Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days of Halloween 2014! Oct 1st - 6th

So we're almost a week into Halloween and that means it's time for an update!

As I do every year, I pick about 40-50 titles or so to watch during the month of October.  I know I won't get through them all (and I also know I'll end up adding more) but I try to get in as many as I can.

To see my initial list, see HERE

And now, on with update after the jump:


So I cheated this year and started about 2 days early with my movie watching.  Which, it turns out was a good idea since I didn't watch anything at all on 10/1 or 10/2.  But I started out with this double feature.  As I stated in the main list, I'm a huge Rob Zombie movie fan.  But I hated...yeah, that's probably a fair statement...hated his Halloween when I saw it in theaters.  But of course I ended up buying it on DVD...and with each viewing, I liked it more and more.  I think part of my initial dislike stemmed from two sources.  1) I just compared it too much with John Carpenter's original.  And it can never be that. 2) I was so put off by the ridiculous white trash stuff at the beginning that it just turned me off for the rest of the movie.

But over time, I was able to start viewing the movie as its own animal.  And I kinda dig it now.  I mean, some of the opening stuff is still sooo ridiculous.  And yes, I'm looking at you William Forsythe.  That stuff is just the worst.  It works great in HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and DEVIL'S REJECTS, but it's almost like Rob Zombie making a parody of himself here.  It is just bad.  But Sheri Moon Zombie is great, as is the sister.  And the kid playing young Michael is pretty great, too.  Once you get past the red neck family stuff, it's pretty good.  Michael's stuff at school is great--the scene where he takes his first victim is very chilling.  And I love Loomis as kind of a self important prick doctor who's in love with himself.   And the Halloween night scene is pretty great, too.  Especially with the White Zombie film soundtrack in the background as it plays on TV.  And from then on, the movie is pretty solid.  Especially in the director's cut.

I really like all the Smith's Grove stuff alot.  And there is some great use of the original film music.  That being said, it at times almost hurts the film.  As much as I like the Zombie movie now, it's hard not to watch it and compare it to the Carpenter film.  I like the three new actresses playing Laurie, Annie and Lynda (especially Danielle Harris) but they're just not as great as Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis and PJ Soles.  It's just hard not to compare it to the original when watching.   And those couple of times it happens when watching the film, do kind of take me out of it.  But overall, I really dig it.

And HALLOWEEN II is even easier to like as it goes its own path right away.  I think it also helps make the first movie stronger as well.  By making it one big story over two movies, it helps separate the Rob Zombie movies from the originals.  HALLOWEEN II I liked right away in the theatres.  I just thought it was kinda bat shit crazy and I appreciated that.  Some people hated the Sheri Moon stuff and the white horse, I loved it.  And I want to go to that Halloween party where Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures performed at!

So I thought these two Halloween films were a good kick off.


80's hair metal band goes to the mountains with a film crew and their nubile female groupies to film a music video only to get attacked by mutant mountain family.  Sounds GREAT, right?  Nope.  It's not.

The movie starts out with a woman killing her pretty horrible husband and then running away into the mountains (of Sweden, which is where this was filmed) with her children.  Apparently, they stay up there in this deserted factory for 40 years.  And for some reason...mutate.  It's never stated why, but they are definitely mutated.

So that first bit is pretty bad...but then the heavy metal ballad BLOOD TRACKS comes on (yes, this movie has it's own theme fact, it's the song they're making the music video of) and I see this band with their hair and the girls with the spandex and I'm thinking, "here we go, this is going to be great!"  And when they're filming their video, it kind of is.  But it goes downhill from there.  Granted I watched this on VHS, but it was so dark and murky it was hard to see some of the kill scenes and even tell what was going on.   The band in the movie was played by a real hair metal band called Easy Action.  Their record label thought they needed something to propel them into the stratosphere...and after seeing KISS's PHANTOM OF THE PARK, they thought this was the right move.  Guys, bad move.

Here's the best part of the movie for your viewing pleasure.  I pretty much love this song.


