Sunday, October 14, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 13

Alien. I finally saw Alien today. Of all the movies I have ever meant to see, this is probably one that's been there the longest. Despite hearing good things about it though throughout the years I was still able to totally appreciate it without the desire to view it critically. It was a fun experience and kept me compelled throughout. If for some reason you haven't watched it then it's worth looking into (even if you're not a sci-fi person).

One thing I will say though is that one point jumped out at me as being ridiculous. I am of course speaking about the one character being revealed as a robot. Yes, I understand this is a different, futuristic existence but that still just seemed incredibly hilarious to me. I don't see why he couldn't have just been a scientist incredibly focused on his mission, or that maybe he had some sort of alternate memory chip implanted into his brain. Whatever, I just didn't see the need to make him a full on robot.

With one great movie down I followed it up with HellBent. This film isn't one that I've heard talked about more than once, but it seems to be a modern slasher with a different take on the genre. It's not due to any incredibly creative killer or anything, but the fact that the lead characters in the film are all gay men. I was curious as to a horror film focused on exploiting men instead of women, so I gave it a shot.

It turned out to be a very nice slasher overall and with different jokes going on than a typical one. Sure, there are still things like goofballs getting killed in the woods, stalking, and everything else, but done with a different dressing. I enjoyed the characters and their banter and was curious about why some characters did die and why others didn't. These points were explained, although not explicitly, and were reasonable enough. If you feel like watching a fun horror film then HellBent is one worth looking into.

The final film of the day was StageFright: Aquarius. With a name like that, I was curious as to how exactly the film would be presented. Would it be some sort of artistic journey? Although I wasn't quite right, the film still turned out to be a winner. As StageFright implies, it is about people working on a stage production. The production itself seems fairly odd, but quite cool too. I was a big fan of shots of the practice as well as the accompanying music.

The rest of the plot isn't exactly creative, but it resolves in an entertaining fashion. Basically, there is a psychotic killer locked away in a nearby hospital. He gets out somehow and stalks one of the dancers back to the theater. From there, he gets himself into the theater and goes around killing people until everyone finally realizes. If it weren't for the characters and style, the movie would be much less notable. Since these things are all great though it helps create a neat little experience. I could see this being a movie I watch a few times over.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 12

Deciding I had watched too many "good" films, I dug way down in the dumps of Netflix to find Cannibal Suburbia. As I expected, it turned out to be a pretty useless anthology film. The first story had no point at all and frankly amazed me at how truly useless it was. An older woman calls up a young drug dealer for some stuff, and then heads out to pick it up. Another group of people are having a party and then a boyfriend kills his girlfriend. The drug dealers happen to be nearby when someone calls the cops for the dead woman. Scared that the cops are coming for them, they hurriedly drive off, hitting the old woman by accident as they leave. The end. Was there any point? Were any characters notable? No. It's just random circumstances that were neither horrific or dramatic.

After that, the other two stories have a little more going on but really how could they be worse than the first? The acting wasn't entirely bad, but overall the film is without merit. Maybe the people making the film had fun with it but it was only a waste of time for me.

Next I watched Return to Horror High. This film fared better mostly because anything would after Cannibal Suburbia, but also because it's just plain fun. The horror comedy takes place in a high school where some kids were murdered. A film crew is there now, hoping to film a movie adaptation of the deaths. However, as you might expect, someone is in the school with them and ready to kill.

I liked how funny the film was, as well as self aware. There was an interesting segment where one of the lead actresses gets mad over the exploitation of women in films. She then delivers a speech about the significance of this and then storms off the set. Everyone recognizes she is right but then the director pushes in a different but equally exploitative scene.

It was an entertaining film and kind of weird at points, but that just makes it better. I suspect it would make for a fun watch with friends.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 11

Waxwork II was how I decided to start my morning off. Watching the original film sometime back was a fairly fun experience, although not as incredible as some might lead others to believe. It was focused around a "waxworks" (which I have never heard of used as a term before or since). Basically, it's a wax museum filled with famous people and scenes all done up in wax. When a group of dim-witted teens entered it late one night, they were thrown into the scenes where they had to play them out. It was fun.

