October Horror Movie Challenge: 31 in 31.

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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Re: Silent Hill.

Sean Bean's entire segment was forced into the movie by the producers who said that there are no male characters in the story and that for me is extremely evident and messes with the pacing and tone of the film.
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"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



Don’t Look Now 1973 Directed by Nicolas Roeg
Some awkward and uncomfortable looking sexual positions by Christie and Sutherland but other than that solid British Horror which takes place mostly in Venice, Italy.

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A system of cells interlinked
Sinister

Derrickson, 2012





I had seen this before, and it still holds up pretty well. I have always like Ethan Hawke, and he is good in this. This film relies on found footage as a plot device, but doesn't use it as a delivery system for the main film. Not a classic, by any stretch, but a fun watch nonetheless.
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"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



Welcome to the human race...
DAY 22

White Zombie
Victor Halperin, 1932


A plantation owner turns to a voodoo master in order to win over the woman he loves.

Famous for being the first ever zombie movie, it's certainly interesting to look back and see where all the tropes and traditions had their initial inception before evolving in all sorts of varied and unpredictable ways - and also where they haven't. It's very obviously a rudimentary take on the mythology - I Walked With A Zombie really built upon the sub-genre's roots in cultural appropriation and colonialism that are given a rather basic run-through here - but it's still able to convey the inherent horror behind the very concept of the zombie, whether it's being turned into a vacuous doll of a person at best or becoming part of a thoroughly disposable workforce at worst (one of the film's most memorably disturbing images is a zombie slave mindlessly falling into a large grinder that is being operated by other slaves who can't help but be indifferent to his destruction). Throwing in a plot driven by a man whose jealousy allows him to be manipulated by a voodoo master (Bela Lugosi) certainly compounds matters, even if it does play like an excuse to create, well, white zombies (since the black zombies never really become a point of concern one way or another). As such, definitely worth a look for historical purposes.

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I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.



#21 Damien: Omen II (1978)

Quite a drop from the original. There's not much story here but a series of people finding out about Damien and dying for it. Some scenes look great while others are really bland. Soundtrack is very good with all the Ave Satanas and Antichristuses. It's just too much a copy of the first without its sense of mystery and originality.

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

We hate you guys. Like we care. Those rich bitches are a plague. I'm always fighting him, but he's SO strong! What are you doing here? This is a NAKED place. Toaster caked him. Does the word DUH mean anything to you? You can play with your "part" all you want, but it's my neck on the block. You ruined my new jacket... Kill him a lot! Ready? Okay. How funky is your chicken? How loose is your goose? Our goose is totally loose. So come on all you hot fans, and shake your caboose. Assert your personhood! Actualize! It's a stupid dance with a bunch of stupid people I see every stupid day. The bouncy Kristy Swanson's goal is to marry Christian Slater, go to Europe, and die, but all that changes when a strange man, Donald Sutherland, tells her she's the chosen one to kill vampires. Hillary Swank, Luke Perry, David Arquette, Ben Affleck, Rutger Hauer and his sidekick Lefty crash the party too, as Buffy spends her nights protecting LA from the Vampire King. My gosh, crashes into my favorites, super easily!

Rating:
9.0 / 10


"I Choose To Be Shopping"
-Buffy

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#22 Casper (1995)

Yeah, yeah, it's not exactly horror but good enough match for me to count for the Halloween themed challenge. Casper is definitely not a scary film but quite funny family movie about ghosts and loneliness. Kinda like milder and more cute version of Beetlejuice (also better if I remember correctly). Some hilarious haunting, some cute family/friendship stuff and (quite literally) illegally pretty Christina Ricci.


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#23 The Final Conflict (1981)

The Omen series continues its steady decline in the third part. Sam Neill is usually quite good but even he can't salvage Damien's silly monologues that sound like they're written by adolescent black metal fan. Rest of the script is quite bad too but there are few nice scenes. Oh, and the ending is like watching some Jesus TV. I may even be too generous here. I'm kinda worried about how bad Omen IV will be but we'll see in a day or two




October 20th


The Prowler (1981), the Prowler is a movie that starts strong and then tappers off as it progresses. The idea behind the film is that a killer is stalking a party on the anniversary of a killing. Tom Savini does a great job with the FX you've got a great scene with a knife to the back of the head that just sounds so good. But the film loses me a bit with the reveal and the design of the killer...the mask just kinda sucks. The pacing is also a little off with this one.







