MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – MARCH 20, 2017

Jaws
Movies – Jaws (1975), Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), Jaws: The Revenge (1987) 
Creator – Peter Benchley

Jaws is an American natural horror film series that started with a 1975 film that expanded into three sequels, a theme park ride, and other tie-in merchandise, based on a 1974 novel. The main subject of the saga is a great white shark, and its attacks on people in specific areas of the United States. The Brody family is featured in all of the films as the primary antithesis to the shark. The original film was based on a novel written by Peter Benchley, which itself was inspired by the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916. Benchley adapted his novel, along with help from Carl Gottlieb and Howard Sackler, into the 1975 film Jaws, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. Although Gottlieb went on to pen two of the three sequels, neither Benchley nor Spielberg returned to the film series in any capacity.

The first film was regarded as a watershed film in motion picture history; it became the father of the summer blockbuster movies and one of the first “high-concept” films. The film is also known for the introduction of John Williams’ famous theme music, which was a simple alternating pattern of the E and F notes of a piano. Williams’ theme won an Academy Award. The film won other Academy Awards, and was nominated for Best Picture.

The success of Jaws led to three sequels, and the four films together have earned nearly $800 million worldwide in box office gross. The franchise has also seen the release of various soundtrack albums, additional novelizations based on the sequels, trading cards, inspired theme park rides at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Japan, multiple video games, and a musical that premiered in 2004. Although the first film was popular with critics when it was originally released, Jaws 2 received generally mixed reception, and the third and fourth films were critically panned. This reception has spread to the merchandise, with video games seen as poor imitations of the original concept. Nevertheless, the original 1975 film has generally been regarded as one of the greatest films ever, and frequently appears in the top 100 of various American Film Institute rankings.

However, Benchley later regretted he ever wrote the original book considering it encouraged a widespread public fear of sharks, which led to massive culls resulting in the various shark species around the world becoming endangered. As such, he spent most of his life promoting the cause of ocean conservation.

Jaws (1975)

The original Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name. It tells the story of Police Chief Martin Brody (portrayed by Roy Scheider) of Amity Island (a fictional summer resort town), in his quest to protect beachgoers from a great white shark by closing the beach. This is overruled by the town council, headed by the mayor (Murray Hamilton) that wants the beach to remain open in order to sustain the local tourist economy. After several attacks, the police chief enlists the help of marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter named Quint (Robert Shaw). The three voyage out onto the ocean in Quint’s boat – the Orca. The shark kills Quint, but Brody manages to destroy it by shooting at the highly pressurized air tank that he has wedged in its mouth. In the end, Brody and Hooper are seen swimming away from the sinking Orca, having both of them managed to survive uninjured the shark attack on the boat.

Jaws 2 (1978)

The first sequel, Jaws 2, depicts the same town four years after the events of the original film when another great white shark arrives on the shores of the fictional seaside resort of Amity Island. Directed by Jeannot Szwarc and starring Roy Scheider again as Police Chief Martin Brody, who, after a series of deaths and disappearances, suspects that the culprit is another shark. However, he has trouble convincing the town’s selectmen. He has to act alone to save a group of teenagers, including his two sons, who encounter the shark whilst out sailing.

Jaws 3-D (1983)

The plot of Jaws 3-D (also known as Jaws 3) moves away from Amity Island to SeaWorld in Florida, a water themed-park with underwater tunnels and lagoons. As the park prepares to open, it is infiltrated by a baby great white shark which attacks and kills water-skiers and park employees. Once the baby shark is captured, it becomes apparent that a much larger shark, the mother, is present. The characters of Martin’s sons from the first two films are developed further in this film: Michael Brody (Dennis Quaid) is the chief engineer of the park and his younger brother, Sean (John Putch), arrives at the resort to visit him. The events of the earlier films are implied through Sean’s dislike of the water because of “something that happened when he was a kid.” The events and character development from Jaws 3-D are independent from the rest of the series.[3]

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

The fourth and final film, Jaws: The Revenge, sees the storyline returning to Amity Island, but ignores all plot elements introduced in Jaws 3-D. No mention is made to Michael’s girlfriend from the previous film, Kathryn Morgan (Bess Armstrong), or his career change from an engineer at SeaWorld to a marine biologist. In fact, one of the Universal Studios press releases for Jaws: The Revenge omits Jaws 3-D entirely by referring to Jaws: The Revenge as the “third film of the remarkable Jaws trilogy.”[3] By the start of the film, Martin Brody had died of a heart-attack, although his wife, Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), claims that he died through fear of the shark. Her youngest son, Sean (Mitchell Anderson), now working as a police deputy in Amity, is dispatched to clear a log from a buoy. As he does so, he is attacked and killed by a shark. Ellen becomes convinced that a shark is deliberately victimizing her family for the deaths of the first two sharks. Michael (Lance Guest) convinces her to spend some time with his family in The Bahamas. However, as his job involves a lot of time on and in the sea, Ellen fears that he will be the shark’s next victim. When her granddaughter, Thea (Judith Barsi), narrowly avoids being attacked by a shark, Ellen takes a boat in order to kill her family’s alleged stalker. Hoagie (Michael Caine), Michael, and his friend Jake (Mario Van Peebles) find Ellen and then proceed to electrocute the shark, driving it out of the water and impaling it on the prow of Ellen’s boat.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – MARCH 13, 2017

