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31 Days of Horror (Day 31)

31 Days of Horror
31. Halloween

This should be a surprise to anyone.  Halloween has been a film I've watched every single Halloween since the sixth grade.  It has become tradition to the point that even if I don't watch many horror movies throughout October, I still make time to sit down and watch this at the end of the month.  It's funny how it's evolved too.  The first time I started the tradition was with a copy that I had taped off of FX because I wasn't old enough to watch the film uncut.  I watched that tape several times till I finally was able to upgrade.  I'll be upgrading to the Blu-Ray soon enough, so maybe next year I'll get to see this movie in the best quality possible.

As for the movie, it amazes me every time I watch it.  It is easily one of my favorites of all time and it never gets old.  I notice new things every time I watch it.  And the more and more I'm exposed to things behind the camera, the more I appreciate this movie.  The tracking shots, the perfectly lit night shots, it all adds up to a film that goes above and beyond the standard of modern horror movies.

And this concludes my series 31 Days of Horror.  Thank you muchly for reading and check out the site tomorrow because I'll be announcing another series that I think you'll rather enjoy.  So I guess I'm just trying to say...I'll be back.

31 Days of Horror (Day 30)

31 Days of Horror
30. An American Werewolf in London

This movie.  If I could pick one horror movie to watch for the rest of my life, this would be it.  Sure, I like others more but as far as re-watchability, this movie is unparalleled.  The characters are some of the best in a horror movie, and the struggles of being a werewolf have never been done this good.  They never take the corny route and play it straight when needed, and go with dark humor when a break is needed.  These moments are intertwined to make for a perfectly balanced film.

That transformation scene though...wow.  That scene is clearly the epitome of practical special effects in the 80's.  Hell the Academy Awards made an entirely new category just because of the transformation scene.  When you're creating new categories for the Oscars, you know you're doing something right.  It's too bad that Landis' career has been so tainted by the events of Twilight Zone: The Movie.

Also, how gorgeous is the Nurse?  Hubba-hubba.

31 Days of Horror (Day 29)

31 Days of Horror
29. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

I started out this series with a Nightmare film so I figured having one near the end would be a good bookends.  And after witnessing the amazing Hi-Def transfer of the first film, I was anxious to see what other films in the series looked liked.  I can safely say that Nightmare 4 doesn't quite live up to the first one's video standards (and is even behind 3 in that department).  The image is just muddy at some points and not very appealing in a higher resolution format.

The film itself is as good as ever.  I really used to have a hard time deciding between this film and Dream Child but this one is the clear winner.  The characters are better, the transition of heroines is both new and interesting.  And even though the Alice character is much stronger in 5, this one is still likable and not nearly as grating as the new chick that plays Kristen.  What an awful choice.  I can't decide what is worse, her acting or her haircut.  Did I just do a haircut joke?  Moving on...

I'm still annoyed that they just killed off Kincaid and Joey.  Those characters were awesome in Dream Warriors and deserved so much better.  I may have cared about Kristen's death had it been Patricia Arquette in the role, but without her, I just kept waiting anxiously for Freddy to off her.  Not a good sign when it's one of the female leads but somehow the film still pulls through.

31 Days of Horror (Day 28)

31 Days of Horror
28. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Dammit AMC.  This is what you do to me.  You make me resort to watching the entirety of this crappy movie without any of the good stuff because it was all chopped up on TV.  It's like they were just wanting me to watch this film.  Throughout the month, whenever I had freetime, I'd flip to AMC and this would be on.  I'm not kidding you, this happened at least a half a dozen different times.  And finally I gave in and watched it, when I shouldn't have.

The only reason to ever watch this movie is to see some of the kills and the nudity, and even those aren't very good.  So why on earth would I watch this, especially when the DVD was sitting five feet away?  Pure laziness.  I just didn't care to pop this movie in, then it felt like I was devoting less time to the crapfest known as Halloween 5.  That's giving the film too much credit and my main reason for owning it is simply for the pairing with H4.  Sometimes it's nice to watch them as a two-parter, though I'd consider this entry of the series to be a "skip it."

And what is the deal with that mask?  It's just terrible.  The elongated face and...is that...is that longer hair?  It's a mask, how does it grow!?  This just doesn't make sense to a ridiculous degree.  It's like the filmmakers didn't even try.  With an iconic mask like Michael Myers, you'd think it wouldn't be difficult for the filmmakers to actually make the mask similar to the original.  

