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2021 Halloween Challenge

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So I went back and forth and what this year's Halloween Challenge should be. In the past the challenges mostly focused around directors, actors and genres and if you want to do that I can redo this. But this year I wanted to challenge myself and others to have a more open challenge. So this is what I have in mind....

Part 1 (What's in a Name)
1. A horror film with 1 word
2. A horror film with 2 words
3. A horror film with 3 words
4. A horror film with 4 words
5. A horror film that is a complete sentence

Part 2 (All about the franchises)
6. An original franchise
7. A sequel to a franchise (can be a different franchise)
8. A reboot, remake, or prequel to a horror film
9. A late sequel (past part four)
10. An obvious cheap ripoff of a major horror franchise

Part 3 (Trip to Europe)
11. A film from UK
12. A film from France
13. A film from Germany
14. A film from Italy
15. A film with someone traveling to a European country

Part 4 (where to find it)
16. A film on Netflix
17. A film on Amazon
18. A film on Hulu
19 A film on Shudder
20. A film on a different streaming site(Youtube, HBO MAX, Tubi, etc)

Part 5 (It's not the size of the horror)
21. A horror short film under 30 minutes
22. A classic B film that is just over an hour
23. A VHS era film that is around 90 minutes
24. A major Hollywood horror release under 2 hours
25. A horror epic that is over 2 and half hours

Part 6

26. A horror film released in October of any year
27. A horror film that was economically the biggest one of the year
28. A horror film released in 2021
29. A horror film released in October 2021
30. A horror film that is on the Movieforum list.
31. A horror film on the Time Out top 100 horror film list
https://www.flickchart.com/Charts.as...47&perpage=100



The trick is not minding
I like it. Although I do prefer something mirroring last years director/actor/genre categories, I have no issue with this one.
I already wrote down what films I plan to watch this October, so I can make them easily fit into this.
Glad you’re doing this again.



So, I haven't really paid attention to these film challenges before. Just trying to get a sense of rules, practice, and overall point. Starting with the last one - is this just more of a scavenger hunt type of competition? So the thread wouldn't really be interested in movies that don't meet the criteria? Or would it be more of a, what's every horror movie you watched in October, try to use this criteria to get more variety in (and call out that variety here)?


And the few things I'm wondering rule-wise, I gathered from glancing at last year's thread, it's up to the participant to decide of they want to use rewatches to satisfy the criteria. Can a single movie/watch be used to satisfy multiple goals at once, or one movie per goal? And I'm assuming part of the challenge isn't to watch one horror movie every day. I know some people try to do that for October, but some of us have evenings that aren't going to allow for that. I had other questions about the individual, proposed goals, but I think those were more clarifications on what some of them meant.


To put it in context, I'm in the, "I'm going to watch what I'm going to watch, but if this is some game that people want me to afterwards go, 'I completed x-from watching x movie,' I can do that." Also, maybe looking at the goals on evenings of analysis paralysis on selecting my viewings.



"I'm going to watch what I'm going to watch, but if this is some game that people want me to afterwards go, 'I completed x-from watching x movie,'
This has been my approach to the 2021 Film Challenge.
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To put it in context, I'm in the, "I'm going to watch what I'm going to watch, but if this is some game that people want me to afterwards go, 'I completed x-from watching x movie,' I can do that." Also, maybe looking at the goals on evenings of analysis paralysis on selecting my viewings.
It is mostly just for fun, and I think that it you just watch what you want, horror-wise, you'll probably fulfill many of the slots.

And, like you said, it can be a fun resource for when you're stuck.



This has been my approach to the 2021 Film Challenge.
It is mostly just for fun, and I think that it you just watch what you want, horror-wise, you'll probably fulfill many of the slots.

And, like you said, it can be a fun resource for when you're stuck.
And it what? Starts Oct 1st? And do we post thoughts in here or the Rate The Last Movie You Saw, which, if I'm rating movies on some type of scale, at best is usually, "like / not like".



