Monday, October 31, 2016

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 572nd Edition and the Madness: Clowns- Week 4

Welcome to the 572nd Edition of my series and the last week of this year's Madness.  This is the weekend of my show BAD SEED and the last day to check it out if you are in the area.  It has been a good experience and glad to have debuted in my 8th town of Alexandria.  I also look forward to starting my rehearsals for  IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in Marion which is my debut there and my 9th town for community theater.  Next week I will be putting out my 11 year anniversary, I know I can't believe it either.  This is the last week of the Madness for the year.  I always enjoy this contest and I believe we should do some sort of Valentine's Day Madness in February but if not I will be doing it again in October of next year.  Now for the selections.

Stigmata (1999):  This is my religious horror for the week.  Rupert Wainwright directed this film which stars Patricia Arquette as Frankie who is a young and non-religious girl seeming to be affected by a stigmata.  Gabriel Byrne co-stars as Father Andrew Kiernan who investigates unorthodox cases usually proving to be scientific instead of religious but begins to question things more on what he witnesses with Frankie.  Jonathan Pryce, Nia Long, Thomas Kopache, Rade Serbedzija, Enrico Colantoni, Portia De Rossi, Patrick Muldoon, Ann Cusack, Shaun Toub, and many others co-star in this horror film.  I found this to be a pretty good horror film with good performances from Arquette and Byrne.  People who live by their religion probably will not like this one but other people who are more open might like this one.

The Houses October Built (2014):  This was a perfect one to watch for the Madness.  Bobby Roe directed this horror film of five friends, played by Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe, Mikey Roe, and Jeff Larson, are out to look for the "perfect" haunted house.  They finally find a house that sounds really good to them where strange occurrences begin to happen where the haunted house becomes all too real.  Chloe Crampton co-stars as Porecelain which is one of the people in the house that terrorizes the friends.  I had never heard of this movie until the announcement of Crampton as the wild card this year and was the first time I had heard of her.  I didn't really find this to be anything great but good for this time of year if not taken too seriously.  This is available on Instant Netflix.

Weird Science (1985):  John Hughes directed this popular 80s comedy.  Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith play Gary and Wyatt who are a couple of high school nerd best friends but unpopular with everyone else in the high school.  They use their computer and create a woman with it named Lisa, played by Kelly LeBrock, whose purpose is to help them with their confidence by putting them in situations to act more like men.  Bill Paxton, Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Rusler, Vernon Wells, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is the ultimate nerd comedy, especially of those of the 80s when computers were far more rare and used a lot differently than they are today.  It is also an interesting variation on FRANKENSTEIN.  It was turned into a tv series in the '90s.

The Day the Clown Cried (1972):  This is part 5 of my Jerry Lewis series and the first movie I have put on here that I have not seen though did see some footage.  The reason for this is that it has never been released.  This is Jerry's most daring project he has ever done.  He directed, wrote and stars in this holocaust film.  What we know is that Lewis stars as Helmut Doork who was once a very famous clown but has fallen into alcoholism.  He is soon arrested by the Nazis and thrown into a confinement camp.  What I saw of this was on youtube on some behind the scenes footage that was mostly a documentary but had a little bit of footage.  I notice on that they have a cover for the Criterion Collection  but not finding any information this is true.  This is one that many really want to see but Jerry is adamant about it not being released being ashamed of his work.  This is the reason that Jerry Lewis is a wild card this year in a contest that centers around Halloween oriented films.

