31 Days of Horror 2019: The Week in Horror – News and Recommendations for October 20th

Good morning, fiends! We’re bearing down on the big day. Watched anything interesting? At my house, we’ve been trying to watch more new stuff this year instead of the same traditional ones, although, how the hell do you not watch all the Halloweens in October?

Personally, I’ve been in the mood to fill some gaps in my Universal Monster and Hammer Horror films knowledge. Last week was Universal’s House of Frankenstein, which brought together a mad scientist (Boris Karloff) and a hunchback (J. Carroll Naish) in a traveling sideshow of revenge with Dracula (John Carradine, who I love as Drac), the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr), and the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange). It takes place a number of years after the events of Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman. It’s fun as hell, but also unsatisfyingly short. Karloff and Naish basically barrel through their own tale with brief run-ins with the other monsters. As much as I loved it, we could have used another half hour with a Frank and Wolfman re-match.

This week, it’s Hammer’s Taste the Blood of Dracula starring Christopher Lee (returning as Drac), Ralph Bates (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde), Geoffrey Keen (of a number of James Bond films), Linda Hayden (Blood on Satan’s Claws), Peter Sallis (the voice of Wallace in Wallace and Gromit), Anthony Higgins (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Martin Jarvis (the voice of Alfred in Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games). This one comes between Dracula Has Risen From the Grave and The Scars of Dracula. I’m not sure if this is the entry that married the Dracula mythos to satanism, which carried through the last of the Hammer Drac flicks, Dracula AD 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula, but at any rate it’s a fun entry, great cast and Lee seems to be enjoying himself a bit more, considering the fact that he was long over putting on the cape.

But what’s happening this week?

The big news seems to be Sam Raimi’s return to horror. There have been some rumors of a new Evil Dead film, which I’ve ignored. Ash vs The Evil Dead had a great ending and Bruce Campbell seemed ready to say goodbye to Ash, so file those rumors under ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Now it seems Raimi’s next film is an untitled horror film from the writers of Freddy vs Jason, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. All that we know right now is that it will be “Misery meets Cast Away.” That hasn’t stopped a few corners of the internet from simply reading Bloody Disgusting’s headline and speculating the long-rumored Freddy vs Jason vs Ash may finally be happening. But let’s put the brakes on that. Jason is still in legal limbo, Craven’s estate now holds the rights to Freddy, and Ash is retired. Most likely this is indeed a new, original horror film from Sam Raimi and that in and of itself is more than enough to look forward to.

From up in my neck of the woods, BCS Films are set to release their latest short film, Blood Oak, online on Halloween day and in the meantime have re-released their excellent Upstate crime short Proper Goodbye on all their video channels. I’ll have a full review of Blood Oak up before the premiere, but I can tell you now, put it on your schedule!

Just hitting Shudder is a film I’ve been eagerly waiting for to get a proper restoration and it has arrived from Severin! Wax Mask was meant to be a collaboration between Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, two titans of Italian horror who had a long-standing rivalry. Argento wanted to work on a production with Fulci after hearing the Godfather of Gore was in poor health and short on funds. They wrote the screenplay together but, sadly, Fulci passed away in pre-production. The directing chore fell to special effects artist Sergio Stivaletti. The resulting remake of the classic is an over the top, stylish, gory, and erotic horror fest with an amazing third act. Shudder has the new restoration streaming and it looks gorgeous, a huge step up from the VHS that has been floating around, but hard to find, for several years. Highly recommended, fiends!

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