This week’s Monday Morning Movie Review is a double feature: I’m reviewing the comedy-horror flicks House (1986) and the even goofier sequel House II: The Second Story (1987). While the films share a name and both take place in odd houses, the two storylines are completely independent of one another.
It’s a late Lazy Sunday today. A very long homecoming weekend at school, followed by a Saturday spent at the South Carolina State Fair and a University of South Carolina football game, has me behind on the blog a bit. As soon as I churn this post out, it’s straight to writing comments for report cards. So much for a day of rest.
But I digress. For the first time since Lazy Sunday CXXV, I’m back with more movie review retrospectives. It’s fun (for me, at least) to go back through these movie reviews; I’ve written so many of them, I’ve started forgetting which movies I’ve reviewed!
This week we pick up where we left off ten Sundays ago with another three flicks:
- “Monday Morning Movie Review: Aniara (2018)” – I really enjoyed this movie—bleak though it is—about a space cruise ship getting thrown off course irreversibly. It’s one of the more thought-provoking films I’ve seen in the past year, and it’s stuck with me. It’s one of the movie reviews I’ve written that I have not forgotten.
- “Monday Morning Movie Review: Willy’s Wonderland (2021)” – Compared to Aniara, Willy’s Wonderland is quite lighthearted. If you like Nicolas Cage—and I definitely do—you’ll enjoy this movie. Unusually for Cage, though, his character doesn’t say anything, but he still manages to bring his trademark insane fury to the character, who spends a night fighting demon-possessed animatronics in an abandoned pizzeria.
- “Monday Morning Movie Review: Robot & Frank (2012)” – This flick ad the feel of an indie flick, with its quirky premise and craftily heartwarming story arc. I love stuff with robots, and this movie delivers it in an interesting way: an aging thief trains his robot nurse to help him plot a jewel heist.
That’s it for this week’s belated Lazy Sunday. Enjoy the rest of this quiet day!
Other Lazy Sunday Installments:
- Lazy Sunday – APR Pieces
- Lazy Sunday II – Lincoln Posts
- Lazy Sunday III – Historical Moments
- Lazy Sunday IV – Christianity
- Lazy Sunday V – Progressivism, Part I
- Lazy Sunday VI – Progressivism, Part II
- Lazy Sunday VII – Deep State
- Lazy Sunday VIII – Conservatism
- Lazy Sunday IX – Economics, Part I
- Lazy Sunday X – Economics, Part II
- Lazy Sunday XI – Walls
- Lazy Sunday XII – Space
- Lazy Sunday XIII – Immigration
- Lazy Sunday XIV – Gay Stuff
- Lazy Sunday XV – Work
- Lazy Sunday XVI – #MAGAWeek2018
- Lazy Sunday XVII – #MAGAWeek2019
- Lazy Sunday XVIII – SubscribeStar Posts
- Lazy Sunday XIX – Music
- Lazy Sunday XX – The Laziest Sunday
- Lazy Sunday XXI – Travel
- Lazy Sunday XXII – Reading
- Lazy Sunday XXIII – Richard Weaver
- Lazy Sunday XXIV – Education
- Lazy Sunday XXV – Techno-Weirdos
- Lazy Sunday XXVI – Small Town Living
- Lazy Sunday XXVII – Bric-a-Brac
- Lazy Sunday XXVIII – World History
- Lazy Sunday XXIX – The New Criterion
- Lazy Sunday XXX – Trump, Part I
- Lazy Sunday XXXI – Trump, Part II
- Lazy Sunday XXXII – Festivals
- Lazy Sunday XXXIII – Virtue Signalling
- Lazy Sunday XXXIV – The Desperate Search for Meaning Series
- Lazy Sunday XXXV – Corporate Grind
- Lazy Sunday XXXVI – Best of the Reblogs, Part I
- Lazy Sunday XXXVII – Best of the Reblogs, Part II
- Lazy Sunday XXXVIII – Best of the Reblogs, Part III
- Lazy Sunday XXXIX – A Very Dokken Christmas Series
- Lazy Sunday XL – Christmas Carols
- Lazy Sunday XLI – Food
- Lazy Sunday XLII – 2019’s Top Five Posts
- Lazy Sunday XLIII – Music, Part II: More Music
- Lazy Sunday XLIV – SubscribeStar Saturday Posts, Part II: The Search for More Money
