Phillydude's 31 Days Of Halloween - 2012
1326 7.4 7.51. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Watched October 1st - Netflix DVD -
"Hey, listen to Franklin's horoscope - 'Travel in the country, long-range plans and upsetting persons around you could make this a disturbing and unpredictable day'." - Pam
Movie number one in this years horrorfest is a movie I probably should have seen by now - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - especially since it was directed by the same guy who directed Poltergeist - I hadn't seen it up until now because the title made me cringe, but I thought it was time that I finally saw it and I am glad that I did because it is a very good horror film. The tension and suspense started to build right away as the characters broke the number one rule of horror films right off - never pick up hitchhikers - and it continued to build until Leatherface showed up and by then I wanted to pull the covers over my head. The characters seemed as mindless as the cattle they were talking about earlier in the movie to keep walking alone one by one into that spooky looking house - the chase scenes were very well done and frightening especially the chase through the woods at night which was one of the all timers - I thought the dinning room scene was disturbing and went on for to long with gratuitous close ups and while I liked the ending, I thought it could have been a little tighter, but on the whole this was an unforgettable film and worthy of the leadoff spot in my 31 days of Halloween - The moral of the story - if you are going to take a trip into the country - better make sure you have a full tank of gas before you go.
997 6.9 72. Hellraiser (1987)
Watched October 2nd - Netflix DVD -
1st Viewing - Rewatched October 2nd
"We have such sights to show you." - Pinhead
Hellraiser is another horror movie that I put off watching way to long - for the same reasons I put off watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - the difference being I was dreading the moment when Leatherface would show up with his chainsaw, while I had heard so much about Pinhead, that I was actually looking forward to seeing him - and he did not disappoint - The movie didn't open up as I expected - I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't a wicked stepmother and her skinless walking corpse ex-lover - there was some really twisted stuff going on there - It took a while for Pinhead to make his main entrance, but it was well worth the wait - even in his relatively brief appearance, he made such an impression that he easily now ranks among my all time favorite villains - and the Uncle was such a monster that I was rooting Pinhead on when he got his - I actually watched the movie twice just so that I could watch all of Pinhead's scenes again. Hellraiser is one of the goriest movies I have seen, just the many rat mutilations were enough to make me queasy, but it also was one of the most entertaining horror movies I have ever watched.
651 7.2 73. Day of the Dead (1985)
Watched October 3rd - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"Your ignorance is exceeded only by your charm, Captain - How can we expect them to behave if we act barbarically ourselves?" - Dr. Logan
Day Of The Dead is the third movie in George A. Romero's Dead trilogy - I liked all three and could go back and fourth on which one I liked the best, as they were three different kinds of Zombie movies shot in three different decades - but I think Day of the Dead is the culmination of the three, besides I am always partial to 80's movies. The effects are spectacular with some very shocking and gruesome scenes, and the claustrophobic feel of the movie with a small group trapped deep withing a mine surrounded by Zombies reminded me of Alien - I thought the story was very good, but I think the main reason I liked this movie the best of the three were the characters - the sadistic megalomaniac Captain Rhodes who was such a raging SOB that he had me sympathizing with the zombies - the BSC Doctor Logan who preformed disturbing experiments on the zombies in an effort to domesticate them - the helicopter pilot with yoda like wisdom who made more sense than anybody - Bub, a zombie with a attachment to Dr. Logan and a fondness for Beethoven, given a little more time he might have become the Caesar of the Zombies - and Sarah Bowman, the plucky heroine with a streak of Sarah Conner in her - must be something about the name Sarah - All of them were terrific and memorable character. After seeing this movie, I may check out the other two films again this month to better compare them, but for now Day of the Dead is my favorite.
393 6.5 6.34. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Watched October 4th - Netflix DVD -
"I thought you was smart and tough, you're stupid, you're nothin - I am gonna watch your goddamn car rust out, yes I will, I'll see the wind blow your dried up seeds away, l'll eat the heart of your stinkin memory, I'll eat the brains of your kid's kids - I'm in, you're out!" - Jupiter
The Hills Have Eyes is one of Wes Craven's first movies, and it had the look and feel of the first effort of a fledgling director, it reminded me a little of Steven Spielberg's Duel in that way - The movie is about a family who gets stranded in the Nevada desert and are then terrorized by a family of homicidal, cannibalistic hill people. The story was good and I liked and rooted for the stranded family - I loved the dog out for vengeance, he was the anti-Cujo - ironic that Dee Wallace was in both movies - the villains were horrific, especially Jupiter who was just plain evil, but fortunately they were also not very bright - I also thought the ending was terrific, it had me on the edge of my seat, but while i enjoyed the movie, on the whole it just didn't grab me as much as the first three movies I saw this month did, it says something that my favorite character was a dog.
334 6.5 6.55. The Howling (1981)
Watched October 5th - Netflix DVD -
"Silver bullets or fire, that's the only way to get rid of the damn things - They're worse than cockroaches - they come back from the dead if you don't kill them right, plus they regenerate, you know what that is? - cut off an arm, cut off a leg, stick a knife in the heart - nothing - they may look dead, but bam, three days later and they're good as new."
