23nd October: THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER is a Dracula prequel, or rather it takes place during the sea voyage that happens a third of the way into Bram Stoker's novel, so it's an interquel? Autocorrect doesn't seem to think that's a real word but Heck with it, we're reinventing the language every day on social media, I can call this an interquel and people will know I mean it's like that one Saw movie where the twist is that it's happening during another Saw movie for some reason - Mr Saw was dead by then or something, I dunno. Haven't seen them, I hate horror movies.
Anyway, this doesn't take any chances that you don't know its central premise, opening with a bit of text telling the audience "this is the voyage of the Demeter, based on the captain's log from the novel Dracula", which I think is kind of hitting you over the head with it, and besides, it probably ruined some people's immersion to know they weren't watching a documentary. You know what, I don't know why I'm being sarky, this was fine. There's just no such thing as a bad Dracula adaptation once you've seen Stephen Moffat's version.
It might feel overly familiar if you've already seen The Terror, but if you liked that just fine and dandy and fancy 90-odd minutes of period horror on a boat, this is a well-staged and performed outing and I got along with it just swell.
24th October: SCREAM OF THE WOLF - a cheapo comedy horror about a werewolf stalking the production crew of a vampire movie through and around a lonely English mansion, its short of outright laughs and doesn't try much in terms of direction, but I gather this is even cheaper than usual and fair play to them, they got it made. If cheapness isn't something that bothers you, you could do a lot worse - and over the course of the last few weeks, I know I certainly have. Let us not discuss the quality of the werewolf makeup.
25th October: NIGHT FEEDER - "night feeder night feedah-ah" is the obvious dad joke to make here, but frivolity is not allowed because this is a dreadful film, and even though I have never seen Basket Case or any of its sequels, I know this is a knock-off and I can only assume that Basket Case is better. It might be a mild spoiler to mention Basket Case, but don't worry, if you need to watch this awful film for yourself, what passes for a twist is more or less out of nowhere in the final minute or so, the cheap-ass 80 minutes of screeching and fuzzy 1980s glam punk that precede it being an arguably seperate entity. I guess I got what I paid for when I watched a movie on Youtube.
26th October: TALE OF A VAMPIRE - another Youtube find, this time starring the recently-departed Julian Sands, a man who never seemed to stop working while he was with us, appearing in A and Z-list projects alike, oozing smarmy charisma as anything from Arachnophobia's foolhardy spider scientist to Passenger 57's hissable terrorist leader to... well, zero-budget dreck like this, where he was the only good thing on offer. This was a poor choice of viewing material on my part, and I'd hate for it to be my final encounter with Sands' work, but I will give them credit that if it's 1992 and you just read a casting call that contained the phrase "mopey English vampire", you absolutely check if Julian Sands is available. The writer and director may have been asleep on the job for this one, but the casting people were 100% on point.
27th October: STAR TREK: CATSPAW - NERDS will know this to be the episode that forms the basis of the current Star Trek Online seasonal event, though it's not one of the more fondly-remembered offerings from the classic 1960s sci-fi series, being mostly known for its neon gothic aesthetic and some dubious marionette aliens. It's pretty goofy and quite brief, so no complaints here.
Also WILLY'S WONDERLAND - Nicolas Cage beats up some animatronic amnimuls after being hired to clean up an abandoned theme restaurant. I have never played Five Nights At Freddy's, but even I know this is totally a rip-off and likely made to snipe the official movie adaptation that recently came out and seems to be playing at my local cinema... agh... you know what, maybe I will check that out.Hi, FUTURE BRIGONOS HERE, having seen Five Nights At Freddy's - I'll review it when I get to the relevant date further down the page - and yup, this is absolutely a rip-off of Five Nights, to the point I am amazed there hasn't been some sort of lawsuit.
This Nic Cage joint was amusing, but lacked any real characters or plot. If you can't see the Five Nights movie, I guess it'd do as a substitute, because apart from Willy's Wonderland having less interesting characters, there's not a lot of clear water between the two.
28th October: THE EUROPA REPORT - ah no, a found footage film? I should have put found footage on the No Fly List of things that mean an automatic pass from me alongside "anything with zombies", but here we are, and... it's not bad. Telling the story of a doomed privately-funded space mission to Jupiter's moon That Goes Horribly Wrong™, it could have done with stronger themes and characters, but I gather these are boilerplate complaints about found footage movies, and I will say in favor of the found footage genre that at least there's no shakycam here, which is a stylistic technique that I find incredibly annoying. I like having an upbeat ending to a horror movie, too.
29th October: THE EXORCIST BELIEVER - haha oh dear God I hate modern horror movies so much, and this is a prime example of why. Not scary, just annoying, employing as it does a semingly neverending series of musical stings, loud noises and screeching characters to entice its target audience to look away from their phones for five seconds so that a goth can go "wuuurgh!" at them and say rude words. Utter dogshit.
My brother insists that I am simply watching the wrong horror movies. Hmm.
