Tag: halloween

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

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“Yeah, uh, I had to dismember that guy with a trowel. What have you been up to?”

Joss Whedon is a guy so good at what he does, I kind of resent it and keep expecting to hate what he does. No one praised this much, especially by genre nerds, can get away with not eventually being seen as over rated. I held off on Buffy the Vampire Slayer until it only had a season or two left in its run, then immediately had to go back and watch it all from the beginning. Twice now, he’s defied my expectations with The Avengers and turned what should have been bloated, studio mandated formula into great fun. I even liked his Shakespeare adaptation that I was convinced was going to be way too self aware and smarmy for its own good. And today, he made me enjoy horror, a genre I usually don’t care for, more than I thought I ever would, with The Cabin in the Woods.

Four college students prepare for a weekend in a secluded cabin located in, you guessed it, the woods. There’s the studly jock, Curt (Chris Hemsworth), the hot slut, Jules (Anna Hutchinson), the smart, sensible dude, Truman (Brian White), the goofy stoner, Marty (Fran Kranz) and the virginal good girl, Dana (Kristen Connolly). It’s OK to reduce them to these broad, lazy labels, because the movie calls them that too, constantly. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

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“We’re your friends, Rosemary. There’s nothing to be scared about. Honest and truly there isn’t!”

Things don’t get much more of the time in hip film making, than the late 60s, Roman Polanksi, Mia Farrow and John Cassvetes. Polanksi was a European wunderekind making his first American movie. Farrow was married to Frank Sinatra. And Cassavetes was a bad ass indie film maker who was the epitome of an artist. So when they all got together to make Rosemary’s Baby, it’s no wonder the end result was one of the most highly regarded horror movies of all time.

It’s hip and happening New York City in the 60s, and hip and happening young couple Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy (John Cassavetes) move into a new apartment. Vacant after the death of its last tenant, the apartment offers a few small oddities, but nothing that can’t be covered by new wall paper and rugs. After hearing their neighbours through the paper thin walls, Rosemary and Guy soon meet them in person. Minnie (Ruth Gordon) and Roman (Sidney Blackmer) are a couple of sweet oldies who are more than happy to help the young couple in any way they can. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Fright Night (1985)

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“The master will kill you for this! But not fast. Slowly! Oh, so slowly!”

There was bit of a horror movie renaissance in the early and mid 80s, just before I was old enough to take advantage of it. Because of older sisters, I was exposed to things like Nightmare on Elm Street, but I was so young, I either didn’t get them, or was legitimately terrified by them. Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen much appeal in the genre as a whole. Maybe I saw too much too early. Whatever reason, there are movies from that era that are now three decade sold, and well into the vintage of being considered classics by 80s teenagers who grew up with them constantly on VHS and cable TV. Movies like Fright Night.

In his bedroom late at night, high schooler Charley (William Ragsdale) is too preoccupied by cheap horror movies on TV, and spying on his neighbours through the window, to notice the advances of his girlfriend, Amy (Amanda Bearse). He sees his new neighbours carry a coffin into their basement and the next day decides to dig deeper into what they might be hiding. Caught by one of the new inhabitants, he quickly retreats and goes back to spying on them form the safe distance of his bedroom.   That night, he witnesses Jerry (Chris Sarandon), seducing a woman. But Charley barley notices the seduction, because Charlie is too distracted by Jerry’s claw like fingernails and fangs. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** The Lost Boys (1987)

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“My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’till mom finds out, buddy!”

The older a movie gets, the more inclined it is to fall into one of two categories. The great ones, the classics, become timeless. Things like fashions, technology and cultural attitudes only make it more charming, while its story and themes were so on the money and insightful back then, they still hold up years later. The not so great and not so classic movies become dated. Character’s costumes and figures of speech get more and more laughable with each passing year. The movie’s attitudes become more cringe worthy or unintentionally funny. Very few movies become immensely dated, while remaining completely timeless. Very few movies are The Lost Boys.

After her husband leaves, struggling single mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) moves from Phoenix to live with her father, the grizzled, old crank Grandpa (Bernard Hughes) in the small beach town of Santa Carla. While Lucy is keen to start a new life, her two sons are not so on board. Leaving their friends and lives behind, late teen dreamboat Michael (Jason Patric) and young teen brat Sam (Corey Haim) find it hard to find any upside to their new situation (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** You’re Next (2011)

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“Whoa wait, don’t do that! You don’t want your DNA in here man!”

When I wrote about The Guest, I said it was, “the kind of movie that may get criticised for being all style, no substance. But I think it’s the kind of movie where the style is the substance. It keeps so much concealed and close to the vest for so long, that when all hell breaks loose in the third act, it’s the kind of ludicrously, over the top absurdity, that it transcends that to become so much more.” As more time has passed since watching it I think all of that is an understatement. Because The Guest is a movie I find myself thinking about a lot. Enough that I had to see what else director Adam Wingard had made. Which lead me to You’re Next.

In classic horror movie tradition, the movie opens with a sex scene before the copulators are brutally murdered. Cut to sometime later when Erin (Sharni Vincon) and Crispian (AJ Bowen) are on their way to Crispian’s parents’ holiday house where Erin will meet his super rich family for the first time. Before they arrive, Crispian’s mother (Barbara Crampton) is freaked out by some strange sounds in the house. But an inspection by her husband (Rob Moran) proves that the noises were simply the kinds of dummies and fake outs used in the early scenes of most horror movies. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** It Follows (2015)

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“Just sleep with someone else and tell him to do the same thing. Maybe it will never come back.”