31 Days of Horror (Day 27)

31 Days of Horror
27. Night of the Creeps

Fred Dekker is a god in the horror community.  This and Monster Squad are two cult classics that are all the brainchild of Dekker.  It's really sad that his films never seemed to catch on so that he could have continued making such classics but alas, that's not the case.  At least there's a few of his classics for us to enjoy.

This movie is far more clever than it has any right to be.  I mean, it's about these weird slug things that makes people into zombielike creatures.  As far as making much sense, it really doesn't but the characters and dialogue is so good that any of it's faults story-wise are entirely forgivable.  I just wish that Tom Atkins were in every 80's horror movie.  That man makes everything he's in even better.  He just feels like he belongs.  His delivery.  His look.  Everything about him is pure 80's horror.

Thrill Me.

31 Days of Horror (Day 26)

31 Days of Horror
26. The Wolfman

Other than Dracula, I still hadn't seen all the classic Universal Monster movies.  I've watched a little of The Mummy and Creature From The Black Lagoon, but nothing ever stuck with me.  Finally I decided to give The Wolf Man a shot and while it's a different style than I'm used to, being from the 1940's, but I still really enjoyed it.  It had the classic vibe that makes the experience good no matter what the content on the screen is.

That said, it's a classic story that I'm glad I was finally able to see fully formed.  I just kept comparing it to the remake because sadly I saw that one first.  The only problem I really had with this is how the Wolf Man acts.  He just kind of looks like a guy in theater, over-exaggerating every gesture and making the performance more comical than scary.  But again, that's just a product of the times, so I can't really fault the film for that.

31 Days of Horror (Day 25)

31 Days of Horror
25. Hellraiser V: Inferno

Wow.  I definitely wasn't expecting that.  Outside of Hellbound, I'm not a huge fan of the Hellraiser series.  They have some good gore effects but that's about it.  The stories leave much to be desired and they rarely differ from pointless S&M and weird visuals.  Sure, the first is another exception but it's so dated that it's hard to even watch nowadays.  That's a remake I'd more than welcome.

I wasn't expecting the crazy path that this film takes.  At first I couldn't believe they'd have such an unlikeable asshole as the lead.  It's a risky move since then it almost immediately leaves the audience wanting him to die.  Yet by the end of his journey, you actually feel bad when the big twist comes along.  The twist, by the way, is brilliant.  And seeing as how this is a rare gem in the Hellraiser series, I'm not going to spoil it since chances are you haven't seen it.  It's impressive though.  Damn impressive.  

The way the story unfolds it feels like it was original screenplay that was then turned into a Hellraiser movie.  Sprinkle a cenobite here, a cenobite there, top it off with some Pinhead and you have a total runtime of five minutes that just barely makes this a "Hellraiser" movie.  Which is why I think it's so good.  It's mainly a psychological thrill ride and doesn't try to delve too deep into Pinhead as a character, which is where the series tends to get weak.  

31 Days of Horror (Day 24)

31 Days of Horror
24. Insidious

I'd watched the first half hour of this movie twice since it's release but I never finished it.  There's really no reason I never continued, just got distracted and never went back to it.  But boy am I glad I did now.   Something about James Wan's horror movies just sync up with my tastes really well.  Even Dead Silence, which many people didn't like, I thought was a terrifying experience.  Seeing it in the theater was almost scarring.  Seriously, Mary Shaw.  What the hell?  Oh yeah, Insidious.

I'll admit that I actually thought some parts were genuinely scary.  Sure, some moments fall flat, but for the most part, it's creepy and works.  Great casting too.  Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson can be in every movie and I'd be pleased.  Those two are extremely underrated and elevate this movie.  I'm not sure what the budget was for this but it looked damn good.  Wan never overuses a gimmick and never fails to bring the suspense.  I was also pretty genuinely shocked by the twist.  I didn't really even think about there being a twist so I wasn't looking out for it.  I should have known better. Oh well.

31 Days of Horror (Day 23)

31 Days of Horror
23. Re-Animator

I hadn't seen this film in way too long.  My copy of the DVD has been busted since after my first viewing so this is the first time I've been able to rewatch this movie in nearly five years.  Thank god for Amazon Instant Video.  I really forgot how crazy this movie is.  Combs plays the role of West so perfect that it's hard to see anyone else pull off both the lunacy and straight love of science.