- Bookstore owner
Today I watched the second of back to back Dee Wallace horror movies with The Howling - I knew Wallace was in Cujo, but hadn't realized she appeared in a number of other horror films as well - unfortunately, as much as I like her, I thought her performance was the weakest part of the movie - it is about a reporter who has a unsettling run in with a psychopath and ventures out into the country to get away from her nightmares, but her nightmares only get worse as she encounters a pack of werewolves. It takes a while for the werewolf part of the movie to get started, but once it does it is very good - I liked the transformations and the action was pulse pounding - my problem was Dee Wallace's character seemed non pulsed by everything that was going on around her, the only time she really got excited was when she accused he husband of cheating on her, I thought it was a rather uninspiring performance that took away from the movie, but, as with The Hills Have Eyes last night - I loved the ending. I don't think The Howling is in the same league as the other werewolf movie released in 1981 - An American Werewolf in London - one of my all time favorite movies - but as werewolf movies go, this is a good one.
724 6.3 6.56. Christine (1983)
Watched October 8th - Amazon Streaming -
"You wanna watch what you call my car - she's real sensitive." - Arnie Cunningham
I love movies adapted from the works of Stephen King and one of the things I want to accomplish during the horrorfest is to catch up with the King movies I haven't seen yet or have forgotten about. I am starting today with a double feature, the first being Christine - about what happens when American's love affair with their cars gets taken to the ultimate, insane extreme, when a picked upon high school nerd becomes obsessed with his demon possessed, homicidal 1958 Plymouth Fury - the transformation of Arnie from a mild mannered nerd into a complete psycho, as he becomes more and more attached to the car is well done - he becomes almost more creepy than Christine - I also liked the rock and roll soundtrack, particularly the songs that came out of Christine's car radio, which were amusing and the use of 'bad to the bone' might be my favorite this side of Terminator 2, John Carpenter directed the movie in the same stylish way he directed Halloween and The Thing, so while I wouldn't put it quite on the level of my top tier King movies, I did think it was well done and very entertaining.
547 6.6 6.67. Creepshow (1982)
Watched October 8th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"It's Father's day, and I got my cake." - Nathan Grantham
The second part of my Stephen King double feature was Creepshow - it combines the talents of two of the horror greats - Stephen King and George A. Romero, creating two hours of entertaining horror movie goodness. It is anthology movie with five segments in the vein of The Twilight Zone. I liked first segment about a different kind of Father's day the best, it was a story right in Romero's wheelhouse. I thought the second segment that brought a whole new meaning to going green, was the weakest - surprising because it was the segment that starred Stephen King himself, he usually just does cameo parts in his movies, so it was fun to see him in such a long segment - but I think his forte is in writing, not acting - I loved the third segment about a man with a diabolical plot for revenge against his unfaithful wife and her lover - it stars two of my favorites - Ted Danson and Leslie Neilson - I had forgot that before Neilson began his second career as a comedy actor that he often played the heavy, and he certainly does play the heavy well - I enjoyed the byplay between his character and Danson's and the ending was great. I also loved the fourth segment about a monster living under the stairs and a man who decides to use it to his advantage by feeding the thing his obnoxious wife - the last segment about a scrooge like tycoon who thinks of people as cockroaches to be stepped on, and is given his just dessert when he is beset by them, was the hardest for me to watch because I hate cockroaches, they completely skeeve me out - the last scene in particular was just plain nasty. I also enjoyed the opening and closing wrap around segments and the animation that ties the whole thing together - I have no idea how the 80's went by without me seeing Creepshow, but I am glad that I was able to see it now and make it another great '82 movie I saw in its 30th anniversary year.
284 6.7 6.98. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Watched October 9th - My DVD collection -
"I can tell you something about this place, The boys around here call it The Black Lagoon - a paradise - only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it." - Lucas
I was in the mood for some creature features tonight, so I watched maybe the ultimate one - Creature From The Black Lagoon - I had expected it to be a rung below the more famous old monster movies like Frankenstein, Wolfman and Dracula - however, to my surprise it was on par with them - The movie is fast paced with great under water action, especially impressive for a 50's movie and the creature was pretty awesome - slimy, frightening, humorous and a bit of a horndog - he conveyed a lot of personality without ever saying anything. The characters were good - I liked the dueling scientists - one who wants to study the creature and the other who wants to kill it - and while the movie might be a little cheesy in spots - I cracked up at the over dramatic music every time the creature's hand was shown - it was entertaining and exciting throughout, so if this isn't my favorite creature feature - 1954 alone had three great ones with Them, Godzilla and this movie - It's close to it.
340 7.8 7.89. The Vanishing (1988)
Watched October 10th - Netflix DVD -
"The best plans can be wiped out at any moment by what we call fate - I confess, that saddens me."
- Raymond Lemorne
The Vanishing is my foreign language film pick this month - it is a Dutch horror film about a man who spends three years searching for his missing girlfriend who vanished at a rest stop while they were vacationing, and then engages in a cat and mouse game with her abductor. The movie opens as a pretty standard missing persons thriller, and I began to wonder why it was considered a horror movie - it actually appeared at first that the boyfriend may actually be more unhinged than the kidnapper - but then in the movies last 40 minutes the kidnapper's true colors started to show and things start to get progressively creepier up until the truly twisted ending which makes this movie fit for any horror list - There is a definite moral to this story - something along the lines of a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush.
