Hey all, I didn't have the time last year as I was in my final clinical year of the veterinary program, but I managed to schedule it out this year. As a fan of horror movies, I really wanted to dive back into it after being away for a bit. As such, I'm glad to announce that this year, I will be continuing my tradition of watching a horror movie every day the month of October until Halloween. As watching movies without any plan would be formless, I'm going to be sectioning each day of the week into specialized themes.
- 1 What to expect
- 2 1/10/21 Throwback Thursday: Phantasm (2014 review)
- 3 2/10/21 Short Film Saturday:
- 4 3/10/21 Shout-Out Sunday: World of Horror
- 5 4/10/21 My Pick Monday: Don't Look Now
- 6 5/10/21 Tell Me What to Watch Tuesday: Delirium
- 7 6/10/21 Wait, What?! Wednesday: Jacob's Ladder
- 8 7/10/21 Throwback Thursday: Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2015 review)
- 9 8/10/21 Foreign Film Friday: The Wailing (South Korea)
- 10 9/10/21 Short Film Saturday:
- 11 10/10/21 Shout-Out Sunday: Trail of Blood (Chi no Wadachi):
- 12 11/10/21 My Pick Monday: The Stepfather
- 13 12/10/21 Tell Me What to Watch Tuesday: Hell House LLC
- 14 13/10/21 Wait, What?! Wednesday: From Beyond
- 15 14/10/21 Throwback Thursday: The Shining (2014 review)
- 16 15/10/21 Foreign Film Friday: The Hole in the Ground (Ireland)
- 17 16/10/21 Short Film Saturday:
- 18 17/10/21 Shout-Out Sunday: Clipping: There Existed an Addiction to Blood
- 19 18/10/21 My Pick Monday: Candyman
- 20 19/10/21 Tell Me What to Watch Tuesday: “The Dog Who Saved Halloween” and “Bad Hair”
- 21 20/10/21 Wait, What?! Wednesday: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
What to expect
My Pick Monday: A day to freely pick movies that I want to watch. This can be new releases, classics, obscure movies I've always wanted to watch, etc.
Tell Me What to Watch Tuesday: I’ll be taking recommendations and watching movies that were suggested to me during the nine or so years I’ve been doing this. As always, I'd love to hear your suggestions and if you pique my interest, you may convince me to give it a watch this spooky season.
Wait, What?! Wednesday: Wednesdays will be dedicated to watching surreal horror movies and trying to (and failing to) parse it out and review them.
Throwback Thursday: Honestly, I don’t like a lot of my older reviews. I feel like I spent more energy trying to be pithy and pithy rather than actually providing any valuable insight into the movies themselves. This year, I’ll be taking a few reviews for older movies and re-working them into something more palatable (for me at least).
Foreign Film Friday: I want to shift away from your standard fare of movies and get into some foreign horror films.
Short Film Saturday: My schedule isn't what it used to be so this (and Sunday) will be ways that I can still keep up the tradition while taking care of my other real life responsibilities. I'll be watching (and providing links to) short movies you can find online.
Shout-Out Sunday (Giving a shoutout to horror media): I wanted to do something a bit different and instead of watch a horror movie on Sunday, I wanted to experience a different piece of media (whether it's a comic, a video game, a book, or another piece of media) and see how I enjoy it.
I hope y'all enjoy this spooky season. Let's try to experience new things, watch some spooky movies, and enjoy ourselves.
1/10/21 Throwback Thursday: Phantasm (2014 review)
Old review: “Phantasm from Don Coscarelli is a classic. I like how they don’t hold your hand and explain anything to you. You are left to figure out the Tall Man's background and his machinations. The movie requires a few viewings and I’m still picking up on things. On an odd note, two separate men are seduced in graveyards. (A prime location for canoodling?)”
New review: Phantasm is about a boy investigating a funeral home led by a mysterious Tall Man after the death of one of his brother’s friends. As the movie goes on, the main cast of characters are left struggling to survive against their unnatural enemy who is capable of inhuman feats of strength, possesses technology beyond their understanding, and has otherworldly origins and powers.
