Sunday, October 18, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 774th Edition and the Madness: Nature Bites- Week 2


Welcome to the 774th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone is staying safe.  I'm sure this will be an interesting week for me as I start taking calls for my job again for the first time in over five years so we'll just see how this goes.  No need to dwell on that so I'll just get to my selections for the week.

The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug (2013):  This is the second part of Peter Jackson's trilogy which is based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The Dwarves along with Bilbo, played by Martin Freeman, and Gandalf, played by Sir Ian McKellen, continue to reclaim their homeland of Erebor from Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.  Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O'Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, John Bell, Manu Bennett, and many others co-star in this film.  There is not much else to say here except if you like the first one, I think you'll enjoy this one as well.  I know there is a lot that is not in the book so use your own judgement on this movie.

The Snowtown Murders (2011):  Justin Kurzel directed this film based on the story by Shaun Grant.  Lucas Pittaway stars as Jamie who is a 16 year old who falls in with a group lead by his mom's boyfriend John, played by Daniel Henshall.  John is very homophobic and shows lot of violent tendencies while teaching Jamie his ways of "justice".  Richard Green, Bob Adriaens, Louise Harris, Matthew Howard, Anthony Groves, and many others co-star in this film.  This is unfortunately a true story that happened in Australia that involved a series of murders.  This is not something for everyone to watch.  This has a really good low-budget feel and is the only way this could have worked the way it did.

Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020):  Dean Parisot directed this film which reunites Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves after 19 years making this a trilogy.  Bill and Ted are now middle aged, married, have teenage daughters but still have not written that song to fulfill their destiny and set out to make that song.  Brigette Lundy-Payne and Samara Weaving co-star as their teenage daughters who are friends just like their dads and take a lot after them in personality, especially in Weaving as she does quite the Keanu Reeves impersonation.  Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes co-star as their wives.  Kristen Schaal, William Sadler, Anthony Carrigan, Hal Landon Jr., Beck Bennett, Kid Cudi, Amy Stoch, Holland Taylor, Dave Grohl, Jillian Bell, DazMann Still, Jeremiah Croft, and many others co-star in this movie.  This borrows from both movies and almost is like an homage to both of them.  I believe if you like the first two, you will like this one as long as you don't overthink it.

Knave of Hearts (1953):  This is another one that I bill as a short film but is technically an episode of the tv series SCHLITZ PLAYHOUSE.  Mark Stevens stars as gambler Steve Dexter who returns to his old town to marry his love Laura, played by Margaret Field, but must clash with her disapproving father Mark, played by Morris Ankrum, as well as his henchmen in Jack Elam and Lee Van Cleef.  This is a decent twenty some minutes of a western and is available to watch on Prime as part of a series put together called "The Forsaken Westerns" which are rare episodes of westerns that have been forgotten.  Western enthusiasts will love this and includes some pretty big names.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935):  James Whale directed this sequel to the 1931 classic FRANKENSTEIN.  Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, she might have another role in the movie, in the beginning to reveal her characters did not die.  Colin Clive reprises his role as Henry Frankenstein and Boris Karloff reprises his role as the creature.  Frankenstein must deal with a even more mad scientist in Doctor Pretorius, played by Ernest Thesiger, who suggests making a mate for the creature.  Valerie Hobson, Gavin Gordon, Douglas Walton, Una O'Connor, E.E. Clive, Lucien Prival, O.P. Heggie, Dwight Frye, Reginald Barlow, and many others.  Look for John Carradine as one of the hunters in a big role.  This is my favorite of these Universal Horror films.  This has the creature speaking for the first time and his encounter with the blind hermit.  This and its 1931 predecessor could make for a great double feature.

Count Dracula (1970):  Jess Franco directed this adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel.  Christopher Lee stars as Dracula who regains his youth after feeding on maidens.  This makes Professor Van Helsing, played by Herbert Lom, Jonathan Harker, played by Fred Williams, and Quincey Morris, played by Jack Taylor, pursue him and try to kill him.  Klaus Kinski co-stars as mental patient Renfield, just a few years before playing Dracula in the 1979 film NOFERATU THE VAMPYRE.  Maria Rohm, Soledad Miranda, Paul Muller, and many others co-star in this film.  This is one of the first times that Dracula was portrayed like in the book where he is much older in the beginning.  I only knew of the many portrayals of Dracula through Hammer films but was not aware of this one which was produced outside Hammer.  This is the closest Lee has come to portraying Dracula faithfully to the novel despite some changes that were made and feels this is his best performances as the iconic vampire.