In all honesty the only part of this movie that I really remembered clearly was the Corporate Bad Guy from The Guyver was just a head, and he was going to go down on a girl.  That's the extent of my recollection.  And wow is that scene just uncomfortable to watch.  Maybe it's just the fact that I was watching headless rape with my roommate, but something was a tad off.  I mean, the scene is unique and actually pretty funny, but I just kept thinking how awkward it would be to film it.  That old man's head is getting frisky with a semi-attractive and more importantly much YOUNGER girl.  It adds a layer of creepiness unmatched by anything typical of horror tropes.

*note to self: Try to avoid writing any screenplays that involve conalingus via decapitated head

31 Days of Horror (Day 22)

31 Days of Horror
22. Candyman

This is one of the few franchises I never really ventured into.  Sure, I knew of the story and was aware of the antagonist's existence as portrayed by Tony Todd but that was the extent.  It just never really interested me.  Finally I figured the time was up and it was time to buckle up and say Candyman however many times you need to (37?)

They should really sell this movie as "Virginia Madsen in a horror movie" and that would probably gain more interest than black man with a hook.  I mean, look at the poster above.  That's all it says to me.  It doesn't exactly scream 'strong female lead' and cool supernatural sequences ensue.  Either way, Madsen is a legitimate actress and pretty much kills it here.  Her decent in madness is pretty believable and there were plenty of opportunities to think that she is in fact the killer.  Of course, they take the standard slasher route versus the clever route, but I'm glad they at least allude to the other side.

What a disappointing ending though.  Which is all due to lazy screenwriting.  They never gave Candyman a weakness so there was nothing that could be strived for.  When he's already teleported all over and proven he's made of bees, what's to say he dies via standard mutilation.  So the ending just comes off as rushed and thrown together.  It's not satisfying and doesn't leave you wanting more, so I really can't see the purpose.  The last scene is interesting though, with the tables being turned and justice being served.  Still felt tacked on and pointless, although I haven't seen the sequels so I can't judge.

31 Days of Horror (Day 21)

31 Days of Horror
21. Birdemic (w/ Rifftrax)

This is a bad movie.  This is a very, very bad movie.  This is also a movie that I had never had any plans of watching.  In steps Jason Wineinger.

Jason: "Oh hey guys I have this great movie.  We'll watch it and have a great time because it's so great."

God dammit, Wineinger.  Seriously this movie is an abomination which is why we had to watch it with Rifftrax because otherwise the film itself would have been unbearable.  Visual Effects jump off the screen awkwardly before the shot is even over, the same shots of digital birds are looped over and over.  Hell, the only real birds in this film are there by accident.  There are some scenes that you can barely hear because the audio is so bad.  The list just goes on and on and actually makes me appreciate The Room for at least having the courtesy of being aesthetically competent.

One of the first thoughts I had (other than 'Damn you, Jason') was that there is no way this film had post-production.  There are so many aspects that are easily fixed by just being behind the computer in Final Cut Pro for the weekend.  Yet they didn't even bother to do that!  Instead there's just a movie that feels half finished.  Actually, no, even that gives this film too much credit; this movie feels like it's .001% complete and this is just a collection of dailies, never meant to be shown to the public.

What baffles me even further is that this movie is getting a sequel.  Not only that but it's going to be in 3D!  I've seen what this masterful filmmaker (*vomit*) can do with the most basic technology so the logical next step in giving him even more complex tech to deal with?  This smells like a recipe for perfection.  I can almost guarantee I'll watch the sequel but dammit I'm not going to like it.

Oh yeah.

Fuck you, Jason.

31 Days of Horror (Day 20)

31 Days of Horror
20. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Part 2

I watched this movie as any person should: on VHS.  After obtaining a copy at the local Goodwill, I knew this would be included in this series and with good reason:  This is exactly the type of movie MADE for VHS.  It's cheap, it's schlocky, and it's not pretty.  You don't need to see this on Blu-Ray in the most high definition image available; that's not the point.  See this with crummy sound, picture that looks like it's behind a layer of vaseline, and more fuzz than a 70's porn star.  You'll thank me later.