735 7.6 7.710. The Wicker Man (1973)
Watched October 11th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"You'll simply never understand the true nature of sacrifice." - May Morrison
I had heard enough about The Wicker Man to know that there are two versions of it - but didn't know anything else about it - the movie is about a police detective who arrives at an isolated island off the coast of Scotland to investigate the disappearance of a young girl - only to discover that the island is populated by a cult like group of pagan worshipers who engage in bizarre rituals. The movie has a slow, meandering build to it that took a while to pull me into the story, and all the Paganism vs. Christianity talk didn't interest me much, but I did agree with the detective about one thing - the villagers were completely crazy - they made the villagers in American Werewolf in London look positively sane. I did love the ending - the reveal as to what the title referred to was one of the most shocking movie moments I can remember - I read that The Wicker Man is called the Citizen Kane of horror movies - I would not go that far, although I have always felt Citizen Kane was over rated, but it's certainly an original and different kind of horror film.
427 6.9 6.911. Fright Night (1985)
Watched October 11th - Netflix DVD -
"I have just been fired because nobody wants to see vampire killers anymore, or vampires either - apparently all they want to see are demented madmen running around in ski masks hacking up young virgins." - Peter Vincent
Fright Night is another 80's horror movie that I am a little surprised that I haven't seen before - it is about a teenager who discovers that he is living next door to a vampire. The movie had some good ideas, I liked the Rear Window style opening and the TV show host who plays a Vampire hunter on television and then is forced into becoming a real one. However, the movie never really came together for me - I think mainly because the writing and acting were not as strong as they could have been - I liked Roddy McDowall as the vampire hunter, but while I loved Chris Sarandon in The Princess Bride, I didn't think he made a great vampire - and the teenage characters were not all that compelling either - the climatic battle was well done and that pulled the movie up a little bit, but while Fright Night is a good movie to watch during Halloween time, I don't think I would watch it again because a couple years later The Lost Boys came out and was the comedy/horror vampire movie Fright Night was trying to be, and I thought that film did it more effectively.
201 6.2 612. Cat's Eye (1985)
Watched October 12th - VUDU Streaming -
"Damn it - you barbecue all the cats you want, if you don't have me out of here inside of 15 seconds - I'm gonna call the cops on you faster than you can say Marlboro Man."
- Dick Morrison
Cat's Eye is an anthology of three short stories based on the writings of Stephen King - It is similar in vein to Creepshow - the stories are not quite as strong as they were in that movie, but they were all very good - the stories are all told through the eye's of a cat who wanders his way into each story - I loved the opening with the cat being chased by Cujo, as well as the nod to Christine - the first story is about a man who joins a stop smoking program that inflicts extreme draconian punishments to insure that you quit for good - I liked the story and the performances by James Woods and Allen King - it was both amusing and frightening and it sure made me glad that I never took up smoking, but I did think the ending could have been a bit stronger. The second story was my favorite, it was similar to one of the stories in Creepshow, A man makes a bet that forces his wife's lover to walk outside around the ledge of his high rise penthouse in order to be with her again. Robert Hayes is great - in the only time I've seen him in anything outside the Airplane movies - and the ending is the strongest of the three stories. The last story would have scared the crap out me if I had seen it as a kid, it is about an evil little troll who lives inside the wall of a young girl's bedroom, and causes mischief that gets blamed on the cat the girl has adopted - the story wasn't scary to me now, but it was entertaining with a nice performance by Drew Barrymore and an even better one by the cat - General definitely earned a spot on my favorite movie animals list.
916 6 6.313. Land of the Dead (2005)
Watched October 13th - My DVD collection -
"In a world where the dead are returning to life - the word trouble loses much of its meaning." - Paul Kaufman
I wrapped up my zombie day today by watching the fourth movie in George A. Romero's Dead series - Land Of The Dead - it's different than the first three movies in that the landscape and tone of the movie is darker and grittier, and instead of a small group of survivors batting the zombies, the city of Pittsburgh is under siege, so there a lot more people in this one - I wasn't sure if I was going to like the movie as it started - the cold, bleak nature of it reminded me of the last Terminator movie, which I wasn't a fan of - the twinkle wasn't there that made the other three movies so much fun - but as the movie went along I warmed up to the story and the characters and started enjoying it - I liked the leader of the zombie rebellion who, like Bub in Day of the Dead, said a lot without ever saying anything - Dennis Hopper was good as the villain, but I expected more in the way of Howard Payne style quips from him. All in all this was the weakest of the four movies, but it is still a Romero zombie movie, which means it was still pretty darn good.
405 6.7 6.714. May (2002)
Watched October 14th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"So many pretty parts and no pretty wholes."
- May Dove Canady
May is another movie I didn't know anything about before now - it is a warped and disturbing movie that is kind of a cross between Carrie and Frankenstein with a little Fatal Attraction thrown in, since those are three of my all time favorite horror movies, I probably should have enjoyed this movie more than I did - the story is about a shy, disturbed, socially awkward young woman who's only real friend is a doll she keeps in a glass case - she meets a guy in a laundry mat and becomes obsessed with him, particularly his hands, but when things don't work out she starts to loose it in ways that would have made Alex Forrest cringe - It was hard to sympathize with May as it was pretty clear that she was nuts from the get go and most of the relationship problems she had were of her own making or in her own head - I didn't find the other characters very likeable either, so there was nobody to really root for in the movie - I did like the story elements which were told well, the structure of the movie was good and the ending was just plain twisted - but the whole thing might have been just a little to weird for my tastes - it is a movie I thought about long after I finished watching it though, so it might be one of those movies that takes a while to fully settle in.