The Crawling Eye
Movie – The Trollenberg Terror (1958)
Director – Quentin Lawrence

The Trollenberg Terror (a.k.a. The Crawling Eye in the United States) is a 1958 independently made British black-and-white science fiction film produced by Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman, directed by Quentin Lawrence, that stars Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne and Janet Munro. The film was based on a 1956 British ITV “Saturday Serial” television programme.[1]

The film was distributed in the UK by Eros Films Ltd. as The Trollenberg Terror and in the US by Distributors Corporation of America as The Crawling Eye. In the US it was released on a double bill with the UK film Cosmic Monsters (a.k.a. The Strange World of Planet X). )

The Trollenberg Terrors storyline concerns United Nations troubleshooter Alan Brooks, later joined by journalist Philip Truscott, investigating unusual accidents occurring in the area of a resort hotel on (the fictional) Mount Trollenberg in Switzerland. Brooks suspects these deaths are related to a series of similar incidents that occurred three years earlier in the Andes mountains, which involved an unexplained radioactive mist and odd cloud formation believed by locals to be inhabited.

On the Swiss mountain Trollenberg, one of three student climbers is suddenly killed, his head ripped from his body. Two sisters, Anne (Munro) and Sarah Pilgrim (Jayne), a London mind-reading act, are travelling by train to Geneva when Anne faints as the train passes the mountain. Upon waking, Anne insists that they must get off at the next stop.

UN troubleshooter Alan Brooks (Tucker), in the same train compartment as the sisters, goes to Trollenberg’s observatory, where Professor Crevett (Warren Mitchell) explains that, despite many climbing accidents, no bodies are ever found; an always-stationary radioactive cloud is regularly observed on the mountain’s south face. Brooks learns that similar incidents took place in the Andes three years earlier, before a similar radioactive cloud vanished without a trace. Local rumors circulated that something was living in the mist.

Anne is giving a mind-reading demonstration at the hotel when she “sees” two men in a base camp hut on the mountain: Dewhurst (Stuart Saunders) is asleep when the other man, Brett (Andrew Faulds), under some kind of mental compulsion, walks outside. Meanwhile, the cloud has enveloped the hut. Anne suddenly faints again, and Brooks phones the hut but no one answers.

A rescue party ventures to the hut looking for both men. Anne, in a trance-like state, urges the rescuers to stay away. Inside the hut, the group discover that everything is frozen solid, despite the hut being locked from the inside. Dewhurst’s body is found under the bed, its head missing. A spotter plane arrives and circles overhead, and a man is seen off in the distance. At his location, the first rescuer there finds a rucksack with a severed head inside. He is quickly set upon and killed by Brett, who later attacks and kills a second rescuer.

Now at the hotel, Brett storms in and launches an attack on Anne. The men manage to subdue him, and during the struggle Brett sustains a severe head gash, but no blood flows from the wound. Brett is heavily sedated and locked away. Brooks recalls a similar incident in the Andes that followed a similar pattern: a man murdered an elderly woman who allegedly possessed psychic abilities just like those displayed by Anne. The killer’s body was discovered to have been deceased for at least 24 hours prior to his murder of the old women. Brett escapes his improvised cell and resumes his hunt for Anne, this time armed with a small hand axe. Before he can reach Anne, he is quickly shot and killed by Brooks.

The cloud has begun to move down the mountainside towards the hotel, so the group retreats to the heavily fortified observatory. As they enter the cable car, a mother realises that her young daughter is missing. In a thickening mist a giant, multi-tentacled creature with a single huge eye appears at the hotel, smashing down the front door. Brooks manages to rescue the child from the lobby, both of them narrowly escaping its grasp. They return to the cable car, but the delay has given the thickening mist a chance to reach the car platform. The transport motor begins to freeze, starting and stopping, the cable slipping, but the cable car arrives safely. The single cloud has now split and become four while converging on the observatory.

Hans (Colin Douglas), who left the hotel, suddenly turns up at the observatory. Once inside, he begins exhibiting the same obsession with Anne. Hans tries to strangle her, but the group can only stop him by killing him. As the tentacled monsters near the observatory, everyone makes Molotov cocktails to combat them. By radio, Alan orders an aerial firebombing raid against the observatory, which has a reinforced concrete roof and walls that can withstand the assault.