Freaks (1932):  Tod Browning directed this Universal classic horror film though I believe the word horror is used very loosely here.  This movie centers around many of the "freaks" from this era who were exploited to no end at places like circuses and on vaudeville.  These included everything from midgets, siamese twins, the bearded lady, and many others.  The story of the film is that of midget performer Hans, played by Harry Earles, who falls for a beautiful trapese artist who went by Cleopatra, played by Olga Baclanova, who is a seemingly good person but is only out for the money.  When the other sideshow freaks learn about this plot, they take their revenge.  A lot of people have called this movie exploitation which is really the wrong word.  These people were already being exploited but I believe Browning wanted to show that these people are human and have feelings.  Another interesting element is that the villains in the movie are "normal" looking people.  These are people that Browning already knew and did a great job in the making of this very significant film.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941):  This is part one of a two-part Spencer Tracy series.  Victor Fleming directed this version of the classic novel from Robert Louis Stephenson.  Spencer Tracy stars as the title characters in this film film where Dr. Jekyll is determined to convince everyone that good and evil exists in everyone so he invents a potion for himself and creates the evil Mr. Hyde which makes Jekyll do more than he intended.  Tracy plays both roles to perfection in this classic adaptation.  Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner also star in this movie where each one takes to one of the different personalities, not realizing they are the same people.  Donald Crisp, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane, C. Aubrey Smith, Peter Godfrey, and many others co-star in this film.  Like a lot of classic horror stories, this centers around a scientist that has really good intentions but go awry really quick.

Repo the Genetic Opera (2008):  This is part one of a two-part Paul Sorvino series.  Darren Lynn Bousman directed this musical which is based in the not-so-distant-future where a company called Geneco offers organ transplants but at a very high price and if the payments are not made on time, they must face the Repo Men. The story centers around a young girl named Shilo, played well by Alexa Vega, who has a rare disease and must spend most of her time at home but becomes tempted by Geneco and learns of her connection to them and the secret life her father leads. BUFFY alum Anthony Head shows his musical talent as Shilo's father Nathan and it is great to see Head in what was essentially a lead role in a musical. Broadway legend Sarah Brightman makes her film debut as Blind Mag.  This has some really good musical numbers in my opinion and wish they were available on karaoke, especially the song LEGAL ASSASSIN which was sung by Anthony Head. This is a very dark musical, very gory, and not for everyone. I liked the use of pictorial drawings to talk about some of the characters. Paul Sorvino, Bill Moseley, Terrance Zdunich, Sarah Power, Paris Hilton, Jessica Horn, and many others co-star in this film.

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961):  Roger Corman directed this Edgar Allen Poe story which is the second of four Roger Corman/Vincent Price adaptations on Poe.  John Kerr stars as Francis Barnard who learns that his sister Elizabeth, played by Barbara Steele, has died and goes to Spain to investigate the death.  Price stars as Elizabeth's husband Nicholas Medina and informs Francis that she died of a blood disease which he does not believe.  Luana Anders also co-stars in this film.  This is more of an atmospheric chiller and these Poe adaptations are some of Corman's best work.  Price is great in this film and has some great scenery.  It also has quite a bit of suspense leading into the climax.  Price does a great job in turning a short story into a feature film and has said that he tries to think what Poe would do if he was there at that time.  Some classic horror really worth a watch.

Joe Dakota (1957):  This is my western for the week.  Jock Mahoney stars as the title character who rides into a small town looking for a friend he refers to as the Old Indian.  He gets many different stories, one that his land was sold, something that Joe does not buy into and investigates further.  Charles McGraw stars as Cal Moore who is the town bad guy claiming that he bought the land and stirs the town against Joe.  Luana Patton, Barbara Lawrence, Claude Akins, Lee Van Cleef, Anthony Caruso, and many others co-star in this western.  I had never heard of Mahoney until I came across this one.  Not a bad investigative western to look into if you like the genre.

Prometheus (2012):  I end the week with this sci-fi thriller.  Ridley Scott directed this film where a group of explorers go on an expedition in 2093 to find the origin of man and find there is a lot more out there when they are all fighting for survival.  Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Benedict Wong, and many others co-star in this sci-fi film.  It is really hard to go into words on this film.   It does not match Scott's ALIENS but still has some really good moments and decent characters that made it enjoyable for me.

Well, that is it for this week but continue on for the last night of the Madness.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for the 11 year anniversary next week which includes Emma Thompson, Boris Karloff, Claire Danes, Marlon Brando, Hugh Jackman, Spencer Tracy, Tim Curry, and many others.