Split (2016):  M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this film.  James McAvoy stars as a man of 23 personalities and kidnaps three teen girls in Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Claire, played by Haley Lu Richardson, and Marcia, played by Jessica Sula.  They must band together to survive and escape before the emergence of what is apparently the 24th personality that will be much worse.  Betty Buckley, Brad William Henke, Sebastian Arcelus, Neal Huff, Rosemary Howard, and many others co-star in this film.  McAvoy was great in his multiple personality role.  There is not much more I an say about this movie without giving it away.  This is a rather disturbing film and has a really neat twist ending which just about everyone knows by now but I won't spoil.

Shock (1946):  This is my psychological film noir for the week.  Alfred Werker directed this movie which stars Anabel Shaw as Janet Stewart who goes into a catatonic state after witnessing a murder.  When coming out of the state, she recognizes Dr. Cross, played by Vincent Price, as the man she saw commit the murder and fights for survival as she is committed to a sanitarium.  Lynn Bari, Frank Latimore, Stephen Dunne, Reed Hadley, Charles Trowbridge, and many others co-star in this film noir.  This is a pretty intense film, even by film noir standards.  It is one that has gone overlooked over the years and one of Price's more underrated films.  This is a very compelling film that only takes a little over an hour.

Tales from the Crypt (1972):  Freddie Francis directed this film that is essentially a series of short films.  Ralph Richardson stars as the Cryptkeeper and is in human form not that demon we would come to know from the popular '90s series that we would come to know.  Joan Collins, Ian Hendry, Robin Phillips, Richard Greene, and Nigel Patrick are five strangers summoned by the Cryptkeeper to see a vision of their deaths and what lead up to them.  As mentioned, each of these actors have their own story which vary quite a bit.  Geoffrey Bayldon, Martin Boddey, Chloe Franks, Peter Cushing, Robert Hutton, Barbara Murray, Roy Dotrice, Nigel Patrick, Patrick Magee, and many others co-star in this horror film.  I think my own favorite one was the one involving the Monkey's Paw.  They were all pretty entertaining, especially the last one where a group of blind men manage to get vengeance on those that mistreated them.  The first segment is a good one for December as it involves Christmas

The Mask (1994):  Chuck Russell directed this comedy based on the comic book series created by Michael Fallon and Mark Verheiden.  Fresh off his star-making role in ACE VENTURA:  PET DETECTIVE, Jim Carrey continues his comic was as the timid banker Stanley Impkiss.  When finding a mask, he transforms into a manic superhero who has very cartoonish actions and finds himself uncovering a crime ring lead by crime boss Dorian Tyrel, played by Peter Greene.  Cameron Diaz makes her debut in this comedy as Tina Carlyle, who was involved in the crime ring but starts to have second thoughts as she gets to know Stanley and his alter-ego the Mask.  Peter Riegert, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Jeni, Orestes Matacena, Tim Bagley, Nancy Fish, Johnny Williams, Reg E. Cathey, Joely Fisher, Ben Stein, and many others co-star in this comedy.  Max the dog also co-stars as Stanley's dog Milo which is possibly the most resourceful dog of all time, possibly more than Snoopy.  This is a very fun comic book movie with Carrey at the top of his game.  This is available to watch on Hulu.

Well, that is it for this week but continue on for week 2 of the Madness.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Sandra Bullock, Bob Hope, Lon Chaney Jr., Leslie Nielson, and many others.


This is week two of four of the Madness.  Usually during this, I'm in a show but I have had a lot of time this year so I've have been watching a lot more, maybe not as much as last week but still quite a bit.


Adrienne is a wild card this year so I can use anything to count in this contest.  She could be a worthy wild card selection if they ever give me the Madness them I want for Women of Horror.

The Memory Book (2014, 84 minutes 66 1/2):  This is a Hallmark produced movie that ended up on the Madness.  I'm pretty sure that's a Madness first, even for me.  Adrienne co-stars in this tv movie.

Nash Bridges:  Something Borrowed S6, E13 (2001, 45 minutes, 666):  This was a cop show that starred Don Johnson and Cheech Marin that I was really into in my teen years so I jumped at the chance to check this episode out.  Adrienne is a guest star as Annie Correll who is a lesbian and asks Nash's dad Nick to pose as her boyfriend to her son with Nick not knowing he is a big gangster.