October 21st




My Bloody Valentine (1981) is the story of a killer with a flare for the dramatics wiping out a group of miners and their girlfriends. I kinda dug the plotting in this one more than Prowler, it doesn't do a great job establishing suspects which is a problem both films have but the motivations and executions work a little better. Both films have great settings even though the mine at times feels more like a set than an actual mine.





DAY 11

TerrorVision
Ted Nicolaou, 1986


TerrorVision just ends up being a gaudy mess that has nothing to say through its already- blunt metaphor for how television destroys people's lives

P.S. I still have the theme song stuck in my head and I f*cking hate it.

Interesting. I'm not sure a movie like this has much of anything to say aside from whatever comes to mind when it's cooking up it's ridiculousness.

I personally loved the movie, and the theme song!

I'm a sucker for cozy/one location movies with plenty of camp and jokes that go thud in the night, though.



Welcome to the human race...
Not like it didn't sound like something I could enjoy in theory, but in this particular instance it just felt way too tedious for a movie that was trying to be non-stop horror-comedy hijinks with some (deliberately?) surface-level satire thrown in for good measure.



Welcome to the human race...
DAY 23

Dawn of the Dead
Zack Snyder, 2004


During a zombie apocalypse, a group of survivors take refuge in a shopping mall.

This review may contain unmarked spoilers.

Still on a zombie kick, I guess, enough so that I revisited one that may not be the worst the genre has to offer but is easily one of the most confounding (especially because it's hard to like but easy to rewatch). I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with remaking Dawn of the Dead, but you have to account for how much of its classic status was rooted in its sheer idiosyncrasy and be able to strike out in a worthwhile new direction while staying at least somewhat true to the source. Writer James Gunn (yes, that one) takes the barebones survivors-in-a-mall setup and turns it into a twisted love letter to Romero's films, often recontextualising familiar iconography in bizarre ways (the "no more room in hell" line, initially a humble nod to the zombie genre's voodoo origins, now punctuates a televangelist's rant against abortion and gay people) and adding new elements that invoke mid-2000s edginess, action-based intensity, and undercooked interpersonal drama. Dawn of the Dead ultimately ends up drawing more from Night of the Living Dead by throwing together a sizeable ensemble and trapping them in a single location - the mall itself eventually starts to feel far more anonymous than it should, which definitely comes across as a problem for a film that calls itself Dawn of the Dead.

But what is the Snyder/Gunn version of Dawn of the Dead really about if it's not going to perform a 1:1 repetition of Romero's much-vaunted social commentary about the ills of consumerism? The drastically different third acts of both movies suggest that they are almost fundamentally at odds with one another in regards to how they view the mall and what it signifies - while the remake still recognises it as a gilded cage that the characters must ultimately leave behind, here it is framed as a more conventionally exciting climax to a film that tends to emphasise action over horror (which makes sense in the context of Snyder's later works but here seems an odd fit) and results in an epilogue that, while an amusing subversion of expectations in the moment, only seems to suggest that the whole film might actually be pro-mall. This inconsistent push-pull approach can also be felt in every aspect of the film - Snyder has long since become infamous for his slow-motion action sequences that he is visibly attempting to pull off even in this low-budget horror debut, but such choices are a bad fit in the context of a film where the main threat is that of fast-moving zombies. The same misdirected sense of speed can be felt when it comes to plot and characterisation as the size of the cast (most of whom are introduced at least a third of the way through a hundred-minute movie) means that development gets spread awfully thin and even the most well-established characters barely have two points of characterisation to rub together.

It figures that both the films I've covered at length here have been modern zombie movies. Maybe it's because I've still got enough fondness for the genre that I'm disappointed when the attempts to keep it going into the 21st century don't exactly measure up. The 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead could arguably be seen as an attempt to ride the coattails of 28 Days Later... with its fast zombies and (somewhat) faster style of horror, though there is still a semblance of an effort to do right by the classics. Even so, much of it plays like superficial homage that never quite seems to get at what made its source material truly work (but what else do you expect from a Snyder film?). Yet there must be some reason why I've come back to it as often as I have. I think it's more that it's scattered with moments that work amidst a whole that doesn't, but again that's pretty much par for Snyder, a filmmaker who builds films around individual moments. What it may lack in terms of genuine satirical bite is somewhat compensated for by how it manages to play certain aspects (a subplot involving a pregnant survivor takes a dark what-if scenario from the original and plays it right down a knife edge between genuinely disturbing and Troma-esque camp) and I guess that its overall slightness adds towards it being a relatively easy watch - but then again, should a movie like this really be easy to watch?