And it what? Starts Oct 1st? And do we post thoughts in here or the Rate The Last Movie You Saw, which, if I'm rating movies on some type of scale, at best is usually, "like / not like".

Yes, starts October 1st and you should post and discuss here but you can also post in the Rate thread if you wish



And it what? Starts Oct 1st? And do we post thoughts in here or the Rate The Last Movie You Saw, which, if I'm rating movies on some type of scale, at best is usually, "like / not like".
I think most people start on October 1st. You can post thoughts here, in the "Rate the Last" thread, or some people do both.

I think of the challenge as more of a fun way to see movies you might not normally check out, and as a way to generate some chatter leading up to Halloween.



The trick is not minding
Starting this up tomorrow. Black Sunday, Earth vs the Spider, Kill Baby Kill, Alice Sweet Alice, In The Earth are all on tap for this weekend.



Guy who likes movies
For my first watch of October, I watched Elvira, Mistress of the Dark on Shudder, which would meet the criteria of Part 4, number 19, A film on Shudder. It was a first time watch and i really enjoyed it. Cassandra Peterson is great in it and the screenplay is fantastic. I would rate it
.



Guy who likes movies
I watched Nightbreed today. That would meet the criteria of number 1. A horror film with 1 word. I know there is someone on the forum that mentions it a lot and is a big fan, but I don't recall who it is. Sorry to say this didn't do much for me and was very underwhelming.



I watched Nightbreed today. That would meet the criteria of number 1. A horror film with 1 word. I know there is someone on the forum that mentions it a lot and is a big fan, but I don't recall who it is. Sorry to say this didn't do much for me and was very underwhelming.
I think it has its moments, but I was also a bit tepid on it. I'm trying to remember if there's supposed to be a significant difference between the theatrical and director's cuts. I think I watched the director's cut?



October 1st - 3-15 The Old Dark House (1932)
A film with someone traveling to a European country



An English trio ends up in the most terrifying of all countries...Wales. The film is based on a book which centers around class structure of post WWI UK. It's great satire very similar to Dr Strangelove where it's played very seriously until you take a second and think about the characters and what the author is trying to say about the Welsh.

The cast is fantastic, you have a number of Oscar nominee's and winners in the cast many of whom you might recognize as they ended working in Hollywood for years. James Whale (the director) has a great eye for set pieces and humor you've got a lot of physical comedy mixed with quality suspense. I recommend that if anyone decides to watch this to plan on taking notes or needing to rewatch it to get everything because you will miss quite a bit...which I think is actually intentional




The Old Dark House (1932)
I adore this movie. Good choice.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
October 1st

Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark


I never read these books as a kid so I had no hype for this movie whatsoever. In fact, I was probably going in wanting to hate it because they shot in my hometown and rented gear from my work, so I was constantly pulling electrical equipment for this production. I remember THAT being a pain in the ass.

I put off watching this movie because the tone of it felt off to me. This is supposedly a kids book, but the horror on display seemed too scary for kids. So how was this movie going to pull this off? The "scary stories" segments are indeed scary and feel like they could have been taken out of some R-rated grotesque horror show. The rest of the movie feels like a Goosebumps kids adventure. There lies the dilemma. How to merge these two into a cohesive film.

I have NO IDEA what age range this movie is for, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected I would. The horror elements really worked for me. and André Øvredal (Troll Hunter, Autopsy of Jane Doe) really knows how to shoot suspenseful horror sequences. Seeing body parts fall down a chimney, then reattach itself only to spider crawl away was something I didn't expect to see in a PG-13 flick.

I can forgive the elements that don't really work (draft-dodging storyline, or the mother leaving backstory) because those horror elements work so well. This is a horror movie I watched in October, it's SPOOKY-MONTH. I highly expect I will watch worse things than a PG-13 horror flick for the YA crowd.