I think what I liked least about this review is that I gloss over Phantasm’s dream-like presentation and Angus Scrimm is excellently cast as the Tall Man (who wears a suit too small for him to accentuate his height, has an unnatural gait, and seems entirely out of place). Phantasm operates on dream logic with inconsistencies and twists that muddle the reality of the film more and more as it goes on. Huge swathes of the movie are suggested to be a nightmare the protagonist is having that is immediately contradicted by the sudden arrival of the antagonist. While I am disappointed I didn’t give this movie the props it deserves, I did enjoy coming back to it after all this time and re-experiencing it as it is a cult classic and a gem from Don Coscarelli (Also, watch Bubba Ho-Tep, Bruce Campbell plays an elderly Elvis who fights a mummy in a retirement home.).
2/10/21 Short Film Saturday:
“Make Me a Sandwich” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfGEdmZyVyY
“Make Me a Sandwich” is an interesting premise executed intriguingly. A verbally abuse man berates his wife and demands sandwich after sandwich that only builds to its punch. It’s by DeformedLunchbox which has a lot of short films which are worth a view if you’re in the mood for some bite-sized horror.
Eden is a Banshee story that is pretty formulaic. While the acting between the characters has good chemistry, this short film ends up feeling less like a story with a driving plot and more like a beat-by-beat kill compilation you see on youtube that cuts out all exposition to show the character’s deaths. It really doesn’t do much beyond the initial idea and the reveal of the monster leaves a bit to be desired. It’s by the I88 youtube channel.
3/10/21 Shout-Out Sunday: World of Horror
World of Horror is a one-bit rouge-like horror game that combines manga-style drawings with turn-based tabletop role-playing games. It was created by Paweł Koźmiński. The story focuses on a revolving cast of characters who are visiting a town that is slowly being infiltrated by an eldritch abomination that is warping reality. Your goal is to solve five mysteries in the town while trying to prevent the god’s arrival. You must rush to beat the clock before the Elder God awakens.
Out of the few horror-based games I’ve played this year, this is the one that has held my attention for the longest. The Junji Ito-style artwork combined with Japanese mythology, horror stories, 8-bit horror music, and Lovecraftian elder gods makes for a really interesting experience that I can’t recommend highly enough for people who are interested in the premise. The RPG elements and stats make it feel like an old school DnD module (although combat is turn based and not grid based). The only drawback is that the game UI is cluttered and it can be extremely confusing to understand. World of Horror is a great game with phenomenal artwork that is worth a pick up if you like Junji Ito, Lovecraft, and RPGs.
4/10/21 My Pick Monday: Don't Look Now
Don’t Look Now is a film focused on themes of grief and loss. It stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a married couple who tragically lose their daughter. In an attempt to cope with their grief, the two send their son off to boarding school and John (Sutherland) and Laura (Christie) go to England so John can work on restoring a church. While there, Laura meets and becomes involved with a medium and John begins seeing a familiar figure in a red rain coat while a string of unsolved murders happen around the town.
The movie’s main themes are grief and coping. Both characters are trying to come to terms with their daughter’s untimely death. John throws himself into work whereas Laura reaches out to a psychic medium. The climax of the movie occurs where their son has an accident in boarding school and Laura returns home while John stays behind to finish his work and ultimately, meet his end when he pursues the figure in the red raincoat. This movie takes a frank and realistic look at a couple dealing with unfathomable grief and for that, I would recommend this movie for anyone looking for an occult-thriller.
5/10/21 Tell Me What to Watch Tuesday: Delirium
Delirium tells the tale of Tom Walker (Topher Grace) who has been released from a psychiatric ward after a violent offense the occurred twenty years ago involving him, his brother, and a female classmate. While on parole/house arrest in his father’s estate, he begins to suffer breaks from reality and is left struggling to determine what is real and what is the product of hallucinations. Couple that with the fact that Tom may not be alone in the estate after all, and his psychopathic brother may have returned, and you have an interesting psychological thriller.
