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  • Mad Monster Party?

    Mad Monster Party?

    ★★★½

    If Mad Monster Party? isn't the direct ancestor of The Nightmare Before Christmas, I'll eat my Victorian cape. I don't know why I've never heard of this Rankin-Bass full-length feature, but I found it entirely delightful despite some pacing problems (padding and sometimes slow action) and unremarkable songs. Dr. Frankenstein (Boris Karloff) wants to retire and assembles all the classic monsters to his castle to announce he's leaving it to his timid nephew (who looks like Ron Howard, but which…

  • Dolls

    Dolls

    ★★★½

    Dolls proves Stuart Gordon didn't HAVE to go all rapey and over-the-top gory to craft a good chiller, and having putt a little girl (who's quite effective) at the center of it provided a good opportunity to keep things on the less lurid side of things. Anyway, creepy dolls creep people out, and sometimes, that's all you need. A sudden storm, lost travelers running to an old house for refuge, a toymaker, and that night, weird things start to happen,…

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  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★★

    In pre-show interviews, Robert Eggers said this of The Lighthouse, that he wanted to make another film about misery, but this time make it a comedy. I joked that if this was going to be a comedy, it would be like that one Ingmar Bergman comedy (Secrets of Women). And I didn't know how right I was (though as a horror film, it also has shades of Bergman's Hour of the Wolf). There are funny moments in it, as might…

  • Dagon

    Dagon

    ★★★

    The third and last of Stuart Gordon's Lovecraft adaptations (accepted that Castle Freak is only inspired by ol' H.P.), Dagon comes a dozen years too late. Had this adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth been made earlier, it might have starred Jeffrey Combs instead of look-alike (but talent-unalike) Ezra Godden, and could have brought to bear some of the crazy creature effects Gordon was then known for. The practical effects are relatively tame compared to earlier, better works, and when…