Alexa is a wild card this year due to her work in THE DEVIL'S CARNIVAL.

Repo!  The Genetic Opera (2008, 98 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is a musical I tend to watch every couple years.  Easily counts for the bleak future where organs are on order and the title indicates what happens if not paid.  Alexa plays the sheltered daughter of Nathan who begrudgingly works as one of these repo men.  I love seeing Anthony Head in a starring role.  I'd also like to see this done on stage and I am looking to learn LEGAL assassin to sing on karaoke.


Bruce is a wild card every year and include some of his current tv series.

Ash Vs. the Evil Dead:  Home (2016, 30 minutes, 666):  The season 2 premier of this wonderful Bruce Campbell series where he reprises his iconic role of Ash.

Ash Vs. the Evil Dead:  the Morgue (2016, 30 minutes, 666):  The second episode of season 2 where Pablo learns more of who he is.

Ash Vs. the Evil Dead:  Last Call (2016, 30 minutes, 666):  Episode 3 where Ash gets his Delta car stolen by some teens and it has the Necronomicon.

Ash Vs. the Evil Dead:  D.U.I. (2016, 30 minutes, 666):  Episode 4 where Ash goes on the hunt for his Delta.

Ash Vs. the Evil Dead:  Confinement (2016, 30 minutes, 666):  Episode 5 where Ash gets arrested by a bitter sheriff and the others try to break him out.


Chloe is a wild card for this year's Madness due to this selection.  I had never heard of her until she was announced as a wild card.

The Houses October Built (2014, 91 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is a haunted house movie and there are clowns so ATB points for clowns attacking.


Cillian is not a wild card but found a couple movies with him so gave him a category.

Batman Begins (2005, 140 minutes, 666 1/2):  It's not hard to get this movie qualified for minimal points.  At the end of the movie, they make a cryptic reference to the Joker and the clue is a Joker playing card so looking to see if that is bonus points.

28 Days Later... (2002, 113 minutes, 666):  Cillian plays the protagonist in this zombie film.  One of the better zombie films in my mind.


Decided to give possibly "The Father of Horror" his own category.

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961, 80 minutes, 666):  This is a Roger Corman/Vincent Price collaboration and they always did well in the Poe field.


Frank has been known to do horror but known for a lot.  He is not a wild card this year but has been in the past so I thought I'd give him a category.

Masters of the Universe (1987, 106 minutes, 66 1/2):  Frank plays He-man's main rival of Skeletor.  I think this fantasy qualifies to count with the enchantresses, alternate dimensions, and many others.  This is quite a guilty pleasure adaptation of the famous animated series of the '80s.

Muppets Most Wanted (2014, 107 minutes, 666):  This should count for being a creature feature.  Frank has one of the many celebrity cameos.


Gabriel is not a wild card but have a couple to feature so I made a category for him.

Dead Man (1995, 121 minutes, 66 1/2):  Gabriel has a cameo in this western from Jim Jarmusch and starring Johnny Depp in a rare western role.  Westerns count this year so this should be no exception.  It had its moments but did not do it for me, maybe I need another

Stigmata (1999, 103 minutes, 666):  The title should speak for itself.  Gabriel plays the investigative priest in this movie.


Idris may not be a wild card but I have many selections that feature him.

Prometheus (2012, 124 minutes, 666):  I would say this is dark enough to qualify as sci-fi horror like the images of aliens.

Prom Night (2008, 88 minutes, 66):  This obviously takes place during prom and a psycho killer is on the loose and wanting Brittany Snow.

The Reaping (2007, 99 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is similar to my selection of STIGMATA where seemingly religious occurrences happen.

The Unborn (2009, 88 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is a movie about being possessed by a spirit so should count.


I know how much everyone loves to see Tracy and Hasselhoff in the same category.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941, 113 minutes, 666):  Spencer Tracy stars in the dual role of a scientist developing a serum that brings out a more evil and murderous side.