The movie itself is okay.  It's nothing fantastic and absolutely not the staple of the genre that the first film is, but it's a good time regardless.  The characters are batshit and you can see that Rob Zombie took a lot from the Sawyer's when he created the Firefly Family.  But the problem is with these character's inconsistencies.  One minute Leatherface is cutting people in half, the next he's refusing to cut up the lead girl.  He's never a real threat which, given that this is TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE for christs sake, he should be the MAIN threat.  Instead he's an idiot hick who takes orders from anyone with a voice box.

And what is with Dennis Hopper?  Is he incapable of playing a normal character just once?  This guy is almost as nuts as the Sawyer Family.  He goes around with his extra long chainsaw just cutting down supporting beams in a mine for a good ten minutes of the film's conclusion.  That's all he does.  I understand he's trying to take the Sawyer's down but my god, do you have no regard for the fact that you're underground destroying every part that doesn't make it just ground?  I mean, I'm sure in the process you'd potentially kill a Sawyer but more than likely, you'll just be killing yourself, Mr. Hopper, thus making your character entirely pointless.  Oh well, that's too much thinking on my part.

31 Days of Horror (Day 19)

31 Days of Horror
19. Man's Best Friend

Look at that cover art.  Seriously, just look at it, bask in it, make love to it.  It's just so fantastic that you can't help but go "Fuck yeah." I remember seeing this movie on the video shelves many times when I was younger.  See, a major part of my video store rental routine (Video Store: They're those big abandoned buildings in your town that used to rent movies before Netflix ripped it's head off) when I was little would be to venture into the horror section.  Seeing as how I was way too young to watch any of them at the time, I would look at all the covers and read the synopsis' on the back of the box.  That was my routine.  Made me feel like I had practically seen the entire horror section before ever seeing a moving frame.

My point is: this film was the Alpha.  I had seen this cover art so many times, I thought it looked awesome.  A half-cyborg, half-dog killing machine?  Starring Jean Jacket with Gun?!  How could this not be the greatest film of all time?!

Well, for one, a good first step would be to actually feature a cyborg-dog like the cover promises.  Yet no, not once during the runtime does this dog have any robot-esque qualities.  Turns out, this is just a dog that's been made into the ultimate killing machine by combining the DNA of Tigers, Lions, Cheetahs, Sharks, whatever else is considered a badass.  And apparently that combination leads to the ultimate dog raping machine....wait, what?  Oh yeah, that's right, this dog features dog rape.  Dog on dog involuntary sex.  I don't know what these filmmakers were thinking when filming this, and I REALLY don't know what they were thinking when they decided to play "Puppy Love" as the scene progressed.  But that's what happened.  And now I'm stuck with a perplexed expression and a new tune to croon out at inappropriate times.

And they called it Puppy Love...

31 Days of Horror (Day 18)

31 Days of Horror
18. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

God dammit.  Seriously, god dammit.  I told myself I'd never watch this movie again yet here I am, day eighteen of my series and it happened.  And I hate myself for it too.  This movie sucks.  Hell, just look at the picture I used for it, it's the comic adaptation.  I can't even put up that godawful poster that has been on every promotional piece you've ever seen for this movie.  I just can't do it.  I feel like that gives the filmmakers more credit than they even deserve.  It's that bad.

This is not a Friday the 13th movie.  This is someone's version of a possession film with no idea what a F13 movie is.  They try to make up for this fact with a cobbled together scene at the beginning at Camp Crystal Lake yet even that doesn't work.  I really can't figure out what this movie is trying to pull off.  Maybe by tricking people into watching it based on franchise familiarity they can show them a whole new take on the franchise?  Yes, because that worked so well with Halloween 3.  But even that is hard to compare to because Halloween 3 is actually good; this movie blows.

The problem I have with the film isn't that Jason is barely in it.  It's not that the characters are stupid beyond any reasonable explanation.  It's not that this film jumps around more than should ever be deemed possible.  And it's not that this film gives a whole new meaning to the term 'plot hole.' Oh wait, it is all those things.  This movie is garbage and I implore you to pretend it doesn't even exist.  You'll be better off for it.