I will say that I loved the fact that a lot of his auditory and visual hallucinations mirror his past trauma and how it blurs the story by having us see things from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. It is done quite a bit in psychological horror, but it often gets hand-waved away at the end with concrete evidence that shifts the narrative (what you saw is real or is a figment of the protagonist’s mind). You can take a large portion of the movie as reflections of his mental state with the delivery girl Lynn acting as a surrogate as his victim, his parole officer as his guilty desire to punish himself and has some physical similarities to his mother, and his brother as his past actions and more sinister drive. His claim at the end of the movie that the house is his can be seen as him having successfully come to terms with his past. The movie can also be seen literally, but that does create some narrative dissonance with character actions for me. All in all, it’s a decent movie that gets weighed down by tacked on jumpscares and a few of the common pitfalls of psychological horror tropes. It's still worth a view if the premise interested you as Topher Grace does an excellent job in it.
6/10/21 Wait, What?! Wednesday: Jacob's Ladder
To be honest, I’m a little surprised I haven’t covered Jacob’s Ladder yet. It was up there as one of my favorite horror movies as a teenager. It’s heavily influenced one of my favorite horror video games and was one of my earlier introductions into psychological horror told from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. Jacob’s Ladder focused on Jacob, a returned former U.S. soldier who suffered a grievous injury in Vietnam that is suffering from flashbacks, hallucinations, and breaks from reality. As his mental state degrades, the movie builds to a horrifying fever dream-like crescendo.
What I love most about this film is the special effects and the grotesque, nightmarish visuals that are reminiscent of the teratogen, thalidomide. This is also the first film to star a young Macauley Culkin and has been a source of inspiration for the Silent Hill video game series (Coincidentally, alongside Kindergarten Cop). Jacob’s Ladder was remade in 2019, but the less said about that version the better (it's a pointless remake that can't really capture the uncomfortable visuals, unpredictable plot-progression, or sound composition). This movie has left an indelible claw-print on horror movies and media and is one of my favorite horror movies for its gnarly visuals and twisting plot.
7/10/21 Throwback Thursday: Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2015 review)
21. Instead of watching horror movies that are unintentionally hilarious, let’s watch a horror movie that tries to be funny, “Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil”. The movie is amazingly fun and pokes fun at a lot of the hillbilly horror genre tropes (Apparently that exists.) with a lot of success. Here is a trailer.
As I have a long road trip today, I got up a bit early to make sure something was posted for this today. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is perhaps one of my favorite splatstick comedies (next to “Re-Animator”). Splatstick is a genre of film that focuses on gross-out or gory humor, typically elevating it to something so over-the-top that it’s parody. Whereas with films like “Brain Dead” and “Cabin Fever”, you get the feeling that some of the more over-the-top scenes are meant to be taken seriously, Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil devotes itself fully to the comedy and that leaning in makes the movie.
Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is about a group of college kids who, through miscommunication and catastrophic coincidence, become convinced that two country boys are serial killers whereas the country boys become convinced the college kids are in a death cult and their attempts to save them result in horrifyingly over-the-top deaths. It does an excellent job of ramping up the absurdity more and more with the ridiculousness of the premise that it plays into the comedy of it all.
I think my biggest regret about reviewing this one in 2014 was the that I really didn’t explain the premise any or given anyone reason to watch the film. It’s well-acted, ridiculous, and over-the-top, and best of all, it’s funny. It’s a horror comedy that works, and that can be a rare find. It delivers its jokes expertly and its physical comedy and performances make for a genuinely entertaining watch.
8/10/21 Foreign Film Friday: The Wailing (South Korea)
The Wailing is a South Korean film that centers around a mysterious plague that drives the infected into a homicidal rage that happens to coincide with the arrival of a Japanese foreigner into a rural South Korean village. The film revolves Jong-Gu, a detective, as he attempts to sort out the reality of the situation from the superstition, hearsay, and mis-rememberings of events. The film delves heavily into themes of superstition, xenophobia, and faith/religion. As the detective’s daughter (Hyo-jin) falls victim to the mysterious illness/curse, he attempts to unravel the mystery before his entire life unravels.
This film is a contender for the best horror movie I’ll watch this month. The story’s shifting perspectives and unreliable narrators reminded me heavily of the Kurosawa film “Rashomon”. A lot of the events that are depicted are told second-hand which creates this sense of uncertainty and unpredictability. Is the antagonist of the story really the antagonist? As the body count builds, the hopelessness of their situation rises and reaches a cruel crescendo. No doubts about it, this film is a dark and engaging work that had me hooked from beginning to end.
