The Tuesday Top 3: Cults!

 

 

Greetings Insomniacs! Welcome to the Tuesday Top 3! Just about every week I count down my top three movies, characters, or something that equals three. We’ve covered Apes and Bugs so far! This time around Cult movies! And by that, I mean devil cults. This is one of, to me, the scariest subgenres of the horror world. Because these things exist! Maybe not quite to the extreme of these movies but they are out there! Let’s see what three scare me the most…

  1. ROSEMARY’S BABY

Now, I am betting some of you are saying, “Why isn’t this number 1?” I am actually a late bloomer for Rosemary’s Baby. I remember it being on when I was kid, and thought it was too long and boring. I wanted monsters back then. And a slower developing story was just over my head. As an adult, I finally sat down and watched it. It had been a few viewings now and it is chilling.

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The story is so creepy! Rosemary and her husband move into their new apartment. Rosemary finds herself pregnant. Her husband starts getting all these cool offers. And the other tenants in the building make this movie so much fun. I think the reveal at the end feels a touch out of place with the rest of the film but it is a lot of fun. It’s neat watching Rosemary slowly peel back the layers of her new life, and the horror that she finds herself in. Mia Farrow leads an all star cast. This movie grows up me more each time.

  1. THE SEVENTH VICTIM

This one might not be as well-known as the other films on the list but it still leaves chilled. I do not know if it is because of the movie or the events surrounding it. It’s a 1943 horror noir film released by RKO. Val Lewton produced it. It’s an eerie film. Jean Brooks plays Jacqueline a young missing woman. Her sister comes searching for her and discovers that she is captive of a cult. She reveals the cult after she is saved, and the cult condemn her to death, being the seventh victim to do so. It’s actually a pretty dark and depressing movie compared to some other ones that I have seen from that time.

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Charles O’Neal who co-wrote the script based it on a satanic society he had met in New York City. The story of Jean Brooks is a sad one. She had appeared in many films for RKO. That came to an end after a series of drunken public appearances. She made her last film in 1948. She fell into a state of alcoholism and passed away at the age of 47 in 1963. She was great in this film but totally disappeared by 1948. For years, no one even knew what her fate was. This actually mirrors some of the movie, and Jean’s character towards the end of the movie. Still a dark, eerie movie to watch.

 

  1. RACE WITH THE DEVIL

That brings us to this week’s number 1. And it is a dozy! Not only is this a great drive-in thrill ride, but the story keeps you in your seat, the edge of it! We have some folks camping in their RV and one night they see a cult sacrifice not far from where their RV is parked. They are discovered and spend the rest of the film trying to escape the cultists. Peter Fonda leads a great cast. I had seen this for the first time as part of the Secret Cinema group I was a part of on Yahoo, and the movie just blew me away. This was my introduction to great 70s drive-in fun. And what a tagline, “When you race with the devil, you better be faster than Hell!” Love it!

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And the cultists will stop at nothing to get them! Motorcycles, climbing on the RV! Old folks at the different camping spots! It’s just crazy. You don’t know who to trust and everything just goes to hell, literally! The ending is by far one of my favorites, and leaves you with a chill up your spine. I would love to actually see this at a drive-in and I am putting the call out there to all the drive-ins left, get this movie to play this summer! We do a lot of camping. And the night that they see the sacrifice reminds me of nights we’ve had sitting around the fire and talking. Who knows who is at the next site over, and what are they doing?

That’s it for this week’s Top 3! Next time around we will be looking at my top 3 Dinosaur movie picks! Start thinking about yours! As always, thanks for taking the drive-in wherever you are!

 

Would love to hear from you! Email us at monstersandmemories@hotmail.com if there is a subject you would like us to cover for the Tuesday Top 3 or just to say hi!

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Twitter @InsomniacDI

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Dark Forest Review! A Fresh Stab for the Slasher Genre?

 

DarkForest

Greetings Insomniacs! Two of my favorite things to do are watching slasher movies and going camping! So, when the chance arises to watch a movie combining the two, I can’t wait to enjoy the ride. Slasher movies have always felt right at home in the woods. I was able to sit down and check out Dark Forest recently. How well does it fit into the slasher in the woods subgenre? Let’s find out!

