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Discussion in 'General' started by maskull, Sep 26, 2016.
TOTAL MOVIES WATCHED: 70
And Finally....My Halloween Watches!!!!
Movie 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, & 113:
Paranormal Activity (2007): While I still like this movie and find it to be pretty creepy and wonderfully inventive for such a low budget film, this time around Micah really annoyed me...even more than usual....to the point that he took me out of the mood a couple of times. But he didn't kill the spider so he's not all bad.
The Witch (2015): I love the look of the movie, the period in which it takes place, the "superstitions" of the people and how it affects their lives, the score is haunting/terrifying and there are some amazing performances. I also love the goat.....I just didn't really enjoy the movie. I never really got sucked into it or felt any sort of fear or chills. The only thing I actually felt was sorry for Tomasin....ok I felt a little depressed throughout the movie but that's it. I can appreciate the craftsmanship of the movie and I can enjoy it historically. I just don't think I'll be able to enjoy it as a movie that I want to watch.
Suspiria (1977): To this day I don't know why there's a room of razor wire in a dance school or why someone would jump into it, but logic doesn't really matter in an Italian horror film. It's about the visuals and the score and Suspiria has that for sure. I can just be walking along, minding my business when all of a sudden the word "WITCH!!!" pops into my head and for the rest of the week, the score for Suspiria is on repeat in my brain. Pretty effective huh?
Halloween (1978): Um...It's Halloween. I watched Halloween. It's awesome! Need I say more?
Trick `r Treat (2007): Captures the mood of Halloween perfectly and has some scares, some laughs and some really, really cool visuals. This has become an annual tradition for me.
Tales Of Halloween (2015): A little too silly to be scary and not silly enough to be fun most of the time. A lot of the segments also feel rather unfinished, but there's still nothing terribly horrible here, just underwhelming. The most fun of this movie is spotting the horror celebs and references. I think my favourite segments were: Friday the 31st which is just goofy fun with lots of spraying blood, and The Ransom of Rusty Rex which has a couple of kidnappers snatching a rich dude's son, only to find out why the father doesn't want his kid back. The reactions of the kidnappers are priceless!
Night Of The Demons 2 (1994): Brian Trenchard-Smith shows up to direct this time around and he *ahem* classes up the proceedings with more boobs, more goo and more karate(???). Not to mention a Nun spewing one-liners and wielding rosary beads and a squirt gun full of holy water. Angela's back as well as the lipstick and Angela does another dance, this time to some Morbid Angel. Coolness. Anyway this one is even less serious than the first one and as such is a lot of fun!
The Wolf Man (1941): Is there anything better than Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man, running through the fog and attacking people?
Happy Halloween Everyone!
I didn't manage to watch any more movies, though I did see a few episodes of Black Mirror (season 3). I hope I am long dead before any of those worlds become reality - especially the one from the first episode - it's almost enough for me to stop all participation in social media.
Halloween 2 coming up here in a minute. I love the eerie doomy dread of it. It really encompasses the late hour of Halloween night for me.
More Important is my kid (6) went out as a demon clown with a bloody machete with my wife a zombie and me Pazuzu. We went a few blocks over in Santa Monica where they have these huge homes that get the full on candy cane lane treatment (but dressed for Halloween). It was a blast. I'm talking full props, huge graveyards, music, kids. The police block off the street. Good times.
Catching up with the listings. Have to wait until tomorrow for the Halloween listings, didn't get as many in this year (particularly over the weekend, stuff just came up). Ratings are out of ****.
10/29/16 - The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976) ***
A highly independent young girl manages her day to day life in a rural house, which is jeopardized by an intrusive landlord and her pedophile son. Their intimidation escalates, a local constable gets curious about the situation and her always absent father, a social misfit teenage boy becomes a confidant, all leading the girl to drastic action to keep the sanctity of her home.
This is a drama or mild suspense story, not a horror film. The performances by all five leads are stand out, of course none more so than Jodie Foster's. The young girl is the textbook example of the "13 going on 33" mentality, being savvy, fierce independent, territorial, and even a bit paranoid. The landlord and her son are particularly slimy, for different reasons, and hamsters would be well advised to avoid both.