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Suspect's Reviews





Lucky, 2020

May (Brea Grant) is the author of a self-help book and series of blogs who capitalizes on the "women's space" of self-empowerment. One night she is shocked to find a masked man (Hunter Smith) breaking into her home. She's even more shocked when her husband, Ted (Dhruv Singh) announces casually that this is the man "who comes to kill us every night". From that moment, May is plunged into a bizarre series of events whereby she repeatedly kills the intruder and yet he returns over and over.

I had to think on this one a bit, because I think that a lot of my reaction to it came from expectations. I could see a lot of viewers, and especially horror fans, being annoyed by this one. It took a little bit of reframing for me to get what the film is trying to say.

The part that is frustrating with this film is that it's a movie that is saying something within the genre structure of a horror film, and specifically both a home-invasion horror and a Groundhog Day style narrative. Whenever May kills or injures the man, he seems to mysteriously disappear. So from that literal viewpoint, as you watch a sequence where she shops for home defense products, you wonder why she doesn't buy a camera. Or when she kills the man later in the film, you wonder why she doesn't take off his mask, as the identity of the man is obviously a major point of curiosity for both May and the audience.

So what is the film actually after? Well, for the first half (and especially after a certain piece of information is revealed), I thought I knew. And I will concede that the way that the film built my assumptions only to undercut them was pretty neat. The film is exploring the relationship that women have toward the violence that is directed at them, but also how the rest of the world sees that violence. As the film goes on, the indifferent detective asking if she knows the man takes on a different light. It made me think of an article I read recently about a police officer who was convicted of the rape and murder of a woman (he abducted her, raped her, strangled her with his belt, burned her body, and dumped the remains in a lake)--the focus of the article was about how many discussions of the case sought to emphasize that the victim was "blameless"---as if there was a chance she might have brought some or all of her fate on herself. It also nicely evokes situations like the Golden State Killer, where women often told people around them that they thought something wasn't right, or that strange things were happening and were either ignored or placated.

Ultimately, I think that this film is moderately successful. I think that someone going into it expecting another Happy Death Day would be really disappointed. There are some really clever things happening here--including things that explicitly use the tropes of horror films (including allegorical horror films) to create certain expectations and then upend them. But you do basically have to make it to the end of the movie to put it all together. And from that horror point of view, there is a certain lack of tension to the home invasion scenes because it often doesn't seem as if the masked man actually intends to harm May. Sure, he menaces her. Once or twice he puts hands on her (only to be quickly shrugged off or stabbed). But these sequences begin to feel low-stakes very quickly. And in this surreal reality, it also doesn't seem to matter if other characters are harmed, as even the film itself seems to shrug off these moments.

I feel really torn on this film. One part of me really respects what the film is saying and how it uses horror tropes to make the audience question their own assumptions about the victims of violence. But I also consistently felt annoyed---again, I think intentionally--by the actions of the main character. I think I'm appreciating it more as I'm reflecting on it, but the actual viewing experience was a bit underwhelming.

Hmm. I think I'll say
for now. I'll be interested to see how I feel on a rewatch.





Psycho Goreman, 2020

An evil and chaotic demon-alien called Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber/Steven Vlahos) is reawakened when siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) unearth a gem that controls the creature. Unfortunately for Psycho Goreman, the gem gives Mimi the power to control him. And unfortunately for everyone, Mimi is a quirky sociopath with no compunctions about using her new "friend" for petty revenge against everyone from strangers to her parents.

Oh, horror-comedies.

Like many films that aim to blend gore and laughs, this one bears some of the hallmarks of a film that should have probably been about 20 minutes shorter. A lot of the jokes go back to the same well: the kids say something, and Psycho Goreman responds with a disproportionately violent assumption. It's very in the vein of, "Checkers is a game where you try to beat the other person." "Ah, and then you pull their spine from their quivering body?".

Fortunately for the film, Steven Vlahos does a pretty great job with the line readings.
https://i.imgur.com/982lX3t.mp4

Hanna is also pretty solid as the outspoken and totally ruthless child. She perfectly captures the indifference and pettiness of the kind of kid who is completely egocentric.