4681 7.3 7.515. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Watched October 15th - Netflix DVD -
"The skull is gone, taken, that is why the horseman returns from the grave - to take heads till his own is restored to him." - Ichabod Crane
I marked the halfway point of horrorfest 2012 by watching Sleepy Hollow which is based on the well known Halloween ghost story about the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow. I had seen animated versions of the story before, but I think this is the first live action movie version of it that I've seen. I am not always a fan of Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaborations, but this movie is right in their wheelhouse and they nailed it - the story is told differently than the one it is based on - starting with Crane being a police detective instead of a school teacher, but it doesn't really matter because the story is told well, the acting was excellent - especially by Depp in easily my favorite role of his after Jack Sparrow - and the horseman was awesome - he was completely frightening and bad ass and had me cheering and shivering at the same time - I thought the murder investigation was a little to convoluted at times, but that is a small quibble that was overshadowed by one hell of a good ghost story - Sleepy Hollow is a Halloween classic.
438 5.4 5.816. Black Sheep (2006)
Watched October 16th - Netflix DVD -
"I know all about your Frankensheep - Mother Nature spent millions of years making sheep, she doesn't need your help." - Grant
Black Sheep is a campy, funny comedy horror film from New Zealand about genetically altered mutant sheep who go wild and start feasting on people - I can only hope one of the people was the rancher in Silence of the Lambs who sent Clarice to an orphanage for trying to save a lamb from the slaughterhouse (20 years later and that still bugs me) - sheep have put up with the indignities from people for so long, it was nice, not to mention very amusing, to see them get the upper hand for a change - the sheep attacks cracked me up, it's a nightmare only a country with 40 million sheep contained on a relatively small island could have - there were also zombies and weresheep which added to the fun and there were some funny scenes parodying other horror films like The Birds - the joke does start to wear thin by the end like a Monty Python sketch that goes on a bit to long, but it's an infectiously entertaining film that's fun to watch.
392 6.4 6.217. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Watched October 17th - My DVD collection -
"Go on, but trick us again child, and your suffering will be legendary even in Hell." - Pinhead
After watching the original Hellraiser earlier this month I had to see the sequel, so I bought a DVD of the first two movies - I was looking forward to watching Hellbound: Hellraiser II because I expected there to be a lot more of Pinhead in this one, but to my surprise, there was even less of him than there was in the first movie. The first hour of the movie is excellent - I loved the opening in the mental hospital with nobody believing Kirsty's story and I liked the wicked stepmpther being the skinless walking corpse this time, she was just plain evil, and might have been even more bad ass than Pinhead was in this movie. I liked Pinhead's initial appearance and I thought the Cenobites had a point when they said Kristy was eager to play, but reluctant to admit it - when you voluntarily run into hell, you can't really complain about what happens after that. If the movie had stayed on the track it was on it might have been another classic, but it goes off the rails a bit in the last half hour - things happen that are confusing or don't make much sense, but worst of all Pinhead was made to look weak and marginalized, which was disappointing - you can be sure Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers were not made to look weak in their second movies. So while Hellraiser II was an entertaining movie, it's not the classic the original was and I don't think I will watch any of the other sequels.
280 7.4 7.218. The Changeling (1980)
Watched October 18th - DVD gift from jaytoast -
"That house is not fit to live in, no one's been able to live in it - it doesn't want people." - Minnie Huxley
The second part of my George C. Scott double feature today was The Changeling - Scott plays a man who moves into a big spooky house on the other side of the country after his family is killed in a car accident. Leaving aside the two most obvious questions in any haunted house movie - why would you want to move into a place that looked that creepy, especially when you are by yourself and why would you stay there another second after things start going bump in the night - I thought this was an excellent ghost story, the mystery of what was going on and why was played out effectively and supllied more than ample thrills and chills, it is the kind of movie I do a lot of yelling at the TV - mostly saying stop going up into that creepy old attic - the ending was well done although leaving me with a couple questions, but otherwise it's one of my favorite haunted house movies.
488 7.2 7.219. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Watched October 19th - Netflix DVD -
"And now you made me hurt myself again, you made me break my hand completely off this time Tina, but I don't care darling, because I love you - and you've got to let me eat your Brain!" - Freddy
The Return of the the Living Dead is a hipster rock and roll 80's zombie movie that is a funny parody of zombie movies, while also working well as a straight up zombie movie in its own right - it is different than all the other zombie movies I've seen in that the zombies talk, which lent humor to the movie as they lured unsuspecting first responders to the scene and then gang tackled them - the characters were likeable and fun to watch and the ending was excellent. I also liked that this particular zombie infestation was linked to The Night Of the Living Dead - a nice nod to the mother of all modern zombie movies - it's another hidden 80's gem.
