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Friday, 27 April 2018

AtoZ2018 - X is for ... #MovieMonsters #AtoZChallenge


X is for ...

Okay, so X is always a tricky letter and I may have had to cheat a little for one of my monsters today, but the other definitely counts. I can't believe April is almost over - where did all the time go? Thanks to everyone who has visited so far.

Scariness Rating


The little skulls by their name are my scariness rating as to how monstrous and scary I think the creatures are when seen in their films.
  •  1 skull (not scary at all) - 5 skulls (very scary)
  •  and there is a special rating for a few - 5 red skulls (utterly terrifying)

Xenomorph (Alien)

Is there any alien scarier than the Xenomorph from the Alien franchise? I think not. This is one scary, scary monster - mostly because it doesn't actually kill you if it gets you, it uses you as a host for its young. Which leads to a painful, messy death.

I actually saw many a take off of alien (think the Spaceballs diner scene) before I saw the movie, so I can only imagine what it must have been like to watch John Hurt's scene without knowing what was going to happen. It was shocking enough when I knew.

Alien is a classic. It's more sci-fi than horror, although it does have horror elements, and it is so good. Such amazing design by H.R.Giger and wonderful content directed by Ridley Scott.

Xtro

So this movie has lots of monsters and, again. it's all to do with aliens.

In this movie Sam and his son Tony are on their farm together when Sam is abducted by a strong light. Three years later the light comes back and plants a seed that becomes a creature, half alien, half human.

After killing several people, this monster impregnates a woman, who very rapidly gestates and produces someone who looks just like Sam.

Things only get more monstrous from there, with alien eggs, monstrous powers, killer toy soldiers and kill clowns.

This is not the greatest film, it's not one of my favourites, but I needed another X :).

Q: Do you know and Xs I missed? What movie monster for you has the X-factor (i.e. which is you favourite monster of all time :))?

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Thursday, 26 April 2018

AtoZ2018 - W is for ... #MovieMonsters #AtoZChallenge


W is for ... Witch/Warlock/Wizard

There seem to be a lot of theme within a theme posts near the end of the month, and today I have lots of magical people for you - all of them bad to the bone, which is what makes them monsters :).

Scariness Rating


The little skulls by their name are my scariness rating as to how monstrous and scary I think the creatures are when seen in their films.
  •  1 skull (not scary at all) - 5 skulls (very scary)
  •  and there is a special rating for a few - 5 red skulls (utterly terrifying)

The Witch Queen (The Last Witch Hunter)

The Witch Queen is the most powerful witch in the world, and 800 years ago she unleashed the Black Plague to wipe out humanity. She has very powerful magic, but like all witches has a weakness when it comes to fire. Her body was burned, but her heart survived and was hidden.

In the present her followers plan to resurrect her using the heart. Her main aim is to use her power and a coven of dark hearted witches to unleash another plague, this one unstoppable.

The Witch Queen is evil to her core, twisted by dark magic and her hatred of humanity. A true monster.

I really enjoyed The Last Witch Hunter, although many didn't agree. I love the characters and plot and wish there had been a sequel.

Maax (Beastmaster)

Beastmaster is a classic 80s sword and sorcery movie, complete with a buff chap running around in not many clothes and an evil wizard. Maax (Rip Torn) is the evil wizard.

He is the high priest of the god Ar and at the beginning of the film is given a prophecy that he will be killed by the first born son of King Zed. As ever it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because he tries to have the son killed by removing him from his mother's womb with magic and sacrificed to Ar, but manages to set Dar on the path to defeating him instead.

He is exiled and becomes the high priest of the Juns - a barbarian horde, who help him spread his evil. He uses his magic for his own gain, and enjoys sacrificing children to Ar to increase his own power. He is a monster of the worst kind.

Muriel (Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters)

Muriel (Famke Janssen) is the leader of all the witches in the world, the Grand Witch, and she is incredibly powerful. Her magic is very strong and she hides in plain sight, but when in her natural form the decay caused by the dark magic shows clearly on her body.

Her greatest weakness, just like all witches is fire, and in Hansel & Gretel, she has gathered her fellows and they are kidnapping children in a bid to make themselves immune to the flames.

She is evil to the core, willing to kill even the innocent to suit her own purposes. Sometimes she looks human, sometimes she looks like the monster she is.

This movie is an unrepentant action adventure with witches and witch hunters - it does not require great thought, but what it does it does well. I thoroughly recommend it.

Bavmorda (Willow)

Willow is another sword and sorcery adventure film and it is brilliant. This one is more PG than Hansel and Gretel, but the evil sorceress is just as bad to the bone.

Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) is once again the subject of prophecy, that a female child with a special birthmark will be her downfall. To prevent this she wishes to sacrifice the child.

Bavmorda has great magic, but Elora Danan, the girl child, has Willow (Warwick Davis), a Nelwyn farmer who would like to be a sorcerer himself, but who's crowning achievement is his disappearing pig trick. Of course evil magic is no match for the good guys.

Warlock

Now Warlock is definitely a film for adults and star Julian Sands as the Warlock and Richard E. Grant as the witch-hunter, Giles Redferne, who chases him through time.

This Warlock is the true servant of Satan and he is evil incarnate. He cares not about who he kills or hurts in his quest to assemble The Grand Grimoire, a book that will reveal the true name of God and give the Warlock the ultimate power to unmake all of creation.

The only thing that stands between him and total victory is Giles and Kassandra (Lori Singer) who he meets in his future. With his powerful magic, the Warlock has them at a great disadvantage, but they will not give up.

There are 3 movies in the Warlock franchise, the first 2 which are both great and star Julian Sands, and the 3rd, which I haven't seen staring Bruce Payne.

Wendol Mother (The 13th Warrior)

If you haven't seen The 13th Warrior, I must recommend it very highly, it is a fantastic movie. It didn't do well in the cinema, but that must have been bad marketing, because it's brilliant.

Antonio Banderas plays Ahmad ibn Fadlan, a court poet to the Caliph of Bagdad, who is exiled as an Ambassador to the North because of an affair with another man's wife. He ends up in the company of the Norsemen and becomes the 13th Warrior to accompany a band of them on a quest.

The enemy are the Wendol, a tribe of people who think they are bears and who raid the villages of the Norsemen, slaughtering all, taking heads and eating the flesh of those they slaughter. The seems as mosters, with no fallen ever left behind, and looking more like beasts than men. The ultimate power rest with the Wendol Mother, a woman and a witch, who lives underground, from whom they believe comes their strength, and her will is carried out by their Warlord.

She is a monster who controls a hoard.

Queen Gedren (Red Sonja)

I have definitely mentioned Queen Gedren before - she is the big bad from Red Sonja, another classic 80s sword and sorcery movie. She is power hungry and so greedy for magical dominance that she steals the Talisman, an orb of great power that only women may touch.

The thing is, when exposed to light the Talisman becomes more and more powerful, until it is capable of not just sacking cities, but destroying the world.

Gedren is so intent on her own ends that she's completely oblivious to the danger and, really, she has something of a screw loose. She wanted Sonja for her very own, which is how she ended up with the pretty mask, because Sonja scared her face to get away.

This is one monster in a very sexy package.

Scarabis (Waxwork II - Lost in Time)

Scarabis is a very evil warlock who has his eye on the English throne in an alternative timeline in Cartagra, or as Sir Wilfred puts it, God's Nintendo game. In Cartagra good and evil battle forever and if Satan ever tips the delicate balance in his favour, things do not go well in the real world.

Scarabis uses dark magic in a complex ceremony where he transmutes a young woman into a half human, half cat like creature, to give himself the ability to shapeshift. He is a decadent, self-centred man, who is all monster wrapped up in a civilising shell.

Waxwork and Waxwork II are both really good examples of 80s horror, with an edge of humour amid all the darkness. I love them both.

Fenella (Chorlton and the Wheelies)

I'm betting most have never heard of Fenella or Chorlton. This classic style witch is from a stop-motion children's TV show from the 70s. She is the enemy of the Wheelies.

She hates anything happy and has caused the Wheelie World to come to a virtual standstill so she does not have to put up with the usually cheerful Wheelies. Then along comes Chorlton who is a happiness dragon. He brings Wheelie World back to life, causing Fenella to go apoplectic with fury.

She, of course makes it her life's work to make the Wheelies unhappy so she can have quiet back, but Chorlton always stands in her way.

Honourable Mentions

The Red Queen (Sarah Douglas) from Witchville,
Profion (Jeremy Irons) from Dungeons and Dragons,
Dark Willow (Alyson Hannigan) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Saruman the White (Sir Christopher Lee) from The Lord of the Rings

Q: Do you have any favourite bad witches, warlocks or wizards who should be mentioned?

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

AtoZ2018 - V is for ... #MovieMonsters #AtoZChallenge


V is for ... Vampire

Hands up who could have guess that :). Of course V is for vampire, after all it is my favourite genre and it gives me a chance to trot out some of my favourites for your reading pleasure.

Today there is no scariness rating, because I just don't find vampires scary. :)

Jerry (Fright Night 1985)

I have many vampire movies I love, but my favourite is probably Fright Night - the 1985 film that I go back and watch over and over again. Please not, this is not the remake, which, unfortunately not even David Tennant could save!

