Movie Stakeout's Spooktober 2020

in #film6 months ago

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October saw intrepid Movieland detectives Dick Japowski & Joey Arizona load up with silver bullets and stakes, strap on the proton-packs, and investigate that strange noise outside.

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski
Happy Ghost a.k.a. Magic to Win (1984)
A group of highschool students begrudgingly receive the help of a ghost in this wacky Hong Kong comedy that was one of the biggest hits of 1984.
Apparently there are at least 5 of these, and by all accounts they get crazier as the series goes on, which I'm absolutely here for as this first one was a blast!
A ghost that doesn't like inappropriate behaviour is very funny to me!
First watch: 3.5 Jack O'Lanterns

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The Arizona Case Files
Night of the Demon (1957)
While investigating a devil cult Prof. Harrington is killed. In steps his American replacement Dr. Holden who sizes-up to the cult leader, claiming the supernatural is nothing but a con. When he himself is cursed it's a race against time to save his life, problem is Holden thinks it's a smoke mirrors.
Unlike a lot of horror movies of the time, leaving the big reveal until the end, the world of the supernatural is established as real very early on. Meaning the audience is aware of the impending doom, even if Holden isn't. It helps to get you invested and keep you that way to the end.
First watch: 3.5 Doughnuts

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski
Demon Wind (1990)
A guy invites every one he knows up to his dad's farmhouse for emotional support, but he doesn't heed the advice of the gas station attendant to stay away so him and his friends get demonised!
"Borrowing" heavily from every 80s movie before it, you will come to this one for the makeup and gore effects which are super splattery. It would have been better if they picked an ending and stuck to it but instead they put in every surprise ending they had from every script rewrite!
First watch: 3 Jack O'Lanterns


The Arizona Spook Files
#Alive (2020)
A young man finds himself stranded in his apartment as a virus runs rampant through the streets Seoul.
I just happened to stumble across this on Netflix. I was pretty certain I'd seen everything the zombie genre had to offer, but this was a pretty fresh take, aided by the fact it's set in a foreign land, a zombie movie not only from the perspective a lone survivor holed up in his apartment, but one that actively uses social media and modern tech to tell it's story. A nice surprise.
First watch: 3.5 Severed Heads

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski
Scare Me (2020)
Two horror writers try to scare the other with their spookiest stories..
More of a lesson in story creation and breaking apart genre than an out and out horror, but still this is a unique take on the horror anthology genre. Both leads have great fun acting out their tales and the movie cleverly uses sound design to help fill in the gaps of the viewers imagination.
If you like movies that are plays, this one's for you!
First watch: 3 Jack O'Lanterns

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The Arizona Spook Files
Creepshow 2 (1987)
Another anthology of Stephen King stories, this time only three as opposed to five. This time they revolve around a vengeful statue, a flesh eating slime, and a hitchhiker who won't stay dead.
Anthologies are always hit & miss, some stories land, and some are way off. Of the three stories the second instalment was the best, tense and gruesome. The final part was definitely the least interesting, and seemed like it went on forever.
First watch: 3 Doughnuts.

The Arizona Case Files
The Addams Family (2019)
After being forced from their homeland the Addams clan relocate to an old asylum in a foggy marshland, perfect spot to raise boils & ghouls. But when an over zealous business women creates an idyllic town nearby she drains the swamp to improve the aesthetic. Believing their presence makes her new venture unsellable she tries to portray the Addams Family as monsters who need to be driven out.
I've always been a fan of The Addams Family, ever since I saw the Hanna-Barbera cartoon when I was about eight years old. I saw the live-action movie in the cinema, and tuned in ever Monday to watch the re-runs of the classic series right before Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. When I first saw the trailer for this movie I wasn't convinced, I didn't like the character design, and Nick Kroll's Uncle Fester voice is almost identical to his Coach Steve voice which if you've seen Big Mouth is slightly off putting, but I actually quite enjoyed it.
First watch: 3 Doughnuts