The story itself is straight forward, even pedestrian. It is the dialog and performances that stand out. Some suspension of belief is required, that none of the cover up activities would have been better witnessed or figured out by the locals, or that the not so stupid as he sometimes acts constable didn't maintain suspicion. And Foster's narrative monologue in the middle act, explaining everything about the cellar, is too convenient and tidy. But the film is still a smart, witty suspense flick, almost deserving classic status.
10/30/16 - The Conjuring (2013) ***
More well known lessons from horror films. If your dog won't go somewhere, you shouldn't either. If part of your house was walled up, keep it that way. If your daughter and neighborhood birds develop a habit of head banging without heavy metal music being played, it is time to move.
After moving into an old rural house, strange happenings escalate to terrorizing of a family. A consultation with paranormal investigators reveals a dark past that threatens to spread to anyone involved.
A nice throwback to old style possessed house films. The manifestations are mostly minimal effects, not excuses for dazzling visual displays (mostly, there is an excessive scene involving a swarm of birds). The slightly run down house is suitably creepy, if rather ridiculously equipped with secret sealed off areas. Little time is wasted on red herrings or cheap fake scares, nearly every scene is to the point. The film style is a transitional mix of dramatical, documentary, and found footage - and the mix works.
There are flaws, of course. Logic flaws, like a room full of dangerous cursed relics that isn't kept locked from an inquisitive daughter, and a seasonal weather home with a concealed and sealed off cellar that happens to be where the furnace is. Plot wise, an unnecessary side track haunting in the investigators' home involving the Annabelle doll, and an overly sappy ending. Nevertheless, this could qualify as a future classic in the genre.
Oct. 31st: HALLOWEEN!
Cabin in the Woods (2012)
We were busy packing for a vacation, so I didn't have a lot of time--wanted something easy and fun. Cabin in the Woods is exactly that. Gore, nudity, laughs, in-jokes for horror fans; this hits a sweet spot for me. And a mer-man! And a killer unicorn! And Amy Acker! Plus, it even has two or three decent scares. The finer details are what keep me coming back--the various glass cages, the other cities where the sacrifices are being made; there's a fun little world built in this film, and since it covers so many sub-genres of horror, it's a perfect Halloween film for me.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to post their watchlists and thoughts. This is a great thread and it made those 31 days just fly by.
For something different this year I decided to watch the first season of American Horror Story. I've only seen Coven and Freak Show. Really enjoyed the first season. Especially the history of the house. A certain maid was also pretty great.
Hope everybody had a great Halloween!
Total Watched: 113
First Time Watches: 81
Top 13 First Time Watches:
1. House Of Wax 3D (Andre de Toth 1953)
2. The Cat (Seung-wook Byeon 2011)
3. Diabolique (Henri-Georges Clouzot 1955)
4. Mr. Jones (Karl Mueller 2013)
5. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Charles Barton 1948)
6. Night of Death! (Raphael Delpard 1980)
7. Don't Deliver Us From Evil (Joel Seria 1971)
8. Bath Salt Zombies (Dustin Mills 2013)
9. Cat In The Brain (Lucio Fulci 1990)
10. Visible Secret (Ann Hui 2001)
11. Bad Dreams (Andrew Fleming 1988)
12. Dark Water (Walter Salles 2005)
13. The Bloodstained Butterfly (Duccio Tessari 1971)
Thank you to everyone for taking part. I added a bunch more movies to my "To Watch" list...though I'm not sure if that's a good thing. Either way it was fun reading your thoughts on what you watched. Now it's time to go catch up on all the TV shows I've been neglecting this month. See you next year!
I watched some over the last few days that i didn't get a chance to write about. so i'll just list them here and give a few thoughts:
18. Martin (George A Romero, 1977) (4/5)
Hadn't seen this in a long time. Really enjoyed it. Often Romero's films feel very rough around the edges to me, and it's no surprise he got his start in industrial films. But this, unlike so much of his stuff, has a real sense of style and artistry. It's really well made.
