Night of the Living Spooktober

Last night’s Spooktober viewing was The Void, a Canadian film funded on IndieGoGo in 2016 for $82,000.  I’d heard good things about it, and I wasn’t led astray.

More than anything else, the film — with it’s reliance on practical effects over computer-generated imagery, it’s small cast and single location, and it’s riffing on Lovecraftian themes — reminds me of the Stuart Gordon films of the 80s, especially From Beyond.

The premise of the film is a simple one: It’s deep in the graveyard shift, and a cop stumbles across a blood-covered man stumbling along the side of a country road, in shock. He throws him into his patrol car, and races him to the local county hospital, staffed by a couple of doctors and nurses, tending for a few patients. And now we have our location and cast for the entire film.

Of course, it doesn’t take long for things to go completely Cosmic Horror, with _something_ in the hospital transforming people into hideous, tentacled monsters straight out of The Thing, giving our protagonist visions of endless stretches of space, a blasted, lifeless planet, and an ominous black pyramid… and, of course, as any Call of Cthulhu gamer knows: That’s when the cultists show up.

The Void is well worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of Lovecraft, Call of Cthulhu gaming, or the style of 1980s Indie horror films. It’s available on disc, and on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

The Bride of Spooktober

Hey folks — it’s been a bit, but the run of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival ended this past weekend, and so now I’m rested up and ready to get back to my Spooktober viewing.

Last night was a first for Spooktober — I started a movie, and it was so bad that I shut it off and went for something else. The awful film was a demonic possession movie (usually of interest to this former Catholic School kid) called Along Came The Devil, and the less said about it, the better. I only made it like a half hour in.

Disappointed, I returned to an old favorite, which I haven’t watched in a couple of decades — 1986’s horror-comedy, VAMP, starring Grace Jones and 80s EveryNerd Chris Makepeace.

The movie features the first time that I recall seeing the “Vampires Run A Strip Club, Feeding On Men Who Won’t Be Missed” angle, later used in From Dusk Til Dawn. It also features a standard cringeworthy sidekick performance by Gedde Watanabe (although to be fair, this time it’s “clueless rich nerd”, rather than explicitly racist), and the “stripper with a heart of gold, who turns out to be the literal girl next door” stereotype played by Michelle Pfeiffer’s younger sister DeDee (over there —->), who wears the sort of outfits that 80s movies and music videos all told us that Hot Girls wore, but that were seldom encountered in the real world (I dunno, maybe this *was* how they dressed in L.A.?). Regardless, it’s a look that still speaks to my inner teenaged brain, I’m embarrassed to admit.

It’s not a good movie. At all. But I like it. It is steeped in nostalgia for me — of my vampire movie fandom, of my new wave music fandom, of my high school and early college years (I saw it in the theater when I was in high school, and rented it on VHS to watch in my dorm room with my roommate during my freshman year).

And sometimes, nostalgia is good enough.

The Woman Who Fell To Earth

Saw the first episode of the 13th Doctor.

Short version: Watched it. Loved it.

Longer takes: As introductions go, the episode was one of the better ones in the show’s history.

Proper behind-the-sofa scary at times, a solid mystery, and it’s absolutely wonderful that we’re back to the idea that the companions are random acquaintances, rather than Chosen Ones. Whittaker absolutely inhabited the role from the first moments. There was no adjustment period for me. And her spending the majority of the episode in the 12th Doctor’s torn and tattered costume was a nice conveyance of the not-yet-done-regenerating theme.

As the Doctor said:

“Right now, I’m a stranger to myself. There’s echoes of who I was, and a sort of… call… towards who I am. And I have to hold my nerve and trust all these new instincts, shape myself towards them… I’ll be fine. In the end. Hopefully.”

Hell, I even loved the score. After a decade of Murray Gold starting to sound samey-same, the new sound from Segun Akinola was more modern, a bit darker, and really well done. Can’t wait for an album release.

Last thought: As a Who fan since childhood (which was more of a rarity here in the US, back in the last century), it took me a bit to get used to the idea, around the time of David Tennant (although hints of it starting to appear with 8th Doctor Paul McGann), of people being attracted to the Doctor. It took a bit for me to wrap my brain around the idea of the Doctor as somebody you’d fancy.

Now that Jody Whittaker is in the role, I’m finding that now I have adjust to the fact that now *I* fancy the Doctor. It’s a very strange feeling. :)