Archive for Fangoria Movie Friday

Faust Movie Friday: Bedazzled (1967)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, monsters, movies, The Devil with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2020 by Paxton

Faust Movie Friday

It’s another Friday during AWESOME-tober-fest!  That means it’s time once again for a Faust Movie Friday!  Today I’m going to look at Bedazzled.  For some of you the 2000 movie starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley just popped into your head.

Bedazzled 2000 poster

While, yes, I actually like that movie and considered covering it this year, that’s not the movie I’m talking about. Did you know that 2000 movie was a remake of another movie?  From 1967 starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, it’s also called Bedazzled.

Bedazzled 67 poster

The 1967 original movie has basically the same premise. Hapless and miserable Stanley (Elliot in the 2000 version) contemplates suicide when he is visited by the Devil incarnate and offered a deal; 7 wishes to get the life he always wanted in exchange for his immortal soul.  The rest of the movie is Stanley going through his wishes and figuring out what works and what doesn’t (mostly, it doesn’t work).  In this 67 version, Peter Cook is the Devil and Stanley is played by Dudley Moore.

Peter Cook’s Devil is very charismatic.  He seems simultaneously to enjoy his job and also loathe it.  He’s funny.  He’s constantly making deals.  Stanley keeps thinking that he and the Devil are becoming friends and then the Devil proves that they are nothing of the sort.  I really enjoyed Cook’s portrayal here.  Dudley Moore, pre-Arthur, which I haven’t seen much of at all, is great as the likeable loser Stanley.  He’s pathetic but you are pulling for him the whole time.  But, I’ll be honest, throughout the movie I was constantly wondering why he was so infatuated with that waitress, Margaret.  Almost everyone throughout the movie is clearly infatuated by her.  I didn’t necessarily see the appeal.  Why would Stanley want to kill himself and change everything by selling his soul to the Devil for her?  I guess that speaks more to Stanley than the desireability of her.  Regardless, this movie is a lot of fun.  It’s super funny.  It’s 100% British.  So very British.  But I really enjoyed watching it and I’m glad I finally checked it out.

Let’s take a look at some of the scenes from Bedazzled.


The movie starts with some very trippy 60s credits.


We meet Stanley Moon. Played by Dudley Moore.  Happless short order cook at Wimpy’s Bar (right pic).  He’s pining over one of the waitresses that work with him. He’s so depressed about his job, his lack of girlfriend, and his unrequited love, that he’s ready to commit suicide by tying a rope to his plumbing and jumping off a chair. Unfortunately, the pipes break and he floods his apartment.


Enter The Devil. Played by Peter Cook.  He promises that he can help Stanley.  He offers him 7 wishes for his eternal soul.


The Devil takes Stanley to his current base of operations, The Rendevous Club.  We learn from the sign that the Devil’s current nomme de plume is George Spiggott.  While he and Stanley negotiate over the terms of the contract that the Devil is offering, we see him performing “random bits of mischief” as he calls them.


Here he’s opening a crate of records bound for a record store and putting a big scratch on them.


Here he’s tearing out the last page of an Agatha Christie novel so whomever buys it won’t find out who the killer is.  In case you were wondering what book that is, it’s The Clocks.  Stanley signs the contract and begins his wishes.


After each wish, if Stanley doesn’t like the outcome of the wish, he just blows a raspberry and is taken back to George the Devil. Whenever this happens, George is usually in the middle of more mischief. Here, George just released a bunch of wasps on a circle of hippies playing music.


George offers Stanley his own room and bed to rest in after one of his wishes goes particularly awry. After waking up, Stanley meets Lilith. George has in his employ several characters that are physical manifestations of the 7 deadly sins. We met Anger and Sloth earlier. We’ll meet Envy later. Lilith is Lust, and she’s played by the great Raquel Welch.

If you watch this movie, you’ll notice that the Elizabeth Hurley version of the Devil from the 2000 remake is based on Welch’s Lust.  They even wear a few of the same outfits.


This is after another bad wish. When Stanley appears, George was in the middle of putting a small leak in an oil tanker.


Towards the end we find out that George had a deal with God that if he got to 200 Billion souls first, he could re-enter Heaven as an angel. And George had done it. So he was throwing a goodbye party with all of his employees before going back up to Heaven to join the angels.  And because he got a few extra souls over 200 Billion, George gives Stanley back his own soul.


Of course Lust is dancing on the bar at the party.


Then we see the Devil board an elevator in his office that goes directly to Heaven, and he gets an audience with the almighty. We learn that George giving Stanley his soul back negates the deal and he has to return to Earth to stop Stanley from destroying the contract.

I really enjoyed watching this movie.  I highly recommend you check it out.  It was a lot of fun and the performances are very good.  Especially if you like that dry British wit.

Well, that finishes out this week.  Next week is the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest.  And I have a few good articles to finsh us out.  Join me next week, won’t you?



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Faust Movie Friday: Crossroads (1986)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, monsters, movies, The Devil with tags , , , , , , on October 2, 2020 by Paxton

Faust Movie Friday

It’s Friday, guys!  Usually on Fridays during AWESOME-tober-fest I do movie reviews in what I call Fangoria Movie Fridays.  However, since I’ll be doing Devil movies this year, I’ve decided to rebrand these Friday movie reviews as Faust Movie Friday!