Jekyll and Hyde:  The Musical (2001, 135 minutes, 666):  This is an annual live musical that I seem to watch with David Hasselhoff and the characters.  I seem to enjoy this more every time I see it.  As much as I wanted to hate Hasselhoff in this after the unpleasant we had, I just couldn't.


Jerry is probably the most used wild card this year and I have a half hour documentary on THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED because no full version exists.

The Story of the Day the Clown Cried (2016, 28 minutes, 666):  This is a documentary on the making of the film.  There are images of Jerry as a clown so should get bonus points.


Kate is not a wild card this year but had multiple selections so gave her a category.

Brokeback Mountain (2005, 134 minutes, 666):  Kate is in about the last stage of the film and plays Ennis and Alma's daughter Alma Jr. at 19 years old.  I was hoping to be able to qualify this through Heath Ledger as a wildcard but nothing doing on that one so I must argue this as a western.  Larry McMurtry co-wrote the screen play and he is known as a western writer.  There may not be any gunfight but Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were a couple cowboys in this "gay cowboy movie".  Much of the film takes place on a western ranch.  There is also a rodeo clown so looking to see if that qualifies for bonus points.

Iron Man 2 (2010, 124 minutes, 666):  A lot of people did not care for this sequel but as I watched this I really found this enjoyable.  I liked how Tony Stark was going off the deep end as a way to hide his health issues.  I also liked seeing Mickey Rourke as a villain in a superhero film even if it likely was not to the character in the comic book.  It introduces Rhodey as War Machine and we meet Black Widow.  I was hoping to qualify this through Sam Rockwell who was a considered wild card.  I believe this should count with the character of Whiplash and the weapons he uses.  The fight between Tony and Rhodey in their iron outfits.  Also the way they had to team up to take on Whiplash.


Bad Seed (2016):  This is the show that I did over the weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  This is a horror play about a murderous young girl.  This show went really well and had a really good cast and crew.  Now ready for IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in Marion which I start rehearsing this week.


Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985, 107 minutes, 666):  This is the third in the Mad Max series where Max becomes the reluctant hero to a group of abandoned children.  Tina Turner makes a rare movie appearance and has my favorite of her songs WE DON"T NEED ANOTHER HERO.  Should count for the post-apocalyptic setting.

The Road (2009, 111 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is one of my favorite movies.  Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee star as a father and son duo where the dad is trying to get his son to a place near the sea where things are a little better.  Though it takes place in a dark time, behind it is a very moving story.  The post-apocalypse should make this count.

The Road Warrior (1981, 94 minutes, 666):  This is the sequel to the first MAD MAX.  Takes place in post-apocalypse Australia.  These are some good movies but I have to admit that the latest MAD MAX:  FURY ROAD with Tom Hardy is my favorite of these.


Vacancy (2007, 85 minutes, 66):  I could not think of a good category so I settled for this one not feeling it is a slasher film like has been implied.  Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale are stranded in a small town and end up in a hotel that is not what it appears.


Rod is a wild card this year.  A more unknown but has made his mark.

Magic Mike (2012, 110 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is a loophole for the week where Rod was a patron in the strip club.  Alright, alright, alright.  Nothing bad or great for me but glad to be able to count this for the Madness this year.


Lord of Illusions (1995, 109 minutes, 666):  This is adapted by a novel by Clive Barker who also wrote the screenplay and took the helm as director.  This centers around a satanic cult and the world of illusionists that became all too real.


Captain America:  Civil War (2016, 147 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is the latest from the Marvel cinematic universe where things happen that pit Iron Man and Captain America against each other where the other Avengers must choose a side.  I thought this was very well done and each person got to really have some good moments.  I don't see why this should not count like with Scarlet Witch.

Captain America:  The First Avenger (2011, 124 minutes, 666):  This is the first Captain America film from this particular universe.  Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers during WWII where he wanted to join but was much too small but gets put up to an experiment to make him what he is now.  First he was a propaganda piece but then became a hero.  I would say this should count for if nothing else, Red Skull's devilish face.

