A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

Tools    






What can I possibly say about this movie that hasn't already been said a thousand times?

This was a request for a friend of mine who, at 49 years old, had never seen Halloween. She likes The Sound Of Music. But she wanted to see it. So we had a little gathering of friends from our pod and did it.
She talked through the whole thing, the way people do to keep from getting too scared, laughing exaggeratedly at things that might seem dated or cheap or whatever, and calling out things that happen that might not be totally realistic or sensible or whatever, generally defusing the tension of the film so that she wouldn't be scared.
And then told me the movie wasn't that scary and she didn't see what all the fuss was about.

Anyway, the movie, of course holds up. A child murderer (not a child-murderer), a killing spree in the suburbs (a novel concept at the time), the chilling Shape (played, as I learned today, by five different people during the movie), the prolonged dread that Carpenter builds up (using nothing more than a person in a mask and overalls, some great camera-work, and his music), his wonderful, iconic score (which he added after a producer told him the movie simply wasn't scary), the greatest final-girl ever (and amusingly the daughter of Norman Bates' first victim in Psycho), and a third act that is a total rush and sets so many of the rules for slashers to come, all make this arguably the greatest slasher ever made.
And, while Halloween is hardly the first slasher (that title has been doled out to Black Christmas, Psycho, Peeping Tom, and even The Leopard Man, my personal choice), it really is the genre-defining one and my personal favorite.




What can I possibly say about this movie that hasn't already been said a thousand times?

This was a request for a friend of mine who, at 49 years old, had never seen Halloween. She likes The Sound Of Music. But she wanted to see it. So we had a little gathering of friends from our pod and did it.
She talked through the whole thing, the way people do to keep from getting too scared, laughing exaggeratedly at things that might seem dated or cheap or whatever, and calling out things that happen that might not be totally realistic or sensible or whatever, generally defusing the tension of the film so that she wouldn't be scared.
And then told me the movie wasn't that scary and she didn't see what all the fuss was about.

Anyway, the movie, of course holds up. A child murderer (not a child-murderer), a killing spree in the suburbs (a novel concept at the time), the chilling Shape (played, as I learned today, by five different people during the movie), the prolonged dread that Carpenter builds up (using nothing more than a person in a mask and overalls, some great camera-work, and his music), his wonderful, iconic score (which he added after a producer told him the movie simply wasn't scary), the greatest final-girl ever (and amusingly the daughter of Norman Bates' first victim in Psycho), and a third act that is a total rush and sets so many of the rules for slashers to come, all make this arguably the greatest slasher ever made.
And, while Halloween is hardly the first slasher (that title has been doled out to Black Christmas, Psycho, Peeping Tom, and even The Leopard Man, my personal choice), it really is the genre-defining one and my personal favorite.
I'd argue that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the greatest slasher film ever made, but this is a close second for sure and is definitely another great film. Few films handle tension as well as this one does. Nice write-up of it!



Classic slashers is the one thing I can't wrap my mind around. I just can't see what people see in them. I've seen every F13 before the reboot and I think Jason is just dull as hell, at least outside of Jason X.. I couldn't get into Halloween either.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Classic slashers is the one thing I can't wrap my mind around. I just can't see what people see in them. I've seen every F13 before the reboot and I think Jason is just dull as hell, at least outside of Jason X.. I couldn't get into Halloween either.
I'm old enough that I saw this original Halloween in the theater when it first came out. I was a teenager and was petrified. My friends and I came out after the movie to a car we were SURE we had locked... but it was UNLOCKED. We all kinda freaked out, and then looked under the car, around the car, and under every seat and even in the glove compartment before we started the car and left.

So, I'm curious if you are perhaps too young to have appreciated just how genre-defining this movie was at the time. There hadn't been a whole lot like it at the time. So, for me, at least, the tension holds up quite well 40 years later.



I watched Ravenous (2017). It’s quiet, it’s tense, it’s French, it’s not without a sense of humor. The zombies in this are real spooky the way they just stand there and the way they shriek. I liked it a lot.