Today, I’m talking about Crossroads from 1986 starring Ralph Macchio, Jami Gertz, and Joe Seneca.

1986 was a sweet spot for Ralph Macchio. He was in two movies that year; Karate Kid Part II and Crossroads. So he was at the height of his mainstream penetration. And Crossroads feels like an odd movie to do during this time. But I’m so glad that he did.  I’m a big fan of old blues music anyway, but there’s a lot to love about this lesser known, underappreciated movie.  And yes, the devil makes an appearance, and he’s a *great* version of Ol Scratch.

Before we get to Scratch, let’s talk about the movie in general.  There’s always been this old American folk tale about blues legend Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil so he could play the blues guitar like no one else.  This movie takes that small urban legend and runs with it.  We even start with that very image.  Robert Johnson at the Crossroads making his deal with someone who is clearly more than he seems.  We later learn it’s the Devil’s assistant.

We then cut to Eugene played by Ralph Macchio. A gifted classical guitarist who is studying at Juliard, but really only wants to play the blues.  He’s studied the blues, read about them.  Learned about all the legends and the tales.  So he thinks he’s tracked down blues legend Willie Brown, the last person to play with Robert Johnson before he died.  And Eugene hopes to talk to Brown to get the fabled “lost song” of Robert Johnson.  Willie says he’ll give it to him if Eugene breaks him out of the old folks home and takes him back to Mississippi.

So Eugene gets a part time job on the maintenance crew of the home.  You, know to help him “case the joint”.  And because it’s Ralph Macchio, he has to pop the collar of his coveralls while mopping the floor. Eugene then uses his maintenance access to break Willie out the home and they hit the road back to Mississippi.

And cue all the normal road trip events; they don’t have enough money, they get in trouble in a bar, they meet a wayward teen girl, steal a car, get harrassed by small town cops.  All the stuff you expect to see on a roadtrip movie but I’m thoroughly enjoying the trip.  The whole time we think Willie just wants to get out of the home and live the rest of his life back in Mississippi, but we later learn he has alterior motives.  Willie apparently made a similar deal to the same man as Robert Johnson, and Willie wants to go back to the Crossroads where he made the deal to get out of it.  And he’s using Eugene to get there.  However, along the way, Willie winds up teaching Eugene what it means to be a real blues man before the big final confrontation with Ol Scratch.

And here’s Ol Scratch.  Played by Robert Judd.  I don’t know where this guy came from, but he is an AMAZING on screen Devil.  Looking at his IMDB he’s only done 2 movies; one back in 1977, and then Crossroads.  But he is awesome as Scratch.  Like an old, friendly small town southern preacher.  But underneath, you can feel a bit of menace.  I’d forgotten how good Judd is as the Devil.  Anyway, Scratch won’t let Willie out of his contract unless he has something to bargain with.  Eugene offers himself.  Scratch suggests a contest between Eugene and his man, guitarist Jack Butler.  Winner take all.

Eugene agrees, and suddenly they are transported to what looks like a small barn being used as a blues bar.  And Eugene goes up guitar to guitar against Jack Butler, played by the awesome Steve Vai.  This final battle is really feast for the eyes and ears.  I love it.

Check it out for yourself.  But honestly, if you haven’t seen the movie, just watch the whole movie.  You won’t be disappointed.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Movie Friday: Christine

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, books, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture, Stephen King with tags , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Every year around Halloween I try to fill in the gaps in my Stephen King reading. I’d read a bunch of his books back in high school and in college, but then I lapsed for a while. So a few years ago I decided around Halloween each year I’d pick up a book I hadn’t read of his and read it for the spooky season. Over the last 10 years or so I’ve read the uncut The Stand, The Talisman, Salem’s Lot, The Shining and Needful Things. This year, I decided to finally read Christine. And since I’m reading the book, I thought I’d watch the movie as well, seeing as how I’d never seen it.

book movie

I was always fascinated by the idea of the story and was eager to dig in. I read the book first. And the book is actually a lot longer than I was expecting. The copy I read had over 500 pages. It’s typical early King, long on setup. But once you get past the halfway mark, things amp up considerably.  But don’t take that as a disparaging remark to the first half.  The fact that King takes the time to set up the concept and we get to live with the characters a little while, it makes the events in the end really affect the reader.  You know and care about the characters, so the horrific events at the end hit you hard. Since King is playing the long game we really get to know Arnie and when the changes start coming you can really see it.  Little events build up to bigger events until it all snowballs in the end to, honestly, catastrophic results.  And I like the motivations and explanations of Christine here in the novel.

I really enjoyed Christine as a horror novel and a King novel.  Is it my favorite?  No, but I’m glad I read it.  The next King book I’m going to tackle will probably be The Dark Half.