The sequel, Waxwork II: Lost in Time, changes up the formula a bit. Instead of going into a creepy wax museum, there really is no defined set of events to occur. It feels a lot more like the teens are running through various literary or movie scenarios. This definitely seems to have been done to make it a crowd-pleasing film. It also seems like it was an expensive process. Most of the segments don't appear expensive on their own, but the whole aliens in space section probably cost quite a bit for all the effects.

It all starts out with a general horror film tone, despite a lot of goofing off, and then becomes much more of a typical Hollywood action film about halfway through. This isn't a bad thing, but it did change my emotions while watching. I liked the movie and would recommend it, but it's definitely not something to be considered horror or horror comedy. Waxwork II mostly stands as a parody piece.

Then I gave Cat's Eye a watch which was also a good time. I'm a big fan of anthology films and that's exactly what this one is, although it has a bit better way at tying the stories together. Instead of just having people tell things, the title cat happens to be around when each scenario takes place. At the end, the cat even becomes an integral part of the narrative instead of simply a watchful eye.

I really liked this movie as each of the sub stories was a blast. The last story was the weakest, I felt, but still a totally watchable thing. It was also entertaining to see a young Drew Barrymore being an excellent child actor. If you've enjoyed Creepshow or even Vault of Terror then definitely give Cat's Eye a look. The stories aren't quite as outlandish, but they still end up being strange and likable.

For the movie to cap off my night I went with The Woman. Boy did I not expect this to be what it turned out to be. With such a simple name and image I was assuming it would be some goofy little film that was trying to be scary. However, what it ended up being was completely horrific although not in the typical horror genre ways.

The film revolves around a family of a husband and wife and their three children (two girls and one boy). We're introduced to the father first as he is out hunting and discovers a "feral" woman. Although no sane person would interact with such a person, he captures her and sets her up in the shed. From there, he introduces her to the family and says he wants to teach her so she may become a normal person eventually.

Though she is very violent, the real terror comes from within the family and has nothing to do with the animalistic woman. I really appreciate where the film went in terms of plot although it was quite hard to  watch. The film wasn't incredibly gory or anything, but it was full of uncomfortable human circumstances. I'd definitely recommend it but only if you're in the mood for something more serious.

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 10

Again, only got one movie squeezed into the day. It was Black Sunday. Although feeling like watching it for a while (thanks the cover) I just forced myself into it last night. It wasn't anything incredible, but it was a decent way to spend some time. I thought the effects were pretty neat, especially for the time. There was a shot where there were worms twitching around inside a hollow eye socket and it just looked incredibly sick.I also liked the effect of the woman changing to look youthful to like wrinkled and old/dying.

Overall, it's not a movie that I'm going to remember, but it was at least something watchable. As usual, I fear movies older than a certain timeframe, thinking they'll be dull. This was not dull, but did feel like a different kind of film from what I'm used to. Timing and all that stuff were slightly different; you were allowed to wander and explore without fearing the audience would be bored in an instant.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 9

Today was a busy day so I was unfortunately only able to watch one film. It was one that just came in from Netflix today as well, so, oops about the theme nights... Regardless, it is something I thought would be an easy watch, and it was. The film in question is Ice Cream Man.

No, not Mr. Ice Cream Man or even We All Scream for Ice Cream. I don't know why the ice cream man is an apparently iconic thing to make into horror but it's been done a few times. This one certainly tries to take a strange edge, by having an old ice cream man gunned down by the mob (why?) and then having his son attempt to get revenge... or maybe the son just went insane.

