Garfields Halloween Adventure (1985)

Last year was my first time watching “Garfields Halloween Adventure” it was buried in amongst my most treasured copy of “Eddie Spaghetti’s halloween compilation tapes” and I absolutely fell in love with it pretty much there and then. So I knew this year when it came to taking a bit more of a family friendly look at halloween specials. that my spirit animal would very much have to make an appearence, while it wasnt necissarily in the running initially (In fact; it was the last one I chose to run for halloween this year) im very glad I ultimately chose it, as It really is a wonderful little special that still holds up remarkably well even to this day.

Short and sweet, it’s slowly crawling back out of obscurity and entertaining a new generation. and really? I think that can only be a good thing.

There are many fan made posters out there for this TV special. but for my money, this ones the best!

13 Ghosts (1960)

Im a total latecomer to the William Castle game. And im not *As* ashamed about that as I could be. the reality is theres a smattering of Castle movies that got released time and time again here in the UK (Im looking at you “House on Haunted Hill!”) but more often than not the bulk of his output would generally either be ignored or released in the absolute crappiest quality it was possible to release DVD’s in.

I’d wanted to watch “The Tingler” for example for absolute years; since my early teens at least, but due to rights, or companies thinking noone was interested in Castle films or whatever the hell reason they could come up with almost NON of Castles films really came out over here. that is until the wonderful people over at “Power House” released volumes 1 and 2 of “The William Castle Collection” and it must be said that, while I didnt go in for them right away (the price was juuuuuuuuuust too steep for me to take a gamble on it) during a recent sale where the price dropped to around £35 I honestly couldnt resist it any longer. As it stands; Volume 1 is one of my all time favourite Bluray releases at the time of writing and I highly recommend you pick it up, as I really do consider it “Essential horror” if your into the genre.

Volume 2 is pretty good fun, but it’s way more schlocky, way less focussed on horror and way more hit and miss for me. While im definitely still glad I own it, Im not nearly as enthused about it in the same way I am for volume 1.

13 Ghosts is arguably the second biggest highlight on the set, and just for the ability to watch all 3 different versions of this film I can definitely recommend checking this one out. it’s not really a lifechanging picture, and if your absolutely in love with the 2000’s remake of 13 ghosts this will probably make you cringe hard. But if you like good hokey 50s and 60s campy horror. this pretty much is a must own!

All of Castles posters from this time vaguely look the same in terms of layout and design. I cant personally say im a massive fan of the look. and it’s the only thing im not massively happy about with the castle set from powerhouse. some newly commissioned artwork probably would have really made these sets sing. As it stands they just have the poster slapped on the cover…which is okay…but it does rather leave me wanting.

The Worst Witch (1986)

So; Halloween 2020 is upon us and this year being an “Off” year we’re once again going for a grab bag of halloween goodies to help kick your month off with a bang! and while all of the movies chosen this year arnt really connected. I have decided to have a bit of a loose theme.

I wanted to try and do more “Family Friendly” movies this halloween. I know a lot of my viewers are parents and quite frequently they struggle to find good horror to show their kids without having to dip into their “adult” collection. So I thought i’d try to help out this year. All the movies featured will be movies that more or less the entire family can tune in to! I really wanted to make it a bit more all encompassing, after all Halloween is supposed to be a time for spooks and scares for all ages!

So here we have “The Worst Witch” the ORIGINAL Worst Witch. and arguably one of the most enjoyable adaptations. probably suitable for younger children (I’d say 5-9 year olds) but theres a TON of campness to help keep Adults on board. I really dug this one…and if certain events around a certain author who ALSO wrote a very popular series about witches and wizards have left you feeling a bit cold. then This series might just be what you need.

Unfortunately this film has never had a decent cover. The original VHS cover is about as good as it gets.

Finishing the Complete Sixth Series (2019)

To say that it’s a miracle that this season even got made is an understatement in and of itself. When I first set out to make this I had no idea of the trials and tribulations that would unfold during this seasons run. It’s well documented at this point on this site but Season 6 was predominantly marred by the fact that my partner was taken seriously ill after literally writing the first 2 episodes of this season in September of 2018 (“One Dark Night” and “If Looks could kill“) We’re not talking (Bedridden) ill either; we’re talking full blown hospital level ill. and as a result writing for season 6 ground to a halt after episode 2 and Season 5’s Christmas specials (Which were in the midst of being edited) were put on the backburner to the point that I was literally finalising the edit for “Jack Frost” the day before it was actually set to upload. Which was just insane as I normally edit about 2 months ahead of the actual upload schedule as a rule.