So after reading the book, I watched the movie.  Directed by John Carpenter, who was originally supposed to direct an adaptation of King’s Firestarter a few years earlier but it fell through.  After reading the book, I was a bit disappointed with the slightness of the movie.  I get it, it only has like 2 hours to do what King did in 500+ pages, I totally acknowledge that.  Carpenter’s directing is pretty great.  The movie is shot fantastically.  The car looks awesome.  I love the burning car sequence.  It’s just so relentless and horrific looking.  Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed with how the movie answers the motivations of Christine.  It’s different than the book and it just feels so…bleh.  It was evil from the day it was made?  Really?  Huh.  I didn’t love that, but I really liked the kids in the movie and overall I’m happy with how it turned out, but not surprisingly, I prefer the book.

Fangoria did cover Christine a few times.  With several articles.  The movie got a cover story in Fangoria #32 in 1984.

Fango 32 cover Fango 32 article

King’s novel would get a review in Fango’s Nightmare library a few issues earlier, Fangoria #30, in 1983.

Christine novel review 1 Christine novel review 2

It’s a positive review, for the most part, but the author uses so many metaphors it’s tough to really say for sure.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001) movie review

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2019 by Paxton

Fangoria Movie Friday

So, I’m finishing out the first two weeks of Elvira with a review of Elvira’s second movie, Elvira’s Haunted Hills from 2001.

Like Mistress of the Dark, I had never watched this one, so with the surprise of actually liking that first movie, I sat down to watch this one hoping to also like it.

And I didn’t.  It’s more of the same but not done as well.  Elvira is Elvira.  Double entendres abound.  It feels like it wants to be something like Young Frankenstein, or, to be more accurate, Haunted Honeymoon.  But the charisma of the cast (or lack thereof) can’t overcome the poor script and attempts at humor.  I know this was made on a shoestring budget, and it’s lampooning old Vincent Price Poe movies like The Pit and the Pendulum (the poster for which even had the giant swinging blade on it) and The Raven, which I honestly haven’t seen.  But it still didn’t land, meaning mainly the humor.

The sets for this movie were pretty great though.  The giant castle, as a set, worked very well and had lots of cool elements incorporated into the design including a small hidden door in the side of the giant fireplace (sidenote: I love giant stone fireplaces in castles).  And the overall story was actually not that bad, but this movie lives or dies on the humor and the humor just doesn’t work as well in this one as it did in the previous movie.  It was so MEH that I didn’t really have anything I wanted to talk about more in depth by pulling out screen grabs.  It’s just not as fun a movie as I wanted it to be.

I wish it wasn’t so, because I still love the character of Elvira.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira Mistress of the Dark (1988) movie review

Posted in Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2019 by Paxton

Fangoria Movie Friday

So this week has been all about Elvira.  You’ve seen articles and centerfolds.  Elvira has permeated pop culture especially during the Halloween season.  She has popped up in many random movies as a fun cameo. But there have been two Elvira specific movies released and I have watched neither of them.  So I thought now would be a good time to do that.

Today, for my very first time, I’m taking a look at the first Elvira movie; Elvira Mistress of the Dark from 1988.

movie poster

I can’t believe I’ve never watched this movie. It’s fun, it’s campy. It’s the perfect Elvira movie. Mostly comedy, with some spooky genre elements added in. I had a lot of fun with it.

Let’s take a look at a few highlights from the movie.


Title cards.

on the TV show set
The show opens up with Elvira on the set of her late night TV show. It’s a low budget local station so naturally she wants to get out of there and go to Vegas to become a showgirl.

Anchorwoman
This is an anchorwoman at Elvira’s TV station waiting to go on after Elvira finishes her show. She’s not very nice. She’s played by Tress MacNeille. Tress is sort of a legend in voice over animation work. She does voice work for Simpsons, Futurama, Animaniacs, and SO MANY other shows. Check out her IMDB. It’s insane. But, funnily enough, Tress would voice the character Booberella on The Simpsons which was a parody of Elvira.

A lot of this movie is what actors pop up from other genre pictures.

teens
Here are a few of the teens Elvira befriends in the movie. On the far left, is Ira Heiden, who played Will in Nightmare on Elm Street 3.  To the right of Ira is Kris Kamm who’s been in a ton of TV like Quantum Leap, 21 Jump Street, and Coach.

Kenicky!
Hey, it’s Kenicky! From Grease!

villain!
Here’s the villain, Vincent. He plays this up pretty well. He’s appropriately evil and English.  This guy has also been in a bunch of genre stuff like Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country, the old Fox TV show Werewolf, the Max Headroom TV series, Needful Things and Michael Bay’s Transformers.

Apple Slice!
Edie McClurg! I love 80s movies for vintage product placement. We get a scene at a town picnic and in it we see a bunch of old soda cans like this Apple Slice as well as a few vintage Diet Pepsi cans.


Elvira finally gets to Vegas at the end and we get to see a whole overblown Vegas number. It’s campy but fun.

This was a fun movie to watch.  Yes, it was campy, but that’s Elvira’s whole shtick.  The movie was entertaining and I enjoyed it.  Glad I finally watched it.

So next week.  I had so much fun doing Elvira this week, that I think I’ll do it again.  So, expect to see another week of Elvira goodness.  I’ll look at more movie and TV appearances as well as a few other surprises.  Come back next week to see what I have in store.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.