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Month in Review: August 2011

by on 2011/08/31

This month I got to spend some quality time in my natural habitat, communing with the enormous number of vampire movies in my collection. I realized I haven’t been spending enough time with the undead lately.

August was finally the time to tackle classics and boost the previously-anemic vampiric content of

Mostly, I got to watch a lot of Draculas. Draculi. I threw them mentally into a UFC cage for an epic grudge match.

Bela Lugosi emerged victorious. Naturally.

August was, as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer would say, a bit of a dawdle. It was fun, easy. In fact, the time I spent with all my beloved vampire films makes me mourn August’s entirely-too-quick passing. The dead …they travel fast.

Here’s my five: favourites, surprises, disappointments, least-liked, and the movie review that piqued my interest from my Darabonted co-reviewer.

Dracula (1931) on 2011/08/17

* * * * *

“This version of the classic has a competitive edge sharper than a vampire’s enlarged incisor. That edge over all other contenders is Bela Lugosi. Only Bela is Dracula. I’ve watched countless films and I can’t help but feel every single time, only Bela gets it absolutely perfect.”

Near Dark (1987) on 2011/08/29

* * * *

“Hacker Renders bought me this film several years ago. I have to admit I was initially a little put off by the cover art, a hamburger-faced Bill Paxton stared malignantly back at me. I hid the DVD away for months afraid of completely traumatizing people who might happen across it. I finally got around to watching it recently. I’ll cut to the chase, it is great. Moody, stylish and really, really bloody in all the right places, Near Dark is a film from the vampire school that teaches us the undead are dirty, dank and decidedly, discourteous.”

Seven Samurai (1954) on 2011/08/26

* * *

“Overall, it’s very uneven. Melodrama I can take. Over the top is occasionally fun. Goofy has its place in a comedy. But when all of these tendencies collide in a single disastrous heap, the results are sufficiently distracting to derail the piece as a whole. Such is the case in Samurai. As noted in the eerily similar The Searchers, some of the cast exhibit a kind of behavioural distress. Hyperactivity reigns supreme, in moments of joy and despair. Nearly everyone seems to scream and cry at the slightest provocation.”

I can’t tell you how long I have wanted to see this movie but I really think Mr. Renders is onto something here.

Van Helsing (2004) on 2011/08/30

* * *

“Van Helsing is all of the steam punk heroics and CGI action you can jab into your jaded eye sockets. Crammed with more villains than a gelatinous embryonic sack writhing with vampire progeny, Van Helsing gives us the ADHD versions of all of my favourite creatures: the Wolf Man, Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster. Van Helsing is the Universal Horror mashup for the youtube generation. Here’s the recipe: take all of the legendary Universal Monsters, blend them into a chunky batter and then press them into eco-green, mega power Nutraloaf energy bars for maximum awesomenicity.”

Show Me:
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) on 2011/08/19

* * * * *

“In truth, were I to hear it described with words like “friendship” and “hope” and, well, “redemption”, I’d probably not be impressed. “Uplifting” is usually a corny cliche, and yet The Shawshank Redemption more than earns it, provided you’re actually open to feeling anything. (Yeah, I’m talking to you, Gothy.)”

That’s Ms. Gothy to you, sir.

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