1502 7.3 7.620. The Evil Dead (1981)
Watched October 20th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"Why have you disturbed our sleep, awakened us from our ancient slumber? - You will die, like the others before you - one by one we will take you." - Possessed Cheryl
The Evil Dead shows again why groups of teenagers should never go off to vacation to an isolated cabin in the woods, because something wicked is bound to be there waiting. This time choosing the wrong cabin results in evil demons possessing them and pitting the five friends against each other as they try to survive. the action was good but I thought the movie seemed rushed which hurt the character and story development, I think if they had laid the groundwork in the beginning part of the movie better, then the demon battle would have had more of an impact and while I liked the ending, it made me wonder why they didn't do that in the first place - it would have saved a lot of trouble. It was an entertaining movie though and I had fun yelling at the characters for doing stupid things like walking into dark, foggy, spooky woods by themselves - the trees are going to attack you just for being an idiot - the moral to the story is next time take your spring break in Florida like everybody else - now I am looking forward to the sequel.
1150 7.5 7.821. Evil Dead II (1987)
Watched October 21st - the giraffe's DVD collection -
1st Viewing - Rewatched October 21st
"Then let's head on down into that cellar and carve ourselves a witch." - Ash Williams
Completed my Evil Dead weekend by watching Evil Dead II - It took me a while to figure this movie out as the beginning is very confusing because it doesn't connect to the first movie - was it a sequel, a remake, a reboot - I was lost - so I stopped the movie, researched it a little bit and I figured out that about 7 minutes into the film is the breaking point between the first and second movies, still confusing though because events and characters of the first movie are not mentioned - eventually I just stopped trying to figure out the beginning and proceeded from the notion of the 7 minute mark as the continuation from the first film - why the second movie just didn't start from where the first movie left off, like most sequels do, I don't know - After all that I didn't think there was much of a chance I would like this movie better than the first one, but in the end I ended up liking it even more - it starts out with very funny slapstick humor, it's almost like a parody of the first movie, as the demons take over Ash's girlfriend's corpse and then his own hand - I especially enjoyed Ash fighting his hand for control - great stuff, Bruce Campbell has a Jim Carrey like gift for physical comedy - then when the rest of the characters arrive it reverted back to more of a straight horror movie like the first one, although there are still some funny scenes - I thought Ash was nondescript in the first movie, but he was pretty kick ass in this one - especially with his chainsaw hand - the last 30 minutes of the movie are excellent - a perfect blend of humor and horror and I loved the ending - so despite a shaky start, Evil Dead II is one of the rare sequels that I thought topped the original.
837 7.5 7.522. Dead Alive (1992)
Watched October 22nd - Netflix DVD -
"They're not dead exactly - they're just sort of rotting."
- Lionel Cosgrove
Dead Alive is another comedy horror film from New Zealand, and like Black Sheep it is a very funny and entertaining one. It is about a monkey virus that turns people into zombies and the man who tries to contain the outbreak by stashing the zombies in his basement - that works out about as well as you might expect - the story and character development is not real strong, but who needs that kind of stuff when you have zombie babies, the zombie mom from hell and the best lawnmower scene of all time? - Peter Jackson directed, which amazed me - interesting that the man behind the epic LOTR movies started out by making quite possibly the goriest movie ever made - the man doesn't do anything in a small way - so while I didn't think it was as good as other zombie movies I've seen this month, it is still a lot of fun.
545 6.1 5.923. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
Watched October 23rd - VUDU Streaming -
"Lesson one, always have a contingency plan - vampire hunting doesn't work out, I'll need a career to fall back on." - Abraham Lincoln
I wanted to catch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in the theater last summer, but it was gone to quick, so I am glad it became available to watch during the horrorfest - the premise of the movie is awesome - take America's greatest President and add to his legend by turning him into a kick ass vampire hunter - a brilliant idea of for a movie - I don't know if the movie was supposed to be as intentionally amusing as I found it to be, as it seemed to take itself a little to seriously at times, however watching Abe Lincoln swinging an axe as he destroyed vampires cracked me up - I thought it would just cover Lincoln's early years, but no, even as President he was acting like Van Helsing, fighting to keep America free from vampires - who knew that was what the Battle of Gettysbugh was Really all about? - I thought the vampires were the weakest part of the movie, they could have been better developed and given more of a presence, as at times it seemed more like an action movie than a horror film, for the most part though the movie was every bit as fun as the title made it sound like it would be.
751 5.8 6.124. The Strangers (2008)
Watched October 24th - the giraffe's DVD collection-
"Well they want something, people don't just stand out there staring at us like that - they want something."
- James Hoyt
When it comes to horror movies, I can handle zombies, vampires, werewolves, and man eating sharks without getting to scared - the ones that really get to me are the ones when some psycho is terrorizing people in their homes - and The Strangers is without a doubt the scariest one of those I have seen since Halloween, if somebody had knocked on my door while I was watching it I would have had a heart attack. The film is masterful at building the tension right from the first knock on the door, as a couple is trapped and terrorized by a trio of masked psychos and the tension keeps building with out any let up or respite to catch your breath or ease the knot in your stomach - the only quibble I had with the movie was the ending, which went for the cheap thrill when it wasn't needed, this movie was plenty terrifying without it, this is the kind a movie that is twice as scary if you watch it alone at night, like I did - I think I will be sleeping with the lights on tonight.