9/10/21 Short Film Saturday:
“The Mannequin” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt_6rLFnwWw
“The Mannequin” by Levi Morgan is about just that. A man finds a mannequin out by the dumpster that he hopes to sell to a retail store. What he is unaware of, is that the mannequin is sentient and capable of moving when he’s not looking at it. While this premise has been used in Doctor Who (“Blink”) and SCP-173, it’s done relatively effectively here. While the ending is a bit bland, the film-maker tends to focus on horror-comedies so the ending might be in keeping with that style.
“She Knows” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6TYLOAB1hE
“She Knows” is directed by Spencer Keller and tells a tale of guilt. A man commits a hit-and-run that claims the life of a young woman. The movie focuses on the man’s mental unraveling as he begins to experience auditory and visual hallucinations. While this movie had a decent premise, it just wasn’t used that effectively. Instead of building off of the man’s guilt, it opts instead for supernatural horror which doesn’t pack as much of a punch in my book. It has some unsettling shots like the victim standing over the man as he sleeps and her hand reaching out of the darkness behind a cracked ajar door, but beyond that, the movie just feels like it could have done more.
10/10/21 Shout-Out Sunday: Trail of Blood (Chi no Wadachi):
Trail of Blood is a manga series be Shūzō Oshimi. It follows Sei, a boy with an over-protective mother. The rest of his family needle him over that fact and it isn’t until they go on a family hiking trip that everything comes crashing down. While Sei is playing with his cousin, Sei’s cousin almost falls off of a cliff. Luckily, Sei’s mother is able to grab him before he falls. However, instead of helping him to safety, Sei’s mother throws him over the edge. The series is focused on Sei as he struggles with the guilt of knowing his mother attempted to kill someone, while being unable to report her crimes due to her being his mother. Each chapter looks a little bit further behind the mother’s mask as Sei desperately tries to come to terms with his sociopathic mother. As her mask begins to slip, Sei must chose between the horrible truth and a comforting lie.
What I love most about this series, other than the horrifyingly disarming premise, is how it slowly keeps building and building. The series is ongoing but is currently up to chapter 100. It expertly builds on this drama to a fever-pitch. It’s unpredictable and that is the most horrifying part. I have no idea how it’s going to end, and for that, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Too often with horror media, you can come up with a few set conclusions, but this one has managed to subvert my expectations so far.
11/10/21 My Pick Monday: The Stepfather
The Stepfather is about a serial killer who, after murdering his previous family, moves to a new community and starts another relationship. He is successful in wooing his potential suitor, but her daughter is suspicious. As she continues to prod and investigate, Henry’s guise begins to slip, revealing the monster underneath. Will she be able to save her family or is it too late? It’s become a series with two sequels and a remake, but today I’ll be focusing on the original.
The movie has an excellent opening with the titular antagonist going about his routine as he whistles “Camptown Races”. He showers, shaves, packs his clothes, and steps over the bodies of the family he brutally murdered all while nonchalantly whistling “Camptown Races”. It sets the stage perfectly for how unhinged the antagonist is, how well he is able to hide it, and begins building suspense for his inevitable unmasking. While it does have more of a thriller lilt to it than a straight horror film, the idea of meeting someone, getting to know them, and then finding out who they really are is a horrifying thought.
12/10/21 Tell Me What to Watch Tuesday: Hell House LLC
Hell House LLC is shot as a mock-documentary that investigates the death of fifteen people at a hotel that had been converted to a haunted house. A documentary crew (led by Sarah Graves) go to the site five years later to try and make sense of the tragedy. The camera crew documents the conversion and opening of the haunted house tour and the paranormal, events surrounding it while the documentary crew sorts through the footage provided.
The film opens with a youtuber who was recording during the unknown malfunction that resulted in fifteen people’s deaths. It’s shot well and uses photographs, newspaper clippings, and interviews to give everything a sense of realism. The investigation of the ruins gives a sense of urban exploration and the set-up of the house does a good job slowly building its paranormal events and utilizes them effectively (dummies moving slightly, unexplained noises, the workers seeing extra figures in the dark). The camera distortion does get a bit grating at times, but it’s par for the course with this genre. This is actually the first part of a series (Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel and Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire) that have definitely piqued my interest. The movie is inventive enough and builds the tension nicely to be worth a watch.