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The Arizona Spook Files
Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)
At 17 Pete Riley is already assistant manager of the Megaplex, and tonight not only is the head honcho making a visit, the Megaplex is also hosting a Hollywood premiere. Unfortunately the urban legend of the phantom is proving to be much more than a scary story.
Boiled down this is a Scooby-Doo movie with out the budget for a talking dog, although they could get Mickey Rooney. The worst thing about Phantom of the Megaplex though is the kids keep referencing fake movies, and they're fake movies with titles that sound like they were made up by someone who has never seen a movie. Why wouldn't you just reference actual movies?
First watch: 2 Doughnuts

The Arizona Spook Files
Teen Wolf (1985)
Scott Howard plays basketball, lusts over a girl he can't have, he's your typical teenage, that is until he starts to go through some changes.
Full disclaimer: This is one of my all-time favourite films, easily in the top ten. Sure it has it's faults, like Styles having a problem with Scott being gay, but fine with him being a werewolf. You can gloss over that as an unfortunate hallmark of the time. But the one thing that's always bugged me; after his altercation with Mick at the dance Scott comes face to face with Mr Thorne, which makes sense he's a teacher at a school dance. But then Scott's dad comes round the corner and tells Thorne to leave his kid alone...but why was he even there? Has he just been roaming the halls? Waiting for his dramatic entrance. What is he doing there?
Rewatch: 5 Severed Heads

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Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski
The Unnameable (1988)
A group of preppy college kids looking for a good time lose their minds and their heads when they encounter the indescribable horror of the unnameable..
It's a shame then that the poster gives away the creature! The first half you get alot of heavy breathing pov monster shots but when it reveals itself it really is an effective scare provider. I'd describe more but in doing so I might go insane..
First watch: 3 Jack O'Lanterns

The Arizona Spook Files
Nightmare City a.k.a. City of the Walking Dead (1980)
A reporter heads to the airport to interview a scientist. While there an unmarked plane lands without warning or invitation. The authorities surround it, "come out with your hands up" they. The doors open and out, out pour a horde of disfigured and murderous passengers. All hell breaks loose...Welcome to Nightmare City.
If I'd seen this when I was younger I think I would have appreciated it more, it's insane, violent, bloody and there's even a 'holy s***' moment where one of the undead crazies hacks of a women's breast. it's fairly relentless, but you also get over-saturated in insanity, there's not much in the way of actual story which meant I lost interest a couple times along the way.
First watch: 3 Severed Heads

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The Arizona Spook Files
Hubie Halloween (2020)
Adam Sandler stretches his acting muscles playing a cowardly man child who loves Halloween, which makes absolutely no sense. He also puts on this mumbly voice that means half the time you don't know what he's actually saying.
There are a couple of good jokes in here, but largely it's the standard Sandler toliet gags and people being mean/stupid.
First watch: 1 Rotting Pumpkin

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski
Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)
Sammo Hung stars as the unlucky guy who gets an incredibly funny but terrifying curse put on him. So with the help of a good sorcerer he must overcome the spooks and lift the curse.
An insane live action Looney Tunes type movie with amazing action and creative horror moments which has one of the best endings for your money. Highly recommended.
First watch: 4.5 Jack O'Lanterns

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The Arizona Spook Files
Tales from the Crypt presents Bordello of Blood (1996)
An assistant to an evangelical preacher hires a disgraced private detective to find her wayward brother, who may have fallen prey to a horde of vampires.
This was a lot of fun, a wisecracking detective, Corey Feldman as a no good punk, sure it plays out like an elongated episode of Tales of the Crypt, but that's kind of the point. It's surprising how many similarities there are though to 0From Dusk till Dawn, which was released the same year. And apparently oversized nose studs are nineties shorthand for bad apple.
First watch: 4 Razorblade filled apples

The Arizona Spook Files
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
Dracula and his family decide to spend some quality time together, and head out on a cruise. The problem is the ship's captain is the descendant of monster hunter Van Helsing.
Largely this series has been enjoyable, and it's the perfect vehicle for Sandler's brand of the humour. It's also ideal Halloween fodder to watch with a four year old.
First watch: 3 Garlic Gloves