- Lazy Sunday XLV – Techno-Weirdos II
- Lazy Sunday XLVI – Man Time
- Lazy Sunday XLVII – Winning
- Lazy Sunday XLVIII – Culture
- Lazy Sunday XLIX – Family
- Lazy Sunday L – The Best of Lazy Sunday
- Lazy Sunday LI – Just for Fun
- Lazy Sunday LII – Democratic Candidates, Part I
- Lazy Sunday LIII – Democratic Candidates, Part II
- Lazy Sunday LIV – Coronavirus
- Lazy Sunday LV – Animals
- Lazy Sunday LVI – Movies
- Lazy Sunday LVII – Christianity, Part II
- Lazy Sunday LVIII – Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap
- Lazy Sunday LIX – The God Pill Series
- Lazy Sunday LX – Music, Part II: Gigging
- Lazy Sunday LXI – The Tuck
- Lazy Sunday LXII – The South
- Lazy Sunday LXIII – Holidays
- Lazy Sunday LXIV – Grab Bag
- Lazy Sunday LXV – Rioting
- Lazy Sunday LXVI – Video Games
- Lazy Sunday LXVII – Phone it in Fridays, Part I
- Lazy Sunday LXVIII – Phone it in Fridays, Part II
- Lazy Sunday LXIX – Phone it in Fridays, Part III
- Lazy Sunday LXX – Phone it in Friday, Part IV
- Lazy Sunday LXXI – Road Trips
- Lazy Sunday LXXII – Forgotten Posts, Volume I
- Lazy Sunday LXXIII – Forgotten Posts, Volume II
- Lazy Sunday LXXIV – Forgotten Posts, Volume III
- Lazy Sunday LXXV – Forgotten Posts, Volume IV
- Lazy Sunday LXXVI – Forgotten Posts, Volume V
- Lazy Sunday LXXVII – Rural America
- Lazy Sunday LXXVIII – Space, Part II
- Lazy Sunday LXXXIX – SCOTUS
- Lazy Sunday LXXX – Big Ideas
- Lazy Sunday LXXXI – Education, Part II
- Lazy Sunday LXXXII – Universal Studios
- Lazy Sunday LXXXIII – The Mountains
- Lazy Sunday LXXXIV – Halloween Hijinks
- Lazy Sunday LXXXV – Elections
- Lazy Sunday LXXXVI – Questions, Part I
- Lazy Sunday LXXXVII – Questions, Part II
- Lazy Sunday LXXXVIII – Questions, Part III
- Lazy Sunday LXXXIX – 100 Week Review
- Lazy Sunday XC – Questions, Part IV
- Lazy Sunday XCI – Questions, Part V
- Lazy Sunday XCII – Christmas
- Lazy Sunday XCIII – 2020’s Top Five Posts
- Lazy Sunday XCIV – My Favorite Things
- Lazy Sunday XCV – The Best of Lazy Sunday
- Lazy Sunday XCVI – More Movies: Movie Reviews, Part I
- Lazy Sunday XCVII – More Movies II: Movie Reviews, Part II
- Lazy Sunday XCVIII – More Movies III: Movie Reviews, Part III
- Lazy Sunday XCIX – Romantic Music
- Lazy Sunday C – Valentine’s Day
- Lazy Sunday CI – Obituaries, Part I
- Lazy Sunday CII – Obituaries, Part II
- Lazy Sunday CIII – Begging
- Lazy Sunday CIV – Time
- Lazy Sunday CV – Grab Bag II
- Lazy Sunday CVI – Adventures
- Lazy Sunday CVII – Easter
- Lazy Sunday CVIII – Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021 Recap
- Lazy Sunday CIX – Pillow Talk
- Lazy Sunday CX – Inspector Gerard Reviews
- Lazy Sunday CXI – Bric-a-Brac II
- Lazy Sunday CXII – Responsibility
- Lazy Sunday CXIII – Short Stories
- Lazy Sunday CXIV – More Movies IV: Movie Reviews, Part IV
- Lazy Sunday CXV – Memorable Mondays
- Lazy Sunday CXVI – Delays
- Lazy Sunday CXVII – More Movies V – Movie Reviews, Part V
- Lazy Sunday CXVIII – More Movies VI – Movie Reviews, Part VI
- Lazy Sunday CXIX – Summer Camps
- Lazy Sunday CXX – Animals, Part II
- Lazy Sunday CXXI – MAGAWeek2021 Posts
- Lazy Sunday CXXII – MAGAWeek2020 Posts
- Lazy Sunday CXXIII – Murphy
- Lazy Sunday CXXIV – Bible Posts
- Lazy Sunday CXXV – More Movies VII – Movie Reviews, Part VII
- Lazy Sunday CXXVI – Joy, Part I
- Lazy Sunday CXXVII – Joy, Part II – Music
- Lazy Sunday CXXVIII – Civilization
- Lazy Sunday CXXIX – Friends, Part I
- Lazy Sunday CXXX – Friends, Part II
- Lazy Sunday CXXXI – Friends, Part III
- Lazy Sunday CXXXII – Milestones
- Lazy Sunday CXXXIII – Inspector Gerard
- Lazy Sunday CXXXIV – Friends, Part IV
Well, it’s not quite morning, and I’m still playing catch-up after a weekend of indolence and ice cream, but but I’m eking out this Monday “Morning” Movie Review for your daily delectation.