Hancock (2008, 92 minutes, 666):  The only superhero movie I featured this week which was not DC or Marvel but an original character.  I believe this should count for Hancock's immortality and for the character Charlize Theron plays.  It is also rather dark at times, especially during the times of Hancock's reckless behavior.

Hellboy II:  The Golden Army (2008, 120 minutes, 666):  Hellboy's demonic looks should get this movie to count.  They must take on an evil prince and becomes a dark fantasy.

The Incredible Hulk (2008, 112 minutes, 666):  Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner, the scientist who becomes the monster known as the Hulk.  This was a lot better than the movie HULK in my opinion and for me it really had a lot of emotional depth with Bruce and Betsy.  I guess 2008 was the year for superhero movies.


Suzanne is a wild card this year, mostly due to her work in KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE.

Weird Science (1985, 94 minutes, 666):  This is the ultimate nerd comedy from the '80s, especially to computer nerds.  Suzanne is in this movie as Deb so I don't need to make any sort of argument to get this comedy counted.


This famed singer is a wild card this year likely due to his movie BLOOD HARVEST.

Johnny Carson:  King of Late Night (2012, 115 minutes, 666 1/2):  This documentary should qualify due to footage shown on an episode from the late night show where he gets married on national television.


Tod is a wild card this year.  He directed a lot of horror classics for Universal and is a wild card due to what I have featured.

Freaks (1932, 64 minutes, 666 1/2):  This horror classic from the '30s centering around these "freaks" who set out for revenge when learning one of their own was screwed over.  It is during a carnival, I don't think there were any clowns.


Queen of the Damned (2002, 101 minutes, 66):  This is based on an Anne Rice novel and centers around vampires.  Reminded me at one point of HIGHLANDER with a group that is supposed to observe and not interfere like their watchers.  Also reminds me of what would later become TRUE BLOOD or the Sookie Stackhouse novels where Lestat decided to make himself known to the public as a vampire.  Nothing great, but still some fun with Lestat as the rock start.  Metal fans will love the soundtrack.

The Vampire Diaries:  Hello Brother (2016, 45 minutes, 666):  This is the season premiere of the final season of the show.  I have no problem with how it is starting, we'll see how it goes into the finale.

The Vampire Diaries:  Today Will Be No Different (2016, 45 minutes, 666):  This is the second episode of the 8th and final season.  The religious elements are rather interesting.  Vampires obviously make it count.


Vin was a wild card last year so since I have one of his movies on my list so I made him a category in which I did not last year.

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004, 119 minutes, 66 1/2):  I enjoyed the first one, PITCH BLACK more.  This should have enough elements to become sci-fi horror like the group called the Necromongers.  This was a little too all over the place for me but maybe like others, I just need another viewing.


Virginia is not a wild card but like others I found multiple works so included her in a category.

The Prophecy (1995, 98 minutes, 666):  Christopher Walken plays archangel Gabriel waging a war on heaven.  Virginia plays a local schoolteacher caught in the middle of the war of heaven and hell.  This is a first time watch for me, not bad.  I doubt I'll get to the sequels this year but maybe in the future.

Red Riding Hood (2011, 100 minutes, 66):  This is an adaptation of the classic of the classic fairy tale where the wolf is a werewolf so this easily counts.  Virginia co-stars as Red Riding Hood's mother Suzette.


Conagher (1991, 94 minutes, 666):  This is a tv movie with western icon Sam Elliott and westerns count this year.

Joe Dakota (1957, 79 minutes, 666):  This is a classic western which counts this year.

Ride With the Devil (1999, 138 minutes, 666):  Ang Lee directed this Civil War epic that qualifies as a western so counts for the Madness this year.


Extinction (2015, 112 minutes, 66):  I decided to make a zombie category out of this one, I don't know if we consider them official ones but close enough.  BURN NOTICE star Jeffrey Donovan and LOST star Matthew Fox team up in this one.

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