.
The Avenging Eagle – Throwing a Shaw Brothers film into the DVD player proved a fun experience.
Storm Fear – Cornel Wilde meets up with Dan Duryea in this snowbound thriller.
Remember (2015) – Christopher Plummer stars in this Atom Egoyan thriller and knocks it out of the park. He’s an aging man looking to find the German officer who murdered his family during the second world war in the death camps. With the help of Martin Landau, he journeys across the states and Canada in an effort to confront and kill the man responsible. Two scenes really stand out in this one and for a man in his 80’s, this is a hands on role with a fair bit of action for Plummer. Surprises are in store on his journey so if you see this one, don’t give anything away. Bruno Ganz and Jurgen Prochnow turn up as well. Recommended.
Blood and Lace – Nutty Gloria Grahame meets Uncle Leo over at Mel’s Diner for a wild wacky time.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken – Don Knotts in a spooky house has to be great entertainment and one we should all partake in……. “That a boy Luther!”
Vampire Hookers – Another payday for John Carradine.
The House of Usher – Oliver Reed and Donald Pleasence give the Poe tale a go.
The Sadistic Baron von Klaus – Early Jess Franco film is far more watchable than most of his post 70’s flicks.
Jayne Mansfield’s Car (2012) – Straight up drama featuring a wonderful cast put together by director/star Billy Bob Thornton. Years previously, Robert Duvall’s wife left him and married a man in England (John Hurt) starting a new life. Upon her death, the body is returned to the states accompanied by her second husband and family. It’s clash of cultures and pride. I liked this film and with a cast led by Duvall that includes Hurt, Thornton, Kevin Bacon, Frances O’Connor, Robert Patrick and Ray Stevenson it’s tough not to appreciate the ensemble piece.
Daughter’s of Satan – Pre fame Tom Selleck stars in this fun Philippines export.
The Fog – John Carpenter thriller with a nice cast featured in this ghostly tale.
Curse of the Undead – Westerns and vampires are an unlikely mix but works for me in this Universal Studios chiller.
Eyes Without a Face – A real shocker in this French film that proved a great assignment from blogger pal Kristina of Speakeasy.
I Saw the Light (2015) – Any film about the legendary Hank Williams would find a way onto my viewing schedule coming from a home where Hank’s music has resonated since my childhood. Tom Hiddleston might be a surprise choice to play the role but I thought he turned in a solid effort and though he doesn’t have the “twang” that Hank’s voice gave us, Tom does a credible job singing many of Hank’s standards. I guess because I know the story of Hank well, I was bound to appreciate the effort but somehow it left me wanting more. Can’t put my finger on it. If you love the history of music then give this one a shot to learn more about a man many refer to as the most influential country singer of them all.
Beast of the Yellow Night – Half werewolf, half John Ashley in another thriller via the Philippines movie industry.
Killshot (2009) – Another Elmore Leonard tale adapted for the screen features an effective Mickey Rourke as a hitman trailing a young couple who can identify him played by Thomas Jane and Diane Lane. I know this one didn’t fare too well at the box office but it kind of worked for me. Decent cast in here that included Hal Holbrook, Rosario Dawson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Rourke does a wonderful slow burn in this one before unleashing his wrath upon one of the aforementioned.
Count Dracula’s Great Love – Won’t make you forget the films of Lee and Lugosi but Spanish Paul Naschy tries his best.
Blood Father (2016) – Mel Gibson gets tangled up with a drug cartel after his long missing daughter turns up at his door. Mel’s an ex-con trying to stay sober under a heavy beard while living in the world’s worst trailer park. His daughter is on the run and with no place to turn comes a calling. He figures the least he can do is support her after years of never being around when she needed him most. Time for Mel to get back in action and he does it with a flourish. Mel doesn’t make many films anymore due to his off screen antics but there is no doubting he’s got star power. William H. Macy and Michael Parks come along for this road trip with plenty of fisticuffs and gun play for us action fans.