A system of cells interlinked
Salem's Lot

Hooper, 1979





For a 1979 Made for TV mini-series, this is pretty damned good. It certainly starts off slow, but once it gets going, it contains several genuinely chilling sequences, and pretty creepy look to the vampires. Definitely worth a watch if you can get through the slow bits at the beginning.


The Thing

Carpenter, 1982





This movie is the ****. I never get tired of watching this. An all-time best!



Welcome to the human race...
Copycat.

Also, does this mean I do have to add some thoughts on Salem's Lot now since I watched it but didn't count it as a film?



A system of cells interlinked
Copycat.

Also, does this mean I do have to add some thoughts on Salem's Lot now since I watched it but didn't count it as a film?
You don't have to, but if you post 'em, I'll read 'em.



Not like it didn't sound like something I could enjoy in theory, but in this particular instance it just felt way too tedious for a movie that was trying to be non-stop horror-comedy hijinks with some (deliberately?) surface-level satire thrown in for good measure.
To be honest I didn't like it at all the first time I saw it. It's something I curiously watched again decades later on dvd and blu ray that hit the right spot at the right time. There's no denying it's low grade stuff all the way around, and LOUD, very LOUD. But...



#24 Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)

Now this is some inept filmmaking right here. Ugly cinematography, script is all over the place (what on Earth is this New Age crap doing in Omen movie), bad acting and protagonists that feel genuinely insane (film could have worked better with a twist that mother was insane and there was nothing Satanic going on). One of the worst films I've seen this year.




Welcome to the human race...
DAY 24

Messiah of Evil
Willard Huyck, 1972


A woman heads to a remote coastal town in search of her estranged father but soon realises that things are not what they seem.

From the director of Howard the Duck comes a bizarre little zombie movie that has more than a touch of Lovecraft about it (though one could readily assume that any horror story taking place in a coastal village has a touch of "Shadow Over Innsmouth" about it). The B-grade quality of it has a certain charm and there are a few standout sequences, plus there's something to be said for how it employs dueling narrators in the daughter describing her exploits and the father narrating his very Lovecraftian descent into horror and madness. Ultimately, it inspires ambivalence more than anything else as there are long stretches where little happens and it's almost a little too low-rent for its own good. Certainly enough to make it a curiosity, albeit one I can't overly recommend.




October 22nd






Friday the 13th Part V:A New Beginning



Jason torments a collection of troubled kids, it's not a bad setup and the twist is alright in theory but man is the execution weak. It's just a huge step down in quality from the earlier films. I suppose I have to get into spoilers but the big reveal is that Jason is still dead and we've got a copycat killer. Now that's a good idea but it's poorly executed if they were smart we would get a better first act and final act. The reveal is postdeath and that is a huge miss, and honestly having a group of crazy kids should have been milked for much more content than what we got.





October 23rd






Friday the 13th Part IV Jason Lives is a fan favorite installment and after V I get it. I'll be frank on paper they pretty much nailed each one of the early scenes works very well as a horror set piece. The film also takes it's time to develop the characters and the reasoning the story. The film does have major issues with it's direction, at one point the filmmaker seemed to have forgotten how to build suspense with the scenes. Also Jason goes on a fairly quality kill spree but the director ended up giving a character a fairly weak death where the story really called for a survival or strong death. Tommy Jarvis also feels like a third different character which is the biggest issue with the Jarvis films.






Welcome to the human race...
DAY 25

The Innocents
Jack Clayton, 1961


A woman takes on a position as governess to a wealthy businessman's niece and nephew but she soon begins to suspect

The month's almost over and I'm just now getting to a first-time watch that actually manages to be great as opposed to just decent, plus it helps that it breaks up the pattern of zombies and werewolves I've been locked into in favour of a good old-fashioned spooky story and I guess that's what I really needed. It maintains an excellent atmosphere as it draws you in as you wait for the other shoe to drop and find out just where exactly the horror is supposed to come from, then once it does you still find yourself questioning just what kind of horror you're really in for right up until it hits "The End". As such, I found it remarkably effective and relentless in its seemingly understated approach - it's set a high bar for the films I've been watching this month and I get the impression nothing else is quite going to measure up.