Journalist Philip Truscott (Payne) strikes one of the creatures with a Molotov cocktail, setting it ablaze. He is caught from above by one of the tentacled monsters on the observatory’s roof. With another Molotov cocktail, Brooks sets that one ablaze, forcing the burning creature to release Truscott. Later, Truscott does the same as another one-eyed monster manages to breach a thick wall, trying to get at Anne. The aerial firebombing assault begins and is successful at torching the remaining creatures.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – MARCH 6, 2017

The Thing
Movie – The Thing (1982)
Director – John Carpenter

The Thing (also known as John Carpenter’s The Thing) is a 1982 American science-fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film’s title refers to its primary antagonist: a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The Thing infiltrates an Antarctic research station, taking the appearance of the researchers that it absorbs, and paranoia develops within the group.

The film is based on John W. Campbell, Jr.’s novella Who Goes There?, which was more loosely adapted by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby as the 1951 film The Thing from Another World. Carpenter considers The Thing to be the first part of his Apocalypse Trilogy, followed by Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness. Although the films are narratively unrelated, each features a potentially apocalyptic scenario; should “The Thing” ever reach civilization, it would be only a matter of time before it consumes all life on Earth. Carpenter acknowledged that the work of H.P. Lovecraft also inspired the film.

On June 25, 1982, The Thing opened in 840 theaters, and it was the #8 movie of the week at the box office. It remained in the top 10 for three weeks. The lower-than-expected performance has been attributed to many factors, the main ones being the runaway success of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which was also released by Universal Studios three weeks earlier and featured a more optimistic view of alien visitation, and that another major adult-oriented science fiction film, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, was released by Warner Brothers the same day. However, The Thing went on to gain a cult following. The film was eventually reappraised by critics, and is now considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made. The film subsequently spawned a novelization in 1982; a comic book miniseries adaptation, entitled The Thing from Another World, published by Dark Horse Comics in 1991; a video game sequel, also titled The Thing, in 2002; and a prequel film with the same title on October 14, 2011.

In Antarctica, a Norwegian helicopter pursues an Alaskan Malamute to an American research station. Upon landing, a Norwegian accidentally drops a thermite charge, destroying the helicopter. The surviving Norwegian pursues the dog, firing a rifle, until he is shot dead by Garry, the station commander. The Americans send a helicopter pilot, MacReady, and Dr. Copper to the Norwegian camp for answers, but they find only a charred ruin containing corpses. Outside, they discover the burned remains of a humanoid corpse with two faces, which they bring back along with some video tapes. Their biologist, Blair, performs an autopsy on the corpse, finding a normal set of human internal organs.

Clark kennels the Malamute with the station’s sled dogs; it soon metamorphoses and attacks them. When he hears the commotion, MacReady pulls the fire alarm, and Childs incinerates the creature. Blair performs another autopsy which leads him to believe the creature perfectly imitates other organisms. The Norwegians’ records lead the Americans to a buried flying saucer that the station’s geologist, Norris, hypothesizes is likely over 100,000 years old. Blair becomes increasingly paranoid and withdraws, calculating that if the alien escapes to a civilized area, all life on Earth will be assimilated within a few years. Fuchs tells MacReady that he is worried about Blair, and according to Blair’s journal, the creature’s “dead” remains are still active on a cellular level. The camp enacts safety measures designed to reduce risk of assimilation.

The creature assimilates Bennings, but Windows catches him outside before his metamorphosis is complete and MacReady burns the creature before it can escape. They discover Blair has wrecked all the transports and killed the remaining sled dogs. The team subdue Blair as he is destroying the radio and lock him in an isolated tool shed. Copper recommends a blood-serum test to determine who is assimilated, but the paranoid men turn on each other when they find the blood stores have been sabotaged.

MacReady takes charge and orders Fuchs to continue Blair’s work, but Fuchs disappears; MacReady, Windows, and Nauls find his burnt corpse outside. Windows returns to warn the others while MacReady and Nauls investigate further. On the way back, Nauls cuts MacReady loose from the tow line, assuming that he has been assimilated when he finds a torn shirt with MacReady’s name on it. As the team debate MacReady’s fate, he breaks in and threatens to destroy the station with a bundle of dynamite if they attack him. Norris appears to suffer a heart attack after he and Nauls unsuccessfully attack MacReady from behind.

When Copper attempts to revive him, Norris transforms and kills Copper. MacReady incinerates the creature and orders Windows to tie up everyone for a new test. Clark attacks MacReady, but is killed. MacReady explains his theory that every piece of the alien is an individual organism with its own survival instinct. One by one, MacReady tests everyone’s blood with a heated piece of copper wire. Everyone is still human except Palmer, whose blood flees from the hot wire. Exposed, Palmer transforms and infects Windows, forcing MacReady to burn them both.