19. Legion (William Peter Blatty, 1990) (3/5)
So obviously, based on the title, this was the alternate director's cut. I've never been a fan of this movie, and i was hoping that would change. unfortunately it did not. its a beautifully photographed movie, very well acted, but the story is so dull, and scenes that should be scary (like those in the cell with Brad Dourif) are instead all exposition. it also meanders around for most of its running time before arriving at any kind of a plot. its not until over an hour in that Dourif flatly tells George C. Scott what the entire plot is. So yeah...beautiful, well acted, but boring as all hell.
20. Ouija (Stiles White, 2014) (2.5/5)
I was curious about the sequel, so i watched this first. standard millenial horror stuff. very mediocre and forgettable. not bad enough to be hated, but nothing at all special.
21. The Conjuring (James Wan, 2013) (3.5/5)
So everybody and their mother seemed to think this was the scariest thing in the world a few years ago. After watching Ouija, I decided to check it out. It was fine. Well made, well told. But pretty generic. I can't imagine why anybody would watch it more than once.
22. Trick R Treat (Michael Dougherty, 2007) (3*/5)
I didn't think much of this when it came out, but decided to give it another shot because it seems so universally loved. Also, I liked the idea of beginning the month with one anthology (Tales of Halloween) and ending it with another. To be fair, I didn't get to finish it last night. I plan to finish it tonight. I'm about half an hour into it, but honestly, it feels the way i remember it. loaded to the gills with visual references to Halloween, but not particularly interesting. Certainly not scary. Perhaps it will pick up in it's final hour. I do kind of want to like this. But so far, I think Krampus is a much better film.
So there you go! Happy Halloween, everybody! This was (as always) a lot of fun. Can't wait for next October.
80) The Witch
81) It Follows
82) Session 9
83) Blair Witch Project
Another year in the books. I got to watch everything that I wanted and had a grand time doing it as usual. See you all again next year!
First time viewings are in Orange
October Madness recap
10/1- The Hallow (5/10)/Preservation (4/10)/The Interior (6/10)
10/2- The Dead Room (4/10)/Anguish (6/10)/The Abandoned (4/10)
10/3- The Girl in the Photographs (5/10)/#Horror (5/10)
10/4- The Purge: Election Year (6.5/10)/31 (6/10)
10/5- I Am Not A Serial Killer (7/10)/The Devil's Dolls (3/10)
10/6- Ava's Possessions (6/10)/The Taking of Deborah Logan (7.5/10)
10/7- We Are Still Here (8/10)/Darling (8/10)/They Look Like People (6/10)/Lights Out (6/10)
10/8- Contracted: Phase II (5/10)/Cabin Fever (2016) (4/10)
10/9- Sacrifice (5/10)/They're Watching (7/10)
10/10- Amnesiac (4/10)/Dementia (5/10)
10/11- 13 Cameras (5/10)/The Good Neighbor (6/10)/Hush (7/10)
10/12- Phantasm: Ravenger (6/10)/The Mind's Eye (7/10)/The Neon Demon (8/10)
10/13- Shelley (8/10)/The Ones Below (6/10)/Antibirth (2016) (7/10)
10/14- Yoga Hosers (5/10)/Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence (3/10)
10/15- When Animals Dream (7/10)/Under the Shadow (8/10)
10/16- Re-Kill (5/10)/What We Become (6/10)
10/17- The Pack (5/10)/Stung (5/10)
10/18- Night of the Living Dead (1968)/Dawn of the Dead (1978)/Day of the Dead (1985)
10/19- Waxwork/Waxwork II: Lost in Time/Killer Klowns from Outer Space
10/20- Monster Squad/Night of the Creeps/Fright Night (1985)/Night of the Demons
10/21- Shaun of the Dead/Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon/What We Do in the Shadows
10/22- Evil Dead (1981)/Evil Dead 2
10/23- Return of the Living Dead/An American Werewolf in London
10/24- Severance/Cabin in the Woods
10/25- Slugs/The Hills Have Eyes (1976)/Carrie (1976)/The Exorcist III
10/26- Cell (2016) (6/10)/The Wailing (4/10)/The Shallows
10/27- Creepshow/Trick r Treat
10/28- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)/Halloween (1978)
10/29- VHS/VHS2/Paranormal Activity/[REC]
10/30- Scream/House of 1000 Corpses/Ginger Snaps/Idle Hands
10/31- The Witch/It Follows/Session 9/Blair Witch Project
Grand Total: 83
Top Ten First Time Viewings
1) The Neon Demon
2) Under the Shadow
3) We Are Still Here
6) The Taking of Deborah Logan
7) The Mind's Eye
8) They're Watching
10) Antibirth (2016)
Watched Halloween late night last night, keeping the tradition alive. I honestly can't remember the last Halloween I didn't watch Carpenters masterpiece. But this was the first year I watched on dvd, I've been wearing out my vhs copy year after year.....but it was a treat to see it in widescreen. I wanted to follow it up with Halloween 2 but I couldn't keep my eyes open. That's the downfall of cracking your first Halloween beer at 11am
I believe my overall film count for the month was 34. Which included a couple of theatrical movies, some older classics which were new to me, and some of my all time favorites. I didn't get in as much NEW horror this year as I would have liked. But then again, there's always November.....December....etc I find it hard to trust new flicks though, especially around the 31st. Time is precious and I usually reserve those slots for classics I know I'll enjoy.