Dark Forest is the first full length film from Zellco Prodcutions based out of Winipeg, Canada. Shot in Manitoba, the cinematography is beautiful. The colors are crisp and from the very first shots, it feels like you are not watching your standard smaller budget horror film. The story centers on Emily, who is in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Peter. Emily’s friends are going camping for the weekend. When they come to pick up Emily, Peter in full on control mode is able to prevent Emily from going. He almost gets into it with Emily’s friend, Michelle. After the girls have left, Emily decides that she is still going on the trip. Good for her! She sneaks out but Peter discovers and slowly slips into nutzoid mode!

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This is where the real fun begins! Peter, played by Dennis Scullard brings a great, new psychopath to the screen. He just has a certain danger about him that is easy to feel the moment he comes on the screen. I would compare his role much to that of Michael Shannon’s descent in Bug. Yet, he is also doing his own thing, and that come through in this role. He attempts to get his two buddies to help him in his plan. They think they are just going to scare the girls. Nope. Peter is hoping to make them pay taking Emily away. Trevor Kristjanson plays Jake and our first victim! I think it was filmed with some cool edits, teasing us enough for what’s to come. Matthew Steffanson plays Roy who with great trepidation goes along with the plan. What choice does he have? He just saw his friend killed. As Peter comes back into the shot, he is splattered with blood. I though they did a great job with what they used. The blood looked real and we do get generous amounts of it throughout the fim!

So, the girls are going camping. And we really have great casting here. Laurel McArthur plays Emily. Looking at the press kit, she appears to not be a full time actor. And that is a shame! She’s very natural in the role and the camera loves her. Let’s hope that we see more of her in future productions. Jalin Desloges and Veronica Ternopolski play sisters Francine and Michelle. Michelle is a tough cookie and has Emily’s back. She definitely would fit the final girl mode well in a film of her own. And I thought Jalin had a lot of fun with her role. Weronika Sokalska plays their other friend Jolene, and she brought back memories of Tracie Savage as Debbie in Friday the 13th part 3, she just had that charisma to her.

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Meanwhile, we are also introduced to another set of campers. This was cool. From watching the trailer, I had assumed that all of this characters knew each other and were camping together. No, we get two sets of campers. I haven’t seen this is a slasher film in a while. Two different storylines going on with the same psychopath interwoven. It was very refreshing, and some other horror films should take their ques from this. This foursome played well on what you would expect from a slasher film. Here, you get the dynamics that built the roadmaps for characterization in this genre. You have the kind of jerk boyfriend played by Graham Silver. I imagine his character, a jock back in high school. His girlfriend is played by Alyssa Wyspianski. Both of them play the long dating, bickering couple well. We are also introduced to Kim played by Genevieve DeGraves and Frankie played by Jesse Lang. She is just getting over a boyfriend and he seems to be digging on Kim. They both had great chemistry, and I was sad to see them taken out.

Let me mention now, the acting in this film is above what you would normally see in a smaller budget horror film. I easily became invested in the characters, and was rooting for some to make it. Casting can make or break a picture, and I thought it was spot on throughout.

Back to Peter and Roy, they have made it to the forest and come across a couple making out in their car. They make easy fodder for Peter. The kills are simple and the effects, both CGI and practical look great. Sometimes the CGI is very blatant and tough to marriage what is on the screen. I thought they kept it at a minimum and I had to rewind one or two kills to see if it was CGI or practical. Too much CGI is used in indie productions sometimes, and take away from the experience. I thought the balance was perfect here.

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Peter and Roy make their way to the site of our second campers. There are some eerie shots of Peter melting in and out of the dark forest (Hey, the title!) and it is very effective. I will be looking over my shoulder the next time we go camping! Unfortunately, these campers stand no chance. Two of our campers are picked off together! And you kinda know the other two aren’t going to make it either. Alyssa’s character Sally is left by herself at the campsite for hours by herself. She seems to think the others are playing tricks on her. I think I would have been out in the woods looking for my friends after a certain amount of time. But, she is most likely scared and not thinking in her right mind frame. There is a great shot of Peter coming up to the site behind her, and boom we have 4 less campers in the woods!

Things take an interesting twist when Peter gets to the girl’s camp. I don’t want to reveal too much more about the movie. We do make a switch from slasher flick to revenge flick here, and it’s really fun. Peter and Michelle get to finish their encounter from earlier in the picture, and I actually vocalized my excitement over one part of their confrontation. It was a cool trick involving a hammer and a knife. It was a cool moment.