31 Days of Horror (Day 17)

31 Days of Horror
17. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Thank you AMC for your lovely FearFest.  If there's one thing I needed it was repeated viewings of the various Friday the 13th movies.  Oh except for the fact that all the best parts are cut out since it's cable AKA no blood, no boobs and no cursing.  Wait, so then why would we even think to watch them given their castrated state?  I, for one, am just happy to see horror movies on TV.  Before this October the only horror films I ever saw came straight from SyFy (ugh) or MTV's World Broadcast Premiere of the Scariest Sorority Movie Ever: Sorority Row.  Yeah, times have sucked for a horror fan with a television set.  So I see this as a good opportunity for those young'n's who maybe can't quite watch Rated R films yet.

Oh right, the movie.

Like the 80's?  Well so does this movie and judging by all the elements, it was made by someone like me: Someone who likes everything about the 80's and yet hasn't even lived in that decade.  It's just plastered all over the place and done so in such a ridiculously sloppy matter that it's hard to take seriously.  Which is good though because the last thing you want to do is take this movie seriously.  I used to consider it the "worst" in the series yet now I can't help but love it for that very ridiculousness that made me once hate it.  To any of you who disagree and call this film garbage, I just have two words for you: Teleporting Jason.  

31 Days of Horror (Day 16)

31 Days of Horror
16. The Fly

I've only watched this movie twice since I received it as a gift almost 5 years ago.  The sad part about that is that it's not that I dislike it.  I quite like it in fact but it is a David Cronenberg movie therefore it's a very difficult watch.  Something about his movies have an uneasy feel to them, often making rewatches pretty difficult.  And as much as I like the film, I can't say that it's subject matter is one that warrants a lot of revisiting.

But dammit if Jeff Goldblum isn't the man in this.  I'm a self-professed Goldblum fan.  Whether it's his cynical rationalist in Jurassic Park (aka who I'm modeling myself after apparently), or his flamboyant, self-centered dreamer in Life Aquatic, the man just knows how to make a character interesting.  And given this character, it works to this films advantage.  Seth Brundle is not a nice man.  He's an asshole who clearly only cares about his experiment versus the lives of those around him.  Yet you feel for the guy when he starts turning.  Yes, he's despicable and an abomination but there's still a part of you that roots for the guy/fly.  That, ladies and gentleman, is the genius of Mr. Jeff Goldbum.

31 Days of Horror (Day 15)

31 Days of Horror
15. Rosemary's Baby

For years I was convinced I had seen this movie.  So I finally gave it a "rewatch" and realized: I don't know what movie I had seen before, but it wasn't Rosemary's Baby.  Looking back, I always had the opinion that the film was slow and not a lot happened.  I also didn't think that the film was very "horrific."  Boy, was I wrong.  This movie is intense in all the best ways.  I love the dynamic going on between all the characters.  Nothing every feel quite right and that's all due to Polanski, a director who I haven't been exposed to much.

The best part is that this film always seems to leave you guessing.  It engrains you with this deep sense of paranoia, the groundwork of which is laid out perfectly throughout the screen time.  And Mia Farrow.  Wow.  That woman deserved an Oscar nom.  What a wonderful performance and one rarely ever seen in a horror movie.  She's plays oblivious in a way that doesn't leave you wanting to strangle her.  And that was something I didn't realize until the movie was over; with any other person, that role could have very easily been obnoxious and grating.  But Farrow handles it perfectly and gains sympathy from the viewer.

So yeah, go watch this movie if you haven't.  Don't be turned off by the age, it's one of the greatest horror films of all time.

31 Days of Horror (Day 14)

31 Days of Horror
14. Trick R' Treat
Ah a horror movie that's actually set at Halloween.  Sure, plenty may take place in October and even be on the last day of the month but it's just a background.  Here Halloween is front and center, not hidden away in some dark corner somewhere.  And mostly it works.  While I do think that this movie loses it's charm the more and more you see it, the film still carries a nice atmosphere and stays true to the Halloween Spirit.

I just wish it didn't get so boring in parts.  The first time there's some suspense which keeps you around for the duration but on repeated viewings, the suspense is gone so you're just left with what's right in front of you and unfortunately there's not much to enjoy.  The characters are just unlikeable human beings with no redeeming qualities.  In fact, I have trouble thinking of a single character that I didn't want to meet their maker.  Actually, scratch that. The dog.  The dog was awesome.