I always watch a Noir movie on Halloween. My two favorite American actresses are Jean Peters and Veronica Lake, so I wanted to pick something with one or the other. I went with 'A Blueprint For Murder' with Jean Peters and Joseph Cotten.
Man, I was impressed by this movie. Most of the opinions I've read about it say that it's a non-descript/average Noir. Im a pretty good guesser of endings/who did it, but I couldn't guess this one correctly (and even after I thought I had it figured out, I didn't).
The basic story is that a father and daughter die under mysterious circumstances. Did the step-mother do it or not, and is the surviving child in danger? This movie deserves to have a bigger reputation than it does. Both Jean Peters and Joseph Cotten are really great in it.
37) 10/23 Ben Mankiewicz Presents, The Shining (1980) [theater]
First time I've seen this in the theaters and it felt almost like seeing it for the first time; like I'd only read the book. While it's still a very entertaining movie it's certainly Kubrick's sloppiest film since Killer's Kiss. Some scenes feel uneven and out of place. For example you could probably put Jack's talk with Danny on the bed earlier in the movie (if not for some plot references) and when Jack's giving the "Kubrick Look" staring outside that could probably get pushed later. They're little things but I think contribute to Jack's uneven turn. Seeing it on the big screen I felt Nicholson's performance was a little more subtle because on the big screen you're able to better see the little things he was also doing. Still this is an absolute favorite and I enjoyed the theatrical experience more than with Dr. Strangelove (which is my absolute favorite).
Ben didn't have much to add about this movie, beyond the fact that it wasn't actually shot at one hotel (films rarely are all one location). He didn't even talk about the different edits which this advertising campaign had a bunch of ballyhoo for (as this was the longer US cut, so internationally much of this was hard to see.) I'm getting less and less impressed with these bookends, although Planet of the Apes with Dana Gould as Dr. Zaius was tremendous (and Ben played it well too). We get better crane shots when he introduces movies on the TV! These all feel like they were shot at the end of the day before everyone went home. We're paying good money here, at least surpass what I see when I stay at home!
38) 10/24 The Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror (1981)
I was finally going to be able to check this off my bucket list in the theaters when the dollar theater that scheduled this took it off their calendar. Damn! So I finally cracked open the Limited Edition Blu-ray I've been sitting on and was pleasantly surprised when it gave me the option to watch it in 1.33:1 and the "original" cut! So yes the lightening bolt is intact and the zoom on Cheryl's face is the original shot. I use to watch this through high school on Halloween after the trick 'r treaters had gone home for the night (I think I stopped when I went to college). So it's been in the back of my mind for a long time.
One of the strengths of this film was the fact that Cheryl for all intent and purpose is seen as the final girl, and Ash(ley) is presented as a background character the film whittles its way down to him Ten Li'l Indians style. Slowly pulling him forward. But it's impossible now for modern audiences so familiar with the franchise to appreciate the brilliant pains this film takes culling that. It's almost like the whole film is thrown in chaos when Cheryl is the first one to be possessed. If there was ever film that needed to be re-evaluated stone cold it's this one. Imagine what it would have been like sitting down in a packed theater to all witness this for the first time?
