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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Joe Blevins Posted - 11/06/2009 : 00:31:26
Hello, all.

I've assigned myself rather a daunting, film-related project for Summer 2009. I purchased 50 Chilling Classics, one of those cheap (mine was $8) DVD sets which contain 50 mostly obscure films crammed onto 12 discs, and I've committed to watching every last one of them.

Where to start with a thing like this? I could watch the movies in the order they happen to be included in the set, starting with Disc 1, Side A. Or I could watch the movies in alphabetical or chronological order. But none of those suited me. Instead, I decided to let the IMDb be my guide. I'll be watching these in the order of their IMDb rating, starting with the lowest and ending with the highest. (In the event of a tie, I went with number of votes.) I call this project:

THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER


The thinking is: each movie will be (theoretically) better than the one before it, and I'll get the worst over with right at the beginning. I started the project off last night with the two lowest-rated films, the only films ranked lower than a 2.0:

1. Track of the Moon Beast
2. The Demons of Ludlow

Neither one was unwatchable, thankfully. Track is familiar to MST3K viewers and tells the story of a very unlucky man who gets a piece of falling space rock lodged in his head and becomes a kind of rampaging were-lizard whenever the moon appears. It's a fairly silly 1970s-style variation on a 1950s-type monster movie, only with a distinct Southwestern feel. I had forgotten how grim and self-serious the picture becomes in its second half... and how precious little screentime the monster gets. Largely painless. If this is the worst (and it rates a miserable 1.6 at IMDb) I'm home free.

Demons of Ludlow (rated a comparatively healthy 1.9), meanwhile, comes from the infamous Wisconsin auteur Bill Rebane and initially bears a marked resemblance to his earlier, bigger-budgeted Giant Spider Invasion. As it develops, however, this tale of a cursed small town called Ludlow becomes more ludicrous and less coherent, with much of the plot hinging on a ghostly white piano which drips blood. This film plays like the work of a real whackjob, but amazingly Rebane does sort of succeed in creating an ominous atmosphere, and brief moments of the film are genuinely creepy. Despite its cheapness and silliness, the film does seem to have a mysterious mojo, and Ludlow emerges as a genuinely rotten place to be.

Next stop: Oasis of the Zombies -- the first film in the project to break the 2.0 mark.

Depending on the interest level of Fourumers, I'd be happy to post occasional updates on this project. Either way, though, I've got my work cut out for me.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Joe Blevins Posted - 26/01/2011 : 22:37:15
quote:
Originally posted by Se´┐Żn


so, the following were removed from the collection
*BAD TASTE
CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD
*DEEP RED
*GOTHIC
MEMORIAL VALLEY MASSACRE
SNAKE PEOPLE
VIRUS



For the most part, no big loss. Bad Taste and Deep Red are good films which can -- and should -- be seen in DVD versions that WEREN'T ripped from VHS tapes. They deserve better than what Mill Creek can offer. (Gothic is a middling film which would benefit greatly from a better transfer.) Memorial Valley was my least-favorite picture in the collection... and that includes the reprehensible Slashed Dreams. Virus is mostly a snooze, despite the all-star cast. Crypt and Snake People are interesting curios, but you can live without ever seeing 'em.

Some of the films I just mentioned I'm sure are under copyright, so I don't know what they were doing in 50 Chilling Classics in the first place.
Sean Posted - 26/01/2011 : 03:49:41
Well I got my copy today. The list has changed somewhat since Joe's edition, I'll just post it here in case someone else is thinking of grabbing this. Here's what I've got (I IMDb-linked the new ones, i.e., the ones not in Joe's edition):-

Alien Zone
Alpha Incident, The
Bell from Hell
Blancheville Monster, The
Bloody Brood, The
Bucket of Blood, A
Cathy's Curse
Cold, The
Death Rage
Demon, The
Demons of Ludlow, The
Devil Times Five
Devil's Hand, The
Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon
Driller Killer, The
Drive-in Massacre
Funeral Home
Ghost, The
Hands of a Stranger
Haunts
Hearse, The
Horror Express
Horrors of Spider Island
I Bury the Living
I Eat Your Skin
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein''s Daughter
Lady Frankenstein
Land of the Minotaur aka "The Devil's Men"
Legend of Big Foot
Man in the Attic
Medusa
Messiah of Evil
Metamorphosis
Murder Mansion, The
Naked Massacre
Nightmare in Wax
Oasis of the Zombies
Panic
Passenger to Bali, A
Revenge of Doctor X, The
Scream Bloody Murder
Shock
Silent Night, Bloody Night
Sisters of Death
Slashed Dreams
Snowbeast
Track of the Moon Beast
War of the Robots
Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory
Witches Mountain, The

so, the following were removed from the collection

*BAD TASTE
CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD
*DEEP RED
*GOTHIC
MEMORIAL VALLEY MASSACRE
SNAKE PEOPLE
VIRUS