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I think my only question, in this part of the film involves Emily realizing Peter is at the campsite. She doesn’t seem surprised that he is there. Maybe she was expecting him to follow her there. I guess I would have liked to see a little different reaction to him being there. But, it didn’t take anything away from this ride. And the ending is quite enjoyable. The film is a satisfying experience all around.

Roger Boyer and David Zellis wrote and produced a great little film. It feels very comfortable in it’s 80s slasher roots, and I can see myself watching this again, sharing it with some of my other horror friends. This was Roger’s directoral debut and I thought he had a great grip of the story and the shots he wanted. None of it felt out of place. I read that there were more shots added after the initial filming. The flow is seamless.

I also can’t say enough about James Hofer’s score. It is the perfect synth piece. It soars and keeps the pace. It just puts you in the, “yes, I am watching a cool horror flick” mode. I don’t what else to call it!

So, you should definitely track down this one to watch! They are all over social media!

facebook.com/darkforestmovie

Twitter @darkforestfilm

Instragram.com/darkforestfilm2015

The movie is also streaming on Amazon Prime.

I will be watching it again! Next time, I just need to figure out what to double feature it with!

In conclusion, yes this feels right at home in the slasher in the woods subgenre. So nice to have another good one out there. And support these films. Go see them, watch them at home, and give feedback. You should like stuff on social media and share. There are so many other choices out there from the big studies and lots of good films waiting to be discovered. This is one of them!

Thanks for stopping by Insomniacs! As always, thank you for taking the drive-in wherever you are!

Would love to touch base with you all.

We can be found at:

Facebook.com/InsomniacDriveIn

Twitter @InsomniacDI

We are on YouTube under The Insomniac Drive-In!

AND now Instagram Instagram.com/eddavisj

And you can also drop us some mail at monstersandmemories@hotmail.com!

We will talk soon!

— Ed Davis, Curator of The Insomniac Drive-In

I just want to give a thanks to David Zellis, the producer and co-writer of this film for bringing it to my attention. Look forward to whatever Zellco Productions does next!

All photos courtey of Zellco Productions.

The Tuesday Top 3: APES!

Hey Insomniacs! Welcome to a new, hopefully weekly feature here at the drive-in! It’s called The Tuesday Top 3! Each week will be a different topic and my top three for it. Seems easy? Let’s see how it goes. This week’s subject: APES!

3. My 3rd favorite Ape movie is the original Planet of the Apes from 1968. I really wanted to include one of these films from the franchise. I knew it would not be the Wahlberg one. I really like the first two in the recent re-imaging. I love the world that they were creating, it felt real. Like it could happen. I wasn’t super excited by the third one. The second one was tough to top. So, I turned my head to the original films. I will admit, I showed up late to this ape dance. But, I am a true fan of these movies. I even got to go to a 5 film marathon hosted by It Came From Schenectady a few years ago. But, which film to pick? The second one is actually the first one I saw! Beneath the Planet of the Apes with their big nuclear missle and people peeling their faces off! What was I watching? Scared me, and I flipped back over to the safety of Godzilla on Monster Island. Escape From the Planet of the Apes resets everything and sets it up all at the same time. Conquest has the most awesome ape speech towards the end, and Battle is tough. These movies seem to be tough for me to end. Not satisfied with them. So, after going through all that, LOL. I am picking the Original Planet of the Apes as my number 3 choice.

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It started it all. It was so new. Apes riding horses hunting men! Roddy McDowell and Charton Heston in roles that cemented them to sci-fi history. The beautiful Linda Harrison as Nova and Kim Hunter as the curious Zira. It’s just a great film. Great sets, and so many damn apes!

2. I have to include this next movie on the list. I just couldn’t decide if it was number 2 or number 1. It’s King Kong vs. Godzilla! I am a huge Godzilla fan. He was one of my best friends growing up. And King Kong is…different from his previous appearance. His arms are strangely elongated. He can harness electricity, and he looks somewhat off. But, this movie is so much fun! It’s just a bonkers monster fight, played very much as a comedy.

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It was a cosmic shift in the tone of Godzilla films and would start to set up what would be an epic run of Showa period Godzilla films. I remember being very sick as a kid, and in the hospital. And my parents and the nurses scrambled to find a television to make sure I got to see the film. And they wheeled a red TV in and I got to see it. I remember that it was a kid ward. A big room with maybe six beds? Not sure if any of the other kids watched with me, but it was Godzilla day at the hospital. So, this film with forever hold a special place in my heart.