31 Days of Horror (Day 13)

31 Days of Horror
13. Battle Royale

Few films have had the profound effect on me that this movie has accomplished.  The visceral nature and emotional punch the film packs is satiating for a horror fan.  Hell, the first time I saw this was some crappy digital copy with custom subtitles because no such English subs existed.  This is because the film was banned in many countries, including America where distribution was refused.  Over a decade after it's release and not only am I watching the film legally in the US, but I'm able to watch it on the big screen.

Watching this in a theater is an experience I never thought I would have the pleasure of doing.  And while I did really love it, the big screen also brought out some errors that bothered the filmmaker in me. The lack of color correction distracted me at times.  This was the Special Edition so that very well could explain for the shift in quality but I'm not sure since I believe that was the version I had always seen previous.  Oh well.  Regardless, I still loved the movie and it was a real joy to see it on the big screen.

31 Days of Horror (Day 12)

31 Days of Horror
12. Killer Klowns From Outer Space

Look at that poster.  Seriously, just look at it.  "In space no one can eat ice cream..." Does that sound like a movie that takes itself seriously?  I mean, just look at the name!  When you watch this, you're not going into it expecting anything but the most ridiculous movie possible.  I hold this movie in high regard because it's a favorite amongst my friends from high school.  It's a little sad but I'm pretty sure this would fall into our "instant classic" category.

The one thing that always comes to my mind when I think of this movie is how terrified I was of it before even seeing it.  I would catch random scenes on Sci-Fi (no it wasn't SyFy then so I refuse to call it that) and the clown makeup alone would be frightening.  Later in life when I discovered most of the budget was spent on said makeup, the rest of the movie made complete sense.  Go into it with that in mind, and you'll find yourself laughing at how low budget and cheap everything but the clowns effects are.

31 Days of Horror (Day 11)

31 Days of Horror
11. The Mist

You know a film adaptation is good when Stephen King actually admits to it.  Seriously, it seems like he hates everything of his that gets adapted.  Look at The Shining, he hates it.  What kind of a man can openly hate such a fantastic movie?  Clearly the man lost his mind long ago.  Probably still busy writing character descriptions in It, never returning to reality.  Wow, that was a tirade on King.  And I like the guy.  The point is, this movie is great.  With Darabont's third adaptation of a King short story, this one may be the ballsiest (though, of course, nothing beats Shawshank in terms of quality.)

Am I the only one that wants to strangle the religious lady?  She is everything that's wrong with the world.  When Toby Jones' character shoots her, I may be the happiest little boy on the planet.  And that ending; if you haven't seen it, it's worth it for the final five minutes alone.  Sure, Tom Jane's acting isn't the strongest but it's passable and doesn't detract from the scene.  Here's a fun game to play: watch this movie without 1. thinking once about murdering that religious lady and 2. not dropping your jaw once that ending hits.  Both feats are impossible.

31 Days of Horror (Day 10)

31 Days of Horror
10. Making The Shining

Directed by Kubrick's talented daughter Vivian, this making of documentary is a little bit of a change of pace from the movies I have been including on here.  It's certainly worthy though as it chronicles the making of one of the greatest films of all time.  This has a great look at Stanley's vision of the film and how he planned on getting it just right.  His scenes with Danny are very uncharacteristic of the director, who is often cold, calculating, and will do what he needs to for his film (see: Shelley Duvall).  It's great to see him interact with the child because he always knows just what to say.

Also, bravo to that damn kid.  Danny really is on the ball.  They show him in action (of course with SK barking orders off-camera) and it's a sight to behold.  It's amazing the performance that can come from such a young person.  It's also fascinating to see the dynamic between Jack and Stanley vs. Shelley and Stanley.  Nicholson seemed to have a fairly friendly relationship with the director, while Duvall's was very hostile given that Kubrick wanted her performance to be as real as possible, so he took the route of verbal abuse.  I wonder how sued Kubrick would be in this day and age?

31 Days of Horror (Day 9)

31 Days of Horror
9. Fright Night

That's right, I watched the remake, now I'm watching the original.  This is another I'd consider to be one of my favorites of all time.  It just oozes great 80's atmosphere and has some of the best characters in a horror movie.  Roddy McDowall is the man.  Plain and simple.  His Peter Vincent is an instant classic as I said in my other entry.  So enough on him.