157 5.8 5.825. The Dark Half (1993)
Watched October 25th - Amazon Streaming -
"Most of us keep that inner-being hidden away, locked up, a fiction writer doesn't have to do that - he doesn't have to hide it, he doesn't have to keep it from anything, he can let it out, bring it out into the open. let it live, let it breathe - hell, he can let it party, give it the car keys and let it ride." - Thad Beaumont
The Dark Half is another collaboration between Stephen King and George A. Romero, and as with Creepshow, they prove to make a very good team. As much as I've enjoyed Stephen King's novels, I had forgotten I read this one until the movie started, then I started to remember the story, and that the book was actually one of my favorites. The movie is about a writer who writes pulp fiction novels under a pseudonym named George Stark, who he had devolped an entire backstory for, once the ruse is discovered he decides to kill off George and write under his own name, the one problem being George doesn't want to go quietly into that good night. I remember the book being dark, warped and twisted and the movie follows it in being just as warped. Very good casting with Timothy Hutton as the writer - he hasn't done a lot recently, but back in the 80's he was one of my favorite actors and he is excellent in this movie. The story drew me in right from the start, it is told well and I loved the ending - somehow I think it was Romero's favorite part too, and as with Firestarter I'd rank The Dark Half just a rung below my all time favorite Stephen King adaptions.
170 6.1 626. House (1986)
Watched October 26th - Netflix DVD -
"It won Roger, it tricked me, I didn't think it could but it did - it's going to trick you too, Roger - this house knows everything about you, leave while you can." - Aunt Elizabeth
First rule of haunted house movies - when the house tells you to get out, you better listen - House reminded me of Fright Night, in that it had all the elements of a good story - creepy old hose, missing child 'taken' by the house a la Poltergeist, the house using the main character's worst memory against him - however in the end it just didn't come together for me - the movie didn't blend the comedic and horror elements very well, there were characters like the neighbor that they didn't seem to know what to do with, and the whole look of the movie was rather cheesy, like it was a cut rate version of Poltergeist, I did like the Vietnam back story, I thought William Katt did a good job and the were parts like the fight with the stuffed swordfish which were amusing, but on the whole House is proof that I don't love All 80's movies, this one was pretty forgettable.
86 5.1 4.327. Graveyard Shift (1990)
Watched October 27th - Amazon Streaming
- 1st Viewing
"Oh Moxy, there just ain't no job worth this."
- Tucker Cleveland
Graveyard Shift is a Stephen King adaption I knew nothing about, the book or the movie, until now - It is about a textile mill with a major rat infestation, but that turns out to be the least of its problems - rats skeve me out even more than cockroaches do, I had trouble sitting through Ratatouille without squirming - so this movie was a nightmare for me, I can't understand why anybody would have wanted to work there, and that was before they discovered what was in the basement of the place. The movie isn't one of the best King adaptions, and as it came out the same year as Misery I can see why it was forgotten - the character development isn't real strong and there were some obvious avenues that I thought were not explored, leaving some questions unanswered, there were also some unanswered questions about the creature - that being said, it isn't all bad either - the creature is creepy, the story is entertaining and the last half hour of the movie plays out well - but I think I will always think of it as the rat movie.
2938 7.3 7.628. 28 Days Later... (2002)
Watched October 28th - the giraffe's DVD collection -
"This is what I've seen in the four weeks since infection - people killing people, which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection, and the four weeks before that, and before that, and as far back as I care to remember - people killing people, which to my mind puts us in a state of normality right now." - Major Henry West
I figured 28 days into the horrofest was a good time to watch 28 Days Later - It is about a virus that wipes out most of the population of Great Britain and turns the survivors into raging zombies if they are infected. I liked how the movie sets the atmosphere of desolation at the beginning of the movie, giving the feeling that Jim might be the sole survivor on earth, then when he hooks up with other survivors I rooted for them because of their likeability - the film moves a bit slowly in the beginning, and I was wondering were it was going, but when they run into the military survivalists, things really start to get interesting -
I knew they were going to be trouble as soon as I saw the chained up zombie - didn't any of those geniuses see Day of the Dead? - the last half hour was the best part of the movie, it was intense and had me on the edge of my seat cheering and I really liked the ending - this would rank as one of my favorite end of the world apocalypse movies.
Previously Viewed Horrors
1296 7.9 829. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Watched October 4th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"If you are stupid enough to go die in that trap that's your business, however I am not stupid enough to follow you - it is tough for the kid that her old man is so stupid - now, get the hell down in the cellar, you can be the boss down there, I'm boss up here." - Ben
After watching Day of the Dead, I wanted to watch the other two dead movies again - so I'm making them a double feature today - the first up is Night Of The Living Dead - the zombie movie that started it all - The differences in the production values between Night of the Living Dead and Day Of the Dead are, well, night and day - not helped by the quality of the DVD version I was watching - however the story remains very good - I liked how it appeared that Barbara was going to be the main character, but then the story shifts into a power struggle between Ben and Harry on how to best defend against the Zombie attack - it was compelling and had me yelling at the TV just as much as it did the first time I watched it - just because a guy is a cowardly, self centered weasel, it doesn't mean he is wrong about the best place to hide from flesh eating Zombies.