Two Evil Eyes (1990, 120 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is kind of a double feature which features to Edgar Allen Poe stories in THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF MR. VALDEMAR, directed by George A. Romero, and THE BLACK CAT, directed by Dario Argento.  Adrienne is in the segment of THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF MR. VALDEMAR as Jessica Valdemar who is trying to kill her husband but she just can't completely kill him.  I had never heard of the Poe story THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF MR. VALDEMAR until watching this.



Anya is not a wild card this year but had enough on my list to become one.  Maybe she could be one of the wild cards if we ever do a Women in Horror theme that I have been asking for a long time.

Glass (2019, 129 minutes 666):  Anya reprises her role as Casey Cooke in this sequel to SPLIT that I got to watch at Stephanie and Drew in their home.  Just the personality of the Beast alone should qualify this unconventional superhero movie.

Split (2016, 117 minutes, 666 1/2):  Anya plays Casey Cooke who is one of three girls kidnapped by a man of multiple personality disorder.  This is a horror film and have been made aware that a petition has been going around to get this taken off Netflix.  It's not on Netflix so I don't know if it worked or if it has never even been on Netflix.  People are wanting to essentially boycott this film saying it is an inaccurate portrayal of someone that has multiple personality disorder.  If anyone reading this agrees with this, all I have to say is that no one is forcing you to watch it and it is a horror film. 

The Witch (2015, 92 minutes, 666):  Anya stars as Thomasin who is being accused of being a witch mostly by her siblings after her baby brother mysteriously disappears.  This is more of a psychological thriller.  This has an ending to easily qualify this for the Madness.



Boris is not a wild card this year but has been one in the past.  With what I have I decided to make a category out of him.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935, 75 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is probably my favorite of the Frankenstein franchise within Universal.  This is the first sequel where Karloff reprises his role as the Creature and it was a big thing at the time when he spoke.  

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966, 25 minutes, 666):  Boris does the narration and the voice of the Grinch.  I'm sure I have many grinches lined up wanting to punch me for having a Christmas movie in a Halloween oriented contest but this does count as a creature feature.



Bruce is a wild card every year we have the Madness and is our only automatic one so anything Bruce Campbell counts on the Madness.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002, 92 minutes, 6666):  This is one of my absolute favorite movies that counts either way due to the mummy but Bruce being in it, this automatically counts.  Many have called the "the CASABLANCA of this era" and I have to agree.  This has deadly cockroaches so should get some bonus points.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994, 111 minutes, 666 1/2):  Bruce is in this Capraesque comedy as reporter Smitty.  This has a lot of references to my town of Muncie, Indiana.



Cameron is not a wild card this year but I had a couple of her movies on my list so I decided to pay homage to the retired actress which I was not aware of until recently.

A Life Less Ordinary (1997, 103 minutes, 666):  Cameron stars as the daughter of a crime boss kidnapped out of desperation by Ewan McGregor.  This is a fantasy film with the angels, played by Delroy Lindo and Holly Hunter.  I had not seen it but it did keep my attention and was a lot more twisted than I expected.

The Mask (1994, 101 minutes, 666):  This was Cameron's feature film debut as Tina Carlyle.  I believe the Jekyll and Hyde type transformations done with Carrey when putting on the mask should make this comic book movie qualify.  Also, Stanley's dog Milo has a scene where he puts on the mask and bites a couple people so looking for bonus points there.



This legend in horror is not a wild card this year but has been in the past.  

Count Dracula (1970, 98 minutes, 666):  No explanation needs to be given for this vampire movie.  Lee plays his most iconic role of Dracula.

Season of the Witch (2011, 95 minutes 66 1/2):  Christopher has more of a cameo in this movie as Cardinal D'Ambroise.  This involves witchcraft and even a demon.  This also has an attack on a human by a pack of possessed wolves.



Chuck is not a wild card this year but found some pretty good selections that fit so made him into a category.

Cameron's Closet (1988, 88 minutes 66):  Chuck co-stars as Professor Ben Majors who looks to understand what is happening with Cameron and all the murders going on.  This has psychokinetic powers from a boy and a demon from hell.

Fantastic Four:  The Origin of the Fantastic Four S1, E1-2 (1994, 44 minutes, 66 1/2):  These are the first two episodes of the animated series.  Chuck voiced the role of Ben Grimm aka the Thing.  I think that character alone should qualify this to count for the Madness.



This Australian actor is not a wild card this year but I had a couple of his selections on my list that got himself a category made.  

