October Horror Movie Challenge: 31 in 31.

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I won't be aiming to any goals but I've already watched two horrors this month (and will most likely watch few others) so why not.

#1 Satan's Slave (1976)

Cheap and sleazy cult horror (about a cult, I don't think this one has any cult following). Quite a bit nudity and (badly made) violence that often doesn't progress the story. Acting isn't too good either. The idea itself isn't too bad but the execution is both amateurish and unambitious. There are few nice scenes and the topic interests me but that's barely enough to keep it from being real stinker.


#2 Draug (2018)

A Swedish horror set in 11th century. It's rather low budget and unfortunately it shows (some of the action is poorly shot and dark scenes are often really grainy). Other than the cheap looks it's pretty decent representative of its particular brand of horror so nothing very innovative but quite watchable. I guess I can recommend this to people who liked Finnish horror Sauna (I think that includes @MovieGal).


The only guaranteed horror film that I will be watching this month is a tradition of watching "Crimson Peak" on Halloween.
Sjá jartegn í einn himinnbrú
Einn konung, ok eitt folk af trú
Tíð fyr strið, ok tíð fyr friðr,

28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Day 3

Hell Baby

A generic horror comedy plot with generic jokes is saved from being terrible by a funny cast. Horror comedy is a hard mixed genre, lean to far one way or the other and you may lose either side of the audience. I tend to love most of the horror comedies that come my way and Hell Baby looked to be at the very least, one of the enjoyable ones.

A couple are expecting their first child and they move into a haunted house. During the pregnancy, their mother starts exhibiting possession like symptoms and a team of exorcists show up to expel their demon baby.

I never watched Reno 911, so I'm not familiar with the comedy style, but Hell Baby is full of potential jokes to land and most of them falling short. One sequence involving tossing an infant around a room goes on for way too long that the jokes becomes irritatingly annoying. Rob Croddry and Leslie Bibb are the expecting couple and they fail to have any chemistry together. It's the classic one actor being a comedian and the other trying their best to be funny. It doesn't work.

The film feels like the creators don't know much about horror and paint a comedy with some surface level things they think work in the genre. It never tries to be clever or dedicated to its own story. Hell Baby is a misfire with few laughs.
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews

#3 In the Tall Grass (2019)

I read the novella some time ago after hearing about the forthcoming film and found it rather mediocre. Unfortunately the movie is even worse and for some reason it (again) rewrites the plot almost completely (or the novella was way more forgettable than I thought). It's repetitive and fails to create anything out of the environment (all grass makes Jack a dull boy). There are couple of nice scenes and I only checked the clock two or three times so it's not the worst but quite hard to recommend.

Welcome to the human race...

Howling III: The Marsupials
Philippe Mora, 1987

A woman who belongs to a clan of werewolves runs away to the big city where she meets and falls in love with a film production assistant.

Joe Dante's The Howling was a decidedly so-so entry into the werewolf genre that saw him indulge his love of black comedy and B-movies with the tale of a commune of werewolves. While technically a worse movie, Howling II: Your SIster is a Werewolf (or Werewolf II: Stirba - Werewolf Bitch if you're nasty) manages to distinguish itself by delving even further into B-movie territory with its low-grade production values and wonderfully slumming Christopher Lee. Howling II director Mora returns for the third part, which he brings to Australia and crafts what may well be the most insane piece of Ozploitation I've seen yet. It moves at a breakneck pace in setting up a whole bunch of subplots (it made oddly perfect sense that editor Lee Smith would go on to work on multiple Christopher Nolan films and even win an Oscar for Dunkirk) that smash together again and again, to say nothing of how it speeds through plots (first it's about academics trying to study werewolves, then about making a horror movie with an actual werewolf, then a small-town horror "escalating" into a war movie...and so on and so forth), which manifests in weird ways such as an incredibly unlikely romance and the way in which it attempts to play the grotesque aftermath for both gross-out horror and weirdly genuine sentimentality (look no further than one scene where a werewolf gives birth). However, this ultimately means that the non-stop craziness just grows numbing after a while and makes it hard to maintain a hold on anything - whether it's the various human/werewolf couples that develop or the ways that they are preyed upon by various antagonists. I think it might merit a watch if you're in the market for something absolutely bizarre (where else are you going to see a kangaroo-like werewolf carrying mutated offspring in her pouch?), but otherwise you're not going to get much - if anything - out of its down-under derangement.