Another VHS flick, this New Zealand movie is not nearly as cool as the VHS box art...but it is incredibly weird.  Like super weird.  A crazy scientist who thinks he can conquer death runs into resistance from his boss so he does what anyone would do.  He makes his boss' teenage son take a shower and then injects the young man with a huge needle full of brain washing juice (while still in the shower) and makes the kid kill his parents.   When this kid gets out of the asylum years later, he's pretty pissed.  The scientist on the other hand, has set up a weird cult like hospital on this island.  The kid drags his girlfriend and another couple there for a camping trip, but what he really wants is revenge.  And then, you know, weird experimental monsters are unleashed and there's a lot of just plain oddness.  It was enjoyable enough, and worth the $3 or whatever I paid for the VHS, but that's about it.


This documentary was awesome.  It's on Netflix, so I highly suggest you watch it.  It's a great look at KNB EFX group and has some amazing behind the scenes stuff from Days of the Dead, Evil Dead 2 and more.  It's just great.  It covers monster kids and why we love what we love and is just a love letter to the effects industry...and I like how it kind of gets melancholy towards the end when Howard Berger posits that this may be the last generation of monster loving make up effects people...the ones that grew up loving monster movies and "had to make monsters or I'd die" kind of deal (to paraphrase.)  and how with CG, maybe the monsters that spawned all of our love from the classics through the 80's, don't really exist anymore.  Greg Nicotero provides a great counter point to this, and it's all very interesting.  It's just great.  Watch it.


So I saw this in the theater and I liked it okay.  I did like that it was a period horror film and, you know, the WOLFMAN is my favorite from the old Univeral Monsters and Larry Talbot is one of my all time favorite movie characters so I was predisposed to want to like it.   That being said, I did just kind of think it was ok, and didn't remember much of it at all. When the director's cut DVD came out, I bought it because I heard it was better.  And it is.  I just watched the director's cut and LOVED it.  Joe Johnston is a great director (ROCKETEER and CAPTAIN AMERICA) and I know he loves the old classics and it shows.  The director's cut features almost 19 more minutes of extra footage.  Which is HUGE.  The characters, everything is so much better.  It's like a great old Hammer film.  I really, really liked it.  I still would have loved a non CG Rick Baker transformation scene, but I understand that Johnston was brought on so late into the project there wasn't time to get one ready.  Too bad, because if that had been added to this film,  it would have made it even more amazing.  As it is...great.  And Benecio Del Toro makes a wonderful Larry Talbot.  He does Lon Chaney, Jr proud.


Okay, so here's the opposite of WOLFMAN.  I loved FROM HELL in the theater and even dug it on repeated viewings afterwards.  But watching it now, after probably going 10 years without seeing it maybe, I did not like it.  I mean, it's okay, but all the opium/absythne stuff just seems so silly now and, I don't know, I just could not get into it.  Was not what I remembered.   Though it made me want to watch MARY REILLY which is an great, underrated film.


I've said it many times...these are not good movies, but man do I love them!  Really nothing like the awesome games that inspired them, they're still fun and this first installment delivers some pretty good zombie scenes.  And watching Milla Jovovich jump kick a zombie dog in the face never gets old.  Never.  Plus, Michelle Rodriguez who I also dig.  Just wish Colin Salmon would've been able to stick around longer.  And hey, are we ever going to get Rebecca Chambers in one of these flicks?  (or did we already...hard to keep track.)  Plus, even if this movie was bad, you'd leave it totally psyched because the end scene just rocks.

Not too bad a start. 8 movies in 5 days.  This may be my best start to an October in a long time.  Let's see if I can keep it up!

1 comment:

  1. That is a good start!
    Mine kind of faltered as I started watching my way through old Dark Shadows episodes but I hope to get back on track tonight.

    Good call on the Rob Zombie Halloweens. They do their own thing and do it pretty well... there's a strain of low-brow brutal horror throughout Mr. Zombie's movies that I really appreciate.
    Glad to hear the DC of The Wolfman is better... I had a similar luke-warm feeling when I first saw it and wasn't sure why, but it did feel to be missing something.

    Keep it up, I look forward to reading more!