Music Box Massacre 7 Recap

This past Saturday, Oct. 15th, I entered myself into a world of pain by subjecting myself to the 7th annual Music Box Massacre, a 24 hour horror movie marathon, sure to cause discomfort and cramps, and possibly some uncomfortable naps. I was able to come out the other end of this marathon with my sanity intact and managed to only fall asleep once. In case you follow me on Twitter, you had a good idea of my increase in nonsensical ramblings and also got a good idea of my thoughts on the different movies. Now that it’s all over, I will do some short reviews of all 13 movies shown. Strap yourself in!


Waxworks (1924)

A silent film from 1920’s Germany, the story focused on a man in charge of writing spooky stories to accompany some wax figures he had in his carnival. The stories involved a man trying to steal some dude’s ring to impress his lover, some Russian Czar getting poisoned or something, and Jack the Ripper. Although I am normally terrified of German Expressionist films, this one didn’t really have much effect on me. It’s probably because it was established that each of these stories were imaginary, which explains away the surreal quality of each segment. The cool part was the live organ accompaniment, which made me wonder, and maybe one of you has an answer, do organists for silent films have sheet music, or do they just make shit up as it goes along? Either way, I don’t think I’ll recommend this movie to anyone, but I don’t think fans of this film give a shit what I think anyway.

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Night of the Eagle (Burn, Witch, Burn) (1962)

A professor of witchcraft-related things learns that his wife has been taking part in the mystical arts, AND HE GETS PISSED. After throwing out her magical objects, shitty things start happening to them. It is learned that other professors, after his job, were casting evil spells and that his wife was the only thing protecting him. This was pretty typical cheesy, hokey fun from the UK. Although it wasn’t necessarily scary, it was enjoyable to watch and hear the dialogue of what constituted a “horror” movie almost 50 years ago. I don’t think I’ll necessarily watch this again, but there wasn’t really anything wrong with it and encourage others to find this is 60’s horror movies are their thing.

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Vargtimmen (Hour of the Wolf) (1968)

Despite being familiar with the name, I had no idea what this movie was about. It involved a couple who lived on an island, with the man being a famous artist and the woman clearly being some loser. The fate of their relationship was made clear to be quite dependent on the man, who seemed indifferent to his companion’s existence.  Other people on the island start inviting the couple over for dinner, and we learn of their very open sexuality. We learn about the artist’s former lover, who he is clearly still interested in. From the other island residents’ pressure, the artist tells his partner to get fucked and shoots her, and he goes to the home of another island resident and finds his former lover. He embraces her, sexually, and leads to him basically going crazy. I think? Sure, that sounds right. This movie wasn’t too bad, and the entire time I couldn’t help but wonder where the wolves were and why this was playing at a horror marathon. It wasn’t until the last ten minutes that things were very David Lynch-y and surreal, which made it clear why it was being shown. I felt that this was a story about the things that can drive two people apart, and that the more time spent together, the more internal the madness and frustration gets, leading to nothing good. Maybe there was more, I don’t know, I didn’t have too strong of feelings either way, but there were some pretty cool visuals.

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The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Vincent Price plays a weirdo Dr. (Phibes) whose wife has died in a car accident. He takes it upon himself to stay alive, through a case of mistaken identity, and murder the individuals who operated on her. Each individual is killed off using a different Biblical curse, such as rats or locusts, until everyone is taken care of. The last curse if the curse of darkness, which he carries out himself by embalming and entombing him with his wife’s body forever. Vincent Price in color isn’t necessarily anything I encourage anyone to seek out, but Vincent Price in color also results in technicolor. A strange tale of revenge filled with more comedic moments than moments of horror, which then results in a feeling of unease. A fun movie that definitely deserves its cult following.

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The Wizard of Gore (1970)

From the mind of Herschell Gordon Lewis comes the story of a magician who pulls off gory illusions onstage. Rather than sawing women in half in coffins, he saws them in half in front of an audience and plays with their guts. Mysteriously, these women end up dying of their wounds later in the evening. After some investigating, it turns out that the magician is somehow in charge of it, and then it gets all Inception-y and weird about mind control or something. I love Blood Feast 2 but didn’t really like Blood Feast, so my expectations were pretty low for this one. Boy was I wrong! The acting was terrible, the dialogue awful, and the effects cheap. With all of these elements being combined, we got a hilariously terrible movie that caused everyone in the audience to laugh hysterically. On the quality level, it gets the worst rating, but on the entertainment level, it gets the highest, with my resulting rating being smack dab in the middle. Gotta play it safe.

