If you like horror parodies like the Scary Movie series, but haven’t seen 1979’s comedic horror classic, Love at First Bite, then you owe it to your self to do so. Starring George Hamilton as Count Dracula, who is forced from his home in Transylvania when the communist government decides to take his castle and convert it to a gymnastics training ground. Taking this as an opportunity to meet the woman he believes he is in love with (from afar), model Cindy Sondheim (Susan Saint James). Setting himself and his bungling bug eating servant Renfield (Arte Johnson) in a New York hotel, and goes about trying to meet Cindy. While in the Big Apple, Dracula learns of the wonders of the blood bank (“We are here to make a withdrawal”), and the dangers of drinking the blood of winos among other things. While winning over Cindy is a cinch for the master of persuasion, Count Dracula, he soon finds himself in a silly, on going battle with Cindy’s psychiatrist and non-committal sometimes lover, Jeffrey Rosenberg (Richard Benjamin), Grandson of Dracula’s nemesis, Van Helsing. Fortunately for Dracula, Rosenberg is nowhere near the Vampire hunter his Grandfather was, and his attempts to out or attack Dracula are absolutely hysterical.
This is a silly silly movie that I absolutely adore. I have watched this movie many times and will watch it again – It’s just plain fun. I say watch this movie.
2008’s The Midnight Meat Train (MMT) is something unusual: a good movie made from a Clive Barker story.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Clive Barker’s writing, but aside from Hellraiser, there aren’t many film adaptations of his work that I can point to and say, “this is a good movie.” Well, there is one more and this is it.
Based on a short story of the same name from the Books of Blood collection, MMT tells the story of a talented photographer in New York City by the name of Leon (played by Bradley Cooper), who after showing some of his pictures to a wealthy Galley owner Susan Hoff (played by the still beautiful Brook Shields), is spurred on to capture the true, grittiness of the City. Going out on night shoots, Leon captures a near mugging/rape of a famous model. Still, despite saving her from a gang of thugs, she disappears that night when she is attacked by a large, silently imposing man, known simply as Mahogany (and played by Vinnie Jones), with a meat hammer on the subway . Hearing of the disappearance the next day while reading the paper, he decides to go to the police, thinking that perhaps the thugs, after being initially scared off, might have come back and got on the same train as the model. When Leon brings this to the attention of the police, the officer that serves him seems strangely unconcerned.
Leon shows the photos he took of the near rape/mugging to Hoff, who states she loves them and challenges him to get two more photos to go along with these and she would host a showing of his work. Leon takes up the challenge. Returning to the subways, Leon notices a large silent figure that catches his imagination. The figure is that of Mahogany himself. Leon follows him, taking pictures, until wordlessly confronted by him in front of the aging hotel that Mahogany calls home. Frightened, Leon apologizes for bothering him and leaves. Later, when going over his photos of the incident of the model, he notices that Mahogany was on the train that the model entered, but never got off. Leon starts to obsess over Mahogany and continues following him, discovering that during the day he works at a large scale butcher, as a meat renderer. Leon sneaks into the butcher to get more photos, and is almost caught by Mahogany. Leon starts to connect other disappearances that had occurred on the New York Subway line with train schedules. He works out that below the butcher shop, there must be an abandoned subway station, where Mahogany unloads the bodies and gets rid of the evidence. He presents this to his fiancé, in a scene reminiscent of something from the movie A Beautiful Mind. Freaked out and thinking Leon is going crazy, she begs him to stop following Mahogany and get back to day shooting. Leon promises… But goes back to following Mahogany. That night, he catches Mahogany in the act, photographing the scene while Mahogany prepares the body of his victim like one would prepare meat. Chased, captured, marked (via scarification) and eventually escaping, Leon now knows for sure that Mahogany is behind the disappearances. Returning home, beaten and disturbed, his fiancé freaking out – he tells her what he saw and that he took phots but the camera was taken from him during his ordeal. On her own volition, she and a friend decide to go to Mahogany’s room after he leaves and look for Leon’s camera – While there, she finds subway schedules going back a century, with train times circled that correlate to disappearances that happened. Also… her friend is captured and bludgeoned by Mahogany, and she barely escapes with her life. Going to the police, the same officer that dealt with Leon shows the same level of unconcern and stated that Mahogany reported something stolen, the train schedules, and that he wants them back. Claiming that her friend, who was captured by Mahogany has it, and if they want the schedules, they have to find him.
Okay… what the hell am I doing? I’m freakin’ describing the whole freakin’ movie. Look – Mahogany is a guy that has a job, and that job is to help feed… something inhuman. It’s an important job and he would normally have gone unnoticed, but something in Leon’s make up made him attune to Mahogany. At the end of the movie, all is revealed, and it is a typical Clive Barker twisted concept – an idea that below the surface of what we as normal humans perceive, there is another world of darkness – the stuff nightmares are made of. Midnight Meat Train did a good job of bringing that world to the big screen. Do I suggest watching it? Oh Hell yes.
Check out the trailer here:
Okay, this is another movie that doesn’t belong on a site – this is an Academy Award winning film (really – I’m not being sarcastic), still it is an unusual film, and I watched it so I’m putting it here… Deal with it
The Lost Weekend is a great Billy Wilder film Noir staring Ray Milland (see my write up on The Thing With Two Heads), as Don Birman, once a young writer that was full of potential, now a down and out alcoholic, living off his brother, Wick (Phillip Terry) and doted on by a devoted girl friend Helen St. James (Jane Wyman), both of whom just want Don to leave the bottle behind and get on with his life. At the start of the film Wick and Don are getting ready to go off on a weekend vacation together, in order for Don to get away and relax (and escape the call of the bottle). Don, though has other plans and quickly connives Wick and Helen into leaving him alone while he “collects his thoughts.” Once they are gone, Don searches the apartment for ant possibly forgotten stashes of Rye whiskey (Wick had just found and emptied the one Don was sure of). Not finding any, he manages to screw the housekeeper out of her pay for the week ($10) and heads out, promptly purchasing two bottles of the cheapest rye, the to Nat’s Bar where he’s informed that he will receive no credit – Don pulls out some cash and pays for his booze – asking the bartender to let him know when it’s a certain time, so he can get back before Wick and Helen return. Of course being the big drunk he is, he ignores the bartender and is late. He arrives home in time to see his brother leave in a cab. Avoiding Helen, he heads to his apartment and begins a weekend bender.
Over the weekend, he tells the story to Bartender Nat of how he and Helen met at an opera when the coat check managed to swap their coat check tickets. We hear how he managed to stay sober for weeks, so in love with Helen that he is willing to try to go dry for her. Unfortunately, the stress of going to meet Helen’s parents sets him drinking again – a drinking binge that goes on… and on. Don manages to make and break a date with a prostitute that has a crush on him, visit a new bar, but run up a tab that he can’t afford (and steals a ladies purse to pay, but is caught and humiliated), and fall down a flight of stairs and end up in the alcoholic ward of a local hospital – of which he promptly escapes. We see him in the grips of Alcoholic hallucinations (the D.T.s)… This guy is a mess.
This is a story of someone at his lowest, but with people that still care for him. This is a story of the devotion of a loved one, unwilling to give up on the person they love. This is the story of a raging alcoholic. This is a good movie.
I watched it for free on Youtube, so hopefully it is now public domain, so you too can see it on Youtube. Search for it and you will most likely find it.
Check out the trailer here:
And the Whole Movie (for as long as the link lasts):