Horror Movie Month 2013

“Wait!” you cry, “you must mean Horror Movie Month 2014!”

Well, I never wrote up our month of horror movies last year, and now that this year is approaching, I better get it done, or we won’t do it at all. What I should really do it harvest all my tweets about these movies from when we watched them, but I’m not sure I can do that easily enough right now.

Week 1

In the first week, we missed two days because I had other plans. We’d make those up at the end.

October 1 - (TPF symposium)
October 2 - Paranormal Activity 4
October 3 - Love Me Deadly
October 4 - Dead End
October 5 - (D&D game)
October 6 - Mulberry Street
October 7 - Martin

Paranormal Activity 4 was junk. Just let it die, people. Love Me Deadly was a pretty weird movie about a secret society of necrophiliacs. I’m not sure it was good, but it was strange and worth watching, I think. At least for a horror movie fan.

Dead End was pretty predictable, and generally not that good. I liked it in a strange way, though. I think it could be re-made without a ton of changes and be much, much better, and I think that’s a sign that there’s something good going on in it. Mulberry Street was something kind of like a zombie apocalypse viewed from a small scale, just a block or two in Manhattan. It was fine. I neither regret nor recommend it, although it had its moments.

Martin might have been the best movie we watched that month. It’s George Romero, of Living Dead fame, and it was just really strange and interesting. It’s about a young man who believes he is a vampire. I’m not sure we can say whether he actually is. It was good. It wasn’t quite a horror movie, but that’s okay. I definitely recommend it. Heck, I might watch it again sometime.

Week 2

8 - Terror Train
9 - World War Z
10 - Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
11 - State of Emergency / Sea of Dust (ABORT!!)
12 - Come Out and Play
13 - The Ward
14 - American Horror Story: Coven

Terror Train was not very good, but was almost worth watching because it was such a directionless mish-mash. It had David Copperfield in it! World War Z was just terrible. Not only was it a lousy movie on its own right, but it was miserable as an adaptation of Max Brooks’ much more interesting book.

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death was interesting, too, but I’m not sure I remember there being much of a point. It definitely had a vibe that one doesn’t see in a lot of other movies, if any.

State of Emergency, like Mulberry Street, was about zombies on a small scale. I liked it. It reminded me of the original Night of the Living Dead, which was obviously an inspiration. It had a lot of little touches that I liked. If you like these kinds of movies, this is one to like.

We watched State of Emergency after aborting our attempt to watch Sea of Dust. It was so awful that we just stopped. It seemed like it was filmed by some high school students who managed to get Tom Savini to hang out with them for the weekend. It was really bad. We don’t give up on movies very often, but giving up on this was a no-brainer.

Come Out and Play was good, something like a Mexican Children of the Corn. On the other hand, it was seriously beset by “protagonist makes awful decisions” syndrome. Still, I liked it.

The Ward, as I recall, stank, despite a few good shots.

On October 14th, we took a break from horror movies to watch horror TV. It was the first episode of the third season of American Horror Story, and it was okay. I thought season three was better than season two and worse than season one. And I wasn’t a huge fan of season one to begin with.

Week 3

15 - Kill Theory
16 - Bitter Feast
17 - Macbeth, Rise of the Reeker
18 - (DZ hacking)
19 - (DZ hacking)
20 - The Hitcher
21 - Dark Shadows

Kill Theory had an interesting premise, but the execution (so to speak) was lousy.

Bitter Feast, on the other hand, was sort of a goofy idea, but I enjoyed the movie. It was flawed in a bunch of ways, but the central conceit is “dude snaps, goes nuts, captures and torments someone.” The dude who snapped was a lot of fun to watch.

On the 17th, we went to Allentown Symphony Hall and watched a filmed performance of Macbeth, with Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston. We enjoyed it, but it was just Macbeth. Macbeth is Shakespeare, but it’s not one of our favorites. We thought that would be all we watched, but it turned out that we felt up to watching a movie afterward, so we watched Rise of the Reeker. Ugh.

Then came the weekend when David Golden and I fixed Dist::Zilla’s handling of encodings. We declined to force David to sit through horror movies with us, because we’re good hosts.

The Hitcher was really formulaic and shouldn’t have been very good, but for some reason, it was. Actually, I’m pretty sure I know the reason: Rutger Hauer. For a bit more of a break, we watched Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Eh.

Week 4

22 - Critters 2
23 - Hunter
24 - See No Evil
25 - The Amityville Horror
26 - Children of the Corn
27 - Zombie
28 - Laid to Rest

As far as I can tell, the Critters series is more like sci-fi than horror, despite often being shelved with horror at Blockbuster when I was a kid. It’s not a good series, but at least it’s got a sense of humor.

I have absolutely no memory of what “Hunter” is or was, but it’s on my list of things we watched.

See No Evil was really interesting, and maybe one of our favorites. It stars Mia Farrow as a young woman, recently blinded, who comes home and finds that her whole family has been killed… but she doesn’t find this out immediately, and first spends quite a bit of time walking around the corpse-ridden house wondering where everybody is. It set up a good atmosphere.

The Amityville Horror… well, I’m glad that to have finally seen it, but it wasn’t good. Children of the Corn, I’d seen, but Gloria hadn’t. This came up when we watched Come Out and Play. It was interesting to see it again, as I’d forgotten quite a lot of it. It’s not a good movie, though.

I wasn’t sure whether we’d ever watched Zombi 2, aka Zombie, but we hadn’t. Now we have. That’s all I have to say about that.

Laid to Rest, I’d heard, was bizarre enough to be worth watching. I think I agree. It was sort of in the “creepy car following us” tradition, but not quite. It wasn’t great, but I enjoyed it. I’m generally in favor of movies with unexplained weirdness (but not always: see David Lynch), and Laid to Rest delivered that.

Week 5-6

29 - ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2
30 - The Innkeepers
31 - Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
1 - 100 Bloody Acres
2 - (D&D game)
3 - Maniac (1980)
4 - Maniac (2012)
5 - One Missed Call

If Laid to Rest didn’t have enough unexplained weirdness for you, the sequel will. I can only believe that the backstory added to it was done entirely after the fact, because it has nearly nothing to do with the first movie, apart from framing it… but I was entertained by it.

The Innkeepers wasn’t great, but it had a really good quirky tone to it. If the ending had held together with the rest of it, I think it could’ve been one of the best things we saw. Still, it was worth watching for the first half or so, at least.

I tried reading Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter and found it too stupid to finish. The film was no better, although we did finish it. Fortunately, this isn’t how Horror Movie Month ended, even though it was October 31. See, we didn’t get our full 31 days in, so we had to go into overtime.

Next up, 100 Bloody Acres was a lot of fun. A pair of hayseed brothers in rural Australia discover that blood and bone fertilizer is even better when made from humans, and begin a tidy little business. It was fun and silly, but still horrific and gruesome, which is a combination that we see much less than we used to.

I don’t remember Maniac very well. I seem to recall thinking that it was better than I expected it would be. Also, weird. The 2012 remake, starring Elijah Wood and filmed in the first person, was, as I recall, also strange.

One Missed Call wasn’t very good, but it was somewhat more coherent than many Japanese horror movies or their American remakes. What I really would like to see is a sequel — and there is one, in Japanese. I doubt I’ll be getting it onto the 2014 schedule, though. More on that, another time.

Written on September 10, 2014
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