Leaving Childs on guard, the others head out to test Blair, only to find that he has tunneled out of the tool shed. They realize that Blair is assimilated and has been scavenging equipment to build a small escape craft. Discovering that Childs is missing and the station’s power generator is destroyed, MacReady speculates that the Thing now intends to hibernate until a rescue team arrives. MacReady, Garry, and Nauls decide to dynamite the complex, hoping to destroy the Thing. As they set the explosives, Blair kills Garry and Nauls disappears. Blair transforms into a much larger monster and attacks, destroying the detonator, but MacReady still triggers the blast with a stick of dynamite, destroying the base.

MacReady sits nearby as the camp burns, and Childs reappears, claiming he was lost in the storm, pursuing Blair. Exhausted and with no hope of survival, they acknowledge the futility of their distrust and share a bottle of scotch.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – FEBRUARY 27, 2017

Frankenstein’s Monster
Movie – Frankenstein (1931)
Director – James Whale

Frankenstein is a 1931 American pre-Code horror monster film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling (which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by Mary Shelley), about a scientist and his assistant who dig up corpses to build a man animated by electricity, but his assistant accidentally gives the creature an abnormal, murderer’s brain. The resultant monster is portrayed by Boris Karloff in the film.

The movie stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Karloff, and features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. The Webling play was adapted by John L. Balderston and the screenplay written by Francis Edward Faragoh and Garrett Fort with uncredited contributions from Robert Florey and John Russell. The make-up artist was Jack Pierce. A hit with both audiences and critics, the film was followed by multiple sequels and has become arguably the most iconic horror film.

In a European village, a young scientist, named Henry Frankenstein, and his assistant Fritz, a hunchback, piece together a human body, the parts of which have been collected from various sources. Frankenstein desires to create human life through electrical devices which he has perfected.

Elizabeth, his fiancée, is worried over his peculiar actions. She cannot understand why he secludes himself in an abandoned watch tower, which he has equipped as a laboratory, refusing to see anyone. She and a friend, Victor Moritz, go to Dr. Waldman, Henry’s old medical professor, and ask Waldman’s help in reclaiming the young scientist from his experiments. Waldman tells them that Frankenstein has been working on creating life. Elizabeth, intent on rescuing Frankenstein, arrives just as Henry is making his final tests. He tells them to watch, claiming to have discovered the ray that brought life into the world. They watch Frankenstein and the hunchback as they raise the dead creature on an operating table, high into the room, toward an opening at the top of the laboratory. Then a terrific crash of thunder, the crackling of Frankenstein’s electric machines, and the hand of Frankenstein’s monster begins to move, prompting Frankenstein to shout ‘It’s alive!’.

Through the incompetence of Fritz, a criminal brain was secured for Frankenstein’s experiments instead of the desired normal one. The manufactured monster, despite its grotesque form, initially appears to be a simple, innocent creation. Frankenstein welcomes it into his laboratory and asks his creation to sit, which it does. He then opens up the roof, causing the monster to reach out towards the sunlight. Fritz enters with a flaming torch, which frightens the monster. Its fright is mistaken by Frankenstein and Waldman as an attempt to attack them, and it is chained in the dungeon. Thinking that it is not fit for society and will wreak havoc at any chance, they leave the monster locked up, where Fritz antagonizes it with a torch. As Henry and Waldman consider the monster’s fate, they hear a shriek from the dungeon. Frankenstein and Waldman find the monster has strangled Fritz. The monster lunges at the two but they escape, locking the monster inside. Realizing that the creature must be destroyed, Henry prepares an injection of a powerful drug and the two conspire to release the monster and inject it as it attacks. When the door is unlocked the creature lunges at Frankenstein as Waldman injects the drug into the creature’s back. The monster falls to the floor unconscious.

Henry leaves to prepare for his wedding while Waldman examines the creature. As he is preparing to dissect it, the creature awakens and strangles him. It escapes from the tower and wanders through the landscape. It has a short encounter with a farmer’s young daughter, Maria, who asks him to play a game with her in which they toss flowers into a lake and watch them float. The monster enjoys the game, but when they run out of flowers the monster thinks Maria will float as well, so he throws her into the lake where, to his puzzlement, she drowns. Upset by this outcome, the monster runs away.

With preparations for the wedding completed, Frankenstein is serenely happy with Elizabeth. They are to marry as soon as Waldman arrives. Victor rushes in, saying that the Doctor has been found strangled in his operating room. Frankenstein suspects the monster. A chilling scream convinces him that the monster is in the house. When the searchers arrive, they find Elizabeth unconscious on the bed. The monster has escaped.

Maria’s father arrives, carrying his daughter’s body. He says she was murdered, and a band of peasants form a search party to capture the monster, and bring it to justice. In order to search the whole country for the monster, they split into three groups: Ludwig leads the first group into the woods, Frankenstein leads the second group into the mountains, and the Burgomaster leads the third group by the lake. During the search, Frankenstein becomes separated from the group and is discovered by the monster, who attacks him. The monster knocks Frankenstein unconscious and carries him off to an old mill. The peasants hear his cries and they regroup to follow. They find the monster has climbed to the top, dragging Frankenstein with him. The monster hurls the scientist to the ground. His fall is broken by the vanes of the windmill, saving his life. Some of the villagers hurry him to his home while the rest of the mob set the windmill ablaze, killing the entrapped monster inside.