Either way, the guy kidnaps kids and turns them into ice cream. This makes about as much sense as it sounds like. So basically, suspension of disbelief is pretty high here. Despite the goofy idea and all, it seems to have decent production values. If nothing else, the effects people were on the ball. Decapitated heads looked good and gory. In particular, one scene where the ice cream man serves the head of a man on a waffle cone to his lover just looks incredible (and is downright hilarious). Check it out if you're interested in something weird and goofy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 8

After a few technical difficulties (realizing that Friday the 13th series was no longer on Netflix streaming), I decided to watch Halloween II. The theme for today was to watch remakes and sequels, so this actually wasn't a bad choice. It's a sequel to a remake, after all!

I liked the film. I'm not sure how much I remember liking/disliking the first Rob Zombie Halloween, but I think it seemed mostly like a direct copy of the original. That's probably wrong, but whatever, it's been years. This sequel film though doesn't seem to bear much of any resemblance to the second film. Of course, I barely remember anything about that film either (instead I prefer to focus all my memories on Halloween III Season of the Witch). Halloween II is nice and worth checking out even for Halloween fans to see what is done with it.

All I had to do was see the opening for Friday the 13th Part VI to know that it wasn't one to be taken seriously. Instead of trying their hardest to try and replicate scary stuff in the first 5 films, this one is made to be a joke. It's meant to be a big gag of the horror world and everyone should definitely recognize this. I mean, come on, the intro is a ridiculous Bond parody scene. It was okay, not particularly good, but worth a laugh.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 7

Today was the first day I've really felt like not watching things. Oops. I can't help it that I have things to do! Either way, I still worked through three films but it was not entirely pleasant. Ah well.

The first thing I watched was The Fog because I had no clue if I'd actually seen it before. I know I have seen one version, but was it the original or the remake? Unless the remake is a scene by scene copy then it was indeed the 1980 version that I'd already viewed. Well, it's not a big problem since it features Jamie Lee Curtis, who is always worth watching.

It was much creepier than I expected. Just something about staying out of the fog lest the weird ghost pirates would come and get you was really cool. They were creepy and the fog was glowy and moving unnaturally and it was a blast. I'm glad I saw it again as the first time it was not given the attention it deserved.

Then I watched two documentaries. The first was Zombie Girl. I think it's a fine doc but the girl was kind of pleasing as well as repulsive. I don't know. She was obviously just a happy kid but it was hard to feel glad about what she was doing when you could see her mother struggling to keep up with all these demands. It's one thing to tell a kid "you can do anything" but then to front the expensive costs to make it happen? You can help with giving them a camera, or letting them download a video program, or even maybe buying some books on the subject matter... but totally letting your child run wild with money for extras and props and whatever else? Seems a bit overwhelming.

After that I checked out American Scary. Nice documentary about television horror hosts. It made me wish there was more spoken about Vampira or Elvira. Honestly there should be documentaries about each of these women, if there aren't already. I've never searched so how would I know? Either way, it seems great and just totally worth learning more about. I unfortunately have seen very little of either although a local access channel here has their own take on an Elvira-like character.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 6

I am beginning to realize that, despite thinking I'm not much of a slasher nut, that's basically all I've been watching as of late. How odd! Either way, the first film today was Humongous. Lately I've heard this movie getting praise so I decided to check it out. It was alright, but seemed to drag on for a while. This is weird particularly because the film is no longer than average so maybe there's just a fair bit of lulls in it.

I liked the introduction and was sad that the character wouldn't be a part of the cast later on. It seemed all very odd and mystical the way the pet dogs came to her aid, blah, blah, blah. I guess I was curious more how the "monster" of the film was pegged as being very near otherworldly in both power and look. Well, I guess you can't expect everything to be explained in horror films and that helps them quite often. It was an okay film overall but it doesn't seem worthy of praise over other slashers.

The Beyond was a pretty neat movie. I am not completely sure I understood what all was going on, but the basic premise came down to the fact that there is this hotel/apartment... and it's built on top of a doorway to Hell. This of course leads to a whole lot of problems for the new owner of the place as she tries to renovate it and get it ready for people to check in.