Incidentally the Amazon description is only partially correct, they incorrectly list the ones I've asterisked as included; they aren't. Unfortunately the two highest-scoring (on IMDb) have been removed. If I was anal I'd return it to Amazon for a refund (to prove a point) but I'd have bought it anyway so I won't bother. I'm guessing there are numerous different versions of this compilation floating around, and Amazon list an intermediate one. It may be something of a lucky dip, but who buys these collections because they really want a particular movie?
Joe Blevins Posted - 05/01/2011 : 02:51:14
quote:
Originally posted by damalc

OK, i said i wasn't going to comment on every film in my 50 collection but i watched the first one today and this set is promising.
the first film was "Carnival of Souls (1962)." proof that a good story and good acting don't need $100M worth of special effects or even color. genuinely creepy and clearly the ancestor of films like "Repulsion," "The Sixth Sense," "Black Swan," and, though i've never seen it, i think "Final Destination."
perhaps i'll have to start a thread for this one after all.



By all means, keep us updated on your progress, either in this thread or in a new one! Carnival of Souls is a long-time favorite of mine, and I still have a crush on Candace Hilligoss.
Joe Blevins Posted - 05/01/2011 : 02:48:51
quote:
Originally posted by damalc

Joe Blevins, looks like we have a couple of different products from the same producer. you have "chilling" classics. i have "horror" classics. apparently "chilling" = cheesy.
the set i was given looks like it has its share of cheese but also has some films that are now held in high regard, including "Night of the Living Dead," "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Nosferatu," "The Little Shop of Horrors," and "Metropolis (horror?)."
either way, 50 movies is 50 movies.




Ah, you went the classy route! Nice. Me, I went right for the trashbin.
damalc Posted - 03/01/2011 : 01:34:33
OK, i said i wasn't going to comment on every film in my 50 collection but i watched the first one today and this set is promising.
the first film was "Carnival of Souls (1962)." proof that a good story and good acting don't need $100M worth of special effects or even color. genuinely creepy and clearly the ancestor of films like "Repulsion," "The Sixth Sense," "Black Swan," and, though i've never seen it, i think "Final Destination."
perhaps i'll have to start a thread for this one after all.
damalc Posted - 27/12/2010 : 18:27:56
Joe Blevins, looks like we have a couple of different products from the same producer. you have "chilling" classics. i have "horror" classics. apparently "chilling" = cheesy.
the set i was given looks like it has its share of cheese but also has some films that are now held in high regard, including "Night of the Living Dead," "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Nosferatu," "The Little Shop of Horrors," and "Metropolis (horror?)."
either way, 50 movies is 50 movies.
Joe Blevins Posted - 26/12/2010 : 23:31:31
quote:
Originally posted by damalc

I got the 50 Horror Classics collection for Christmas. woo-hoo! i think my family was disappointed that i was more excited about that gift than any other, kinda like when i got the purple velvet-boxed Hendrix collection a few years ago.
i'm not planning to be as enterprising as Joe Blevins, but i have rental copies of "The Apostle" and "American History X" to watch and then i'm ready for hours and hours of horrifying bliss.



Awesome! Another 50 Chilling Classics convert! I hope you enjoy the set -- by which I mean enjoy suffering through through many hours of cheesy, low-budget horror schlock. I've heard that some versions of the boxed set have SLIGHTLY different line-ups due to rights issues, but I think you'll find at least 45 or so of the films I watched.

I'd be curious to learn if your copy of The Demon has the same weird audio issues as mine. On my copy, the film had obviously been videotaped over a compilation of THREE STOOGES shorts, and the Stooge audio could be clearly heard at several points in the film. But a friend of mine -- who actually owned this set before I did -- said his version of The Demon didn't have any "Nyuk nyuk nyuks" on the soundtrack.

P.S. - The Mill Creek Entertainment madness continued this Christmas. I got my Dad a 50-movie pack of old "B" Westerns. He's already started watching 'em.
damalc Posted - 26/12/2010 : 03:22:12
I got the 50 Horror Classics collection for Christmas. woo-hoo! i think my family was disappointed that i was more excited about that gift than any other, kinda like when i got the purple velvet-boxed Hendrix collection a few years ago.
i'm not planning to be as enterprising as Joe Blevins, but i have rental copies of "The Apostle" and "American History X" to watch and then i'm ready for hours and hours of horrifying bliss.
Larry Posted - 26/07/2009 : 22:40:29

50 Chilling Classics Songbook:

BRILLIANT!!
Joe Blevins Posted - 26/07/2009 : 19:03:31
Aw, heck, a few more selections from the 50 Chilling Classics Songbook:

"Medusa" (sung to the tune of "They Call the Wind Mariah")

Medusa!
Medusa!
They called this flick "Medusa"!

Way out here, we got some names
For flicks that just confuse ya
We call 'em duds, we call 'em bombs
They called this one... "Medusa"
George Hamilton's a playboy bum
Who's something of a boozer
He'll score at will, but then he'll kill
The chicks that he seduces

"War of the Robots" (sung to "Eye of the Tiger")

It's the... war of the robots
Yes, it's man versus droids
Shaping up as a battle for survival
If we can't beat those Go-Bots
Then we'll be unemployed
So I hope we do well in the waaaaaaaar... of the robots!