13/10/21 Wait, What?! Wednesday: From Beyond
From Beyond is a film by Stuart Gordon that is based incredibly loosely on the same titled story by H.P. Lovecraft. It involves a doctor (Pretorius in the movie, Tillinghast in the short story) who has built a device (the resonator) that is capable of seeing beyond the pale of normal reality by interfacing with the pineal gland (what has been called the “Seat of the Soul” by the vivisectionist known as Rene Descartes who once dissected his wife’s pet dog, that regulates the secretion of melatonin) and reveals eldritch body horrors. In the story, the unnamed narrator shoots the machine, indirectly resulting in Dr. Tillinghast’s death. In the movie, Dr. Pretorius and Tillinghast are partners and Tillinghast is bitten and transformed early on in the movie. The movie then goes completely off the rails with body horror and absurdity.
As a body horror piece by the same director of Re-Animator, the film goes hard on the theme of repressed sexuality and taboo fetishistic perversions. Whereas Re-Animator is campy and splatstick in its delivery, From Beyond eschews the comedy for sheer absurdity and stark horror (“It’s just the body, but my mind, is indivisible.” ~ Spoken by a character as he peels off his own face). It builds the horror each time to an uncomfortable degree with each time the resonator is turned on and it creates a genuinely uncomfortable atmosphere on the same level as a Cronenberg movie. This movie is not for everyone (hell, it might not be for anyone), but I still feel like it deserves acknowledgement for not only pushing the envelope, but pushing it with such fetishistic glee that it gives Cronenberg a run for his money.
14/10/21 Throwback Thursday: The Shining (2014 review)
9. Let’s get some classics in here: The Shining. Man, the ghost woman in room 237 was traumatizing for me as a child. Nothing like going from sexy naked woman to rotting corpse in an instant. (Good thing there was nothing else that could be misconstrued as emotionally scaring in that movie… Especially nothing involving a man in a bear costume.)
This review was real disappointing, especially when in comparison to the movie itself. As someone who has read and watched “The Shining”, I definitely could have gone a lot more in-depth; the shifting of Jack’s weapon from a roque mallet to an ax, Kubrick’s insistence on hiding the fact the movie is a horror movie to protect the actor who played Danny Torrance, and the difference between King’s theme of alcoholism and addiction and Kubrick’s nihilistic obliteration of its protagonist.
The Shining is a masterpiece of tension and horror. The movie starts building on its themes of isolation and slipping sanity through its music and winding shot of a car traveling through the mountains to the Overlook Hotel. I think the best thing about this movie is the depth at which you can dive into this movie. You can get lost in theories that the movie is about native American genocide or an admission for how Kubrick filmed the fake Apollo 11 moon landing or how the movie is an analogy for Theseus and the minotaur. You can sink so deep into these theories that you don’t realize the pressure is building in the boiler and it is getting ready to explode. Kubrick’s The Shining has earned its place as a masterpiece and there’s nothing I can really say about this gem that hasn’t already been said.
15/10/21 Foreign Film Friday: The Hole in the Ground (Ireland)
This movie follows Sarah O’Neil, who moves into the countryside in Ireland with her son, Chris, after leaving her husband. Eventually they uncover a large sinkhole close to their house. As the movie progresses, Sarah notices more strange behavior from her son (he loves food he once hated, his mannerisms are different, and he begins eating bugs) and slowly becomes convinced that he has been replaced by a Changeling-like creature.
Whereas a lot of changeling movies bring the protagonist’s sanity into question, this one eschews that by revealing her son has been replaced mid-way through the movie (after she watches the hidden footage). This frees up the movie to exploit that innate parental fear, but this ends up being the film’s weakness in my eyes as they reveal the changeling has superhuman strength and is capable of throwing Sarah around like a ragdoll. It seems a bit counter-intuitive that a creature the mimics the common Cuckoo and replaces other birds/parents eggs/children with their own, an act which is more based on subterfuge is capable of physically throwing a grown woman, but is still secretive enough to try and lure children away rather than more physical approaches.