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Halloween (1978)

I already reviewed this movie, so check out my full-length review here. I was a little disappointed at the quality of the print, but I guess after over 30 years of screenings, the film is going to get pretty shitty. I even thought that there was a problem with the screen, because the previous movie was also pretty orange/brown, but that’s what color film is, so what the fuck did I expect? Also, I couldn’t enjoy this movie quite as much as I should have because there was a woman shrieking behind me, and I assume she was friends with the people who spilled soda and beer on my shoes FOUR times during the massacre. Dammit.

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Poltergeist (1982)

I somewhat recently reviewed this movie as well, so check out that review here. Seeing this movie with a packed audience did make me appreciate it more for being a classic haunted house story. Even though I am typically more creeped out when ghost movies are subtle about the things taking place, this film plays as more of an adventure film than movies do these days. It sucks that Tobe Hooper constantly has to defend himself with his involvement in the movie, because other than a few interviews involving Spielberg that seem to be misconstrued, Hooper continues to explain he was the director, and Spielberg had other responsibilities. However, it really does look like a Spielberg movie, and there isn’t necessarily anything about it that gives away a direct connection to Hooper and his style. Feel free to chime in on that on in the comments.

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Pumpkinhead (1988)

I first saw this movie when Netflix Instant started, and only had vague memories of what had happened. I mentioned to JD, who also attended the massacre, that I had only remembered dirtbikes and Lance Henriksen. I guess that is the core of the movie, since a dirtbike kills Henriksen’s son, leaving no other choice for Henriksen than to summon the demon creature thing Pumpkinhead. Sounds friendly, doesn’t it? WRONG! Pumpkinhead starts killing the shit out of the preppy assholes responsible for killing his son, and there’s no stopping it. Not if Lance Henriksen has anything to say about it! The film ends with Henriksen turning into Pumpkinhead, ready to avenge the person who calls on the demon next. I wouldn’t say that this movie was bad or anything, just not really for me. It’s just Pumpkinhead running around in the dark, and Lance Henriksen looking like a creep. I guess considering Pumpkinhead was an original character, the design of it was pretty cool. Oh yeah, and dirtbikes are cool!

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Paura nella città dei morti viventi (City of the Living Dead) (1980)

Would you believe the Lucio Fulci would make a movie about the apocalypse that involved zombies and body parts being penetrated by sharp objects? A priest hangs himself in a cemetery which causes the gates of Hell to open, which isn’t good for anyone. Apparently this is all written in the Book of Enoch, which says that the impending apocalypse can be stopped if something or other happens before a certain day. Unfortunately, the time runs up, and the main characters fail, resulting in the film closing with the impending doom. I really had no idea what was going on through most of the movie, but having never seen it before, I kind of really liked it. I loved the surreal tone of the whole thing and the fact that it ended on such a negative note. When it comes to Italian horror I am more familiar with Argento, and I see the similarities in their style. Argento has a chain of mysterious events and they can be linked to individuals causing these things to happen, whereas Fulci has similar events happen, but it can’t be track down to one individual, rather a series of events. Both filmmakers have their ups and downs, just something interesting I noticed.

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The Vampire Lovers (1970)

I generally don’t like any vampire movies, so I didn’t expect to like this one. I knew this was a Hammer film, but am pretty inexperienced as far as all of those movies go. This took place in the 19th century and centered around a lady vampire, played by Ingrid Pitt, going to different households to seduce the young women. That was basically it! She would get all sexy up on them, they would fall for it, they would get bitten, then they would die. Don’t worry though, she was killed eventually. Pretty basic, but pretty entertaining as far as this sort of thing goes. I guess it’s because I can understand people falling for the seductive powers of a woman rather than a man, but that’s mostly because guys are idiots and love boobs. I also liked that this movie was made long enough ago that they didn’t have to adhere to concrete rules in the vampire world, and took some rules and ignored others. For example, garlic was able to be used to ward off the vampires, but going out in the daylight was just annoying, rather than causing explosions. Same thing with getting bit, that it was possible to just be drained to death, as opposed to turning into a vampire. It was still a vampire movie, but not too terrible of one.