1212 7.8 830. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Watched October 4th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"My Granddad was a priest in Trinidad, he used to tell us - 'When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth'." - Peter
Part two of my double feature was Dawn Of the Dead - It is the most light hearted and humorous of the three movies, and I love that it takes place in a shopping mall that the Zombies are naturally drawn to - the subtext about the consumerism of are society was amusing, especially since Shopping Malls weren't as common place in the 70's as they are now, so Romero was pretty clairvoyant with that. The action was good and I like the final battle with the biker gang, but I didn't think the characters were as interesting or memorable as the other two movies - so as good and entertaining as it is, I'd rank the movies Day-Night-Dawn.
768 7.6 831. Frankenstein (1931)
Watched October 9th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"There can be no wedding while this horrible creation of mine is still alive - I made him with these hands, and with these hands I will destroy him - I must find him."
- Dr. Henry Frankenstein
After watching Creature from the Black Lagoon I decided to watch the mother of all monster movies - Frankenstein - I watched it for the first time during last years horrorfest and while I liked it, I didn't give it the full credit it deserves for being the timeless classic that it is - sure there are small flaws, but they are more than made up for by all the classic moments, lines and scenes which have become iconic and and used as the basis for countless monster movies and parodies since then - I love the 'It's Alive!' scene - and after seeing the movie again I can safely say Frankenstein now has a secure spot among my all time favorite horror movies.
636 7.3 7.632. Dracula (1931)
Watched October 10th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"For one who has not lived even a single lifetime, you're a wise man, Van Helsing." - Count Dracula
Can't watch Frankenstein without watching Dracula - they go together like peas and carrots - as with Frankenstein, I watched it for the first time during last years horrorfest, and again I liked the movie even better the second time around - It seemed faster paced to me this time, I think because the first time I was so anxious to see Dracula that I didn't pay much attention to the other characters, this time I appreciated the secondary characters a lot more - particularly Van Helsing and Reinfield - who's got to be the best toady ever - I still think the ending is anti-climatic - but Bela Lugosi's brilliant performance shines above the flaws - like Frankenstein, Dracula is a timeless classic.
2418 7.3 7.733. Zombieland (2009)
Watched October 13th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"Another rule to surviving Zombieland - travel light - and I don't mean just luggage, I've always been kind of a loner,
I avoided other people like they were zombies even before they were zombies - now that they are all zombies, I kind of miss people." - Columbus
I'm having a zombie day today, starting with watching a double feature of two of my favorite comedy horror movies - the first being Zombieland, which is my all time favorite Zombie movie, I love everything about this movie - the rules are awesome, the action is great and the humor is hysterical - I also love the characters - Tallahassee is one of my favorite characters in any kind of movie and there is much about Columbus I can relate to, including avoiding other people like they were zombies, and being afraid of the cloths they wipe down tables with in fast food places - Zombieland is kind of like the E.T. of horror movies for me because it helped to rekindle my interest in the horror genre when I watched it for the first time last year - I have seen a lot of great horror movies since then, but this film is one of my favorites and will always hold a special place for me.
3051 7.6 834. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Watched October 13th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"Look, I don't care what the telly says, all right? - we have to get out of here, If we don't they'll come up here and tear us to pieces - and that is really going to exacerbate things for all of us." - Shaun
The second part of my double feature is Shaun of the Dead - I watched this movie for the first time earlier this year, and I enjoyed it just as much seeing it again - while I don't think it is quite as memorable as Zombieland, it is still a clever and very funny satire of zombie movies in general and Romero's Dead movies in particular. I thought the funniest moments were Shaun being oblivious to the start of the zombie outbreak and Shaun and Ed fighting off two zombie's in their backyard - the friendship and banter between those two was my favorite part of the film - I thought the last part of he movie in the pub was well done - it combined humor, horror and even sentiment and the ending cracked me up - It is a fun and entertaining movie.
2045 7 7.435. Carrie (1976)
Watched October 15th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"Please see that I'm not like you, Mama - I'm funny -
I mean, all the kids think I'm funny, and I don't wanna be - I wanna be normal, I wanna start to try to be a whole person before it's too late for me" - Carrie White
After watching May I had to watch Carrie again - it's about another woman who doesn't handle rejection well, to put it mildly - Carrie was was one of my favorite first viewings during last year's horrorfest and ranks among my top three Stephen King movies along with Misery and The Shining - I could relate to Carrie right from the first scene when she blew the last point in the volleyball game, that is the kind of thing which always happened to me in school - the movie also showed the combination of bullying and harassment at school while having a psychotic, abusive parent at home will always lead to trouble - but in Carrie's case it led to a catastrophe and one of the best horror movie endings ever.
355 5.9 5.936. Firestarter (1984)
Watched October 18th - Amazon Streaming - Rewatch
"Rainbird, have you considered what might happen if that little girl found out who's side you're really on? - I'd say you stand a good chance of finding out what a steak feels like in a micro-wave oven." - Captain Hollister
Watching a George C. Scott horror double feature today - the first movie was Firestarter, I remember watching it when it first came out and not liking it, but that could have just been because it was only a couple years after E.T and I might not have been able to accept little Gertie flambeing people, especially after E.T. told her to be good. However, watching the movie again now, I have to say it is a much better film than I remembered - first I had forgotten what a great cast it has - besides Scott and Drew Barrymore, there is Martin Sheen, Art Carney and Moses Gunn - Scott gives a nice creepy performance as the government assassin - the week link is David Keith who gives a passable, but not great performances as Charlie's father. The story about a man with telekinetic powers with a daughter who can start fires with her mind, and are running to escape an evil government agency, is very well done and drew me in from the beginning - the action and effects are good, the story is fast paced and I loved the Carrie-esque ending - maybe the movie could have been a little shorter, but I can't find much else to complain about - it was very entertaining and ranks just a rung below my three favorite Stephen King movies.