By the end of 2018 all work had stopped on producing new episodes and I was solely caring for my partner and trying to cling onto my Job as a wave of redundencies had recently hit the company. Luckily there seemed to be a period of calm around the beginning of March and by the end of that month I’d actually found a brief window of time to sit down and actually start making notes for a new review (Alongside reworking the two I’d written the previous year to freshen them up a bit) From there my partners health improved, work stabilized and I was finally able to get back on the horse and ride for season 6. and I REALLY didnt want to let the momentum stop once it had gotten underway. pulling a few late nights and making some quite difficult decisions I steamrolled through the first half of season 6 (Up toSilent Running) with little to no trouble. As autumn rolled through things began to get a little more complex, Halloweens kind of a big deal for me and my partner so there was a lot of planning around september time. and then Christmas pretty much starts from November 1st these days so there were a lot of things to circumnavigate at this point.

Still; we battled on and other than 1 or 2 very brief moments of “Squeaky bum time” (Memories of editing “Vamp!” 2 weeks before it was set to go live spring to mind) it was otherwise one of the smoothest runs to the end of the year that i’ve experienced since starting this channel. Christmas was more or less all tied up by the last week of November and i’d started writing season 7 by mid November (which is very shortly due to finish writing and start recording/editing)

I cant honestly say I have fond memories of this period of time. But as I said at the top of the post. im grateful for everything that’s happened while we made this. It’s the longest season we’ve ever done clocking in at 26 episodes + a crossover special and this season introduced me to some ace people like the guys and gals over at the “Inside the Nutshell”. It’s let me watch and talk about some weird and wonerful movies and in hindsight I had fun with this season. even if personally I was suffering a bit.

(Everyone loves the longform stuff. and some of these are absolute classics! I hope you enjoy this marathon of sleaze and weirdness.)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

So just a quick post here; I was very graciously invited to take part in a collaboration with the team over at the “Inside the Nutshell” youtube channel. They’re a really good bunch of people and I was more than happy to take part! (They’ve also helped me with my review of the 1981 equal to this movie “Shock Treatment”) so be sure to check this one out!

You can check out their youtube channel here! and I highly recommend you do as they have some great stuff on their and some even more goodness to come! 🙂

 

(Loving the Thumbnail btw guys!)

Vamp (1986)

Well! that’s it! Halloween 2019 done and dusted! and here we find the final part of our month on Vampire movies! I had a lot of trouble choosing which 80’s movie was “SO” definitively 80’s and a vampire movie…I could have done “Fright night” but I’ve only ever seen it twice and both times I watched it I got so absolutely fed up and bored of it that I couldnt bare to both sit through it again, nor end a plesent month on vampires with a film I was going to slag off (I will talk about it in the future though…dont worry about that!)

The Lost Boys was the other strong contender for this one but I felt it was too late 80’s for this kind of thing…it’s a good film (Of what i’ve seen of it) but it missed to many crucial elements of the early 80’s to make it an all incompassing feature. “Vamp” by contrast is 80’s to it’s marrow. it has the dark and brooding styalisation that would come to plague the late 80’s but it also has the charming and heavily art driven style that the early 80’s neuwave brought to the scene…add to that that it’s painfully self aware and a bit of a screwball comedy at times and I truely think this is probably the best all encapsulation of an 80’s vampire movie…it pleases neither side of the 80’s movie experience but it covers both.

I enjoyed this movie…and I really hope you guys do too! Happy halloween! and till next year! Unpleasent dreams 😉

 

(There are tons of variations of the “Lips” Vamp poster…but I think this one kind of covers everything you need to know about the movie…)

Phantasm (1979)

So we kind of need to step sideways in order to move forward here with Vampire month this halloween. While it could be argued that cinema in general was shifting towards the late 70’s to the 80’s film format that made massive successes of movies like “E.T”, “The Goonies” and “The Lost Boys” it wasnt without seismic shifts within the industry and within specific genres.

I chose to talk about “Phantasm” as part of Vampire month because the Symbolism is there, the attitude is there, the “Vibe” (For lack of a better word) is there. it isnt a vampire movie. and yet it somehow has the ora of one. I really REALLY liked this movie. it was a fun and interesting side avanue into the Horror genre. At some point I will look at the sequels (Though by all accounts this series is a bit like the “Hellraiser” movies…in the sense that the less you know about the universe the better the movies are…

Who knows when that’ll be mind!? my “To Watch” pile is frankly absurd these days…all I know is: Go watch Phantasm…right now.

(Seriously underwhelming poster for this one sadly…Theres so much they could have done with the themes and look this film has…and they settled on “Throw fucking everything on the poster…the more it looks like sick, the more people will want to see it!” Dissapointed.)