I really dug how weirdly dreamy it was at points so you weren't quite sure as to the authenticity of what was happening. There were just things that struck me as so odd, but entirely compelling. For example, a scene in the morgue: A young girl is waiting for her mother to finish dressing the father's corpse. However, even from sitting in the hall, she hears her mother yell. She hurries into the room only to see her mother's face boiling away thanks to a jar of some acidic substance that fell onto her. As her face melts away, it and the acid spread across the floor in an ever-expanding puddle. Instead of turning and leaving from the door she arrived in, the daughter simply stares at the wretched goo and tries to keep it from touching her as it continuously advances. It just felt very odd to me, especially when you had to wonder what caused the whole mess to begin with.

The movie is probably worth watching most for those who are Lucio Fulci fans. Personally, I watched it half in Italian and half in English. This was due to the fact that the subtitles playing stopped for some reason in the middle of the film. I then switched over to the English audio track to finish the film. It seems that the film was originally acted in English anyway, but I thought it would have been fun to try checking it out in aother language.

Although I wasn't really in the mood to watch anything else I checked out Mountaintop Motel Massacre. Maybe it was due to my lack of horror mood but it just wasn't entertaining. The story setup was fine though. Basically there was a woman and her daughter living alone together, but the mother had been in some mental institution years back. The daughter believed her mother to be slipping back to those ways so she tried to contact the dead father for advice. Stumbling upon the impromptu seance, the mother kills her daughter in a fury. After this, she is grief-stricken and just attempts to resume her life as a motel owner.

Of course, she can't go back to normal. Instead she hears the voice of her dead daughter calling out to her to kill people. So she does! I personally think it was kind of neat to see the fear on the mother's face when she knew what she was doing was wrong, but other than that, the characters weren't compelling. It also seemed to drag on.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 5

On the fifth day of this glorious challenge I started with Two Thousand Maniacs! The theme of the day was to get in exploitation flicks and, interestingly, I've seen a fair bit of those already. It was sort of a brief interest of mine to watch them back as a teenager. Either way, this was one of the films that was left off my watching lists at the time. Perhaps it didn't seem extreme enough, or somehow seemed to old, but yeah, just never watched it.

So how was it? I thought hte film was pretty nice. I mean, sure it isn't exactly the deepest story in the world... Some outsiders travel through a small Southern town and get paraded around as "guests of honor" for some mysterious celebration. Of course, as the film name implies, this small town of (apparently) 2,000 locals are murdering freaks who want nothing more than to kill all the Northerners they can get their hands on.

With a premise like that you can't exactly expect the movie to be serious, and it's not. The kills are ridiculous and often humorous. I thought it was a very watchable film and doesn't feel as old as it is. One thing that I really enjoyed about the film is that even with such a name it didn't delve right into the insanity of the townsfolk. Instead, you get a very long buildup (about half the film) before the purpose of the celebration is revealed  Good stuff. Sometime I'll have to watch that sequel.

Next up was Sweet Sixteen. This was just selected on a whim and didn't turn out to be that great, but it wasn't a completely awful thing either. The story revolves around a girl named Melissa who acts too old for her age of near-sixteen. As she takes interest in boys, they end up dying, and no one knows who is to blame. There's some interesting themes focusing around racism as well, which weren't expected. I'm glad that they were there though as it builds another layer into the world that most horror films don't explore.

Beyond that though it wasn't the best thing. The characters were fine and it moved along well but it felt more like a television movie. I also didn't really care for the twist ending. There was very little attention drawn to it beforehand so it really did feel like the rug was pulled out from under you, and not particularly in a good way. At least that's how I felt at the end. One plus was that the title image is totally great. It's extremely simple but effective.

Curtains is a movie I've been hungry to watch, and because of that perhaps I ended up barely enjoying it. My copy was very dark and quiet and it may have been related to my lack of watching pleasure as well. But basically, it didn't seem like it had much of a point. There were hallmark creepy things like a sad doll and old, old lady mask, but beyond that there was little heart here. The characters were nice at least, but still weren't able to save it.