Somebody posted this list on Facebook with "great" horror (or similar) films from the last decade, and there are a bunch I either haven't seen or even heard about. So which ones get a "yay", which ones get a "nay"?
Those I've Seen:

The Witch---Horror that piles on the atmosphere of dread and intrigue before mostly nailing its climax (the last scenes felt a bit off to me). Solid Recommend.

Sinister---This is more thriller in my eyes, but it's nothing special outside of the acting by Ethan Hawke, Fred Dalton Thompson and Vincent D'Onofrio. But it elevates it just enough to make up for the meh final act. Mild Recommend.

A Quiet Place---And I suspect I'll get some heat for this, but outside of a few flaws in its story, the first viewing won me over with its atmosphere of dread using sound instead of visuals to drive the story. It definitely did enough to make me want to see the sequel in a theater for when it finally drops sometime in 2021. Solid recommend.

The Babadook---Another film that stacks up that atmosphere, using clever visuals and the story to dive into something worth sinking your teeth into. Yes, even I'll admit the kid is a bit annoying at first, but the story worked out so he fully redeemed himself by the end. Definite Recommend.

It Follows---More of a thriller than pure horror, but yet another film that piles up the dread and atmosphere with a killer premise and strong execution. Much like the Babadook, it's a film that has things to say and does a fine job with that. In my opinion, one of the top films of 2015. Definite Recommend.

What We Do in the Shadows---This might be more of a comedy than anything, dressed up in a horror cloak, but it does that job well. Outside of an occasional clunker, it left me with good vibes. Strongly written, I'm definitely looking forward to part 2. Definite Recommend.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night---Moody, atmospheric thriller from Iran about a girl with a secret who falls for a lonely guy with some family baggage. Nice black and white visuals and it almost plays as a coming of age of sorts. Solid recommend.

Under the Shadow---Another Iranian chiller, this one benefits from its choice of setting (1980s in the middle of a war) and atmosphere that builds up the dread. It doesn't always pay off, but it does hit the landing. Solid recommend.

The Skin I Live In---I'd argue that Takoma is right in calling this a dramatic thriller. But it does benefit from a very good performance by Antonio Banderas and a thoughtful script and direction from Pedro Almodovar. Solid Recommend.

10 Cloverfield Lane---Straddles the horror/thriller line effectively. Good John Goodman performance and solid work from Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It proves that you can make the most with a closed setting and personal interactions. It loses some of its power when it explores what's happening around them at the end. Solid Recommend.

Under the Skin---Definitely original, but I get more sci-fi thriller vibes out of this one. Scarlet Johannson is fine and I do think the film feels original at least. But I didn't care for this one as much as some of you. OK.

Green Room---Definitely more of a thriller, but this story of a punk band taking on neo-Nazis benefits from solid turns from Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart and a story that has strong similarities to Blue Ruin. Might have benefited if it had maybe ended one scene earlier, though. Solid Recommend.

Train to Busan---It might lean a bit too strongly on its emotions at times, but this horror film does well enough with some crazy visuals and mad heart that you won't mind it. Solid Recommend.

Raw---Strong script and solid performances push this French horror/thriller even though I wish it knew more what to do with its gay character. It builds up the atmosphere before mostly landing its climax. Not great, but definitely good. Solid Recommend.

Will know sometime in the next week (or two):
Get Out

Haven't Seen:

Looking Forward to These:

The Lighthouse: Heard good to great things about this one. The director did The Witch which is promising, Willem Dafoe is promising, and we'll see about this new kid Pattinson.

Midsommar
Hereditary

I'll pair these together because both were done by the same director. Heard some good things about both, but also some criticism. We'll see which is correct soon enough.

I Saw the Devil: I see the praise for this one is strong. Haven't seen enough Korean horror so this goes on the list.

Annihilation: I'm getting some Descent meets Event Horizon sort of vibes for this one. The cast looks rock solid at least. Oh, and it's directed by the person behind Ex-Machina? I'm down.

Bone Tomahawk: I hear this might get on the gory side, which might delay me for a bit. But when I get in the mood, it's going down. It helps that the last neo-Western I saw (Slow West), I enjoyed. Plus Kurt Russell.