One part of this movie I always find funny is that the female lead Amanda Bearse is a lesbian and yet we're supposed to see her as a credible love interest.  To say it really comes through is an understatement.  She shares no chemistry with Charlie whatsoever and sometimes it plays off more like brother and sister than significant others.  I still enjoy seeing them awkwardly try to make out and have sexy time.  

So yeah, if you haven't seen this movie then what the hell is the matter with you?  Maybe you've seen the remake, but that doesn't count.  Go Netflix, Redbox, or just steal this because you're missing out on a horror classic. 

31 Days of Horror (Day 8)

31 Days of Horror
8. Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight

Not sure how I hadn't seen this movie.  It's so ridiculous that it's exactly what I look for in a horror movie.  Sure, I'm not the biggest fan of Jada Pinkett Smith so I can't say I was too enthused to find out she's the lead but that didn't really detract from the viewing experience.  I liked the basic rules set up concerning the demons and the barriers.  It's done so in a way that makes sense and doesn't just feel like a useless plot device.

Billy Zane as the villain is a stroke of genius.  The man can overact with the best of them and brings this smarmy douchebaginess to the role that makes it just perfect.  It just kept making me go "How the hell have I not seen this film?"  The gore is great with plenty of nasty moments.  The acting can sometimes be spotty but with the number of character actors involved in the ensemble, it's easily ignored.  While admittedly I've never really watched the series, this movie may cause me to finally seek it out.

31 Days of Horror (Day 7)

31 Days of Horror

7. The Shining

I was originally going to save this until later on in the month since it's my favorite horror movie of all time but a discussion of this film in my Video Seminar prompted this viewing.  One aspect of the movie that I really appreciated this time was Nicholson's performance.  He does such a good job and his gradual insanity is a sight to behold.  I know that it can come across as a bit much depending on the viewing, but I think he did exactly what he needed to: ooze insanity.

And my god, those tracking shots.  This is one of my favorite movies of all time for a reason and a large part of that is due to being at the hand of Stanley Kubrick.  The tracking shot following Danny as he goes through the hotel on in his tricycle: pure magic.  The sound design of that scene, coupled with the intense conclusion, makes for one of the greatest scenes in any movie, ever.  Yes, it's that good.

31 Days of Horror (Day 6)

31 Days of Horror

6. The Omen

You know, I just realized that for my sixth movie in this series, it's about a movie that heavily features the number 6.  That was not on purpose but I suppose it worked out quite nicely.  Hell, even look at the above poster.  So many 6's.

Anyway, I haven't seen this movie in 10+ years and even then I believe I saw it on TV, so this was really my first legitimate experience with the film.  Let me just say: Wow.  What an awesome movie.  I just love how the story unfolds.  It does so in a way that is extremely appealing to me.  I love when the woman hangs herself, there's no set-up.  You don't see her climb to the roof.  You don't see her put the noose around her neck.  A lesser director would have included this to add tension but not here.  Instead you just hear her voice yell out for Damien, trying to get his attention before proclaiming "It's all for you..." Perfect.

31 Days of Horror (Day 5)

31 Days of Horror

5. The House of the Devil

Was recommended this one recently and, in all honesty, I thought this movie was from the 80's.  It's just immediately what popped in my head when I saw the cover.  Which I suppose is kudos to Ti West, since that's exactly what he was going for.  This movie feels like it was released alongside many of Carpenter's and Hooper's (hahaha) best.  And for that alone, I certainly can appreciate the care that was put into making it like those films.

Unfortunately though, I can't say I was a big fan of the film.  It moved at a snails pace and didn't really seem to have an idea where it was going.  I just kept waiting for something interesting to happen but nothing really does till nearly twenty minutes till the end.  And I saw the twist coming a mile away.  I will admit, I really liked the climax, but that was until the resolution settled in.  If they had just kept it faded to black, I would have liked the film.  Slow?  Sure.  But it would have been forgivable.  With the given ending though, the movie had no balls.  It manages to be just like many of the other movies that tried to mimic the success of Halloween/Friday the 13th/etc, it just fades in with the rest.

31 Days of Horror (Day 4)

31 Days of Horror

4. Psycho

And it's back to the classics.  I didn't originally plan on watching this but then I realized I had never watched it on Blu-Ray.  Given that I had the Blu-Ray, this was just inexcusable.  Dammit does this film look amazing in Hi-Def.  Of course the Black & White firmly grounds it in the 1960's, the dynamic range of grey's is unmatched.