But for me, the film felt like something that would have been better as an extended short. Mimi is a bully and a petty tyrant, and it was hard spending 90 minutes with her. Honestly, I've encountered a few Mimis in my time, and they are yucky people. Hanna's performance is charming, but the writing of the character herself is a tough pill to swallow. I ultimately mostly felt bad for Luke, who is the most frequent target of Mimi's harassment. A part where Mimi gets Psycho Goreman to choke Luke, then writes it off as a joke just hit me the wrong way. I know you're not meant to take her character seriously, but even as a parody, kids who think it's fun to hurt or kill others never play that well for me. The repetition of the dynamics of the jokes also began to wear on me about halfway through the film.

I will give the film props for, um, its props. There are a lot of fun, practical effects here, ranging from the intentionally goofy (poor Alastair!) to the disgustingly realistic (poor Pandora!). The blood and guts flow and fly freely, and it gives the film some of the over-the-top oomph it needs to stay interesting for its full runtime.

I guess I would loosely recommend this one.




For my first watch of October, I watched Elvira, Mistress of the Dark on Shudder, which would meet the criteria of Part 4, number 19, A film on Shudder. It was a first time watch and i really enjoyed it. Cassandra Peterson is great in it and the screenplay is fantastic. I would rate it
.
I thought this was a lot more fun than it had any business being because Peterson is just so utterly committed to the whole thing she actually manages to carry it for as long as it goes on and the rest of the cast seemed game to go with her. Enjoyable show.



October 1st - 3-15 The Old Dark House (1932)
A film with someone traveling to a European country



An English trio ends up in the most terrifying of all countries...Wales. The film is based on a book which centers around class structure of post WWI UK. It's great satire very similar to Dr Strangelove where it's played very seriously until you take a second and think about the characters and what the author is trying to say about the Welsh.

The cast is fantastic, you have a number of Oscar nominee's and winners in the cast many of whom you might recognize as they ended working in Hollywood for years. James Whale (the director) has a great eye for set pieces and humor you've got a lot of physical comedy mixed with quality suspense. I recommend that if anyone decides to watch this to plan on taking notes or needing to rewatch it to get everything because you will miss quite a bit...which I think is actually intentional

Yeah, this movie's a lot of fun, I watch it almost every year now.





Bay of Blood, 1971

A wealthy, elderly woman named Federica (Isa Miranda) is killed in her home, staged to look like a victim of suicide. The mystery as to the killer's identity is short-lived, but as he admires his handiwork another killer shows up to take him out. Soon, these two murders escalate into a flurry of bloodletting and betrayals as locals, family members, and (naturally) some sexy teens get caught up in the mayhem.

For the first half of the film, I was only medium feeling this one. The initial murders are staged with style and substance, but then there's a lot of passive-aggressive conversations between different characters. There's also an overly-long sequence of some teens hanging out at the house. Both their conversation and the lingering, leering scene of one of the women swimming naked dragged for me. Not just because it's such an inelegant example of the Inescapable Horniness of a lot of horror films, but because the characters aren't developed and so it's kind of boring to spend so much time with a group of people who are obvious canon fodder.

But then the second half of the film kicks in and my appreciation went up several notches. Federica's step-daughter and her husband show up to investigate their disappearances, and we begin to understand--through a series of layered flashbacks--the role that each character played in the initial murder and what came after. This is just good and satisfying mystery stuff---the relationships between the characters are complex and overlap, and we come to understand that someone who is innocent of one thing may be very guilty of another. This all leads to a very darkly funny final scene that brings the film to an appropriate (albeit very unexpected!) conclusion.

Bava displays his flare for strong visuals. I particularly liked a shot of an octopus tentacle slowly reaching out from underneath a tarp.

But speaking of the octopus, my only other complaint is that this film includes several incidents of unsimulated animal mistreatment, including an impaled insect and the handling of the aforementioned octopus. That always knocks a chunk off of any rating I give a film, especially as it's a dealbreaker for ever wanting to rewatch it.

A solid horror with an engaging second half that more than makes up for a slightly underwhelming first half.