39) 10/25 Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)
Got the urge to watch this after Re-Animator. There are movies that make you second guess humanity, and then there are movies that make you want to press the red button. This one goes so far as to make you want to flick the clear plastic cover off. It goes beyond misogyny though. The main character isn't especially sexist, even for his own time you could probably say he was more enlightened. He seems to bury his own personal emotions in his quest. And then there's the misandrist herself who's out and out sexist and she's spared. No, the goal here seems to be total destruction: Cthulhu would approve!
What is funny though is all the Frankenstein motifs of human transplants itself is all so routine and common today that modern audience probably do feel a certain amount of sympathy for our mad doctor. Which makes for an odd mix where the horror of the act isn't what's wrong to the audience, it's how he goes about it. Later influences on Stuart Gordon and Frank Henenlotter are crystal clear. It's almost like Gordon and Henenlotter are remaking this film rather than Lovecraft of Shelley.
40) 10/25 Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, the Sequel to the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror (1987)
This was always my favorite of the series, but I don't know... This time it didn't really feel that way. Normally I love everything up to the part when the rest of the cast shows up, and then it seemed to bog down. But now it seemed to drag through all that and picked up its second wind when the scooby gang shows up.
One part I always like that seems to go unmentioned is when the spectre of Annie's father comes back to warn them. It has a very stage bound Christmas Carrol feel to it unlike anything else in the series. All the sound work, makeup and EFX work are all very reminiscent of the 40's. When you watch that scene it's very much like, "Where the hell did that come from?!?" And then it's almost as quickly forgotten! It also reinforces something brought up in all three films but rarely touched upon; all those possessed are being tortured imprisoned. Daylight and one's own willpower can overcome the possession; but once the body is lost the soul remains in torment. Every possessed person killed is left to torment, seemingly for all eternity! Makes one perhaps reconsider all the slicing and dicing Ash does (especially early on with little provocation).
41) 10/26 Bruce Campbell VS. Army of Darkness, the Ultimate Experience in Medieval Horror (1992)
As a fan of Ray Harryhausen since I was a wee little lad it doesn't get much better than this film. It's not just one small sequence we've got here, the final third Act is just entirely a skeleton army storming a medieval castle! I must have seen it on TV the first year it hit the airwaves and I just can't get enough of it. I seemed to have a sixth sense when it was on TV because I could find it seemingly every week much to my mom's dismay (good thing we had a second TV!). It was actually something of a serendipity that I saw this first when I was younger and then once I was older got to go back and see the gorier beginnings. It's kinda like growing up into the series. Magically stuff.
42) 10/27 The Dr. Demento Halloween Show starring Dr. Demento! (2016) [theater]
Before the show they had an organist dressed up like The Phantom playing some seasonal tunes (on the 75yo house organ) while Frankenstein's Monster roamed the aisles playfully intimidating people (pretty good costume). And a smoke machine going all though the show. It's an old theater so it was very inductive of the season.
Not knowing quite what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. D came out and sounded exactly the same as he does on the radio! Sometimes people sound a little different over the air, and maybe the house sound helped, but he was his same old demented self! It was rather surreal listing to him with a crowd, giving shout outs and cat calls all at appropriate times during the night. He mostly gave a biographical one man show, playing key songs during these moments of his career along with supplementing videos. It was a solid two hour event, with about 15 minute break in-between hours.
Right after the break he dedicated a large part of the next hour to seasonal songs like Screaming Jay Hawkins. He also played Zacherley's Dinning With Drac which was apropos as he died that very evening! He also closed the show talking about the years of FCC censorship he experience on the radio, something us horror fans can all relate to.
43) 10/28 Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
It's Frankenstein Friday! But in keeping with my theme this month I put in Yuzna's follow up, crossing my finger's all the while as I'd not seen it and have heard mixed things. But I found myself enjoying it from start to finish.