At Castle Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s father, Baron Frankenstein celebrates the wedding of his recovered son with a toast to a future grandchild.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – FEBRUARY 20, 2017

Count Dracula
Movie – Dracula (1931)
Director – Tod Browning

Dracula is a 1931 American Pre-Code vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, which in turn is loosely based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Renfield (Dwight Frye) is a solicitor traveling to Count Dracula’s (Bela Lugosi) castle in Transylvania on a business matter. The people in the local village fear that vampires inhabit the castle and warn Renfield not to go there. Renfield refuses to stay at the inn and asks his carriage driver to take him to the Borgo Pass. Renfield is driven to the castle by Dracula’s coach, with Dracula disguised as the driver. En route, Renfield sticks his head out the window to ask the driver to slow down, but sees the driver has disappeared; a bat leads the horses.

Renfield enters the castle welcomed by the charming but eccentric Count, who unbeknownst to Renfield, is a vampire. They discuss Dracula’s intention to lease Carfax Abbey in London, where he intends to travel the next day. Dracula hypnotizes Renfield into opening a window. Renfield faints as a bat appears and Dracula’s three wives close in on him. Dracula waves them away, then attacks Renfield himself.

Aboard the schooner Vesta, Renfield is a raving lunatic slave to Dracula, who hides in a coffin and feeds on the ship’s crew. When the ship reaches England, Renfield is discovered to be the only living person. Renfield is sent to Dr. Seward’s sanatorium adjoining Carfax Abbey.

At a London theatre, Dracula meets Seward (Herbert Bunston). Seward introduces his daughter Mina (Helen Chandler), her fiancé John Harker (David Manners) and the family friend Lucy Weston (Frances Dade). Lucy is fascinated by Count Dracula. That night, Dracula enters her room and feasts on her blood while she sleeps. Lucy dies the next day after a string of transfusions.

Renfield is obsessed with eating flies and spiders. Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) analyzes Renfield’s blood and discovers his obsession. He starts talking about vampires, and that afternoon Renfield begs Seward to send him away, claiming his nightly cries may disturb Mina’s dreams. When Dracula calls Renfield with wolf howling, Renfield is disturbed by Van Helsing showing him wolfsbane, which Van Helsing says is used for protection from vampires.

Dracula visits Mina, asleep in her bedroom, and bites her. The next evening, Dracula enters for a visit and Van Helsing and Harker notice that he does not have a reflection. When Van Helsing reveals this to Dracula, he smashes the mirror and leaves. Van Helsing deduces that Dracula is the vampire behind the recent tragedies.

Mina leaves her room and runs to Dracula in the garden, where he attacks her. She is found by the maid. Newspapers report that a woman in white is luring children from the park and biting them. Mina recognizes the lady as Lucy, risen as a vampire. Harker wants to take Mina to London for safety, but is convinced to leave Mina with Van Helsing. Van Helsing orders Nurse Briggs (Joan Standing) to take care of Mina when she sleeps, and not to remove the wreath of wolfsbane from her neck.

Renfield escapes from his cell and listens to the men discuss vampires. Before his attendant takes Renfield back to his cell, Renfield relates to them how Dracula convinced Renfield to allow him to enter the sanitorium by promising him thousands of rats with blood and life in them. Dracula enters the Seward parlour and talks with Van Helsing. Dracula states that Mina now belongs to him, and warns Van Helsing to return to his home country. Van Helsing swears to excavate Carfax Abbey and destroy Dracula. Dracula attempts to hypnotize Van Helsing, but the latter’s resolve proves stronger. As Dracula lunges at Van Helsing, he withdraws a crucifix from his coat, forcing Dracula to retreat.

Harker visits Mina on a terrace, and she speaks of how much she loves “nights and fogs”. A bat flies above them and squeaks to Mina. She then attacks Harker but Van Helsing and Seward save him. Mina confesses what Dracula has done to her, and tells Harker their love is finished.

Dracula hypnotizes Briggs into removing the wolfsbane from Mina’s neck and opening the windows. Van Helsing and Harker see Renfield heading for Carfax Abbey. They see Dracula with Mina in the abbey. When Harker shouts to Mina, Dracula thinks Renfield has led them there and kills him. Dracula is hunted by Van Helsing and Harker knowing that Dracula is forced to sleep in his coffin during daylight, and the sun is rising. Van Helsing prepares a wooden stake while Harker searches for Mina. Van Helsing impales Dracula, killing him, and Mina returns to normal.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – FEBRUARY 13, 2017

The Toilet Ghoul
Movie – Ghoulies II (1988)
Director – Albert Band

Scariest moment: The most unlikable character in Ghoulies II (which says a lot) sits down to, um, unload in the bathroom of a trailer. Though we don’t see what’s actually happening beneath his waist (thank heavens), dude’s bloodcurdling screams and the sounds of little teeth munching imply all we need to know.
Weakness: Plungers and anyone who just ate fast-food “meat.”