As a movie genre, horror ebbs and flows in its popularity, but it’s never gone away. People who love horror, really love horror, and that audience will always be there. But every few years, there’s a horror movie that breaks through its cult fan base and makes its way into the mainstream. This year, I’ve heard so many people bang on about It Follows, that even as someone who doesn’t particularly like horror, I had to check it out.

A girls stands in the middle of a suburban street and is obviously petrified of something unseen. Refusing help from the people around her, she gets in a car and speeds away. Later, on a lonely beach at night, she calls her father to let him know she loves him and her mother. The next morning, her mutilated corpse is left laying on that beach. Cut to Jay (Maika Monroe), on a date at the movies with Hugh (Jake Weary). As they wait in the lobby, Hugh sees a creepy woman walk in. Jay cannot see the creepy woman, and they leave. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Halloween (1978)

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“I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes.”

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to looking down my nose at horror movies. As a genre, I rarely find it entertaining, and I don’t understand the appeal of being scared by a movie. But then I realise that when I have sort out well regarded horror movies, I more often than not come away enjoying them and thinking that maybe there’s some merit to the genre as a whole. Then I forget all about that reaction, and start looking down my nose again. This is a lesson I really need to remember, because I just watched Halloween, and once again, I came away thinking that maybe there’s some merit to the genre as a whole.

On Halloween night 1968, in small town Illinois, an intruder enters a home and stabs the teenaged girl inside. An intruder that is soon revealed to be her six year old brother, Michael Meyers. Cut to a dark and stormy night 15 years later, and doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) is on his way to the insane asylum that has been Michael’s home ever since. Loomis is determined to make sure Michael is never released. When a mishap due to the rain sees an escaped Michael stealing Loomis’ car, the doctor is convinced that Michael will head back to his home town. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

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“You could have dinner with us… my brother makes good head cheese! You like head cheese?”

I don’t trend to watch much horror. As a genre, it’s never really appealed to me. I had a brief phase in my early teens where Freddy Krueger seemed kind of entertaining and I watched a few Steven King adaptations here and there. It was a short flirtation that was over pretty much before it began. Then I spent the next decade or two assuming horror was cheap and nasty. But as I get older, I can appreciate that good film making is good filmmaking, regardless of genre. So every now and again, I’ll realise that while the vast majority of the genre does nothing for me, there are horror classics that I should see if I’m gonna call myself a movie nerd. Horror classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Sally (Marilyn Burns) and her paraplegic brother Franklin (Paul A Partain) are road tripping through backwoods Texas to visit the grave of their grandfather that has apparently been vandalised. Along for the ride in their groovy van are three friends, Jerry (Allen Danziger), Kirk (William Vail) and Pam (Teri McMinn). They pick up a hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who immediately proves to be a nut job. When he cuts himself and Franklin with pocket knife, they kick him out of the van and keep going. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

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“Watch out for the baby faced one. He’s a killer.”

Abbott and Costello are two names that have cemented themselves in comedy and movie history forever. They stopped making movies decades before I was born and I’m pretty sure that before today, I’d never even seen one. When I was a kid, I remember an old, cheap and nasty cartoon based on them was on weekday morning telly for a while, which was about the extent of my experience with the legendary duo. But despite that lack of experience, I’ve always known who they are, how their dynamic worked and what their general schtick was all about. But it was still great to see it in action in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.

It’s a movie made in the 50s and it has the word ‘mummy’ in the title, so obviously it’s set in Egypt, obviously it’s about a mummy recently excavated from a tomb, and obviously there’s a curse that brings the mummy back to life to wreak havoc. There’s also a sacred medallion somehow connected to the mummy that will lead to a great, hidden treasure. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

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“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.”

The whole classic monster movies thing is something that passed me by. Whether it was a generational thing, or a geographical thing, I didn’t grow up watching them on local TV and develop a nostalgic love for them. But it seems Americans my age and older did. They’ve developed such a nostalgic love for them that I feel like that love has infiltrated pop culture for people of a certain age in a way that made me think I was kind of missing out by not getting their references to these movies.

Sure, I’ve seen the old school Dracula and Frankenstein, but they seem like such obvious, easy options. So I thought I should go a little further into the Universal monster roster, with The Creature From the Black Lagoon. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Nosferatu (1922)

“Wait, young man. You cannot escape destiny by running away!”

With the countless Dracula and vampire adaptations, knock offs and tradition decimating bullshit (ie. Twilight), it might seem like movies based around these blood suckers are unavoidable and have been around forever. Well, it turns out they are and they have. Because I just watched Nosferatu, a silent German movie that’s close to a century old. A silent movie that does its best to condense Bram Stoker’s opus into 90 minutes of title filled silence.

Changing a lot of the names, consolidating a few characters and events, and ditching a few more, Nosferatu is still a pretty faithful adaptation of the source novel. Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is a newly wed in need of a few bucks. When the unscrupulous Knock (Alexander Granach) offers him a cash in hand gig setting up a real estate deal, Hutter jumps at the chance. The only problem is, the job means going to the mysterious and spooky Transylvania, dealing with the even more mysterious and spooky Graf Orlok (Max von Schreck). (more…)