Honestly there's very little I have to say about this movie and I'm sad that I wasn't able to enjoy it. Perhaps watching it again sometime (with a better copy) will make for a more pleasant experience.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 4

Here we are again and I decided to start the day off with The Cabin in the Woods. This is due to the theme today being "meta-horror". It took a bit of searching to even figure out what that meant but now I think I get it. It's basically when you've got your base genre (horror) but things happening beyond that. Something overarching in control or being spoken about for the whole situation. So things like Scream are meta horror because while it is a "horror movie" at the core it is also an obvious joke. Something like that.

So The Cabin in the Woods has been on my list for a while. Loads of people though it was great and others hated it. I wasn't sure where I was going to fall on the spectrum so instead of watching it, it simply got ignored. Either way after seeing it my feelings are rather conflicted. The film was fun, yes, as well as creative. However, I can't say that it was anything mind-blowing or completely new. I guess the basis of the plot is a little changed from other films but not as far removed as it could have been.

Having an overarching being in "control" is hardly new territory. Neither is the idea of characters meandering into their own death trap by design. So what new is being put forth? It could be the quick wit of the characters and script. Still, that's more a result of the age we're currently living in. What is really, really new? The connecting of horror and action film certainly isn't either, as it does basically become a big-budget action film halfway through. The production values were apparently pretty huge in here.

What is good about this movie? It is fun to watch, the characters are likable, and it offers something more creative than simple zombies or homicidal maniacs. Despite all the glitz of the film though it's surprising that it doesn't go further. Because of the money, I have a feeling it would have been impossible to make this film actually "scary". Either way, it's worth watching for horror fans if you feel like catching all the homages to existing horror film characters and films. I dunno, it was okay. Honestly I think the cover kind of ruined it for me. The iconic image of the cabin shifting like a jigsaw puzzle really made it seem like it was going to be a psychological affair rather than a comedic action thing.

Urban Legend was the next feature on my plate. Somehow I'd never heard of this one before (or it had such a simple name that I forgot it...), but it was a good thing it finally crossed my path. The movie is pretty fun overall and totally worth checking out if you want a movie that'll make you second-guess the killer until the reveal. For me, I changed my mind about four times and the film works hard to support multiple theories simultaneously.

This isn't the best feature of the film though. It is of course the "urban legends" which the movie is based off. Almost every killing in the film is a take off of famous urban legends and it's exciting to guess which one is coming next. Some of the legends aren't quite as famous as others, but it's still a good attempt overall. The characters were another shining point of the movie. Some were jerks, but at least they were slightly likeable. As for me, my favorite character was the Foxy Brown-idolizing campus cop. Urban Legend is just a great comedy/horror that is totally overlooked.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil was the last thing I could handle watching for the day. It's pretty recent as it just came out in 2010 but has managed to fly mostly under the radar. I'd definitely classify it as a hidden gem. If you like horror films that are plays on the genre like Shaun of the Dead or The Rise of Leslie Vernon this one is probably right up your alley.

The film starts off with a really annoying crowd of college kids who are going out to the wilderness to party, as is apparently a very popular ritual according to so many horror movies. Along their way they stop for some drinks and have creepy run ins with "hillbillies". However, as the audience, we quickly see they're just normal people and if anyone is messed up it's probably the college kids themselves. Either way, a series of huge misunderstandings cause things to get really wild (and a lot of fun to watch). This is probably the favorite movie I've seen so far for the Challenge.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 3

Today was an attempt to watch some hospital-related horrors. My first film was Visiting Hours which is rather obviously related to hospitals, although I had no idea what the story was going to be about. As it turned out, the story was quite relevant to my interests and would be an interesting film to show to people who claim horror is nothing but pandering to hot-blooded, sexist males. Sure, one film can't change an industry but still.

Anyway, the story revolves around a journalist named Deborah who is making a big deal out of a trial revolving around domestic abuse. The wife had been abused then finally fought back and killed her husband. With the strong journalist keeping this story at the forefront, the public were beginning to side with her. All except for a man who survived his own abusive father. For some reason, he has grown up with the same problems as his father and can't stand this journalist who dares say that women shouldn't be abused. As such, he stalks her and attempts to kill her. His failed attempt leaves Deborah in the hospital where most of the film takes place.