While the movie is in no way bad, I think I would have liked the idea more if it shifted from Capgras delusions to the mother trying to figure out how to reveal her son has been replaced and needing to hide that fact from the monster. “The Hole in the Ground” ends up pivoting from a psychological thriller to more of a monster movie and I was a bit more disappointed by the potential of a great movie shifting to a more by-the-numbers one. The ending does win some points back with me, and the beautiful shots of the countryside and nature of Ireland really are a treat, but there is still that loss of potential that I feel like I have to address.
16/10/21 Short Film Saturday:
“Stay at Home” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLAwv5E5bUc
When I was originally trying to do a horror movie marathon last year, I had this one on the list by Charlee Summer Productions as it seemed relevant (i.e. a horror movie set while someone is in quarantine and debating leaving the house to go to a party all while realizing that they might not be as alone in the house as they once thought) and unfortunately might be relevant for a while to come. It does a good job setting the stage ad building the tension. It’s a bit longer than most of the other shorts at 15 minutes, but if you’re looking for a quick horror fix, this might interest you.
“The Armoire” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHZxmkzdlmQ
“The Armoire” is by ALTER and it revolves around a woman looking to outfit her apartment and a cursed piece of furniture (the titular armoire) she picks up. As someone who’s picked up an equally horrifying piece of furniture for a college dorm (a mustard yellow recliner that I can’t say with 100% confidence that that was its original color), this one spoke to me. The scene of the woman waking up in the middle of the night to see a humanoid figure perched on the armoire was well done. While the make-up falters towards the end, it’s still a pretty solid movie up to the rather generic ending.
17/10/21 Shout-Out Sunday: Clipping: There Existed an Addiction to Blood
Clipping is an experimental hip hop band. The singer, Daveed Diggs is a screenwriter, actor, and film producer and if you don’t think he brings all of those mantles into his music, then you’re sorely mistaken. Clipping has a number of experimental albums ranging from a sci-fi epic about the lone surviving slave on a space shift living with a sentient AI (Splendor and Misery) to the album I’m bringing up today: “There Existed an Addiction to Blood”. It’s a horror-themed experimental album that beautifully incorporates inspiration from John Carpenter, urban-themed horror, and voyeuristic brutality (as seen in “The Show”) in-between horror movie premise skits. Here’s a few that pulled me in.
The song, “Nothing is Safe” bops. It brings its Halloween-inspired soundtrack (complete with a stabbing keyboard staccato that lurks throughout the entire song) to the forefront while telling a story of death, terror, and unrelenting pursuit.
“Club Down” is one of the more descriptive songs that builds an image of a city sick with life, vice, and danger that can’t be properly explained. The only thing I can lean on is the lyrics themselves:
“And they trippin' nightly, the blacks of the eyes igniting
The pits in the backyard biting, the cats in the trashcan fighting
The feeling of guns peeling like bells in a telltale reeling
Of bodies losing they feeling and falling down and the ceiling”
While I have been singing this album’s praises, I will say that this is not going to be for everyone (it is Horrorcore). The song rapidly jumps from theme to theme and while some strike a cord, others miss the mark and don’t really resonate with me. “All in Your Head” and “Piano Burning” (an 18 minute track of a piano burning) is the perfect example of this. While I do think this is one of the more inventive albums, I do see its limited appeal (you’re likely not going to be blasting this album in the summer or bumping to it alongside your friends), but I do think it’s inventive, stylish, and haunting enough to warrant a listen by anyone intrigued by the premise of horrorcore and lurking lyricism.
18/10/21 My Pick Monday: Candyman
Helen is a University of Illinois student studying urban myths who hears about Candyman, a mythical serial killer with a hook for a hand. Interest piqued, she goes to Cabrini-Green. She believes that the people are using this myth to rationalize the terror of their everyday lives. She plans to dispel these myths for her graduate thesis, but slowly comes to the realization that the Candyman myth is no myth.
