Friday, October 3, 2014

Halloween Horror Movie Marathon 2014

They're baaa-aaack. Time for another month long Halloween horror fest- a marathon of movies to make you tremble with terror. Mwah ha ha ha ha! 

Like last year, I am going to primarily review movies on Netflix, because many of you will have easy access to these films and you then can plan your own horror binges better.
And if I reviewed it last year, there's no need to do it again. Here are my previous horror marathons:
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4 

So let's get started!

"After witnessing a horrific and traumatic event, Julia Lund, a graduate student in psychology, gradually comes to the realization that everything which scared her as a child could be real. And what's worse, it might be coming back to get her..."
Pretty scary. Lots of startling moments with horrifying little CGI beasties skittering around in the darkness. The movie builds to an absolutely dreadful climax. No happy ending here. The only downside for me was you never quite know what they are or why they would target you as a child and then come back for you as an adult. But does one ever truly understand a monster? I think not. It's worth watching.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)
"A millionaire offers ten thousand dollars to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with he and his wife."
If there is a quintessential haunted house movie, it has to be this one. Vincent Price is perfect in this and so was Carol Ohmart. It is in black and white, of  course, and the special effects are nothing by today's standards, but this movie is a classic. It's perfect for a Halloween party- scary and fun, but not gory or too much for younger party-goers.

Donnie Darko
"A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident."
This has become a cult classic. Donnie Darko is a young guy who talks to a very creepy giant rabbit named "Frank." Donnie is experiencing some very bizarre phenomenon and is trying to make sense of what is happening to him. The movie involves time-travel and is just surreal. This is the kind of film you probably have to watch twice to make sure you understood it. But its a movie I'll happily watch more than twice. It is an unsettling movie, rather than flat-out scary, but still a good one to set the mood for this time of year.

"A teenager is stuck in a time loop that is not quite the same each time. She must uncover the truth but her actions have consequences for herself and others."
This was fantastic. A young girl wakes up to the same scenario every day.  Dad is fixing the car in the garage, brother plays Atari, Mom makes meatloaf for dinner- and Lisa begins to suspect they are all dead. But why? How? Who is responsible? These questions kept you guessing throughout the movie. I don't think this is terribly scary, but it was really suspenseful and intriguing, so I loved it. One big plus for me was Stephen McHattie as the bad guy. (He was in Pontypool too, which is another favorite horror movie of mine.) Abigail Breslin is great in this too. Big thumbs up for me, all around.

Insidious: Chapter 2 
"The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world."
I saw this in the theater when it came out last year, and I loved it. And now it's on Netflix, yea! I personally, liked this movie even better than the first one. I thought the demon creature from the original movie was lame. I know a lot of other people thought it was scary, but I couldn't stop giggling at it. This movie, though, featured a creepy-as-hell cross dressing serial killer that gave me serious heebie-jeebbies. This is a must for Halloween marathons.

The Blair Witch Project
"Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind."
Oh, the infamous Blair Witch Project. I have a real love/hate relationship with this one. When it came out, there hadn't been anything else quite like it. I was intrigued, and legitimately creeped out by it. Now, however, I look back at it as the ship that launched a thousand terrible "found footage" films, and I shake my fist at it in rage. Why? Why, I ask you? But you really can't hold this movie responsible for what came after. The important question is- does it hold up after all these years? And my answer is: sort of. It is still creepy, and the ending is still disturbing. But then you have the rest of the film, which is mostly a bunch of kids farting around and scaring each other, and then you have the  often-spoofed, up-the-nose camera shot, and tons of bouncy running through the woods scenes. But, it was the first, and as such, I guess one might consider it sort of a classic. (Much as it pains me to say it.) So, if I was putting together a bunch of films for a Halloween party, it probably would end up in the mix, but it would be there as something to both laugh at and get scared by.

From Dusk Till Dawn
"Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, with chaotic results."
An oldie, but goodie. This is a Quentin Tarantino movie, so it is violent and gritty in that way that his movies are. And it starts out looking like a crime movie- two brothers have pulled a heist and kidnapped a family in an RV in order to escape from the law. But they end up seeking refuge in a bar full of vampires, and things get very weird from then on. The special effects kill me in this one- they are over-the-top gory in a way that is pretty funny. Not a movie to watch with the kids, but a good one for the adults who want something bloody and violent but not too serious.