Take Shelter: Oh, Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain are in this one. I think I might have gotten this confused with Right At Your Door, but it sounds interesting enough. And that should be enough to take the plunge.

I may get around to these:

Upgrade: Heard good/great things about this one. The plot sounds interesting. My issue might be Whannell because outside of the first two Saws, I haven't cared for his movies. Dead Silence was a dud, Saw 3 was a miss and didn't care for Insidious.

Suspiria: Outside of the standard "Why remake this?", I think my biggest concern might be that it would end up being a horror with all flash and no substance.

Neon Demon: This has been in my queue forever. I guess you can blame Only God Forgives for me not rushing out and seeing this one. Once bitten, twice shy.

The Void: The plot sounds interesting, but I'm not one of those early adopters. Gonna need to see a few "Jump in, the water's fine" reviews before I take the plunge.

The Wailing: Another one of these that's been in my queue forever. It looks promising, but I'm a bit skittish for some reason.

Mandy
Color Out of Space

Pairing them because both star Nicolas Cage who's been pretty hit or miss for a while now. If he's on, then it might prove to be a good time. If not, it'll be more of a waste of time.

Your Guess is as Good as Mine:

Errementari
Shin Godzilla
Aterrados
One Cut of the Dead
Incident in a Ghost Land
Come to Daddy

Pass (for now):

Crimson Peak: Heard many bad things about this one. Knowing it's a Del Toro film, I'd guess it's at least fairly good looking. But it might be one of those "All style, no substance" films.

Climax: My track record when it comes to cinema provocateurs from foreign countries isn't too good. And this is the one that did Irreversible and I Stand Alone? Nope.



Thanks for the feedback. I've seen a lot of your "solid recommends", but I'm adding the others to the pile. As for the ones you haven't seen, I'll return the favor...

The Lighthouse: Very surreal, very metaphorical, but definitely well done, well shot, and well acted. Definitely a must watch, even if it's for the "WTF-uckery" alone. Strong recommend

Hereditary: One of the best horror films I've seen recently. I guess the less you know about it, the better, so if you don't know much, I would urge you to watch it ASAP. Strong recommend

Midsommar: I'll start by saying that the film is definitely well shot, everything looks gorgeous, and well acted, particularly by Florence Pugh. As for the story, I thought it was somewhat problematic. To me, it's the kind of film that the more you think about it, the more it unravels. But it has its defenders, so I guess you'll have to see. Mild recommend

Annihilation: I didn't get any Descent vibe, but without giving a lot away, I'll say there's even a bit of 2001 thrown in there as well. I thought it was great, even if I had some very minuscule, minor issues with some directorial choices, but they're more nitpicking. See it. Strong recommend

Bone Tomahawk: This is another I liked a lot. I know a lot of people have issues with its representation of Native Americans, but I didn't get that. The film takes its time to build up, but when things go down, it's... quite something The cast is solid, so yay from me. Strong recommend

Take Shelter: Haven't seen it in a while, to the point that I didn't even remember Chastain was in it, but it was great. However, this is far from horror. This is more of a psychological drama with some thrills. Great performance from Shannon, who easily steals the show in a role that's a bit different to what he has us accustomed to. Strong recommend

Mandy This one was good, even if I'm not as down on it as most people. It has a very creepy, surreal vibe to it. It is a bit of a tough watch, not necessarily visually, but more for the thought of what happens to the main character. Nic Cage is pretty good too, but I really like Linus Roache in it. Mild recommend
__________________
Check out my podcast: Thief's Monthly Movie Loot!



I keep seeing One Cut of the Dead being mentioned. It is excellent, not to be slept on. Go in knowing as little as possible.