I’m saddened to admit this, but I was not a fan of this movie as a dumb teenager. I was bored the first time I saw it. The second time, I noticed little touches and scenes that stuck out and made me appreciate it more. The third time I watched this movie in my life, I realized how good the movie was. The music is transcendently haunting and the piano score loops in on itself and builds to a crescendo. The story is well-written. (“The pain, I can assure you, will be exquisite. As for our deaths there is nothing to fear. Our names will be written on a thousand walls, our crimes told and retold by our faithful believers. We shall die together in front of their very eyes and give them something to be haunted by. Come with me and be immortal.”) The movie is buzzing with subtext and something that I’m only just now noticing.
When I watched the movie when I was thirteen, I thought the antagonist wasn’t frightening (given that I thought his appearance, in the reality of the movie, was conditional on people being stupid enough to summon him), he wasn’t intimidating (the body count in this movie is two people), and waxed poetic. The truth is, Helen didn’t summon him by saying his name five times, she summoned him by attempting to dispel the myth around him. She tried to rationalize and dissect a belief, and in doing so, brought him forth so that he would need to regain that power, that belief, that fear. How many of us say at the end of a particularly effective horror movie in the dark of the night when we’re trying to calm ourselves and get to sleep: “It’s not real.” Kinda… like what Helen attempts to do at the start of the movie. Huh.
19/10/21 Tell Me What to Watch Tuesday: “The Dog Who Saved Halloween” and “Bad Hair”
I was originally going to review “The Dog Who Saved Halloween” (2011), but I realized I have very little to say about it. I went into it with the lowest of expectations. I was still disappointed. I watched the movie in a fugue state which I’m pretty sure was a defensive mechanism. The movie is about a family who gets caught in their creepy neighbor’s (come on, Lance Henriksen) mansion and must be saved by a dog (voiced by Joey Lawrence). It’s directed by Peter Sullivan who directed the acclaimed “The Dog Who Saved Summer” (2015), “The Dog Who Saved Easter” (2014), “The Dog Who Saved the Holidays” (2012), “The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation” (2010), and “The Dog Who Saved Christmas” (2009). I love my niece (who recommended this movie), which is why I watched this movie, I do not know if my love is strong enough to ever watch it again.
“Bad Hair” was recommended to me by Cathy and it is a horror-comedy directed by Justin Simien that revolves around a haunted weave. I am treating it like a palate cleanser after "The Dog Who Saved Halloween". The movie bears some striking similarity in premise to the Japanese movie, "Este: Hair Extensions". “Bad Hair” actually addresses the topic of hair discrimination which I was not expecting. It is a campy premise, but in its attempt to discuss hair discrimination, cultural appropriation, and systemic oppression while remaining a comedy, it ends up with tonal whiplash quite a bit. It tries to straddle the line between comedy and horror and as a result, it doesn’t really manage either very effectively. It’s honestly a bit of a middle-of-the-road movie for me. If you liked the premise of a killer weave (after which, I can mention “Slaxx” which is about a killer pair of jeans and “Evil Bong” which features Tommy Chong because of course it does) then it’ll likely be right up your alley. For everyone else, I'd say it's up to your discretion.
20/10/21 Wait, What?! Wednesday: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
David Lynch is well known for his surreal stylistic story-telling and interesting visuals. His media can be difficult to parse until you realize that there really isn’t a set explanation. There are themes and motifs to follow and unpack, but the idea that it could be distilled down into something like a youtube video titled: “Twin Peaks Explained” seems antithetical to the point. Like Kentucky Route Zero, this is a piece of media that is designed to be experienced and inspire a certain response (whether that’s contemplation, disgust, confusion, or any number of emotions and emotional states).
The movie opens with Deer Meadow which is like an inverted version of Twin Peaks. Much like Twin Peaks, the town experiences a murder of one of their own and it kicks off a mystery. The movie then cuts to Laura Palmer’s perspective and follows the events leading up to her death in Twin Peaks. I really don’t want to get too much into a plot synopsis as it will come off as incoherent and would be warped through my perspective. A lot has been cut out of this movie which contributes to its surreal and confusing nature. A centerpiece in the movie is a ring which seems to have protective qualities which acts as a Talisman against the demon (Bob). It’s hard to explain Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as it is based off of a tv series and has its own storied history. It is definitely worth a view if you’re a fan of Twin Peaks or surreal cinema.