30th October: FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S - this is something to do with some videogame I've never played, but I thought it was okay. It's meat-and-potatoes stuff in terms of horror movies, not very gory and short on scares, but I liked it. It likely helped that apart from the above mentioned Willy's Wonderland, I saw the recent Banana Splits movie that tried to do more or less the same thing with its tongue jammed just far enough into its cheek to appear to want it both ways and work as both a silly comedy and a scary horror and in the end succeeding at being neither, so when this goes for horror and sticks to its lane, it comes off as the more confident of the two films. Telling the story of a haunted young man who takes the only job he can get at a long-abandoned theme restaurant built around animatronic animals, it's no spoiler to tell you that the animals are murderous as the trailer for this spoils a great deal of the film ahead of time, but also the robot animals' nature is revealed quite early in proceedings and part of the film then becomes the main character having to go on living in a world where robot animals just walk around animated by the souls of murdered children Yes, a ridiculous premise, but then most horror movies are powered by ridiculous premises and it's nice to see someone finding his workplace is stalked in the early hours by murder ghost animal robots and yet he still has to go into work anyway not because this act of wilful stupidity is how the rest of the movie gets to happen, but because this is his job and if he wants to pay the rent, he has to go into work with the murder robots. This is hashtag relatable content to anyone living in our current capitalist hellscape, and it's made all the more hashtag relatable by the expressly-stated information that the cops totally know about the murder robots and just don't do anything.
In my heart I know it's just a stupid videogame film that clears the lowest bars by playing the cards it's been dealt with a straight face, but still I liked it.
31st October: BUCK ROGERS SPACE VAMPIRE - When AI and drones replace you in the workplace, you will look back on your life and you will not regret filling out that report on time or improving the efficiency of the office by 5.7% per annum and getting your asshole boss a pat on the back from some faceless ghoul in upper management who would be strung up by his heels and left for the crows in a more just world, you will instead regret not learning to write and draw in your youth so that you could express or interpret your thoughts and feelings now, as the days behind vastly outnumber the days ahead and you find yourself without purpose, a collection of sad memories piloting a failing meat puppet. You will regret never taking that weekend off to walk on a beach or maybe you'll suddenly remember an interaction with a loved one, now gone, where you could have touched or held them for just a moment but didn't, prevented by some sense of impropriety or an idea of social norms or mores that were somehow more important to you than a moment of connection with another living being. Machines will supposedly remember things forever, but the tiny moments of joy and connection that we hold in our minds will go with us into whatever comes next - if anything comes next after our temporary moment on this Earth - and in time even those who knew us will pass, and we will not exist even as a memory.
All life is meaningless and no-one and nothing matters or endures. Even the pyramids are disappearing bit by bit through the simple blowing of the wind that erodes them one grain of sand at a time until one day, those mountains of stone will be gone forever, eventually not even remembered by pictures or images on a hard drive because even data fades over time. One day the sun will explode, and as it goes, it will swallow whatever form of Earth might still remain, but even the memory of the world we currently know will have disappeared by then. No matter how hard we try, we will never matter to or be remembered by the wider universe.
That's why it's important to be nice while we're visiting. Humans are a blip on an otherwise tidy universe, naturally inclined to do the monkey things our baser instincts would have demanded of our ancestors - you think 10000bc man would have pushed his kid around in a wheelchair if his kid was born with a curved spine? No, he would have eaten that kid, but nowadays we... don't, and sometimes those kids grow up to be rocket scientists or whatever and you know what we need to take our descendants away from here and to other places so there exists at least a tiny chance that our species might actually survive the day our sun finally goes tits up? Yeah that's right - rockets. I'm not saying every person in a wheelchair is a Stephen Hawking or something here, I'm just making a broader point about how those people we refuse to abandon ultimately enrich our own communities and experiences and so arguably these acts of kindness to each other will have been the thing that gets us to the stars, and even if nothing else will have survived of us by then, the untold billions of human lives lived and lost forever to an unwritten history of our race that played out across countless mental landscapes of small joys and happy memories will live on, and kindness will be our legacy.
That's why I like to be kind to myself and watch Buck Rogers: Space Vampire every Halloween, as it really is one of the few joys left to my decaying form that I can enjoy without having to worry about what it's doing to my blood pressure, colon, liver, kidneys, heart or spine. Even if I am struck deaf and blind in the coming months and years, I will still have the memory of this, the greatest horror story comitted to film in the year 1979 and yes I am fully aware when Alien was made.
If you don't know the plot to Buck Rogers: Space Vampire, then I will recount it for y-actually, it is called Buck Rogers: Space Vampire, I'm not sure what blanks you need me to fill in here: It is an episode of Buck Rogers called Space Vampire, and it features the titular Buck Rogers having an encounter with a space vampire, a vampire, in space, whom Buck Rogers encounters in space. Rocket science this is not. It is very cheesey and the older I get, the more I cling to it as a shield against the increasing horrors of old age and the dwindling number of acquaintences I have around me. Oblivion may stalk my shrinking number of days on this dying planet, but I will have Buck Rogers: Space Vampire with me until my passing moments.