And that brings us to numero uno! It is the 1933 King Kong! He is the seventh wonder of the world. And it has to be this film. Without this giant monkey, there are no giant monkeys!! I cannot tell you how many Thanksgiving days I spent watching the Kong marathon on WWOR. Even now, I try to watch it as close to Thanksgiving as I can.

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Fay Wray is absolutely stunning. The rest of the cast, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot give good performances. And the work of Willis O’Brien on the stop motion, incredible! I think it still holds up today against those CGI monkeys. The story has action, romance, and an Ape tearing up the jungle and the city. The sequence on the log is still frightening to me. And Kong tussles with other dinosaurs. And you believed it. The movie is just a great work of art. Kong is King! And the sorrow felt over Kong’s fate still hurts my heart. Love this film, and watch whenever I can.

 So, there we go! We made it through our first top 3 list. What are your 3 favorite ape films? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Also, start thinking for next week when we take a look at – BUGS!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1931 Reviewed!

 

We continue our look back at Monsters and Memories!

Hello again, Groovy Ghoulies! 1931 was a great year to be a blooming horror fan as many terrors were unleashed upon the scream…I mean screen. One of them was Paramount Picture’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. It was based on the 1886 novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and also incorporated elements of the 1887 stage play. Once again, Hollywood at the time was relying heavily on stage adaptions for this silver screen offerings.

Honestly, I didn’t have much knowledge of Jekyll and Hyde going into this. I knew a Mr. Hyde from Marvel comics, and that was a much different villain. The only screen Hyde I remember comes from “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. But, that’s for a different article. So, I jumped in with both feet.

For those unfamilier with the story, Dr. Heny Jekyll (what is it with doctors names Henry in these movies?) believes you can seperate the good and evil in people. He’s created a serum that will release the evil side of yourself. And like any doctor in this situation, tries the serum on himself. He goes on a rampage through London drinking, fighting, and becomed entranced by the prostitute, Ivy.

This is a problem as Henry is engaged to Muriel. Soon, The Doctor turns into Hyde without the Serum and things get worse as Mr. Hyde murders! It comes down to a confrotation in Henry’s lab and like most of these movies, it doesn’t turn out well.

I liked this movie. I loved Dr. Jekyll’s lab. If I was a mad doctor, which I am not contrary to popular belief, this is the lab I would have. It reminded me of some of Dr. Frankenstein’s labs in the Hammer Horror classics years later.

The cast is great! Frederic March plays Dr. Jekyll very conservative and Mr. Hyde with such gusto that it’s hard to believe the same person is playing both characters. When he becomes Hyde for the first time, and stretches as if he is coming to life after a long sleep, I felt the same amount of energy. The two female characters were also portrayed well. Miriam Hopkins played the Prostitute Ivy Pearson who falls under the madness of Mr. Hyde. I thought she was feisty, and a lot of fun to enjoy on the screen. She later auditioned for the part of Scarlett O’Hara but the role ended up going to Vivian Leigh. Rose Hubart played Dr. Jekyll’s fiancee Murial Carew. She was stunning in this picture, and her eyes seemed to twinkle in every scene. No wonder the good doctor was in love with her.

The special effects for the transformation scenes were really good for their time, and I wondered how they were able to have Jekyll transform without appearing to edit anything. Well, they used a make-up process that was layed on March’s face in layers and then when different filters were removed from the camera lens, he appeared to transform before our eyes!

Frederic March tied to win the best actor role for this film, tying with Wallace Beery for “The Champ”. Great film to check out!

I was wondering what Jekyll and Hyde toys there were out there. The first thing I found I thought would be a good match for this. There was a company in the ’60s named Aurora who did models you could put together and paint yourself. Being a monster kid of the 70s, I didn’t see many growing up but I am envious of those with these models, they are gorgeous! They did a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde one in 1964 and you can find more information and pictures here:

http://members.cox.net/auroramonsters/jekyll.htm

That’s going to do it for now, my Ghoulies! If you’d like to leave me comments, questions, or just to say hi, drop me a line at: Starwarzed@hotmail.com. Looking forward to talking with you! Until next time, remember to watch the skies!

This week’s movies!

Hello fellow insomniacs! I was contacted this weekend by a fellow Insomniac, John J. Bossong III. And he was wondering where he can watch my movies each week?