Jerry (Chris Sarandon) is the vampire antagonist who moves in next door to Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale). Now it's all very heterosexual because this was 1985, but Jerry has a live in guardian, Billy, who calls him 'Jer' and if I'd been writing it they would so have been a couple.

Charlie spots Jerry with one of his victims and sees Billy dumping the body and, being as horror fan, jumps to all the right conclusions. What follows is Jerry being sexy and continually getting one up on Charlie and his friends, as he becomes more and more annoyed with them.

The effects are all makeup, foam latex and wax, but they're really well done. Jerry is a calm collected vampire, who thinks things through and even tries to reason with Charley. He's an intelligent character, well written with depth and Fright Night is a great movie.

Regine (Fright Night Part 2)

My second favourite vampire movie is Fright Night Part 2 from 1988. It's actually a toss up as to which one I like best, since, in this case, the sequel is as good as the original.

The main vampire in this one is Regine, who masquerades as a performance artist, with a group of supernatural creatures around her as her entourage.

Unlike in the first Fright Night, Charley Brewster, now at college and believing that all the vampire stuff was mass hypnosis and PTSD, does not find the vampires, they find him. Regine is Jerry's sister and she's out for revenge. Again, she is one sexy, but intelligently written vampire, and she really kicks some arse.

This is one film that hits every vampire button I have and it is a must for vampire fans everywhere.

Dracula


There is of course no way I could do vampires without mentioning the great count himself - Dracula. He has been brought to the screen so many times in varied and wonderful ways. Above are what I consider the most famous and the best of his incarnations.

We have Luke Evans in Dracula Untold, the best Dracula film of recent years IMHO. This is a film about how Dracula becomes a vampire as he desperately tries to save his people from the Turks. It is brilliant.

Then Frank Langella being incredibly sexy in Dracula (1979). This is a slightly changed up version of Bram Stoker's story in that it all takes place in the UK. Mina is a Van Helsing and is Dracula's first victim, and Lucy is Jonathan Harker's fiance and the one who falls under Dracula's spell.

Next the late, great Sir Christopher Lee in his iconic role as the Lord of Darkness in Hammer's Dracula (1958). Here is a man who can say everything with his eyes.

Following him we have Bela Lugosi as Dracula in the Universal classic of 1931. This was based off the stage play, which is a cut down version of the story in the original book. In this Dracula is a sophisticated man who charms those he meets.

And finally, Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). Now this Dracula was popular when I was at Uni and we all loved it. I still really enjoy it, but I can admit that bits of it are very contrived :). The costumes and sets are amazing though, and there are some great performances, especially from Oldman.

What We Do In the Shadows

If you haven't seen What We Do in the Shadows and you are a vampire fan, you really should. This is a New Zealand mockumentary from Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi about four vampires (Viago, Vladislav, Decon and Petyr) living together in a house in Wellington.

It's hilarious.

They're taken every cliche about vampires and put them together in a very funny way. These are centuries old vampires trying to fit in to modern Wellington and being very bad at it. Each is from a different time period and they've not really adapted as well as they think they have.

Count Duckula

Don't side-eye me like that, Duckula is awesome. For those who have no clue who he is, Count Duckula (voiced by David Jason) is a vegetarian vampire, way before Twilight.

The generations of evil Count Duckulas have ruled over their lands in Transylvania for centuries, however, for this incarnation there was a slight hickup in the reanimation process. Nanny gave Igor ketchup instead of blood during the ceremony, so the new count is neither evil, nor blood thirsty.

With a castle that can travel anywhere and returns to its mountain top at dawn, Count Duckula and his friends have adventures all over the place. It's zanny, from the same people as Danger Mouse and very much worth a watch.

Reapers (Blade II)

Now while I enjoy all the Blade film, my favourite has to be Blade II, and one of the reasons is the Reapers. The vampire like creatures are a genetic mistake where vampires were trying to make themselves stronger and immune to many vampire weaknesses.

The big problem for normal vampires is that the Reapers do not just feed on humans, they feed on vampires as well, and vampires bitten, as well as humans, become Reapers too. The virus is transferred from their sucker like tongue, which comes forward when their jaw opens like a maw.

With a bony structure around their heart it is almost impossible to stake a Reaper, and they can take a huge amount of damage. Their only real weakness is very bright light and sunlight. However, they have very fast metabolisms and if they do not feed every night they begin to die, their systems consuming themselves.

These are great monsters and even make other vampires fear the dark.

Q: Who is your favourite movie vampire? Does a movie vampire have to have certain traits for you to watch them?