I appreciated that the movie actually had a plot to it, and a very interesting one at that. Women who speak up against the status quo have been (and still are) routinely silenced in a great number of ways. Sometimes it's just verbal, sometimes it gets physical, and sometimes much worse. Even though this movie was made in the early 80s the issues are still pertinent today. However, Deborah never gives in and I think that's a shining point of the film. She never backs down despite knowing that she is being targeted specifically.

Next up was Dr. Giggles. The name has been what has repelled it from me so far. Doctor horror stories are one thing but calling your nefarious murderer "Dr. Giggles?" It just sounded too ridiculous and not in a very good way. As it turned out, the movie at least had a reason for the naming. Of course it wasn't his real name just the weird habit he had of giggling at every awful thing that happened.

Again, the story tried something a bit different by offering up a lead heroine with a heart condition. This plays into the film because her mother died during routine surgery. Because of her own heart troubles, she is due for her own "routine surgery". Of course, she fears that she will die during the operation as well. Pair that story with a psychotic doctor and you've got an okay movie. Dr. Giggles himself tries to be a sort of witty maniac with doctor humor but it rarely is worth a laugh. The film is purely average.

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 2

Today I started off early with The Pit and the Pendulum before class.Although I had been ignoring most Vincent Price movies for years (for no real reason) I decided to give it a go to sync up with the 60s theme suggested for today via DVDTalk. It turned out to be a fairly good movie and I'm glad I watched it.

I may have not been able to appreciate Price much in the past (previous features include The Last Man on Earth and House of Wax) but this time it felt different. He seems to really embody characters. Sure, he might give them a very theatrical edge, but that just seems to be the kind of actor he is. Besides, when he's working off of Poe work like this film it makes sense that everything might be a bit grandiose. Either way, it was a fine movie and managed to be enjoyable.

After my first class I decided to give another movie a go. The selection was The Innocents and also falls into the 60s category. Anyway, something that I didn't mention previously is that movies pre 70s tend to worry me. I get scared that I won't enjoy them because they're too far gone into some form of horror that just doesn't work today. I feel the same about the bunches of famous horror movie monsters in the early years of film. It probably isn't true, but it's a feeling I hold onto and one big reason that older films are avoided.

Anyway, let's talk about The Innocents. I didn't expect to enjoy it but ended up finding it a nice film. More than that, parts of it were quite creepy and still held up to this day. There were no ridiculous monsters and not even boo moments but it managed to be incredibly good at getting you into the world and nervous about what went on. It was a success in my book, and I'm surprised that movies of the current age tend to go for cheap scares over better things like this. I guess they assume the audience wants one thing in particular even though this movie totally holds up despite being made over 50 years ago.

After coming home from school I managed to fit in one more movie. Theater of Blood was the selection, just chosen quickly as to make the best use of my time before bed. It's another film with Vincent Price in the lead and in fact seems to be one of the last movies he really was able to take a starring role in. At least according to IMDB, most of his appearances afterward were simply those on TV shows.

Because of this, it seems that the role is more fitting, as well as sadder. The film focuses on a theater performer who was ridiculed by reviewers as some overacting, pompous fool. I don't know how people took to Price's style of acting as his prime passed but it may have been similar in the 70s. However, unlike Price, the character he plays cannot stand this and seeks to kill each critic one by one in methods penned by Shakespeare.

Theater of Blood is a rather humorous affair. It was strikingly odd at first to see such humor portrayed but if it hadn't I feel that the film would have been much too dark. There were some truly scary things happening, such as a wife waking to her husband's decapitated body in her bed. If there were no laughs to be had otherwise it would have taken on a whole different feeling. Either way, I'd recommend people check it out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Year: 1985
Director: Danny Steinmann
Writer: Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen
Genre: Horror: Slasher

Now I know why Friday the 13th Part 4 was called "The Final Chapter". With Part 5, otherwise known as A New Beginning, we are given the start of a new section in the series. In case you haven't seen up to the 5th film already, or don't know about it, then don't read on. At the end of the last movie we were basically treated to a very thorough and obvious killing of Jason. It has always bothered me in films when people don't go in for the kill when facing off against a madman, but in The Final Chapter it was obvious he wasn't coming back.