This one's a little more out and out b-movie but also more Frankensteinian since they're building The Bride's body piece by piece. Doesn't even try to explain what happened to Meg or Herbert at the end of the first, but honestly who needs that? They seemed to rely more on genre conventions here and broader comedy that's probably more straight forward than black humor. But I adored that they put bat wings on Dr. Hill's head as that is a common motif in spook comedies. Add the cemetery and crypt and you've got yourself a ghoulish good time!
00) 10/28 Frankenstein (1910)
I'd seen the '31 and '35 films earlier in the month, but I always like to dust off this ol' chestnut during the season and I had to watch something of this namesake for Frankenstein Friday. The alchemy angle is an approach rarely used but probably more inline with what Mary Shelley was envisioning. The exact methodology is never explain in Shelley's novel (nor is it really addressed here). Perhaps a cross between both the more clinical approach we see now and the magical mystique the sciences had then. One has to wonder if Lovecraft ever saw this. He would have been in his early twenties at the time and on the East Coast so that may place him within reach of Edison's distribution (I'd imagine). Its twist ending may have been intriguing to him but probably as unsatisfying is it is now.
creepy doctor: I'll be right back with your drink...
Crow: And a Milwaukee Saws-all!
My final write up, of the final day's viewings. Ratings are out of ****.
10/31/16 - WyrmWood (2013) **1/2
When a meteor shower lights up the Australian Outback, all but a few people become flesh hungry undead - and high octane, to boot.
An action focused bit of cinematic fun, entertaining but not ground breaking. There are a lot of quick edit scenes, action music driven, and for the most part they're very engaging. The characters are fun to watch, including the villains, and have enough distinctness to keep interest even as they are quickly disposed of. Then there is the whacked out scientist conducting zombie to human spinal fluid transplants in a mobile lab, who is a show onto himself.
Most of the deviations from Romero zombie lore are played for kicks or interesting plot devices. Like having the zombies move either fast and slow depending on the time, and for a reason - and that reason having a very amusing use for transportation purposes. Why the plague doesn't strike everyone is interesting explained as well. All in all it is an edgy bit of popcorn fare, worth the time for a rental.
The Babadook (2013) ***1/2
A young widow - lonely, exhausted, and stressed out over her son with behavioral problems - finds a scary children’s book that summons an even scarier visitor. As sleep deprivation and stress build her condition rapidly deteriorates, bringing hallucinations and fugue states until she finally snaps. But is her state psychotic depression, or supernatural possession?
Another slow build tension film, with a depressingly sympathetic protagonist. Not since the original Dark Water (another film I view highly) has a single mother pushed to the breaking point had such supernatural misery heaped further upon her. The drain of coping with a child whose serious need for intense therapy slowly killing her, what follows turns her positively haggard.
A fair bit of dislike has been aimed at the film for various reasons. Primarily the lack of closure or clarity for the ending, and the grating nature of the kid. I found those to be strengths, the intentionally ambiguous ending profound, the kid an accurate representation of how severely a special needs child can cause personal needs and parental love to collide. The acting chops of both main actors was in my opinion incredible.
Many of the scenes conveyed a stunningly effective nightmarish quality, both the ones intended to scare and those simply to unnerve. Whether viewed as mental breakdown or haunting, rarely have I seen surreal done better. And the creature effects (another area of criticism) were creative, distinctly freakish, and very frightening. Because of the polarizing reactions people have with this movie, it is definitely a try before you buy. For me, it is a short list keeper and a definite candidate for a rewatch.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) ***1/2
Along with Deliverance this film's iconic impact probably permanently crippled tourism to redneck country. And added suspicion of all roadside barbeque. As well as instill a pathological dread of picking up hitchhikers.
Just the second rewatch in this year's marathon, of a landmark film that needs no introduction. I hadn't partaken of the 40th Anniversary Blu-ray yet, and wanted to end the marathon with a classic while at the same time clearing an unwatched disk from the roster. The picture and sound quality of the Blu-ray were awesome, particularly given the film's age and production.
No one on this board needs to be convinced about this film, but I can't help but heap praise on it. First, this wasn't merely an experience never before presented to theater audience eyes, it gouged those eyes out with a rusty fork then teeth gnashingly ate them while raping the empty sockets. Right from the outset the film assaulted the senses with grisly imagery and kept the shocks coming. And the direct, curt cinematic style to this day has never been outdone, conveying horror with an effectiveness modern cinema with its flashy and overblown scenes has no clue how to match.