 The Innkeepers
"During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel's haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay."
This is a great movie- to put you to sleep. SO BORING. So much nothing happens for the longest time. When things get a little scary, I'm too bored to care. Blech. "Don't bother" is my advice.

Odd Thomas
"In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces."
This was a lot of fun, and based on one of my favorite Dean Koontz novels. The movie revolves around Odd Thomas- a man who can speak to the dead, and his girlfriend, Stormy, as they try to stop a evil force from destroying the town of Pico Mundo. The movie is cute and quirky, while also being suspenseful, and it has a feel very much like a TV show. In fact, I would really love to see this become a series if anyone wants to pick it up. Hint, hint- TV execs, get on that. Willem Dafoe and Patton Oswalt are  in this, and there is even a cameo by Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy). Lots to love here.

"A werewolf loose in Los Angeles changes the lives of three young adults, who, after being mauled by the beast, learn they must kill their attacker if they hope to change their fate to avoid becoming werewolves too."
This is a silly, but fun werewolf movie. Jesse Eisenberg and Christina Ricci are siblings who get attacked by a werewolf and find themselves changing into beasts. If they can just find the werewolf that bit them and kill it, they could stop the change before it becomes irreversible, but that is a bit tricky.  The special effects are hokey, but for a movie that doesn't take itself seriously, it's not bad. Watch for Jesse Eisenberg's butt scene and a werewolf flipping off the cops. Oh, and the were-dog...don't forget the were-dog.

"The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster's myth."
I remember I saw this as a teenager and thought it was scary. But I couldn't remember a darn thing about it, so I re-watched it. Did this ever make sense? Candyman was the son of a slave, but he actually had money and education, because his dad invented something for shoes, and then he gets killed when he knocks up a white girl and because of that he shows up in a mirror if you say his name 5 times.  And he steals a baby and wants to kill people with his hook arm...and there's bees too, because BEES. And so, this girl who is researching his myth is his next target, and she is getting blamed for his murders, because you know she was there and she insists that a dead man with a hook arm and bees in his mouth did it, so naturally, everyone thinks she's crazy. I'm thinking the crazy people were the ones who wrote the script. So, anyway, turns out her boyfriend is banging some other chick in his new pink apartment, so she says "What the hell, I'll just turn myself over to the evil dead dude. At least he wants me." And then Candyman exposes himself to her and spits bees in her mouth and they died happily ever after, The End.
(Or she rescues the baby from a bonfire and gets her hair all burned off. You know, whatever.)

The Craft
"A newcomer to a Catholic prep high school falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who even slightly anger them."
The Craft isn't very scary, but I do like it. It's like, Mean Girls: Witch Edition. The new girl in school has some natural gifts for making objects move and influencing people, and a wannabe coven realizes they might have a natural witch on their hands and they need to get her to join them. But they get all power crazy when their spells actually start working and they turn on New Girl and she has to smack them down like a boss. And Oh my God, this movie could not look more like it was straight out of 1996. Because, was.

The Langoliers
"Most of the passengers on an airplane disappear, and the remainder land the plane in a mysteriously barren airport."
Speaking of the 1990s... how about The Langoliers? Based on a creepy-weird Stephen King novella, this was a TV miniseries that answered the question (that you never asked) about just what happens to the past once the people in it have moved on to the present. Turns out- monsters eat it. Weird as it is, the movie is actually quite suspenseful and crazy and scary. That's Stephen King for you, though. I mean, he also wrote Under the Dome, for Pete's sake.

Creepshow 2
"Three more bone-chilling tales that include a vengeful wooden Native American, a monstrous blob in a lake, and a hitchhiker who wants revenge and will not die."
This is still spooky, silly fun, just like in the original Creepshow. If I am going to compare the two movies, the first will win, but this is still something that would go in my horror movie marathon. I just think when you pair up Stephen King, George Romero and Tom Savini, you can't really go wrong. Netflix has the original on DVD and the 2nd one is currently streaming.

Night of the Living Dead
"A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse."
Yes, it's black and white, yes it's old, but it is still terrifying as hell. George Romero started the zombie craze back in 1968 and we have never really been the same since. If you have never watched this, then why the heck not?? This IS THE zombie movie. Watch it and have nightmares for weeks.

"They're coming to get you, Barbara."

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