3740 7.4 7.537. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chro... (1994)
Watched October 20th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"Most of all, I longed for death, I know that now,I invited it, a release from the pain of living - my invitation was open to anyone, to the whore at my side, to the pimp that followed - but it was a vampire that accepted it."
- Louis de Pointe du Lac
Interview with the Vampire is another movie I watched for the first time during last year's horrorfest, I wasn't overly impressed with it then, but I liked it much better this time around - Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas all made great Vampires, particularly Cruise, who I usually tend to think is over rated but Lestat is turning out to be one of my favorite roles of his - the story is good, although I still think the movie is to full of itself at times, like it is trying to be the Gone With The Wind of vampire movies - but it is the ending that really makes the movie for me and pushes it into being one of my most favorite vampire films.
441 7.3 7.638. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Watched October 23rd - Amazon Streaming - Rewatch
"We have had a doozy of a day - there we were minding our own business, making some improvements to my new house - when all of a sudden out of nowhere, these kids started killing themselves all over my property." - Tucker
Watched Tucker and Dale for the first time last year, and while I liked it, I didn't give it the full credit it deserves - seeing it again I have to rank it as one of the best comedy horror films of all time - it is an absolutely brilliant and hysterical satire of the slasher cabin in the woods movies - It is laugh out loud funny and entertaining start to finish.
1040 5.3 5.739. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Watched October 27th - My DVD collection - Rewatch
"Oh, that's right, everyone forgot - that's why they weren't afraid anymore, that's why I needed Jason to kill for me to get them to remember, but now he just won't stop - that hockey puck" - Freddy Krueger
Freddy vs Jason was another of my favorite first time viewings from last years horrorfest - odd since I wasn't a fan of the Friday the 13th series, and I only saw the original Nightmare on Elm Street, and that was so long ago I don't remember it that well - but Freddy and Jason are both so bad ass in this movie and their battling each other is so much fun that it's among my all time favorite horror movies - they should make an Avengers style super villain movie with Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Michael Myers and Pinhead.
Totals For The Month
Bummed that Hurricane Sandy short circuited my 31 Days of Halloween, but given the circumstances 28 Days Later was a fitting movie to close out the horrorfest, and given the high quality of the horror movies I watched this month, a Hurricane coming through to put an exclamation point on the month was also fitting. The 28 new movies I watched for my 31 Days of Halloween were terrific - the lowest I rated any of them was a 6 and I rated 19 of them an 8 or above - It was a lot of fun seeing so many great horror movies for the first time and I thank the giraffe again for providing eight of them to watch and jaytoast for the gift of The Changeling - It was a tough choice for movie of the month, but I went with Hellraiser because Pinhead was so epic in it, one of the many movies I am glad that I finally saw, there were some I didn't get to because either there wasn't room or because of being without power for the last three days, so I will try to get to some of them next month.
16 6.5 640. The Eye of the Storm (2011)
Total Movies Watched
39 Movies Watched
28 First Time Viewings
12 - My own DVD collection
11 - Netflix DVD
8 - the giraffe's DVD collection
5 - Amazon Streaming
2 - VUDU Streaming
1 - DVD gift from jaytoast
10 Stars - 12
Hellraiser (1st Viewing)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1st Viewing)
Sleepy Hollow (1st Viewing)
Day Of The Dead (1st Viewing)
Creature From The Black Lagoon (1st Viewing)
The Strangers (1st Viewing)
The Return Of The Living Dead (1st Viewing)
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil(Rewatch)
Freddy vs. Jason(Rewatch)
9 Stars - 6
Creepshow (1st Viewing)
The Dark Half (1st Viewing)
The Changeling (1st Viewing)
28 Days Later (1st Viewing)
Night of The Living Dead(Rewatch)
8 Stars - 12
Wickerman (1st Viewing)
Christine (1st Viewing)
May (1st Viewing)
Black Sheep (1st Viewing)
Evil Dead II (1st Viewing)
Land Of The Dead (1st Viewing)
The Hills Have Eyes (1st Viewing)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (1st Viewing)
Dawn Of The Dead(Rewatch)
Shaun Of The Dead(Rewatch)
Interview With The Vampire(Rewatch)
7 Stars - 7
The Vanishing (1st Viewing)
The Howling (1st Viewing)
The Evil Dead (1st Viewing)
Dead Alive (1st Viewing)
Graveyard Shift (1st Viewing)
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1st Viewing)
Cat's Eye (1st Viewing)
6 Stars - 2
Fright Night (1st Viewing)
House (1st Viewing)
Scariest Movie I saw during my 31 Days Of Halloween
Runner up - THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
Movie of The Month - Best movie I saw for the first time
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