"Slashed Dreams" (sung to "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This")

"Slashed Dreams" was made real cheap
Two young folks who think they're deep
Travel the woods over several reels
Til two punks come lookin' for trouble
One of 'em wants to abuse you
Other one wants to abuse you, too
One of 'em tries to contuse you
Both of 'em gonna get bruised by you

"Drive-In Massacre" (sung to "Drive My Car")

Asked my gal where she wanted to go
She said, Baby, don't you know?
"Let's go to the drive-in!"
That's just what she said
But that was the place where she lost her head
It's a drive-in massacre
Mutilations will occur
Look at what they did to her
Last night at the drive-in

Is this place creepy? Yeah!
Is this place creepy? Yeah!

"Oasis of the Zombies" (sung to "Midnight at the Oasis")

Zombies at the oasis
Been there since World War Two
Worms crawl out of their faces
Gracious!
We'd better say adieu!

"Cathy's Curse" (sung to "Cathy's Clown")

Don't want to liiiiiiiiiiiiive here anymore
This place is haaaaaaaaaaaunted, that's for sure
Move in by van
Move out by hearse
Here it cooooooooooooooomes, that's Cathy's Curse!

Joe Blevins Posted - 23/07/2009 : 16:45:36
Now that the 50 Chilling Classics project has been completed, I suppose it is now safe to own up to one curious habit I developed while watching these films. I commute to and from Chicago by train every day, so I have plenty of time to read, listen to music, or -- frequently -- just sit quietly and think. During these last few weeks, I would almost inevitably replay the movies I'd been watching in my mind, and somehow I started making up little songs about each movie by adding new lyrics to already-famous melodies borrowed from pop songs, TV themes, etc. I think I came up with little songs for just about every movie in the set. I occasionally thought about posting these along with the reviews, but I ultimately decided against it.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few examples of these little ditties. Here are songs for all three of the Bill Rebane films.

"The Cold" (sung to "Heigh-Ho! Heigh-Ho!")

The cold, the cold!
What horrors shall unfold?
This old hotel's our private hell
And plus, it's really, really cold!
I'm told, three rich folks who are old
Will give some schmuck a million bucks
If he or she can stand the cold!

"Demons of Ludlow" (sung to "Werewolves of London")

Seen you snoopin' around that City Hall
Better not go on in
Creepy young lady got mutilated late last night
Demons of Ludlow again!
Ah-ooooooh! Demons of Ludlow!
Ah-ooooooh!

"The Alpha Incident" (sung to "The Addams Family")

The virus is a doozy
It makes your brain get oozy
Your head will go kabloozy
The Alpha Incident!
These folks are getting woozy
The hick, the nerd, the floozie
But they can't take a snoozy
The Alpha Incident!


So there you have a few. And, trust me, there are sooooooo many more.
Joe Blevins Posted - 20/07/2009 : 23:34:42
quote:
Originally posted by Chris C

Joe

Many thanks for an entertaining read - I've really enjoyed it, despite never having seen any of the films. I'm already looking forward to the next project.





Thanks for reading. The next project should start as of tomorrow with a review of a Ross Hagen film called Click. (Not to be confused with the Adam Sandler film.)

As for the movies themselves, I'd say there are about 15 or 20 which people should see and might theoretically enjoy. I still don't regret having seen a single one of these flicks, not even the THREE directed by Bill Rebane.

Anyway, thanks to all for the kind comments, and I hope some of you follow the next project: AFTER DARK THRILLERS: 8 MOVIE COLLECTION.
Joe Blevins Posted - 20/07/2009 : 23:26:43
quote:
Originally posted by BaftaBabe

Joe, what a sterling effort! And I didn't once have to hide behind the sofa!

THANK YOU, JOE BLEVINS ... YAY!




Thank you for the kind comments. Your post got me to thinking about something I hadn't really mentioned in this thread: are any of these movies actually scary? Overwhelmingly, the answer is no. Bad Taste is certainly disgusting, but even it is not "scary" in the "hide behind the sofa" sense.

A couple of the slashers, Scream Bloody Murder and especially Naked Massacre, are potentially very disturbing to certain viewers because they depict -- in detail and at length -- very cruel acts of violence which could conceivably occur. (The ones in Naked Massacre actually DID occur, more or less.) The vast majority of the films, however, are just spook-show silliness and would scare only very young and impressionable children.
Chris C Posted - 20/07/2009 : 20:13:10
Joe

Many thanks for an entertaining read - I've really enjoyed it, despite never having seen any of the films. I'm already looking forward to the next project.

BaftaBaby Posted - 20/07/2009 : 08:06:16
Joe, what a sterling effort! And I didn't once have to hide behind the sofa!

THANK YOU, JOE BLEVINS ... YAY!


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