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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

AtoZ2018 - U is for ... #MovieMonsters #AtoZChallenge


U is for ... Undefined

We have another theme within a theme day today. This is for all the monsters I wanted to include, but which are not specifically named within the film they star in. They may actually have names, but I don't know what they are :).

Scariness Rating


The little skulls by their name are my scariness rating as to how monstrous and scary I think the creatures are when seen in their films.
  •  1 skull (not scary at all) - 5 skulls (very scary)
  •  and there is a special rating for a few - 5 red skulls (utterly terrifying)

Pitch Black

So these beasties are really nasty and only come out in the dark. They live on a remote planet that has three suns and phases where it is in perpetual daylight and then perpetual darkness for periods of time. During the daylight phase they live underground, and when it gets dark they come out and feast.

In Pitch Black a passenger freighter crash lands on their planet. All is mostly okay to begin with, although the odd survivor vanishes when they stray close to underground tunnels. However, once the sound and smell hunters come out in the dark, all bets are off.

These are predators of the first order, making them great monsters.

Slither

These slug like creatures are alien parasites and you're okay as long as they can't get inside you. Keeping your mouth shut is key if they swarm you.

These parasites arrived on a meteorite and first turn one human into their puppet by infecting him and taking over his mind. He then infects his girlfriend and uses her as an incubator for more of the parasites. These then get inside other people and take them over, turning them into more puppets for the aliens.

In the end many of the infected start melding into one huge creature as they continue to mutate. And once infected there is no hope for the victims.

These are nasty, nasty monsters and this is a film that will make your skin crawl. The thing is, it's also a comedy and it's just too good not to watch :).

Deepstar Six

I remember seeing this on VHS when I was at uni. This monster is no alien, it is a cave dwelling super predator, something like a crab, that has evolved in a closed eco system at the bottom of the ocean. When an explosion opens its cave to the outside is when trouble starts.

The crew of the DeepStar Six, an experimental US Naval deep sea environment, then have the fight the monster as it decides they are either a threat or lunch.

This monster is a natural creation, and it's acting on instinct, but that doesn't stop it being deadly, with a bit that can go through reinforced deep sea suit armour.

Dark Angel aka I Come in Peace

Now this guy is bad to the bone. He's an intergalactic drug dealer played by Matthias Hues (and looking him up on Wikipedia he does actually have a name, Talec - but I never picked that up from the movies, so I shall continue :)). Unfortunately for us earthlings, his chosen drug is "Barsi" which is created from endorphins found in the human brain.

To get to these he stabs human's in the forehead, injects them with heroine and sucks out the resulting chemicals from their brains.

All he cares about are his profits and he's willing to kill as many humans as he can to make them. He's super strong and hard to kill, which makes him all the more dangerous.

The Host

The Host is a fantastic South Korean monster movie.

The monster is an amphibious mutation created by toxic chemicals flushed into the river by an American military pathologist a few years before.

For a while it lives out of sight, but then it starts to leave the river to attack people and eat them. It is huge and very fast and drags its catches off to its lair to eat later, whether they are dead or still alive. It also carries a deadly virus - maybe.

Seemingly immune to bullets it is a monster of the first order.

This is a film with a great plot, great effects and a very good cast. Just be ready for subtitles, because that's always the best way to watch foreign films.

The Thing

Okay, so now we have a five red skull monster. This one gives me the creeps and the movie still scares the hell out of me when I watch it.

The Thing is an alien. It was in a space ship that crashed in Antarctica and was frozen in the permafrost, but it did not die. When it was unfrozen by a Norwegian team of scientists it regenerated and came back to life.

It is a parasitical entity and every part of it is alive of itself, so even blood can turn into a whole creature eventually. Only fire can destroy it. What is worse is that is absorbs those it attacks, learning all they know and gaining the ability to form itself into a perfect copy of any animal or human.

One of the most famous scenes is the head crab. When it is discovered and its body burned, the head splits off and escapes by itself. Have a clip - but be warned, it's gruesome.


The Relic

In the Relic we have another creature that has a taste for humans. This one is actually a mutated human created by the ingestion of a fungus and it needs hormones from other humans.

Unfortunately for its victims, this involves ripping open their skulls to get at their hypothalamus.

It is a huge chimera with DNA from various creatures, including reptiles and it is totally focused on getting what it needs. It is incredibly strong and doesn't seem to care a lot about bullets.

The Relic is a great movie if you like monster based horror. It's from 1997 so the effects are a little dated, but it's so well filmed it doesn't matter. Well worth a watch.

Q: So which of the monsters would you least like to meet in a dark alley? Are there any other monsters I should add to the 'undefined' list?

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