Mandy is my favorite movie of 2018 and one of my favorites of the '10s. I was awestruck by its atmosphere, style, inventiveness as well as a physicality that I rarely feel in movies from the last two decades. In other words, it gave me a movie-watching sensation that's not far off from the "Like a Virgin" discussion at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs (sorry if that's creepy). Sure, the story is essentially a copy/paste of John Wick's, but there's a lot going on under the surface from the long road to recovery to a demonstration of author Margaret Atwood's saying that "men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." That it contains one of my favorite songs, King Crimson's Starless, is another feather in its cap.
__________________
Last Great Movie Seen
Saboteur (Hitchcock, 1942)



Welcome to the human race...
The Amazing Transparent Man -


Forgettable little B-movie about a crook who is blackmailed into invisibility experiments. Not exactly surprised to see it turn up on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

Cujo -


I wonder if the initially adverse reactions to The Shining from not just critics and audiences but King himself kind of prompted a bunch of subsequent adaptations to adopt a comparatively flat and homogeneous filmmaking style (a style that Cujo itself may have founded). Still, it's not like you need lots of style when the extent of your story is "rabid dog".

Diabolique -


A sharp turn into does-this-really-I-mean-really-count-as-horror territory but screw it, I enjoyed it too much to care that much.

Evolution (2015) -


Arty French horror that's good at building mystery and atmosphere but bad at paying them off (or even not paying them off but in a satisfactory way). At least it's only like 80 minutes.

Hannibal Rising -


Does every Hannibal Lecter film has as much claim to being a horror as Silence of the Lambs does? Probably not this one since it decides to reframe Lecter as a Nazi-hunting anti-hero avenging the death of his family, which is...a weird look for my guy. There might be a way that this premise could be made to work, but this film didn't find it.

The Masque of the Red Death -


Corman adapts Poe with Vincent Price in tow. Efficient storytelling and great atmosphere do well at serving up a genuinely chilling tale.
__________________
Iro is to reviews as Kubrick is to films.



Youre the disease, and Im the cure.
She talked through the whole thing, the way people do to keep from getting too scared, laughing exaggeratedly at things that might seem dated or cheap or whatever, and calling out things that happen that might not be totally realistic or sensible or whatever, generally defusing the tension of the film so that she wouldn't be scared.
And then told me the movie wasn't that scary and she didn't see what all the fuss was.
Talking through Halloween is blasphemous pretty much, that's a movie better viewed by yourself then with a group, it's not really a MST3K riff track type film. Tell her to rewatch it by herself or with you.
__________________
I really have to feel that I could make a difference in the movie, or I shouldn't be doing it.
Joe Dante



Classic slashers is the one thing I can't wrap my mind around. I just can't see what people see in them. I've seen every F13 before the reboot and I think Jason is just dull as hell, at least outside of Jason X.. I couldn't get into Halloween either.
Even as a fan of the franchise, I can say that the Friday the 13th films are for the most part "bottom of the barrel", but Halloween? That's top-tier. Probably my #4 horror film.



Classic slashers is the one thing I can't wrap my mind around. I just can't see what people see in them. I've seen every F13 before the reboot and I think Jason is just dull as hell, at least outside of Jason X.. I couldn't get into Halloween either.
Controversially, Ill second that. I do like to look at Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, but the film itself has always felt mediocre to me. The others I can appreciate even less, unless theyre satires like Scream. But even that is a one-off viewing.



Speaking of Gein, we watched Psycho at the drive-in last night. Its structure is fascinating, building up Marion as a desperate person first falling into a trap of her own making, then undone by one she could never see coming. The work of the first half of the film and her connections to her sister and boyfriend ensure her presence remains felt. If there's a weak point, it's just that I'm never entirely satsfied by
WARNING: "Mild spoilers of the conclusion" spoilers below
the psychiatrist horning in at the end to give the whole Bates backstory. It always feels very explainy to me. On the other hand, the penultimate final shot of Bates breaking the fourth wall by staring at us is gloriously creepy.


The drive-in itself was great. I'm pretty sure the first one I've ever been to (we had drive-ins in Dallas when I was a kid, but we had a dollar theater nearby so that was our go-to for movies).
I got to see it with a orchestra playing the soundtrack live along to the film, which was pretty swell.

As for the psychiatrist ending, I don't think that endears itself to anyone. Pretty sure it was forcibly added to the movie through studio interference since they didn't have faith that an audience would understand Bates' psychology.