Okja (2017, 120 minutes, 666 1/2):  This counts as a creature feature and features a "Superpig", one of which is a pet and a corporate organization is trying to capture it.  Daniel plays one of members of an animal rights group which is lead by Paul Dano.  I am pretty sure Jake Gyllenhaal had the most fun of his career in playing his role.

The Snowtown Murders (2011, 119 minutes, 666):  Daniel plays the role of John Bunting in this very dark true story who is a serial killer mentoring his nephew so should qualify on account of a serial killer.



Evangeline is not a wild card this year but had a couple selections from my list so the LOST alum gets herself a category.

Ant-Man (2015, 117 minutes, 6666):  Evangeline co-stars as Hope van Dyne, the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne.  I think this is my favorite of all the solo MCU movies.  It is at least my favorite climatic action scene.  I believe this should count because of the enhanced ants and they do attack humans.  There is also a scene where a rat tries to attack a shrunken Scott Lang.

The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug (2013, 141 minutes, 66 1/2):  Evangeline plays the elf Tauriel which was a character created by Peter Jackson.  No real argument needed to count but bonus points for Smaug the dragon.



Jayma is not a wild card this year but have a couple comedies for my list to make a category for her.

Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020, 91 minutes, 666):  Jayma plays Joanna who is the wife of Bill.  This counts due to the Grim Reaper and a scene that takes place in hell.

The Smurfs 2 (2013, 105 minutes, 66 1/2):  Jayma reprises her role as Grace in this sequel.  I didn't think I'd like these but they are pretty fun.  There is a scene where Gargamel makes the cat all giant so maybe a bonus point there.



This DYNASTY alum is a wild card this year so I can use any movie or tv show she has been in.

Tales from the Crypt (1972, 92 minutes, 666):  Joan plays Joanne Clayton who is one of the five people summoned by the Cryptkeeper to see visions of how they will die.  No explanation is ever needed to make this count but with Joan in it, this automatically counts.

Turn the Key Softly (1953, 91 minutes, 66 1/2):  Joan stars as one of three women being released from prison and their adjustments to life on the outside on the first day.  Pretty decent movie but felt could have stood maybe another 15-30 minutes.



This 90210 alum is not a wild card but found a couple horror comedies on my list that I decided to make her into a category.

Psycho Beach Party (2000, 95 minutes, 666):  This is billed as a horror comedy with a parody that combines the beach films and slasher films.  Kathleen co-stars as the wheelchair bound Rhonda.  I couldn't find any better movie shots.

Scary Movie 2 (2001, 83 minutes, 66 1/2):  This sequel is more of spoof to the haunted house movies.  Kathleen co-stars as Theo.



Lee is a wild card this year so I continue my selections with him.

High Noon (1952, 85 minutes, 666 1/2):  One of the best westerns in my opinion where Lee makes his film debut.

Knave of Hearts (1953, 30 minutes 66 1/2):  This is a rare episode of a western which features Lee and would not usually count in the Madness.


Leslie is a wild card this year on account of some disaster films he has done.

Tammy and the Bachelor (1957, 89 minutes, 666):  Leslie stars in this romantic comedy as an upper-class person who meets a more unsophisticated person in Tammy, played by Debbie Reynolds.  This was a pretty funny movie with a bit of a message.



I continue with Rachel as a wild card with a couple more loophole selections.

Beverly Hills, 90210 S4, E1-2 (1993, 88 minutes, 66):  This is the first time I have ever watched an episode of this series.  These were the first two episodes of season four where everyone was trying to find themselves post high school graduation.  Brenda, played by Shannen Doherty, decides to go to college in Minnesota but does not work out like she hopes.  Rachel plays the role of Jan Myler in these two episodes who is a friend of Brenda's dorm roommate so yes I used 90210 in a horror movie and tv contest.  I do want to wish Shannen well as she has not been doing well healthwise.

Groove (2000, 86 minutes, 666):  This movie takes a look at the rave scene.  Rachel plays the role of Beth in this independent film.



Rhona is not a wild card this year but I found a couple virus selections with her in a movie and tv show so I made a category for her.

Doomsday (2008, 105 minutes, 66):  Rhona stars as Eden who is out to find a cure for a lethal virus and deals with a Mad Max sort of group.  I would say this is a disaster selection for bonus points.

