The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): This is the conclusion of the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. Bilbo, reprised by Martin Freeman, and company prepare for an all-out war to save Lonely Mountain. Bilbo must help Thorin, reprised by Richard Armitage, as he is starting to go mad. Gandalf, reprised by Sir Ian McKellan, finally learns who the Necromancer is. Benedict Cumberbatch, 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, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Billy Connolly, Thomasin McKenzie, and many others co-star in this film. This was a pretty good end to the series. As I have said in the past weeks, I have never read the book THE HOBBIT so I was fine with this continued story.
Bird Box (2018): Susanne Bier directed this film based on the novel by Josh Malerman. This is in a time where the world is in an unknown global terror. Sandra Bullock stars as Marlorie who takes her children, played by Julian Edwards and Vivien Lyra Blair, down the river to refuge and they must do it with blindfolds. Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Lil Rey Howery, Tom Hollander, Machine Gun Kelly, BD Wong, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Parminder Nagra, Rebecca Pidgeon, Amy Gumenick, Taylor Handley, Happy Anderson, and many others co-star in this film. This came out on Netflix and was very hyped. I waited until now to finally check this one out and I was glad to see this with all the faded hype and just enjoy this for what it was, a sci-fi horror film. I noticed Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson were very well cast as sisters. This is a very intense film to say the least with Bullock carrying this very well when they are out on the river. This is available to watch on Netflix.
Juan of the Dead (2011): Now I bring my zombie comedy for the week which was written and directed by Alejandro Brugues. Alexis Diaz de Villegas stars as the Cuban slacker Juan and along with his other slacker friend Lazaro, they come across some zombies. As they learn to kill them, they decide to start a for profit agency in killing these zombies. Andrea Duro, Jazz Vila, Antonio Dechent, and many others co-star in this horror comedy. I guess if Shaun can have a comedy about zombies, I guess that gives Juan the right to have one of his own. This manages to make a lot of political points on the Cuban government while also having comedy and pretty scary zombies. Stick around for the credits, not a end credit scene but very clever end credits.
Munster Masquerade (1964): This is actually the first episode aired of the sitcom THE MUNSTERS and a really good monster spoof. This is a rather unusual family who as far as they know they are like anyone else but don't understand why people look at them so strangely. Fred Gwynne and Yvonne de Carlo star as Herman and Lily Munster, Herman obviously being Frankenstein's monster modeled from Boris Karloff and Lily being a vampire. Al Lewis co-stars as Lily's father who is referred to as Grandpa and likes to reflect on the old days. Butch Patrick plays Eddie who is the son of Herman and Lily and is a werewolf seemingly modeled from Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolfman. To round out the family is Marilyn, played by Beverley Owen, who is Herman and Lily's niece and is more of an outcast in the family due to her more "normal" looks but very strange looking in the eyes of the rest of the family. In this episode, Marilyn is seeing a man who invites her, Herman, Lily, and Grandpa to a Halloween party where there is a costume contest. Linden Chiles, Mabel Albertson, Frank Wilcox, Lurene Tuttle, Walter Woolf King, and many others guest star on this episode. Also, listen for Mel Blanc who provides the voice of the Raven in the clock of the Munster household.
The Cat and the Canary (1939): Elliott Nugent directed this horror comedy murder mystery which is based on a play by John Willard. A family is gathered in their late uncle's home which is a remote and decaying mansion. Murder and madness follow having Wally and Joyce, played by Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, investigate what is going on in this creepy home. John Beal, Douglass Montgomery, Gale Sondergaard, Elizabeth Patterson, Nydia Westman, George Zucco, John Wray, George Regas, and many others co-sat in this whodunit. This has a rather complex plot that is a bit hard to describe. It does a great job of combining murder and comedy while having a horror feel to it. Hope and Goddard worked very well together and would work together again the next year in THE GLASS BREAKERS.
The Bravados (1958): This is my western for the week which was directed by Henry King and based on the novel by Frank O'Rourke. Gregory Peck stars as Jim Douglass who is after four men he says murdered his wife. Lee Van Cleef, Stephen Boyd, Albert Salmi, and Henry Silva play these four people who are in jail waiting execution for an unrelated murder and escape putting Douglass on their trail for his vengeance. Joan Collins, Barry Coe, George Voskovec, Herbert Rudley, Andrew Duggan, Ken Stott, Gene Evans, and many others co-star in this western. This is a very dark western with Peck in a much darker role than usual and has said that it was a struggle for him to play such a hateful person. This has a very interesting twist at the end.
The Host (2006): This is my Korean film for the week which was directed and co-written Boon Joon Ho. Kang-Ho Song stars as Gang-Doo who is a slacker and the black sheep of his family in the town of Seoul. The country must fight for their life when a monster emerges from the Han River and takes Gang-Doo's daughter making him and the rest of the family set out to find her. Hee-Bong Byun, Hae-Il Park, Doona Bae, Ko Asung, and many others co-star in this Korean film. This could be looked at as a creature feature, but is so much more and even kind of parallels what is happening now. This has some dark comedy to it, a pretty creepy monster that could probably stand against the Kaijus. This is a pretty fun horror comedy with an interesting political message to go along with it. This is the same director of the 2019 hit PARASITE so those who loved that should check out this work.
The Black Sleep (1956): Reginald Le Borg directed this film which has quite the all-star cast of horror actors from this era. Basil Rathbone stars as scientist Dr. Joel Cadman who has developed a drug of the title that makes people appear dead. Herbert Rudley co-stars as Dr. Ramsey who is set to be executed for murder but Cadman saves him with the drug in belief he is innocent and wants his expertise for a project. When this happens, he finds he is taking part in something very sinister when learning about some of the people being held in his facility. Akim Tamiroff, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Bela Lugosi, Patricia Blair, Phyllis Stanley, Tor Johnson, and many others co-star in this horror film. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE was the movie where Lugosi died during filming but this was his last completed movie project. Carradine is very amusing in his role that words cannot even describe but feel he is a rather underrated actor. The character of Dr. Joel Cadman might have had some inspiration to the Batman villain Mr. Freeze in terms of their motivations. I feel this is more than a b-movie and is a pretty compelling watch.
Lady in Waiting (1971): This is another episode of COLUMBO that I decided to use here and is directed by Norman Lloyd. Susan Clark stars as Beth Chadwick who feels controlled by her family, most notably by her brother Bryce, played by Richard Anderson, so she resorts to murder and makes it look accidental. Columbo, played by Peter Falk, investigates the case and does not believe for one moment that this homicide was accidental. Leslie Nielsen co-stars as Beth's love interest which plays a big part of Beth's motive. Jessie Royce Landis, Richard Anderson, and many others co-star in this episode. As I explained a couple weeks ago, this was not really a murder mystery series, it was more about Columbo's persistence in the investigation. This is available to watch on imdb tv on the imdb website so just bring this show up on their and you can watch all the episodes.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988): Stephen Chiodo directed this horror comedy and co-wrote along with this brother Charles Chiodo. A small town is invaded by aliens and are capturing and killing the townspeople. These aliens look a lot like circus clowns and no one is buying the story of a few young people so they must band together in hopes of destroying the clowns and rescuing their friends. Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Michael S. Siegel, Peter Licassi, Royal Dano, Christopher Titus, and many others co-star in this cult classic. This is a pretty enjoyable horror comedy. I found that in addition to the comical moments, this movie has a rather underrated soundtrack including the title song by a band called the Dickies. This also had a pretty small budget that the Chiodo brothers were able to make the most of in this movie.