Yes, Ghoulies was little more than a darkened ripoff of Gremlins, and the diminutive monsters themselves look ridiculously silly when viewed through the eyes of people seasoned by today’s lavish visual effects. But what’s scarier than something that attacks you while you’re using the toilet? And we’re not talking diarrhea. With their field of vision blocked below and their pants down, a potty user is vulnerable and exposed.

Too deeply thought an analysis for a scene that involves a shitter and a goofy looking demon? Perhaps. Just don’t judge us for standing up while taking dropping deuces.

(From Complex.com)

This pedantic sequel to Empire Pictures’ less-than-original Ghoulies was released directly to video and summarily slipped into oblivion. At the outset of this one, the title creatures — rubbery puppets originally conceived as cut-rate Gremlins lookalikes — are shanghaied by a priest who intends to exterminate them, but they manage to escape to a low-rent carnival. There they take up residence in “Satan’s Den,” a foundering, old-fashioned haunted house attraction run by Royal Dano, who fears he may lose ownership of the show due to sagging attendance. The presence of the ghoulies at first gives business a much-needed boost … until the slimy little buggers start dining on the patrons. Despite some enhancements in the lackluster monster effects (by John Buechler, who’s done better work elsewhere) and clever stop-motion animation by David Allen, this film is just as pointless as its predecessor. There is, however, one memorable scene, which makes good on the promise of the first film’s ad campaign — which featured one of the reptilian critters leaping from a toilet bowl, accompanied by the tagline “They’ll get you in the end!”

(Synopsis by Cavett Binion from Allmovie.com)

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – FEBRUARY 6, 2017

The Triffids
Movie – The Day of the Triffids (1962)
Director – Steve Sekely

The Day of the Triffids is a 1962 British film based on the 1951 science fiction novel of the same name by John Wyndham. The picture was directed by Steve Sekely, and Howard Keel played the central character, Bill Masen. The movie’s leading lady was Nicole Maurey (who played Christine Durant), and it was filmed in color with monaural sound.

Triffids are tall plants capable of aggressive and seemingly intelligent behaviour. They are able to move about by “walking” on their roots, appear to communicate with each other, and possess a deadly whip-like poisonous sting that enables them to kill their victims and feed on their rotting carcasses. Their appearance is vaguely similar to gigantic asparagus shoots topped with a flower-like head somewhat resembling a Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, which houses their deadly stinger.

Bill Masen (Howard Keel), a merchant navy officer, is lying in a hospital bed with his eyes bandaged. He discovers that while he has been waiting for his accident-damaged eyes to heal, an unusual meteor shower has blinded most people on Earth. Once he leaves the hospital, Masen finds people all over London struggling to stay alive in the face of their new affliction. Some survive by cooperating while others simply fight, but it is apparent that after just a few days society is collapsing.

He rescues a school girl, Susan (Janina Faye), from a crashed train. They leave London and head for France. They find refuge at a chateau, but when it is attacked by sighted prisoners they are again forced to escape. The Triffid population continues to grow, feeding on people and animals. Meanwhile, on a coastal island, Tom Goodwin (Kieron Moore), a flawed but gifted scientist, and his wife Karen (Janette Scott), battle the plants as he searches for a way to conquer them.

(From Wikipedia.com)
The Day of the Triffids is one of those rare old school horror movies that I have yet to see. And being a writer, I’ve been around enough literary circles to have heard of the original novel by John Wyndham and how good it is. Definitely putting it on my to-watch list and putting the novel on my to-read list.
— Erik

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – JANUARY 30, 2017

The Baby
Movie – Eraserhead (1977)
Director – David Lynch

The Man in the Planet (Jack Fisk) pulls levers in his home in space, while the head of Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) floats in the sky. A giant spermatozoon-like creature emerges from Spencer’s mouth, floating into the void. The Man in the Planet appears to control the creature with his levers, eventually making it fall into a pool of water.

In an industrial cityscape, Spencer walks home with his groceries. He is stopped outside his apartment by the Beautiful Girl Across the Hall (Judith Anna Roberts), who informs him that his girlfriend, Mary X (Charlotte Stewart), has invited him to dinner with her family. Spencer leaves his groceries in his apartment, which is filled with piles of dirt and dead vegetation. That night, Spencer visits X’s home, conversing awkwardly with her mother (Jeanne Bates). At the dinner table, he is asked to carve a chicken that X’s talkative father, Bill (Allen Joseph) has “made”; the bird writhes on the plate and gushes blood. After dinner, Spencer is cornered by X’s mother, who tries to kiss him. She tells him that X has had his child and that the two must marry. X, however, is not sure if what she bore is a child.