I often review films that I like, or about which I can say something positive. This week’s film, In the Earth (2021), is one that I cannot recommend to most viewers, but one I nevertheless enjoyed.
I’m a big sucker—pun most certainly intended—for vampire movies. I’ve always enjoyed the vampire mythos, and find them to be terrifyingly fascinating villains (or anti-heroes). The concept of immortality in a fallen, ever-changing world is itself a haunting prospect, one filled both with opportunity and, ultimately, hopelessness.
I also love science-fiction movies, notably those that take place in space. The sense of boundless adventure and the thrill of exploration combine with high-tech gobbledygook to make for some fun stories. Sci-fi, like horror, also has the ability to be among the best social commentary put to paper.
With 1985’s Lifeforce, those two genres are combined in a pleasing, memorable way. Indeed, the film is based on a novel called The Space Vampires, which gives the game away on the front cover. The vampires of the film and the novel are energy vampires, sucking the lifeforce from their victims, luring them in by shapeshifting into the guise of what the human victim most desires in a mate. In doing so, they turn their victims in ravenous husks who must feed on the energy of others to survive. If they don’t, they explode into a puff of dust and ash.
Earlier this week I reviewed 1977’s Star Wars, the film that started a craze that is still raging nearly five decades later, despite Disney’s best efforts to destroy the franchise. What I didn’t realize is that nearly a year to the day earlier, I’d written a review of 1981’s The Empire Strikes Back, quite possibly the greatest Star Wars film ever made—and, I would argue, just one of the best films ever set to celluloid.
Naturally, I had to do a throwback to my review of the film, which I think was my first Monday Morning Movie Review. Kind of crazy to think that I’ve been doing regular movie reviews every Monday for a year. It both seems longer and shorter than that.
The weather here in South Carolina has turned blissfully autumnal, which means we can finally partake in all manner of outdoor activities without dying of heat exposure and dehydration. The humidity has calmed itself to a bearable level, and the mornings and nights are crisp and cool.
One of my enterprising neighbors—and most dogged constituents—took advantage of the cool weather this weekend to test out an inflatable projector screen. He invited me to join his family for a private, driveway screening of the original 1977 Star Wars, later entitled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Specifically, he screened the “de-specialized” version, as he called it, so there was none of the clunky 1990s CGI additions of the special editions.
In other words, it’s the way Star Wars was intended… before George Lucas changed his mind and decided to change his own films.
Shudder continues to deliver up the bizarre and unusual, proving it’s well worth the price of admission for the streaming service. This last week saw the service bring the 1985 film The Stuff to the service.
It’s an unusual horror flick that combines elements of consumer protection advocacy, mass media advertising, consumerism, ruthless business tactics, and addiction into a blob of creamy terror.
Indeed, the film is something like The Blob (1958) and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) rolled into one: a greedy corporation knowingly sells a dangerous product, which turns out to be a goopy white organism that entire consumes the very people consuming it.
So, essentially, the entire flick is a metaphor for consumerism and corporate greed run amok.
The 1960s were a wild time for Western Civilization, to say the least. Like our present moment, it was a time of cultural upheaval that nearly resulted in civilizational suicide, only for the Silent Majority to rise from its slumber to forestall decline.
Apparently, the 1960s were a bit wild for the Soviets, too, as the Russkies allowed the release of Viy (1967), a Soviet-era horror flick, the first of its kinds to enjoy an official release in the USSR. Shudder is currently streaming the film, and it’s worth your time to check it out, both for the novelty of watching a Soviet horror flick, but also because it’s a fun, surprisingly frightening film.
I am a great lover of vampire movies and stories, and am always interested to see how filmmakers and storytellers approach the well-worn vampire mythology. Every vampire story must take time to establish the “rules” of that particular vampiric universe, so the (sub?)genre lends itself to world-building. Some vampires can survive in sunlight, though uncomfortably; others can endure limited exposure; still others burst instantly into flames. Some vampires fear the sign of the Cross; others laugh at it mockingly; still others fear the faith in what the symbol represents, but the symbol is rendered powerless without that faith.
Vampire stories also offer the opportunity to explore interesting themes. Immortality is a common one: what happens when you have forever to live on Earth? Anne Rice’s novel Interview with the Vampire (1976) explores that idea in great detail, specifically the ennui and nihilism that come with earthly eternal “life.” The initial thrill of vampiric power and endless nights of bloody reverie gradually turn to centuries of self-indulgent, murderous moping, as the vampire passively watches the world he loved transform around him into something unrecognizable.
This month, Shudder released a new exclusive, Jakob’s Wife (2021), a feminist-inflected vampire story starring 80s scream queen Barbara Crampton. While the feminist themes were a bit heavy-handed at points, the film handled the subject matter with a surprising degree of nuance. Suffice it to say that, like tell-tale two-pronged mark of the vampire’s bite, this film has stuck with me.