The scenery...where to begin? The graveyard, the cow slaughter pens, the roadkill armadillo, the spider infested abandoned house. And that family home has to remain the most disgustingly creepy house ever portrayed in cinema. Add in a chillingly jarring, almost organic musical score. And the amazingly competent acting for a low budget, maverick production.
The primal effectiveness of the blunt and brutal portrayal of the kills remains unsurpassed in any film I've seen since in my half century existence. Most style imitations have failed so miserably that film makers generally don't try, instead using the threadbare standard approach of over dramatic. But we all remember THAT scene - the pig like squealing, the trip over the ramp at the doorway leading to the red wall of skulls, the side step into view by Leatherface, the heavy drop of the hammer, the reflex jerking stilled by the follow up smack, the drag of the body and the slamming shut of the metal door. A mere 16 seconds, start to finish. Both the visuals and the stunned senseless horror felt on first seeing it will remained etched in our brains until the grave. For me, no scene has ever topped it, and probably never will.
And before we could regain our composure, the live hanging on the meat hook. Then just when we thought we knew the direction this brutality freight train was coming from, the freakish family dinner slams into our comprehension from another angle.
Brilliant, just brilliant.
October 31st: Tourist Trap
A movie which I have revisited several times, each time hoping to like it. And I don’t so much dislike it so much as leaving it feeling a bit disappointed, having hoped that it would get under my skin more than it did. It’s made up of elements which I would normally appreciate – wrong turn horror à la The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a masked maniac, creepy mannequins, chase scenes, and a parapsychological phenomenon (telekinesis). For one thing, the movie asks us to accept that more than one character has trouble distinguishing between living individuals and inanimate mannequins – two things that the viewer can easily tell apart. Pino Donnagio’s score supports the sentimental aspects of the movie well, but when the movie needs it to build suspense, it just doesn’t get the adrenaline pumping. A movie with an interesting premise, but one that I feel falls short of its potential.
…and Blue Sunshine
A man loses his wig and his sanity at a party, killing three women. A friend of his, played by Zalman King, becomes a suspect and must find out what made the bald guy go nuts to clear his own name. A notch below his two other golden age genre efforts (Squirm and Just Before Dawn), Jeff Lieberman’s acid-themed horror has some genuinely creepy moments, even if they are spaced somewhat far apart. King is an intense dude with interesting features, but the amateur sleuthing aspect is a bit undercooked. The movie definitely works best when the balding former acid users get their freak on – the finale at the mall is suspenseful and good for a jump scare or two. I'd ultimately recommend it to those with a taste for creative low-budget 70's horror.
...and Trick ‘r Treat
Obviously it will not replace the original Halloween or Halloween II as my go-to Halloween movie. To put it bluntly, it's nowhere near as scary. But it is visually arresting and filled with seasonal charm, and I would love to see a sequel.
And now I'm feeling the post-October blues, wishing I'd have crammed more horror movies in there. But we did get to throw a fun Halloween party for the kids at work, with my contribution being a dark, haunted basement with two of the older kids in zombie makeup and myself as a Japanese ghost girl giving those who dared to enter a good scare.
I don't think your assessment is incorrect at all, but I saw this as a child and it has a lasting, undeniable power over me because of that hardwired first viewing. As an adult we've seen a lot of these narrative motifs a million times, but at 6 or 7 or whenever I saw this it was seriously heavy, spooky stuff.
It's not so much familiarity with the narrative motifs that dampens the impact of Tourist Trap on me as the execution. I've seen Halloween quite a few times, and it still scares me. I first saw Tourist Trap around the time that I first saw Halloween, and TT never had that effect on me. And like I said, it has all the ingredients on paper. If only the cinematography had been tighter and the score more harrowing.
That's interesting. I think in both score and cinematography, Halloween is notably superior. But I don't find either of those things to be a problem for me in Tourist Trap (well.. the score is a little off the mark). I'll have to revisit it again, but it is one of my childhood favorites to this day. I even have the poster for it framed and hanging in my office right now.