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Spooky Movie Night

  • Island of Terror

    Presentation for Friday 02.13.15
    Alex missed a good one tonight. The Amazon UK blu-ray looks great – even revealing some monster-operating wires that no one would notice in old VHS copies. Peter Cushing, as always, brings charm and charisma to the proceedings as he and another scientist travel to a small island off Ireland to investigate a dead body found with (wait for it) . . . no bones! Seems some reclusive scientists on the other side of the island have accidentally bred "silicates" – slimy, crawling slug-like creatures that divide & multiply like cells – who inject a substance that melts down the bones of their victims. One gruesome scene caught us all off guard. Summer was not happy. Still, an overall enjoyable SMN!
  • Forbidden Planet

    Presentation for Friday 02.06.15
    Revisiting a classic of the sic-fi film world this week. Great film with grand ideas, space dudes brimming with testosterone, cute Anne Francis strolling around in her space age mini skirts, an invisible id monster and, of course, Robby the Robot. Only the annoying drone of some of the "futuristic" sound effects detract from an otherwise stellar evening of classic cinema!
  • The Living Coffin

    Presentation for Friday 01.30.15
    13 years into SMN, and I'm always looking for something new that's been off my radar. Enter, the Mexican horror film. Hey, it's a Mexican-western-mystery-horror film – what's not to love! It's a reworking of the classic Mexican legend of the crying woman. Fun and entertaining. Some good creepiness, all while not taking itself too seriously.
  • The Magnetic Monster

    Presentation for Friday 01.23.15
    Curt Siodmak. Really, that's all you need to know. One thing I've learned in 13+ years of Spooky Movie Night, is that Mr Siodmak was kinda The Man. He wrote screenplays for classics like The Wolfman, House of Frankenstein and I Walked with a Zombie. Here he tells a gripping tale of two A-Men (Atomic Men) who are investigating the presence of a strange magnetic field that appears suddenly in a small town. The source is eventually traced to a new atomic element that uses the magnetic field to convert energy to matter. As it grows out of control, it threatens to throw the earth off it's orbit. Classic 50's post-war end of the world potboiler!
  • Dead of Night

    Presentation for Friday 01.16.15
    Now THIS is why I bought that region-free blu-ray player!! Without it, we would have never seen this absolute gem that's unavailable in the US – which would have been a crime! An architect shows up at a country manor for contracted work only to find that the house – and everyone in it – have been appearing in his recurring nightmares. He knows some bad mojo is afoot as he keeps predicting people who enter the story and events that eventually unfold. Several eerie tales unfold in anthology style, shifting in tone without taking you out of the film's grip. The kids and I were blown away. Simply fantastic!
  • Unearthly Stranger

    Presentation for Friday 01.09.15
    Another win for the region-free player as we load in the UK blu-ray of an amazingly intellectual treatment of the same sort of concept explored in the fun, but ultimately less satisfying, "I Married a Monster from Outer Space". Had never seen this one and I was surprised by it's depth of emotion for what is essentially a B movie. I chalk it up to the Brits, who prove again that they can do creepy sci-fi in a though-provoking way that transcends the genre. Certainly earned our applause as the credits rolled.
  • The Quatermass Xperiment

    Presentation for Friday 01.02.15
    The American title of this British classic was "The Creeping Unknown"– and a fitting title that is! This is a creeping, slow-burn of a chiller. A rocket returns from space with one survivor and only empty clothes left of his two crew mates. To make matters worse, there seems to be something very wrong with the survivor...and he's getting worse by the day. Crotchety Professor Quatermass throws his scientific weight around while trying to get to the bottom of what became of the missing astronauts. Tension builds steadily in this cerebral alien invasion film – Fun stuff!
  • The Phantom Carriage

    Presentation for Friday 12.26.14
    Summer was asleep early, so Corbin, Alex and I opted for a rare silent film. The plot sounded compelling: Every year, the last soul to die before the clock chimes in the new year is forced to drive death's carriage for the next year, picking up all the lost souls who have died. The special effects from this 1920 Swedish film were impressive for the period. Sadly, at 107 minutes, the film goes on too long (some editing was needed). What was unexpected was that this ended up a pretty potent tale of redemption. Obvious Christian undertones gave us a good post-film discussion. Would been about perfect if it'd just been about 20-or-so minutes shorter.
  • Planet of the Vampires

    Presentation for Friday 12.19.14
    Beautiful blu-ray transfer of a classic Italian sic-fi that's a bit on the deceptive side where it's title is concerned. Let me say this up-front: This is NOT a vampire film. What it is, however, is some pretty engaging space opera fun. A race of bodiless aliens mess with the minds of space explorers, causing them to violently turn on one another. The dead come back to life, and things start to feel more like a zombie film than anything having to do with vampires. Fun stuff though...lack of actual vampires notwithstanding!
  • The Reptile

    Presentation for Friday 12.12.14
    Last year's Christmas gift of a region-free blu-ray player has led to GREAT fun as I'm able to find stellar Amazon UK discs to replace my washed-out, scratched up, taped-from-TCM copies. Case in point, this week's pristine blu-ray of Hammer's 1966 classic, The Reptile! The film is just some great, creepy fun, and it looked & sounded better than I've ever seen! The story is sort of a werewolf-vampire-creature from the black lagoon mashup. While the kids may not appreciate its technical aspects – they really dug this classic gem from the Hammer House of Horror!

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Lisa Lorenz

Beautiful. What a recharge week. Now that you've learned again to play, remember to play nice! Always an enjoyable read.

Todd Adkins

Thanks Lisa! Appreciate the encouragement – it was indeed a massive recharge week. May end up ordering a refurbished 12 megapixel point and shoot to send in and have converted to infrared (asking for money for Christmas to cover that little expense). ;-)

Hope things are going great for you - miss being able to see your beautiful work.

Mark Jones

If you want to dabble in this before making an expensive leap, some older cameras like the Minolta Dimage 7 allow infrared light in. All you have to do is put an IR filter on the camera, set it to black and white mode, and start shooting. Having used infrared film a little in the past, I find the digital capability both easy and fascinating.

Todd Adkins

Thanks tons for the tip Mark. Being able to play with a digital point-and-shoot for a week has me already completely sold out! It was like pouring gasoline on my creative fire. Being relentlessly cheap as I am, I have found a refurbished 12 MP point-and-shoot for under $200, and I'm asking for cash for Christmas (my father-in-law always lovingly overspends on us) to go toward the conversion. God willing, I'll have a new toy around mid-January! Thanks again for the comment and the advice!

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Todd Adkins

If you mean the word "childhood" then yes, I agree. If you mean the word "enthusiasm" then I'd agree also. I think both are key.

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Kind words - much appreciated.
Thank you!

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