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Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973)

Wanna know a great movie to play for people at 6AM who have been up all night? ANYTHING BUT THIS FUCKING MOVIE. A group of actors is brought to an island by their director because he keeps threatening to fire them if they don’t take part in some occult ceremony. Although the ritual was seemingly unsuccessful, the director digs up a corpse anyway and fucks around with it and acting like an asshole. Turns out, the ceremony DID work, and the dead come to life and kill the actors! The movie ends with the director being killed by the corpse he was fucking with. Yay! Goddammit this fucking thing was boring. The first hour was just a bunch of assholes talking about how they are actors, which was annoying as shit. This sucks, because I was looking forward to watching it, but I don’t know if it would have been any better at a different time of the day.

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The Sentinel (1977)

This one had been in my Instant Queue for a while but I knew I would see it here, so I put off watching it. A woman moves into an apartment building and meets all of the neighbors and they are all kind of eccentric. After mentioning eccentric neighbors to the landlord, she mentions that no one actually lives in the building other than the priest on the tope floor. Weird! I can’t remember exactly all of the events transpired, but we learn that the building is the entrance to Hell and all of the neighbors are demons trying to get out of Hell, and the priest is preventing them. The woman was drawn to the hotel because she, like the priest, at one point attempted suicide, dooming them to Hell. This opportunity of guarding the entrance to Hell is their chance at redemption, which the woman takes. This movie reminded me of John Constantine and The Devil’s Advocate. The idea of knowing you’re going to Hell and doing anything you can to save your soul, combined with a seemingly “normal” setting that turns into a much more supernatural world and being forced to choose your fate. Kind of weird, but kind of creepy and weird.

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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

The first time I saw this movie was on HBO on a late Friday evening and it scared the shit out of me. George Clooney plays this douche with a siqq tribal neck tat who is on the run to Mexico with his brother, played by Quentin Tarantino. They hijack a family, consisting of Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, and some Chinese kid (which isn’t racist or anything because Harvey Keitel calls him Chinese), and their RV and head to a bar called the Titty Twister. This is one crazy bar! So crazy, that at one point, all of the strippers, waitresses and bartenders turn into vampires and start killing the patrons. Vampires are killed, people are killed, and the only survivors are George Clooney and Juliette Lewis, and go their separate ways. When the camera pans out, we see that the bar is at the top of some crazy ruins that lead us to believe there are still a shit ton of vampires left! Noooo!!!! I’m glad they played this movie last, because the story is kind of dumb, but that dumb story has some clever lines and fun special effects interjected into it. Not to mention some great performances by Harvey Keitel, Fred Williamson, and Tom Savini. Not necessarily something I would ever own, but probably something I would stop and watch if I was flipping through the channels on the TV.

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AND THAT, MY FUCKING FRIENDS, IS THAT. Holy shit, reviewing 13 movies takes a lot longer than I fucking thought it was, even though I knew all the things I wanted to say. Well, I still forgot some things, and if I remember them later I might edit this post, so make sure you leave some comments that might remind me. I attended my first massacre three years ago and fell asleep multiple times during multiple movies, and was proud that I only got bored to fucking death that one time with the dead children playtime. Back to our regularly scheduled programming!

4 responses to “Music Box Massacre 7 Recap

  1. 1. you’re stupid about that pumpkinhead rating
    2. i got teary-eyed during two movies
    3. i think the sentinel guarded the gate to EDEN
    4. i yawned 6 times and nodded a couple but never fell asleep; therefore
    5. i’m better than you

    • 1) Whatever, Henriksen superfan
      2) I didn’t know they made you so emotional
      3) If Beverly D’ Angelo wasn’t in it, IT AIN’T EDEN
      4) Nodded? As in, you agreed with what was going on in the movies?
      5) I concur!

  2. man if you liked cotld youd love the beyond. pumpkinhead couldve been sooo much more. big berman fan but yea, hour of the wolf does not fit at the massacre, nor is it a horror movie. the sentinel, love its sleaze and christina raines is a total babe. the line up this year seems consistently mediocre, compared to how they normally have a few gems and a whole lotta crap.

    doing a series called visual assault on my tumblr if yous gots the time.

    • Honestly, I’d rather one or two gems and then mediocre ones I haven’t seen. I think the last time I saw you I was going to tell you to I was going because of the Halloween/Poltergeist/Pumpkinhead announcement. Plus I had only seen 4 of the 13 so I was fine with seeing stuff for the first time. I will make sure to keep my EYES out for all of your ocular disfigurements. Hey-o!

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