Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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I just watched The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020), the sequel to The Babysitter (2017). I highly recommend both Netflix movies to anyone who can handle a little (or a lot) of gore with generous helpings of naughtiness and dark humor. Really over-the-top and enjoyable.

Thanks for the recommendation, Richard! Watched them both this week and had a blast. I must have seen at least part of the first one before, because it looked familiar. Fun to watch them on successive nights.

Richard Willis said:

I just watched The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020), the sequel to The Babysitter (2017). I highly recommend both Netflix movies to anyone who can handle a little (or a lot) of gore with generous helpings of naughtiness and dark humor. Really over-the-top and enjoyable.


1)Bride of the Monster (1955)
2)Frankenstein (1931)
3)Dracula (1931) (Spanish-language version)
4)One Missed Call (2003)
5)One Missed Call 2 (2005)
6)One Missed Call (2007) American re-make
7)Whispering Corridors (1998)
8)Memento Mori (1999)
9)Wishing Stairs (2003)
10)Alien (1979)
11)House (1977)
12)A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
13)The Wolf Man (1941)
14)Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
15)The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Baron said:

Watching a horror movie a day for October.  So far:

1)Bride of the Monster (1955)
2)Frankenstein (1931)
3)Dracula (1931) (Spanish-language version)
4)One Missed Call (2003)
5)One Missed Call 2 (2005)
6)One Missed Call (2007) American re-make
7)Whispering Corridors (1998)
8)Memento Mori (1999)

Ron Cobb, responsible for major design work on our favorite movies, has died.

My thread:

I saw MYSTERY IN THE WAX MUSEUM (1933) for the first time. Done in an early form of Techni-Color, this was a pre-Code film that plays like a typical 1930s thriller. Lionel Atwill (before his scandals) stars as the twisted sculptor that hides behind a veneer of sanity and Fay Wray is  his victim, basically playing Ann Darrow from King Kong.

The true hero was party girl/reporter Florence played by Glenda Farrell. She gets all the best lines, being the spunky protagonist with an attitude!

The film itself is not particularly frightening though Atwill has some demented assistants!

What it does have is some spectacular and moody set pieces like the titular wax museum, the spooky townhouse and the villain's lab which was definitely NOT OSHA approved!

A very short movie,"Halloween is Cancelled" featuring Michael Myers.

Well, that was entertaining.

Here's one I haven't seen that I suspect will be less well-made. Trump vs the Illuminati: in the distant future, a clone of the 45th president battles Satan on Mars!

On the other hand, probably more accurate than most online videos about teh Illuminati.

Richard Willis said:

A very short movie,"Halloween is Cancelled" featuring Michael Myers.


The Search for General Tso - I watched this documentary the other day, and I loved it. It went into the history of the actual General Tso. Chinese food in America, and its evolution. Laws that were passed to prohibit Chinese workers, and the workaround that. How they had to alter the taste of their dishes to appease the American palate. How many familiar dishes were actually originated here. I thought it was funny how man different spellings and pronunciations of "Tso" there are.

We also meet a guy who holds the Guinness Record of the largest take-out menu collection. At first I thought that sounded pretty lame. Then we actually get to see some of it, and it was pretty cool. I think collectors like us, would appreciate it more.

There was is a lot packed into this doc, and it was all great I thought. I really learned a lot. You even learn where and when the original General Tso's Chicken was invented, so they solved that mystery. Highly recommended.

We're about to cut the cord, so we're watching up as much as we can on the DVR, which will, sadly, go away.

Watched this weekend:

THE SEA HAWK: My wife walked in near the end of Captain Blood a few weeks back, which I was watching alone thinking she wouldn't want to. But she liked it. So I spooled up Sea Hawk. Buckles were swashed and decks were pooped, but jokes aside, the drama was quite engaging (and more plausible than Captain Blood). Again, we both enjoyed it. I can see how pirate comics came about now!