But I'm not getting into that.  This is just a great movie.  Plain and simple.  If you haven't seen it, you need to immediately.  Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins are fantastic, with Hitchcock molding the film into a technical masterpiece.  I feel nothing more can be said other than: if you haven't seen this movie, go see it, if you have seen it, then go see it again.

31 Days of Horror (Day 3)

31 Days of Horror

3. Student Bodies

Let me start out by saying I had no idea this movie even existed until a few months ago.  Had I known about it, I would have watched it much sooner.  It's so ridiculous that it's actually pretty funny.  Sure, it's not mature but neither are a lot of good comedies.  This really takes the "Airplane" approach to the slasher genre and it pays off in many respects.  There are some lines are pure classics too.  The opening scene has some of the best moments of the entire film, so at least sit through that.

Unfortunately it's not all fun and games.  It's slow and the kills are uninspired.  Every guy dies the exact same way.  Many jokes aren't milked for what they're worth.  There's also not any character that you even remotely feel connected to.  Hell, I felt more attached to some of the one-dimensional Friday the 13th characters than I did these people.  Can't say I really blame the filmmakers though, that's clearly not what they were going for.  I just don't think it's too much to ask for one likable character.  The closest we got was a Woodshop Teacher with a weird fetish for Horse-head bookends. 

Also, how old is this cast?  And I'm not just talking about the clearly late twenties "high schoolers."  A majority of the cast consists of teachers/maintenance men/parents.  Which is where I think the movie misses the point.  How prominent are the adults in any other slasher movie?  Easy, they're not.  Yet this movie, which is supposedly parodying slashers, makes them practically a focal point.  The "teens" are there for there death scene and that's it.  A follow-up with the adults after nearly every death is where this film loses any credibility of being a true parody. 

Regardless, I'd recommend you give it a shot.  Sure, it's not incredible or even very good but has some funny moments and is yet another 80's "slasher" to mark off the list.

31 Days of Horror (Day 2)

31 Days of Horror
2. Fright Night

I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why this movie doesn't garner more praise.  I mean, did you seriously watch this movie?  It's awesome!  Wonderful tracking shots, fantastic dialogue, and a spot-on cast.  Farrell should always be a villain because he plays one perfectly.  You could tell that he fully thought of himself as a badass, and it played on screen.  It just resonates and makes for a much more interesting/terrifying villain.

Sure, David Tennant is no Peter Vincent, but the reinterpretation of the character can't really be viewed so harshly.  Looking at it in the grand scheme of both the film and the time/location, I absolutely understand the creative decisions taken with his character.  And this is coming from someone who considers Roddy McDowall's Peter Vincent to be one of the greatest characters in the history of cinema.

So please, give this movie a shot and appreciate all the care that was placed into making both a cool but refreshing horror movie where you're actually caring about the fates of the characters.  Crazy concept, I know right?

31 Days of Horror (Day 1)

It's that time of the year again. Scratch that, it's MY FAVORITE time of the year. That's right, it's October; the month of horror. And since my horror movie watching has gone down drastically the past six months, I figured I'd bring back a concept I tried Senior Year of High School: watching a horror movie every day of the month of October


1. A Nightmare On Elm Street

I figured I'd start this one out right and do a classic as a solid start to my movie challenge. Add to that the fact that my girlfriend hadn't ever seen it and it's a match made in heaven.

The one thing that struck me this time that had never done so before was just how beautiful this film is. When I think of this, I think grainy, poorly lit, but done so with reason. This time however I saw the brilliant color schemes and truly beautiful shots. This can most likely be attributed to the fact that I viewed this for the first time in 1080p and dear god is this the best this film has ever looked. Makes me rather anxious to watch some of the others in the series in HD (Dream Warriors I'm looking at you, you beautiful bastard.)

As with most viewings, I just fell in love with this film all over again. And sure, the music is a bit dated and corny, but that just adds to the overall charm. Freddy's voice reverberates throughout the sound design and makes for a creepy atmosphere. I'd say the biggest thing to come out of this latest viewing is my appreciation for the technical aspect. Hell, Tina's death is absolutely beautiful.

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