When A New Beginning started I kept that in mind. With the little boy all grown up now I figured every instance of Jason was a figment of his imagination, or even him acting out his worst nightmares. Although it didn't necessarily turn out exactly how I figured, it was just solid fact that the Jason everyone knew is dead and buried. I'm glad that the film didn't attempt to come up with a ridiculous reason to make him survive his last punishment too.

Instead, we're treated to a film where the little boy from the last film is all grown up and still ridiculously messed up. He stays in a home with other young patients and doesn't really seem to get along with them. Although I thought this was an interesting setup, I was sad to see that the other characters weren't really fleshed out as anything other than typical teenagers. I would have liked to see why they were also in this home.

The film then continues mostly without Tommy at all and has people slowly getting killed off. He exists from time to time to show how disturbed he is, but other than that it almost feels like he's not a big character in the film like he was in Part 4. By the end, the film does its best to remind us he exists and then give us the whole twist that we knew was coming anyway. With that, Jason has been succeeded and then I assume the other films follow down this road.

I find this unfortunate because Tommy doesn't exude "unhuman killer". Sure, Jason may have very well been a normal human being but he always felt like something much more. His hulking frame and ability to sustain major damage, not to mention his warped backstory, made him into an almost mythical figure. Tommy has much less of an effect, although he also had a tragedy befall him. Hopefully they will just continue the films as if he were a Jason figure and not refer back to his own, more human past.

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 1

This year I'm going to be participating in my second October Horror Movie Challenge! For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's basically a little game that people on IMDB cobbled up a few years back and it has spread to other film-centric sites since. The goal, as it was initially rule, was to watch 31 horror movies in the 31 days of October. About half of them were meant to be films you have never seen before. It's a great idea and I tried to do it seriously two months back and managed to watch somewhere around 60-70 films.

Now I have more on my plate so I don't know if I'll be able to beat it, but I'd like to at least match myself. It's not as if I usually don't watch horror movies (as the contents of my blog should make readily apparent) but there's something special about watching them during October. It's always during this month that it feels like it's truly celebrated to enjoy horror.

With that, I'd like to share what I watched for day one of the change and some thoughts on them. I figure I won't be able to review each movie specifically, although maybe I will for ones that really got my attention.

First I watched Pieces which has been on my plate for a long time. A lot of people seem to find this a classic, and at first I couldn't see why. Sure, there were some gnarly death scenes but beyond that it didn't seem to lift itself up beyond everything else in the crowded slasher years of the 80s. However, as I continued watching something funny happened. I began to realize that the whole film is really a comedy, just played straight. Lines here and there are just too silly to have been meant to be taken seriously, as for other scenes. Oh, and that final scare? It's totally stupid, but also one of the most unexpected things that I've seen since the ending of Sleepaway Camp.

Then came The Funhouse. Well, initially I cued up I Know What You Did Last Summer before realizing I'd totally seen it before. Don't know how it evaded my watched list. Either way, The Funhouse is something that's been on the list for a while as well. However, I kept passing it up under the idea that it was already something I'd watched before. As it turned out, I was confusing the film with Clownhouse. Even though they didn't have similar descriptions, the amount of clown stuff advertising The Funhouse (as well as the names) made them connect in my mind.

The film actually turned out to be pretty neat, although not what I expected. The idea and cover conjured up some sort of possessed/evil carnival. That didn't turn out to be the case though and it was probably for the better. Instead we're treated to a butt ugly being and some entertaining teens. One big plus is how the film builds up for a long time (more than half the film) before anyone dies. I always appreciate when the director can keep things relatively "normal" for a long time before bringing in the monstrous elements.
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