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Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski 🎃
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980)
How do you make a legend even better? That's right, you add Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod Crane and make it a TV movie!
This was a real surprise treat when I learned of this a few years back and it holds up great.
Rewatch: 3.5 Jack O'Lanterns

The Arizona Spook Files
Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)
Curt's dad is a Colonel at a top secret facility where they're trying to weaponize the undead, and obviously that's ths best placd to take your date. Curt and Julie then witness what they think is someone being brought back from the dead.
Later, for reasons, Curt and Julie decide to runaway to Seattle, but a motorcycle accident stops their travel plans as Julie ends up with a mild case of the 'being deads'. Curt then sneaks the corpse into the base and revives her, and the two head off into the sun....oh, and now Julie likes eating brains.
I wasn't a fan of the first two movies back in the day, but this I loved. It was very different from any zombie movie I'd seen before, or since. The creature effects are also amazing.
Rewatch: 4 Buckets of Brains

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The Arizona Spook Files
Santo vs Las Lobas a.k.a. Santo vs the She-wolves (1976)
Mexican wrestling legend Santo takes on a cult of werewolves plaguing the countryside.
So far I've watched Santo fight vampires and an alien blob, so a cult of werewolves wasn't too farfetched, but unlike those previous adventures this was pretty good. Some great artistic flourishes, silhouetted fights and POV shots, and Santo wrestling an Alsatian.
First watch: 3 Doughnuts

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski 🎃
Black Box (2020)
After being in a near fatal accident, a man signs up for a radical experiment. But we all know that radical experiments can turn bogus pretty quickly!
A reliable informant hipped me to the fact that Blumhouse had dropped four new films on Amazon prime video which seemed like a no brainer.. I enjoyed the initial mystery but by the end I was ready to be experimented on. Some creepy imagery and ideas get overtaken by a story that's not as clever as it thinks it is.
First watch: 2.5 Jack O'Lanterns

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The Arizona Spook Files
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
A young family move into a new home, things go bump on the night, blah blah blah.
I think I'm done with found footage movies, I haven't watched one for quite a while, and I have no desire to watch another one anytime soon, except maybe for rewatching the likes of Cloverfield or 84 Charlie MoPic. They largely don't make sense, there are various points in Ghost Dimension where you can't imagine for moment why the characters would film at these points. It would actually have been much better if it had been done as a traditional movie, and only used the found footage element when they used the CCTV footage or watched the old tapes they found.
First watch: 1.5 Razorblade-filled apples

Getting spooky with Dick Japowski 🎃
Slender Man (2018)
A group of girls clicking round the internet for a "tender" man instead get themselves a slender man and are taken one by one for creepy pasta.
I'm a little mad at myself for watching the whole film as ten minutes in I knew this wasn't for me and instead is for the teenage sleepover crowd. Slender Man is creepy though but for my money the more effective use of him was in a series called Marble Hornets on YouTube.
This however is on Netflix and might be good for younger horror hounds.
First watch: 1.5 Jack o'lanterns

The Arizona Spook Files
Eaten Alive (1976)
When Tobe Hooper remakes Psycho...with extra crocs.
First watch: 3 Severed Heads

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The Arizona Spook Files
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)
A young doctor, and fan of the works of Frankenstein, dabbles with his own research...and like his hero gets sent to a prison for the criminally insane. Wouldn't you know it the facility's resident doctor is Frankenstein himself, after faking his death assuming a new identity. Dr Helder figures out what's going on and insists he be included in Frankenstein's latest experiments.
I think this is probably my favourite Hammer Frankenstein movie, at least of what I've seen thus far. The obsessed Helder starts of as arrogant but becomes softer, more humane as the film progresses, while Frankenstein appears to be the respectable, level-headed one. By the end the roles are very much reversed.
First watch: 4 Severed Heads, shoulders, knees and toes.