The couple move into Spencer’s one-room apartment and begin caring for the child—a swaddled bundle with an inhuman, snakelike face, resembling the spermatozoon-like creature. The infant refuses all food, crying incessantly and intolerably. The sound drives X hysterical, and she leaves Spencer and the child. Spencer attempts to care for the child, and he learns that it struggles to breathe and has developed painful sores.

Spencer begins experiencing visions, again seeing the Man in the Planet, as well as the Lady in the Radiator (Laurel Near), who sings to him as she stomps upon spermatozoon-like creatures. After a sexual encounter with the Beautiful Girl Across the Hall, Spencer has a vision where he is decapitated by a creature resembling the child, revealing a stump underneath that resembles the child’s face. Soon afterwards, Spencer’s head sinks into a pool of blood and falls from the sky, landing on a street below. A boy finds it, bringing it to a pencil factory to be turned into erasers.

Spencer seeks out the Beautiful Girl Across the Hall, but finds her with another man. Crushed, Spencer returns to his room, where the child is crying. He takes a pair of scissors and for the first time removes the child’s swaddling. It is revealed that the child has no skin; the bandages held its internal organs together, and they spill apart after the rags are cut. The child gasps in pain, and Spencer cuts its organs with the scissors. The wounds gush a thick liquid, covering the child. The power in the room overloads; as the lights flicker on and off the child grows to huge proportions. When the lights burn out completely, the child’s head is replaced by the planet. Spencer appears amidst a billowing cloud of eraser shavings. The side of the planet bursts apart, and inside, the Man in the Planet struggles with his levers, which are now emitting sparks. Spencer is embraced warmly by the Lady in the Radiator, as both white light and white noise crescendo before the film abruptly ends.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

Eraserhead is typical Lynch. Moody, artsy, full of visual cues and almost like a painting done on celluloid. Also somber and full of sex, horror, and emotion. Those who know Lynch from fare such as Twin Peaks as their only source of his genius weirdness probably won’t dig this. But if you want to dive on in to some of his non-mainstream stuff, you could do worse than starting with this gem of a film. 
— Erik

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – JANUARY 23, 2017

Pinhead
Movies – The Hellraiser Series
Creator – Clive Barker

Pinhead is a fictional character from the Hellraiser series. His name is derived from a sobriquet given to him by the crew of the first Hellraiser film. Nearly thirty years later, Clive Barker gave him the proper designation Hell Priest in his sequel to The Hellbound Heart, The Scarlet Gospels.

Pinhead is one of the leaders of the Cenobites, formerly humans but transformed into creatures which reside in an extradimensional realm, who travel to Earth through a puzzle box called the Lament Configuration in order to harvest human souls. His origins and the nature of the Cenobites vary depending upon the medium: while the character began as an amoral entity blindly devoted to the practice of experimental sadomasochism, later depictions have portrayed him as explicitly evil and even demonic in origin.

The character’s appearance in 1987’s Hellraiser marked a significant departure from the standard 1980s depiction of horror movie villains, who tended to either be completely mute, or provide glib commentary while killing their victims. Rather, Pinhead was depicted as quiet yet articulate and intelligent, drawing influence from classical cinematic depictions of Count Dracula.

In the movie series storyline, Pinhead was born Elliott Spencer and opened the Lament Configuration after becoming disenchanted with human life from his service in World War I. Like the other Cenobites, he lost all memory of his human identity following the transformation and serves the deity Leviathan by abducting others who solve the Lament Configuration and torture them in a labyrinth realm called Hell.

In Hellraiser (1987), Kirsty Cotton unintentionally summons Pinhead and the Cenobites, but is spared on condition that she lead the Cenobites to her uncle, Frank Cotton, who had escaped them. After reclaiming Frank, the Cenobites turn on Kirsty, who manages to banish them back to their realm.

In Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Pinhead regains memories of his original self when Kirsty shows him a photograph of Spencer. Pinhead briefly leads his fellow Cenobites in a battle with the newly created Channard cenobite, but is seemingly killed after being reverted to his human form.

In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), it is learned that Spencer’s reversion to his human form caused the negative attributes of himself to manifest into an independent entity, which takes the form of Pinhead. Without human influence, Pinhead is unbound by the laws of the Cenobite Hell as he manifests on Earth after being trapped in the form of an intricately carved pillar with writhing figures and distorted faces etched into the surface. Using the nightclub owner J.P. Monroe, Pinhead feeds on enough humans to gain his freedom as he engages in an indiscriminate killing spree on Earth, transforming some of his victims into a Cenobite army. Spencer manages to escape Limbo and stops Pinhead by re-merging with him before the restored entity is banished back to the Cenobites’ reality.

In Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996) Pinhead allies himself with the demon princess Angelique, in order to force John Merchant (a descendant of the inventor who built the Lament Configuration) to create an unsealable gateway to Hell. The future segments of the film reveal that Pinhead is finally destroyed in the year 2127 by Dr. Paul Merchant, another descendant, who uses a space station to complete the “Elysium Configuration”, capable of closing Hell’s gateway for good. Pinhead and other Cenobites are trapped inside it and are destroyed along with the box.

In Hellraiser: Inferno (2000) Pinhead appears primarily under the guise of police psychiatrist Doctor Paul Gregory, assuming his true form near the end to inform protagonist Detective Joseph Thorne that he has been in Hell for the duration of the film, and is being punished for his corruption and various misdeeds in life.

In Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2001) Pinhead serves a role similar to the one he fulfilled in Inferno. Kirsty is now married to Trevor, a corrupt insurance agent who plots to have her killed in a murder-for-money scheme, using Lemarchand’s box to “cleanly” kill Kirsty without the evidence pointing to himself, his mistress, or his conspirators. Pinhead appears at the end of the film to inform Trevor, who had amnesia throughout the film, that he has actually been dead and trapped by the Cenobites for some time; Pinhead had appeared to Kirsty, pleased at the prospect of a “reunion,” but Kirsty ultimately struck a deal with him: she would be left alone in exchange for killing Trevor and his conspirators, thus giving the Cenobites the victims’ souls.

In Hellraiser: Deader (2003) Pinhead appears several times to reporter Amy Klein after she tinkers with the box, a central relic of a cult she is investigating. After Amy is captured by the group’s leader, Winter, she learns he is a descendant of puzzle creator Phillip Lemarchand, and believes that it is his birthright to control the box and, thereby, the Cenobites. However, neither he nor any of his followers have been able to open it. Amy successfully opens the box, but rather than submit to Winter, Pinhead instead kills him and his followers for attempting to control it. Subject to being taken to the Cenobite realm for having opened the box, Amy instead chooses to commit suicide.

Pinhead appears as a fictional character in Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005). In this film the box and the Cenobites have become the basis for a successful MMORPG called Hellworld. Although the Pinhead seems to attack the guests at a Hellraiser-themed party, he is revealed to be the hallucination of five guests who have been drugged and buried alive by the party’s host, who blames them for not preventing his Hellworld-addicted son’s suicide. In the film’s climax, the host discovers that the Hellraiser mythos is based on fact, and that his son had come into possession of a real Lemarchand box. Opening it causes the real Pinhead to appear, praising the boy’s ingenuity before ordering a pair of Cenobites to kill the host.

In Hellraiser: Revelations (2011), Pinhead is physically portrayed by Stephan Smith Collins, with Fred Tatasciore providing the voice.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

Pinhead is one of the quintessential Movie Monsters we all know and love.
I got my first dose of Pinhead as a child when Hellraiser first came out and I was immediately hooked. He was scary, interesting, and just anguished enough that you felt sorry for him. I watched each incarnation of the character grow the legend as the films progressed.
Doug Bradley plays the character masterfully, and I’m proud to say I met the man when I was in high school when he came to the Burnt Mill Plantation in Aiken, South Carolina for a Halloween event. He commands the same respect out of makeup as he does in his Pinhead gear and prosthetics.
Pinhead is one of Clive Barker’s greatest creations and will surely live on forever in Movie Monster History.
— Erik

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – JANUARY 16, 2017

The Fly
Movie – The Fly (1986)
Director – David Cronenberg

Considered fairly gruesome in its day, the original 1958 The Fly looks like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood compared to this 1986 remake.

Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis star as Seth Brundle, a self-involved research scientist, and Veronica Quaife, a science-magazine reporter.

Inviting Veronica to his lab, Seth prepares to demonstrate his “telepod,” which can theoretically transfer matter through space.

As they grow closer over the next few weeks, she inadvertently goads Seth into experimenting with human beings rather than inanimate objects.

Seth himself enters the telepod, preparing to transmit himself through the ether — but he doesn’t know that he is sharing the telepod with a tiny housefly.

(Synopsis by Hal Erickson from Allmovie.com)

 

I remember seeing The Fly when it first came out. I was nine-years-old at the time.
The only things I remember seeing Jeff Goldblum in before that was The Big Chill (one of my mom’s favorite movies), The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (which my brother and I watched pretty religiously), Transylvania 6-5000 (a fucking classic…Michael Richards as Fejos the “pretzel man”), and an episode of Shelly Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre in which he played the Big Bad Wolf. Geena Davis I knew from Transylvania 6-5000, Fletch (another classic and hilariously favorite movie), and the television show Family Ties.
The Fly was a definite departure from those roles. It was gross, fun, thought-provoking, and genuinely disturbing at parts of it (especially to a nine-year-old).
I had yet to discover David Cronenberg, having not seen either Scanners or The Brood yet — although I do remember seeing The Dead Zone a few years before I would read the book.
The Fly is a really great movie, and Seth Brundle’s creature is scary enough to make it into this first ever Movie Monster Monday.
— Erik

 

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