Count Yorga Vampire (1970)

Picking vampire films reflective of their era has been a really difficult challenge when it’s come to this series. if it wasnt for the lack of interesting or developmental ones (See the 1940’s and a good chunk of the 1950’s) then there was just too many of them (See the 1980’s and 90’s).

The 70’s was a great time of change for Vampire movies and I felt, rather than just picking a generic “Middle of the road” film that was reflective of the decade as a whole instead I’d go for what was effectively the movie that began to modernise the Vampire mythos beyond the “Dracula”/”Nosforatu” formula.

I’d never seen Count Yorga before watching it for this review, and while I concede that there are a lot of the architypical elements present here that are well known the modernising elements are very welcome and really shunt the focus of what we’re supposed to be scared of away from the vampire on the whole and more towards the weirdness the Vampire itself can create.

Yorga isnt the best Vampire movie of the 70’s but most modern vampire movies have a lot to thank it for. Without it who knows how these movies would have progressed. I personally am looking forward to watching and reviewing the sequel at some point in the future (It’ll be a while mind…Im burnt out on Vampires at this point) but if the first film was anything to go by; the 2nd one should only be better still!

 

(The poster is very misleading…nothing like that happens in this film and it’s actually quite subdued)

The Horror Of Dracula (1958)

I couldnt quite believe I’d gone as long as I had done without covering another Hammer Horror movie. quite honestly every season I decide I want to do a hammer film…but then like all things I work on I get easily distracted and before you know it im working on “Sharknado 77” or “Lets Ruin Dads day 2” or some other similar bollocks. In fact I havent covered a Hammer movie since season 2 when I covered “The Nanny” which was stonkingly good and terrifically underrated!

So when it came to doing a season on Vampires this halloween I put my foot down and said “No More!, Im doing a hammer movie!” and quite honestly 1958’s “Horror of Dracula” is probably one of my favourite hammer movies. I first watched it in Film studies many MANY years ago in college on a ropey VHS “Off Air” recording and was blown away…and the bluray only went further still to solidify just how totally badass this movie really is. not only is it one of my favourite portayals of Vampires. It’s one of my favourite Horror movies full stop. I just love it. I also welcome to the fold here Christopher Lee. One of my favouirte Horror actors giving in my opinion one of his finest roles. He would only really come to terms with this character in his later years (He famously dismissed the count for literal decades) but I think he’s probably my favourite portrayal.

So! without further ado! enjoy!

 

(Also; theres a surprising shortage of “Portrait” style posters for this movie…this was one of the rare ones I could find…and I think it’s arguably the coolest one. why this wasnt used across the board i’ll never know!)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)

Another Halloween’s upon us ladies and gents and once again I get to dig out some of the archives most terrifying creations to display for your entertainment and viewing pleasure. I’ve been trying to decide on a format for these halloween specials and I think for the time being at least that im going to do a year on a theme and a year on a series of halloween-esq movies…mainly because there are a lot of good halloween movies that dont necissarily fit into a theme. But also; there are loads of films that i’d love to talk about which I think if I link them while discussing their themes it creates a bit of “a history of” vibe…which I always encourage because it allows me to go deeper into the movies than I probably would…

naturally just doing 5 random halloween films every year would be a bit boring and wouldnt quite cover the depth I would like to cover. Equally if I did 5 themed films every year. I’d probably grow quite bored of the format. So this is a good happy medium…at least for the time being. by this logic next year will be a random assortment again.

Nosferatu isnt a film that i’d pick up regularly. it’s a good movie. But as I mention in the review I just dont really get on with Silent cinema all that much…I can appreciate it’s form and acknowlege that it is a item of it’s time. But I do struggle with quite a few of them and I find that finding good silent movies is quite a challenge. Because of this; It was a bit of a struggle to get this years theme well and truely under way. But Im glad I rewatched this movie as it really allowed me to get to the origins of the Vampire Mythology quickly and gloriously.

This is the start of a 5 part series on the history of Vampire movies from 1922 to 1986. You might wonder why it’s such an oddly specific timeframe. but those 64 years really do define such a massive evolutionary leap. that I think it should prove quite an interesting trip. I’ve already decided that a 2nd part will need to happen at some point (If nothing else just to cover the movies from 1987 to whenever I decide to go through all this again)

In the mean time I hope you enjoy the start of this series and I look forward to seeing it develop over the next few weeks!

(I love this poster…Im about 99% sure this isnt the original theatrical poster…if it even had an original theatrical poster…but there’s just something so unsettling about this one.)