What? No Far Left Cliches?

Wraith (2017) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

So we’re watching this horror movie, my sister recommended it, and any minute I’m expecting the film to pelt us with the usual Hollywood Far Left cliches. The mother or father or both are cheating on each other. The teenage daughter is pregnant. The old priest is… well, something really nasty.

None of these materialized! You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. Plus the movie offered a few genuine chills… without drenching the screen in gore.

Written and directed by Michael O. Sajbel, Wraith (2017) is a solid haunted house movie–and I dare not say anything to spoil the ending. It manages to avoid everything I don’t like in horror movies, and I’m pretty broad-minded. This one never crosses the line into stupid.

Plus it’s got veteran horror/sci-fi actor Lance Henriksen as the blind priest who sees more clearly than anybody else in the story, and his is a spectacular performance. This from the guy who was a humanoid robot torn in half in Aliens.

Wraith was well worth the time we put into watching it: recommended with a smile.

What’ll We Do This Afternoon?

Your Daily Dracula – Count Dracula (1977) | The Kim Newman Web Site

Louis Jourdan as Dracula

Man, I don’t want to write up any more nooze today; and I don’t think I want to read any more, either.

We’ve decided to watch Louis Jourdan in Count Dracula this afternoon. This film came out in 1977 on a Tuesday night: Patty home alone (except for lizards), and me on a 20-hour shift in The Bayshore Independent’s production room. So she watched the first installment of this movie and scared herself silly.

The thing about Dracula is that, as terrible and deadly as he is, the good guys still ultimately manage to do away with him. That’s how we know it’s a movie. The World Economic Forum is a much worse threat than Dracula could ever be, and who knows how to get rid of them? How many Dr. Van Helsings would we need to get the WEF off our backs? To say nothing of assorted Democrats.

When all is said and done, the story of Dracula is escape fiction. And that’s why we enjoy it.


Whatever Happened to Horror Movies?

The Highest-Grossing Horror Movies of All Time | Mental Floss

I know this isn’t so for everybody; but for some of us, there’s nothing quite so bracing as a good, clean scare–just the thing horror movies were invented to provide. My wife and I both find a good scary movie very relaxing. Sure, it creeps you out for a time: but then it stops! Don’t you wish real-life problems would just stop, roll the credits, and trouble us no more?

Take a classic horror movie like The Uninvited. No cussing, no nudity, no writhing around in the bed–and no blood ‘n’ guts spattered all over the screen. And all the deaths and tragedies involved are in the past (hence the ghosts). It’s in black-and-white, and none of the characters gets killed. It’d be hard to create something less like today’s horror movies; but The Uninvited packs plenty of good, stiff scares. And having Ray Milland, Cornelia Otis Skinner, and Alan Napier in the cast doesn’t hurt, either.

Sometimes we’d like to see a movie that we haven’t seen before. We read the descriptions and rule out the slasher movies. But we still get stung. The last one we saw was supposed to be an H.P. Lovecraft thing, based on one of our favorite Lovecraft stories, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Back in the 20s and 30s, HPL wasn’t even allowed to write gross-out horror. So his tales rely on true creepiness and weird takes on reality. And never mind! This movie soon degenerated into nudity, physical cruelty, and violence that was so far over the top, it was almost funny. The key word is “almost.”

In the last couple modern horror movies we’ve seen, the story always seems to wind up, “And then everybody got killed in assorted nasty ways!” It’s like the writers walked out halfway through the picture and the director’s 12 and 13-year-old kids had to write the rest of it.

Is this telling us something about our culture, that can’t even crank out a proper ghost story anymore?

I think so.

Raining Like Crazy

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So we’re in the Stop & Shop buying our groceries for the week, this morning–Happy Labor Day, everybody–and we’re standing in the checkout line, with a guy behind us who looks just like Pat Morita but probably isn’t–

And suddenly everybody in the store looks up nervously, because it’s a deep drum-roll overhead, like giants are using the roof of the building for a party… And I’m thinking, “How many horror movies could you start with this exact scene?” But no one panicked because the store has windows and we could all see it was torrential rains making all that noise.

We had a few anxious moments, driving home. Patty gets nervous when we can’t see the road.

And now it’s let up. It stopped raining as soon as we got our groceries put away.

And Patty’s reading about “Flirty” the emotional support mini-horse who was taken aboard an airliner recently.

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As you can see, the mini-horse is no bigger than many service dogs that now fly aboard airliners without provoking astonishment. Except “Flirty” weighs two or three times as much as a dog the same size.

People sure are emotionally fragile these days, dontcha think?

I Seen Allagater Peeple!!

I has been waching “a” Lot of dockumentry moovies latelie and “last nihght” i seen The Allagater Peeple!! it is a moovy that prooves Sciance it can Do evrything!!!

It was abote this hear Sciantist he used Genitical Engianearing to turn peeple Into allagaters and my prefesser he sayed “It was to” help peeple adupt to Globble Warming by being like Allagaters!! But them ordrinary dum peeple in The Movy thay didnt “get it””! thay just runned arond screeming all over the plaice!!

I mist some “of” It becose my Moth Antenners thay was iching somthing fearse!! and i has had have to keeep Bending “over” to Scrach them!!! Parsonly i dont “think” it wuld be so Bad to be like a Allagater as long as yiu cood stilll do Gender Studdies! Four one thing yiu culd Swim better!!

Butt of corse this Sciantist he was “way” ahed “of” his tyme and them stopid dope peeple thay “didnt”” Apreashate waht he was trying “To do” for themb!! Allso now wee know “moare” abuot how “to” mannapolate our jeans!! Thare is a Pond on campas thare isnt no allagaters in it but iff the Collidge it sets up a prajeckt to Make Allagater Peeple then thay culd live in the Pond! and my prefesser he says We “bettar Do” it fasst becose Climbit Chainge it is comming and we all “better” lurn to Swimb like Allagaters!!! and fortchunitly for us Sciance it has the ansers!!!

Memory Lane: A Night at the Drive-In

One of the amenities of American life that I really do miss–and I’m sure I’m not the only one–is the drive-in movie. Wasn’t that great! Especially that somewhat horrible intermission bumper, “Let’s all go to the Lobby!”

Once upon a summer night, on one of those extremely rare occasions when a babysitter just wasn’t available, my mother and father went to the drive-in to see Psycho. They must’ve really wanted to see it, because they took me along. I guess they expected me to fall asleep in the back seat. Fat chance of that!

Yup, when Vera Miles tapped ol’ Momma Bates’ shoulder, and Mrs. Bates turned around, and she was a mummy, this dreadful ghastly mummy–Yee-ow! It just about went through the roof of the car. You can imagine how I slept that night. I was ten years old, I wasn’t used to stuff like that!

Hooked me on horror movies for life, though.

Maybe someday the drive-ins will come back. And then we can all go out to the lobby and scuttle back with popcorn in time for the next feature.