The Last Ship:  Phase Six S1, E1 (2014, 42 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is the first episode of this TNT series which Rhona co-stars as Dr. Rachel Scott who is trying to find a vaccine for a virus.  This seems pretty interesting but I don't think I can watch an entire series about epidemic, I'll stick to the movies.


I continue with some more selections of one of our wild card, not quite as many as I had last week.

Amblin (1968, 25 minutes 66 1/2):  This is an early short film for Steven about a couple of drifters hooking up with each other.  This would be the name of Spielberg's film studio.

American Masters:  Inventing David Geffen (2012, 115 minutes, 666 1/2):  Steven is one of the interviewees in this documentary.  Most have at least heard the name David Geffen but some may not know much on the man that has successfully produced in music, film, and theater.  This is a very insightful documentary to a complex man.  There is a clip of Audrey 2 in the 1986 film LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS so seeing if that might get a bonus.

Animaniacs S1, E2 (1993, 22 minutes, 666):  This was produced by Steve and has the first cartoon for the characters of Pinky and the Brain.

Pinky and the Brain S1, E2 (1995, 22 minutes, 666):  This is the popular Spielberg produced spinoff of ANIMANIACS.  Brain manages to become a contestant on a JEOPARDY like show to get the money necessary for his latest scheme to take over the world.

Tiny Toon adventures S1, E2 (1990, 22 minutes, 666):  This is another Spielberg produced animated series that is like the next generation of LOONEY TUNES.  This has a cameo from our favorite rooster Foghorn Leghorn.  This episode is a parody of STAR WARS.



Avengers Assemble:  Avengers:  Impossible S1, E12 (2013, 23 minutes, 666):  This episode has Falcon wanting more recognition with the Avengers and is chosen by Impossible Man to star in his series.  They must also deal with an alien attack.



I bring back Tara this week for a little more as our wild card.

American Pie (1999, 95 minutes, 666):  Tara has a co-starring role in this rauchy comedy as Vicky in this popular franchise.  This centers around four high school senior guys making a pact to love their virginity before high school graduation.  Lots of memorable scenes including the one involving apple pie.  This also takes band camp to a new level.

Cruel Intentions (1999, 97 minutes, 666 1/2):  Tara has a minor role as Marci Greenbaum who is one of Sebastian's "conquests" in the beginning.  I have always really liked this movie which is a modern-day take on LES DIABOLIQUES and favor this over the period piece which might have some people shaking their head.

Sharknado 3:  Oh Hell No! (2015, 93 minutes, 66):  More shark fun with Tara reprising her role as April.  This introduces David Hasselhoff to the series.  Shark attacks and disasters for bonus points.

Sharknado 4:  The Fourth Awakens (2016, 95 minutes, 66 1/2):  The Shepard family has been living in peace for five years but must deal with some more sharks.  This one introduces our modern-day Socrates Gary Busey to the series.  More disasters and sharks for bonus points.



Tippi is a wild card this year on account mostly of THE BIRDS so I made a category for her with selections that help my moniker "King of the Loophole" that I never asked for, it just happened.

A Countess From Hong Kong (1967, 108 minutes, 66 1/2):  Tippi co-stars in this romantic comedy as Martha who is the estranged wife of Marlon Brando which complicates his relationship with Sophia Loren.  Charles Chaplin wrote and directed this film which was his last movie and while not his best, it still has moments of interest.  I am pretty sure this is the first time a Chaplin film has qualified for the Madness living up to that moniker of mine "King of the Loophole".

Raising Hope:  Not Indecent, But Not Quite Decent Enough Proposal S3, E1 (2012, 22 minutes, 66 1/2):  I had never seen this Fox sitcom.  Tippi makes a guest appearance as a grandmother who had just died and we see her in a video she made for her family.  This seems like a pretty funny show.



This horror legend is not a wild card this year but has been in the past.

Faerie Tale Theatre:  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs S3, E5 (1984, 54 minutes, 66 1/2):  This was a series that had episodes of fairy tales like the Brothers Grimm one featured here.  Vincent Price plays the magic mirror in this episode.  Elizabeth McGovern stars as Snow White and Vanessa Redgrave plays the Evil Queen.  Tony Cox and Billy Curtis co-stars as a couple of the dwarfs.  Shelley Duvall hosted this series and in this episode is in the beginning as Snow White's mother.

Shock (1946, 70 minutes, 666):  Vincent plays Dr. Richard Cross who commits a woman to a private sanitarium after she witnesses him commit a murder.  This is a dark enough film-noir to qualify as horror.

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