Hellraiser: Hellseeker
Rick Bota, 2002

After surviving a car crash that results in the death of his wife, an office worker finds himself experiencing constant hallucinations

After watching a bunch of Hellraiser sequels last year, I figured I'd use this October to watch the ones I hadn't gotten around to yet - but to what end, really? Like many a long-in-the-tooth horror franchise, Hellraiser gets by mainly on the basis of its classic original and the relative goodwill of its first few sequels (which I can more or less defend to varying degrees), but Hellseeker - the sixth installment in the franchise - is where the quality really goes to hell. As if they'd exhausted the good plots already, Hellseeker is content to recycle immediate predecessor Inferno with a tale of a guy being plagued by weird visions of murder and demons who just wants to figure out what's happened to his wife, who may or may not be dead - and incidentally happens to be original Hellraiser protagonist Kirsty Cotton (her presence may well be the film's sole redeeming feature and even then one can contest whether or not she is actually utilised well or treated shabbily). In trying to create a constantly unsettling atmosphere, the editing is extremely choppy so as to simulate the protagonist's disorientation and even facilitate relentless jump scares, but it ultimately proves too obtrusive to be effective. The anemic camerawork certainly doesn't help matters and makes the film's inevitable descent into Cenobite-based torture (plus the much-needed arrival of Pinhead, who once again delivers his trademark brand of sinister gravitas that readily overcomes limited screentime) look underwhelming, thus adding to the generally atrocious quality of the film..

Way too much stupid talk on the forum. Iroquois, I’m thinking about you.

#4 Midsommar (2019)

I suppose I need to accept that I'm not compatible with Ari Aster's films. A 2.5 hours long parody of paganism that fails to be funny, scary or entertaining. What it doesn't fail are things like predictability, boredom and theatricality (which for some reason seems to automatically mean artistic to some people). It's probably slightly worse than Hereditary which at least had somewhat amusing over-the-top ending.

October 4th


To me Offerings felt like a student film, it tells the time as old story of a an accident with a group of kids who are then picked off one by one ten years later. If you think hey that sounds like Prom Night...yup also the killer is a mute shape. The only value I found with this one is how the fashion and time changes. This has that early 90's feel to it, and we get less gratuitous sex in exchange for more atmosphere. Though at the end of the day this just wasn't any good.

Was little bored with WoW Classic today so I watched another horror film.

#5 The Killer of Dolls (1975)

With a lack of better word I call this a Spanish slasher. It's like Psycho, Maniac and Excision were put in an Euro Trash blender. It lacks the visual prowess of Italian giallo and as a whole it's technically somewhat inadequate but it does have personality (even two) and crude charm. Lots of potential and quite passable even with all its flaws.

Welcome to the human race...

Hellraiser: Deader
Rick Bota, 2005

A journalist heads to Romania to investigate a mysterious suicide cult that has the power to bring its members back to life.

Curiosity is the main factor that drives the Hellraiser films, with each one being spurred by one character's desire to experience more (whether it's hedonistic pleasure or answering supernatural mysteries or both) that ultimately drives them to seek out the Cenobites and the hellish dimension from which they hail only to get more than they bargained for. This often manifests in the films setting for making their protagonists into investigators of some kind, whether detectives or wronged men or journalists. Deader chooses the latter route and ends up proving readily comparable to the franchise's third entry, Hell on Earth, by having its journalist heroine dive into a scuzzy urban underbelly where subway trains house bacchanalian raves and suicide cults hold twisted reanimation ceremonies in dank catacombs. Though it arguably smacks of more effort than the tiresome mind games of Hellseeker, Deader is very much a film where its reach exceeds its grasp and its attempts to try to ground the usual Hellraiser blood-letting into something Serious (namely, the lingering effects of psychological trauma, most notably at the hands of a parental figure) but Bota depicts said trauma with the same heavy hand that he uses to show dismembered corpses or blood-soaked bathrooms so it comes across as especially mean-spirited and insensitive even for a franchise that thrives on torturing its characters.