And I was quite honored by that question. Here at the Insomniac, we try to recreate a fun, drive-in atmosphere. And I would love nothing more to have some kind of actual outlet for these movies some day. To do the actual Insomniac Drive-In, maybe even stream somewhere! But alas, right now we will continue the reviews and great trailers each week.

But, it did get me thinking! I am going to share the week’s movies on Mondays from now on, in hopes that those that would like to watch along are welcome!

So, here we go!

Tonight: A Creature Double Feature of Daimajin AKA Majin, Monster of Terror and Return of Daimajin AKA Return of Giant Majin

Friday: The first of the season! An old school Dusk till Dawn Movie Marathon!
It will feature: Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, Return of Mechagodzilla, Dear God No!, Frankenstein Created Bikers, Count Yorga Vampire, Devil’s Hand (1961), Devil Times Five, Don’t Look In The Basement (1973), and City of The Dead AKA Horror Hotel

Then back around to Saturday night for another Creature Double Feature with Reptilicus and Yongary, Monster From The Deep

So, there is the list for this week! We hope to catch up with you on some reviews this week! And hope you find something on this list to enjoy as well!

And if anyone has some streaming knowledge and wants to point in the right direction, welcome aboard!

An update from The Insomniac…

Hello fellow Insomniacs,

It’s been a bit since we’ve had reviews and whatnot.  And I do have to apologize. I’ve missed roaming the drive-in with you all and hope to get back 100 % soon.

The mind is such an interesting instrument. Sometimes, real life events impact it so that it gets tough to do the things that you love.

I do not know if I will be able to watch horror movies the same way I did before. I hope I can get back to them the same way I enjoyed them prior to what has happened.

I know real life horror movies, and stuff that could happen, are going to be out. A lot of the current product is going to be tough to watch. So, I am going to ease back into all of this.

I don’t know if I will find the words to review but I will still share my love of this with you all.

Thanks for all of your support as we try to get back on track. I love you all, fellow insomniacs!

Talk soon…

Lights Out vs. Suicide Squad

Greetings fellow insomniacs! Had a chance to check out a couple current movies recently. One I loved, and the other was just decent.

Lights out is the latest horror film to grace the big screen. I went in with some trepidation. It didn’t appear to be breaking any new ground in the trailer. And when I went to go see it, it only confirmed this. It was a paint by numbers horror film that I found to be predictable in parts. It remined me a lot of Darkness Falls.  There were two good jump scares, but not much more meat to it horror-wise.

The story revolves around a family plagued by this strange creature that only exist in the shadows. It wants the mother, played be Maria Bello, all to herself. Bello is a gem in this film. She plays a woman who has already broken down once and is on the verge of doing so again. She has great acting chops and glad she got to use them here. We learn the creature was her friend once and is back from the grave with a real obsession about keeping her to herself.

The effects are decent, but dark as it needs to take place in the shadows. It’s an alright film but I expect more from horror films, I guess.

On the other hand, Suicide Squad was a whole lot of crazy wrapped in a big ball of fun. There’s been a whole lot being said about it and I enjoyed the whole thing.

I’ve been waiting for DC to get their expanded cinematic universe going. This seems like a good start. I enjoyed Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman. I agree with some of the critics that the first half of this film is stronger then the second. I loved the introductions of the Squad. Margot Robbie nails Harley Quinn. Having watched Batman: The Animated Series, I think her creators would be proud. Will Smith’s Deadshot brought a lot of depth to The character. I ended up enjoying him more then I thought. Jared Lego brings a new take on The Joker. With the original photos released, I couldn’t put my finger on what they were doing withe character. But, he is homicidal! I cannot wait for a proper showdown with Ben Afflack’s Batman.

The story involves the squad being formed to save the trapped Amanit Waller. The enchantress and her brother work on a machine that will do…something. Still not clear what it was supposed to and it reminded me entirely too much of Zod’s machine in Man of Steel. That may be my only gripe. El Diablo has an awesome scene in the last act, and made him that much cooler.

Some scenes looked like they came right off the comic page and some of the dialogue feel right at home there too.  A post credits scene sets up the next movies nicely, and I am enjoying the DC universe so far.

They strived to make something different from the last two films. They did. Not as angry a film and loved the use of music in it. It was a fun ride!

That’s all for now, insomniacs! Drop us a line at monstersandmemories@hotmail.com we’d love to hear from you. We’re also on Facebook http://www.Facebook.com/insomniacDriveIn and twitter @InsomniacDI

See you all around the drive-in!