I'd argue that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the greatest slasher film ever made, but this is a close second for sure and is definitely another great film. Few films handle tension as well as this one does. Nice write-up of it!
Ya know, I really don't think of TCM as a slasher. I can see why one would but I don't see it that way.
If I did, even though I think TCM is probably a greater artistic achievement (although watching Halloween the other night with a more critical eye due to having seen it a bajillion times, I was really impressed with all the craft that went into it, especially on the budget), I would absolutely say that Halloween was the more landmark genre and sub-genre film.



I'm old enough that I saw this original Halloween in the theater when it first came out. I was a teenager and was petrified. My friends and I came out after the movie to a car we were SURE we had locked... but it was UNLOCKED. We all kinda freaked out, and then looked under the car, around the car, and under every seat and even in the glove compartment before we started the car and left.

So, I'm curious if you are perhaps too young to have appreciated just how genre-defining this movie was at the time. There hadn't been a whole lot like it at the time. So, for me, at least, the tension holds up quite well 40 years later.
Really, the movie was absolutely ****ing terrifying, not just in its time, but at least a decade after.



Talking through Halloween is blasphemous pretty much, that's a movie better viewed by yourself then with a group, it's not really a MST3K riff track type film. Tell her to rewatch it by herself or with you.
I think the moment has passed. She is a self-professed "scaredy-cat" and she did what she had to do to get through the movie, which was to undermine most of the dread with commentary. It's a common tool, you see it in movie-theaters all the time with people yelling at the screen not to go in there and all that but it's a shame that the whole night was really about showing this woman this movie she wanted to be brave enough to see and then having her undermine the entire thing... and then tell me it wasn't scary after all.



Ya know, I really don't think of TCM as a slasher. I can see why one would but I don't see it that way.
If I did, even though I think TCM is probably a greater artistic achievement (although watching Halloween the other night with a more critical eye due to having seen it a bajillion times, I was really impressed with all the craft that went into it, especially on the budget), I would absolutely say that Halloween was the more landmark genre and sub-genre film.
I'd say TCM is a slasher, personally. Even slasher films which frame their violence as an artistic tableau are still technically slasher films. Just artistic slasher films.

However, Halloween is definitely really close to TCM in terms of quality, so I can't blame anyone for preferring it.



Registered User
I got to see it with a orchestra playing the soundtrack live along to the film, which was pretty swell.

As for the psychiatrist ending, I don't think that endears itself to anyone. Pretty sure it was forcibly added to the movie through studio interference since they didn't have faith that an audience would understand Bates' psychology.
Yeah, that's certainly what it felt like, but the movie is strong enough to withstand it.

A live orchestra sounds both fun and like something from a bygone era. Then again, so do movies in theaters.



I'd say TCM is a slasher, personally. Even slasher films which frame their violence as an artistic tableau are still technically slasher films. Just artistic slasher films.

However, Halloween is definitely really close to TCM in terms of quality, so I can't blame anyone for preferring it.
I hear ya, but this just isn't how slashers go. If it's a slasher, it's gotta be the most unique one of the bunch, including ANoES.
The Slasher genre comes from the Giallo genre, whereas this shares absolutely nothing (except murder and a mask) with those. TCM is unlike anything really I know of before it except maybe Spider Baby.
WARNING: "spoilers" spoilers below
For one thing there is no ONE killer. It's an entire family. For another, it's all about vivisection and cannibalism, not so much about the stalk and kill of selected victims. These people just wandered into the wrong ****ing place and then were brutalized, vivisected and maybe eaten. The dread isn't built up by pursuit and stalking a la Black Christmas, Halloween, F13, or any of the classics of the genre, it's built up by people stumbling into a house where the furniture is made of bones and there giant meathooks with dried blood all over them, before they are hung on said hooks. It's a completely different type of setup and feel for the whole film.

I would not call this film or House Of 1,000 Corpses or Devil's Rejects or The Hills Have Eyes or Last House On The Left, or most anything like this a slasher, from my perspective. I would say that maybe Hooper's Eaten Alive could maybe be called a slasher, to meet you halfway.
But again, this is just my perspective.
TCM feels nothing like Halloween or F13 or anything classic from the Slasher genre to me.