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski 🎃
Scoob! (2020)
The story of how Scooby and Shaggy's friendship is a big plot device!
For others like myself who were hoping for a traditional Scooby Doo ghost mystery, you may be disappointed. No Don Knotts or Harlem Globetrotters here, just Simon Cowell for an awkward gag! Trying to go big with a plot doesn't work so well for Scoob but again younglings are the target audience and they may or may not enjoy? Mine were indifferent and they are Scooby fans.
First watch. 2.5 Jack O'Lanterns


The Arizona Spook Files
Wolfcop (2014)
A deadbeat deputy is transformed into a werewolf by a local cult.
This movies a lot of fun, quick-paced, funny and with some awesome practical effects. Special shoutout to the initial transformation scene, a definite movie first (if you know, you know).
Rewatch: 3.5 Doughnuts

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski 🎃
Pandemonium (1982)
New cheerleading recruits are being picked off by a mysterious killer in the most humorous and pun filled ways!
Horror spoofs are generally right up my alley and this is no exception with sight gags and punnery flying at an incredible rate! Most are groaners but that only adds to the comedy for me! Featuring a very young Judge Reinhold, Carol Kane and Paul Reubens.
First watch: 3 Jack O'Lanterns

The Arizona Spook Files
Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977)
TV movie revival of the classic Sixties sitcom, featuring primarily the original cast and not to be confused with Nineties reboot series The New Addams Family.
The Addams family are having a Halloween party. All the family are invited. But a local crook is using the festivities as cover to steal family fortune.
Not going to sugar coat it, this was awful, I love the show, but I'll never watch this again. Grandmama is unavoidably played by a different actress, but she also seems like a completely different character. In colour Lurch doesn't look menacing, he just looks likes Peter Cook. Pugsley and Wednesday return as adults, but there's also a second set of children aslo called Pugsley and Wednesday. I could go on, but why bother.
First watch: 1 Rotten Pumpkin


The Arizona Spook Files
Overlord (2018)
A group of paratroopers drop into a small French town to knock out a signal jammer, which will disrupt communication during the D-day landings happening in a matter of hours. But this town also holds so dark secrets.
I really enjoyed this, I know it's general consensus that it's more of a 3.5 film, but after it finished I wanted to give it a solid 5. I may change my mind on a rewatch down the line, but there isn't anything I didn't like, nor would change, and in my book that means it deserves full marks. If you removed the more outlandish moments it would still be a solid war movie.
First watch: 5 Solid Gold Pumpkins

Getting Spooky with Dick Japowski 🎃
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Friends hiding out in an old house take an old book and are surprised when their own worst terrors are written out before their very eyes.
Taking place at Halloween and around an election, this was the perfect time to check in on this young adult horror flick.
I like the sixties setting and alot of the creature designs and if you have early teens this is a good gateway horror that is bloodless yet unsettling in an around the campfire kind of way.
First watch: 3 Jack O'Lanterns

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The Arizona Spook Files
Would You Rather (2012)
Re-animator and his son The Penguin invite Victor, Me-mar, Crabman, a trailer park boy, and the dad from Home Alone to play a high stakes, winner takes all game of Would You Rather.
Rewatch: 4 Minutes in the Barrel.

Getting spooky with Dick Japowski 🎃
Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! (2020)
Gotham's own Scarecrow attacks a Halloween parade, but that's only the start of it for the Scooby gang, as there is something strange happening in the pumpkin patch..
A fun new Halloween special for your youngun's and you youngun's at heart, featuring special guest star Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
First watch: 2.5 Jack O'Lanterns

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The Arizona Spook Files
Scooby-Doo: Camp Scare (2010)
The gang head to Fred's old Summer camp to become councillors, but it's not quite as glorious as Fred remembers, it's also plagued by an axe-wielding maniac. First suspects is the near-by rival camp...but their lake is home to a ferocious fishman.
It's become somewhat of a tradition to watch a Scooby-Doo movie, I loved Scooby as a kid, and it's something suitable to watch with a small child...and this year Little Arizona nearly watched most it....well about 70%.
First watch: 3 Scooby Snacks

Have you witnessed any of the movies we've investigated this Halloween Season? What's the verdict? Which o es make to the final scene and which are the first to go? Let us know in the comments below.