Welcome to the human race...
It wouldn't be much of a challenge if we only watched good movies.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
Sorry, forgot to update. I saw Ring 2 (1999) yesterday. I give it a respectable
, might review it later on if I feel like it.

Welcome to the human race...
A couple quality ones couldn’t hurt though
Very true. I'll get around to them soon enough, but in the meantime...

Welcome to the human race...

Hellraiser: Hellworld
Rick Bota, 2005

A group of friends all win invitations to a mansion party based on their favourite computer game only to find that something more sinister is going on.

How little respect did Dimension have for Hellraiser that they allowed Rick Bota to direct not one but three consecutive installments in the franchise? Not only that, but it squanders a relatively novel variation on the core Hellraiser premise by creating a world where Hellraiser itself is the basis for a popular computer game (the eponymous "Hellworld", which you sadly do not get to see in action) and characters even wear shirts with Pinhead's face on them. While the prospect of Hellraiser going meta in a big way would not automatically make for a better movie (it could well have ended up being this franchise's version of Halloween Resurrection), it would at least make for something different. Unfortunately, here it's just an arbitrary plot point designed to get our characters to go through a rather standard slasher plot that just happens to feature the occasional appearance of a Cenobite or the Lament Configuration. Even the "curiosity" angle that has defined Hellraiser from the beginning is completely abandoned here - nobody particularly seems to care that their favourite computer game is a horrifying reality (much less have their knowledge of the game factor into the proceedings at all), nor is the inciting incident of one friend committing suicide over his addiction to the game ever truly explored. Instead, expect more of the hacky tricks that Bota pulled in his previous entries as constant fake-outs, leery depictions of sexuality, and a plot that relies more on supposedly clever twists than on having anything to say. It's still not as bad as subsequent entry Revelations (which is not only the worst Hellraiser but easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen), but it's not for a lack of trying. Even Pinhead himself isn't fun to watch when he does show up.

Welcome to the human race...

Murder Party
Jeremy Saulnier, 2007

After randomly finding an invitation to a "murder party" on Halloween, a loner attends only to find that the hosts really do plan to murder him.

Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room was one of my favourite films of 2016 as it took a bare-bones premise - punk band has to escape from a club owned by murderous neo-Nazis - and built a supremely tense and captivating thriller out of it. Murder Party covers similar ground - it also concerns a protagonist being trapped in a single location by a group that wants to murder them - but it goes for comedy more so than straight-up terror. By making its antagonists a group of art students who are willing to murder a person if it means earning grant money, it plays as a dark little satire of New York's art scene that builds suspense by rubbing its characters' egos up against one another as unrequited crushes, simmering resentments, and various other insecurities come to the surface. It definitely leans more towards the comedy side of things than horror - you're almost likely to forget that the frightened hero spends half the film's running time tied up and gagged while it focuses on the artists' interplay - but the moments in which it does switch gears are executed reasonably well as Saulnier shows the same capacity for tight plotting around tiny details and causality that has defined his works for the better (to say nothing of how easily human shortcomings and backfiring plans can work as both comedy and horror). Murder Party proves a decent enough zero-budget watch that doesn't exhaust its welcome at a brisk 79 minutes, though it's also easy to see why Saulnier gradually phased comedy out of his subsequent features.

Couple more today.

#6 Deathwatch (2002)

A rewatch of this WWI horror. A really mixed bag for me. Settings are superb and the wet, dirty trenches look better (or should I worse) than any other film. Acting's pretty decent too. But there are big issues as well. I hate that majority of war based horrors use practically the same story with slight variations (it's not terrible in itself but it got old years ago) and Deathwatch is no exception. Also despite solid acting the characters are weak and cliched. And the mandatory Twilight Zonenish ending is a turn off too.


#7 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

This was recently added to Netflix and I hadn't seen it before so why not. To be honest it was a lot better than I expected. Cinematography was pretty good, soundtrack was mostly fine and Michael felt intimidating. It gets gradually worse towards the end but first half is almost good and the whole is way better than last year's "true" sequel. Story is really campy and stupid (that's the main reason why the film gets weaker). Still above average slasher with couple of nice kills and Carpenter-like camera work.