THE 39 STEPS: I didn't think I'd seen this Hitchcock classic, but when I started watching I vaguely remembered Mr. Memory and the vaudeville scenes. But the rest I'd forgotten. So it must have seen it very young (to have forgotten so much), especially since the parts I forgot were ones I wouldn't have understood as a youngster, such as the way Scotsmen speak. (I probably thought "Will ye nae come in" meant "don't come in," whereas it means the opposite.) Some of the camerawork was pretty inventive as well, at least for the time. Although I had to laugh at the scenes where the police searched the moors for Robert Donat, which looked for all the world like outtakes from Frankenstein, which used the same limited sets.

Speaking of which, we watched RASHOMON, which had lens flare, hand-held cameras and other techniques we think of as modern. It also boasted a non-linear story, multiple perspectives of the same events and unreliable narrators, techniques brought to movies by director Akira Kurosawa, without which no one would have heard of Quentin Tarantino. Great, great movie.

Finally, we finished our Errol Flynn retrospective with ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. And, honestly, we hated it. Watching it to the end was a chore.

Are we really to believe people dressed like that in English woods back then? They were lovely costumes in cartoon colors that would never withstand rough life in the woods ... and looked ridiculous besides. Further, Will Scarlet could have been spotted from a mile away in that garish scarlet. (Not to mention Little John's day-glo yellow tights.)

Nobody acted like any of this was remotely serious, with Flynn and Alan Hale and the whole Hee-Haw gang bursting into fake guffaws a lot. (Well, except Basil Rathbone, who makes an excellent villain.) Robin Hood was a jerk several times, not worthy of admiration. (Like riding Friar Tuck's back across a river for no reason except to humiliate him.) Claude Rains phoned it in. Olivia DeHaviland should have sued for lack of anything to do.

It was just awful.

I finally saw Joker on a rental DVD. Joaquin Phoenix certainly deserved sweeping all of the Best Actor awards. I was interested in what they did with Thomas Wayne and his son, Bruce.

I think Joker is the first time Thomas Wayne was depicted as anything but a saint. And, of course, it opens the possibility of Batman and Joker being half-brothers.

Watched BUTTERFIELD 8. It's famous, as Liz Taylor won an Academy Award for it. (Despite, according to Wikipedia, hating it.)

It's hard to watch this with the eyes of its 1960 audience. Was it supposed to be shocking? We found it kinda dull, with a hackneyed and insulting (now) subtext (wild girls won't be happy until they settle down and embrace domesticity).

However it was supposed to be perceived, we didn't much like anyone in it except for Taylor, whose approach to life is rather brave. By refusing the roles she's allowed, and refusing to settle with any one man, she controls her life. That's worth cheering, as women manifestly did NOT control their lives back then. And if we dispense with slut-shaming, it's practically heroic. (The male lead is also promiscuous, but that isn't disapproved of.)

The two other lead women are "good girls" and practically ciphers, which I'm sure was expected at the time but isn't much of a recommendation. (Although one of them I picked out immediately as Vina in Star Trek's "The Cage.") There's another woman with some background attached named Happy; she's a former vaudevillian whose promiscuity left her old, unhappy and running a cheap, "mortgaged to the hilt" hourly motel -- obviously, a cautionary tale.

But, of course, Taylor falls in love with the lead guy, who is something of a jerk (although probably normal male behavior for the time), which somehow cures her of promiscuity. Which is dopey. Then ... well, there was a car chase and my bored wife said, "If she dies dramatically in a car crash instead of resolving anything, I'm gonna be mad." Hint: She got mad. Then, horror of horrors, the story is suddenly that of the male lead, who has the dramatic coda of "going to find my pride." It is he who has the redemption arc, not the "bad girl," who obviously must be punished for defying society's rules.

Was it his story all along, but in the 21st century I just wasn't interested in it? I don't think so -- the camera spent most of its time with Taylor, usually in states of undress. Which was a damn good call. At any rate, when the ending of the story focused on the boring white guy instead of the trailblazing proto-feminist, my disappointment was complete.

I think it's still worth watching just to see Liz Taylor perform in her prime (or just slightly past it). But it's otherwise pretty dated and boring.

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