Four Weeks of Horror – Part 1
Join me on a journey through horror during the month of October.
It’s that time of the year again! The true holiday season has begun! That’s right, the Fall is here, and Halloween is on its way. Have your Christmas, I’ll take Halloween all month long. I haven’t written one of these in a few years, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped the tradition. If you know me, then you know I love horror. I love horror movies so much that I make them. It truly is the greatest genre. You don’t see romantic comedy conventions. Or maybe you do. I don’t know. This world is going to shit.
So what tradition, you may ask? Every year I have a month long horror movie marathon. Now, I watch horror movies all year round, but in October, I have a set of rules. I only watch horror movies. I only watch horror movies that I haven’t seen. And I need to watch a minimum of 5 a week, that’s an end goal of at least 20 films. A couple of years ago, I documented the entire experience, and thanks to Gruemonkey, I’m doing it again.
So grab your popcorn, turn off the lights, pop that disc in, and LET’S… GET… SCARY!
So, I was really excited for this one, because of how much I loved the short film of the same name in All Hallows’ Eve. Terrifier was shot beautifully. They put a lot of work into making this film feel like a classic grindhouse flick. The lighting and coloring were very reminiscent of horror films from the seventies and eighties. What was also cool was that the film was set in modern day, but at the same time it felt like the eighties. Everything other than the smart phones had a very vintage feel. Also, there’s something else that’s very exciting. Art the Clown is the first ever slasher to pee and poop! We’ve never seen Freddy Krueger take a dump. We’ve never seen Jason pop a squat. We’ve never seen Michael Myers drop a deuce. Having said all that, I was highly disappointed with this film. It just wasn’t as good as the original. In All Hallows’ Eve, Art the Clown may have been the scariest clown in horror movie history. In Terrifier, Art the Clown wasn’t scary, he was just annoying. They were trying way too hard on the creep factor. Plus they had big reveals on things we’ve already seen. It made no sense. They also made a horror film set in the real world, then threw in supernatural elements out of nowhere. There was no story. There was no character development because they kept killing off characters too soon, and kept shifting the narrative. And the setting was never exactly established. Props on the pooping clown though.
This film was about a demon who wears a bowtie and uses a phone app as a portal to our world to go after technology addicted teenagers and use their own fears to kill them. Yeah, it’s just as dumb as it sounds. Sometimes I wonder if there’s only 3 horror movie plots. After their friend’s death, a group of friends investigate the death of their friend then get tormented by the evil that’s responsible for their friend’s death. I’ve seen that a hundred times. But here’s the kicker… I loved Mr. Bedevil! He was either a cheap knockoff of Freddy Krueger or just Freddy Krueger for the Facebook generation. Either way, he was funny, creepy, and love-able. The movie even had elements of Her, but as a horror movie. What hurt this film the most was that the dialogue was so bad. Through out the film you can tell that the actors just gave up. They began to realize how bad these lines were that they just got too frustrated to put in any effort of a good performance. And I don’t blame them. For those of you familiar with my work, you’ll know that the Poltergeist remake is one of my favorite horror remakes. I was excited to see Saxon Sharbino in this movie. But there are parts where she’s just phoning it in. They made a point to make sure that the audience knows that the Cody character is not your stereotypical “black guy” by making him intelligent and cultured, which is racist in itself, but they still made sure he constantly said things like “buuullshit” and “motherfucka”. I was partial to the line when he said he had enough of this “Ghostbuster bullshit”, which had no context. This movie relied very much on jump scares. But they neither jumped nor scared. I never thought that I would ever see an Abraham Lincoln jump scare before. And I hate the fact that I now have. They tried to be creative, instead it was stupid. Props for having a good villain though.
REBOOT. REBOOT. REBOOT… Laura Vandervoort is in it. Okay, I’ll watch it… I’m curious… Why did we need another Saw movie? The feeling of watching these films is not that different than the feeling of having a concussion. You’re confused. You have a headache. You don’t know what’s real and what’s not. And you keep fighting the urge to puke. This film was… fine, as far as Saw movies go. While I was watching it, I thought that this may have been the best Saw movie yet, but then the ending just pissed me off. Which is not unlike any of the other films. How did Tobin Bell die in the 3rd film, yet he’s been in like half a dozen Saw movies since? Also, why call it Jigsaw? The fourth one should have been called Jigsaw, since that was his origin story. The reasoning for why he’s in this film was very cheap. They definitely surprised me, but I don’t think it was fair to the people in the audience who actually enjoy solving mysteries. I never thought I’d say this, but the movie needed more “torture porn”. It was more police procedural than it was a horror movie. I’ve never really considered Saw horror, because they’re not scary. Maybe the first one has more horror elements, but it’s usually just gore for the sake of gore. And that’s not what makes a good horror movie. As far as this movie goes, I’ll say it’s just nothing special compared to the rest of the series. I don’t really think it was necessary. Great cast, but the Saw films never let you invest in any characters for multiple reasons.
You Can’t Kill Stephen King (2012)
Now this is a horror movie! It’s amazing that the film with the smallest budget has been the best one yet. A bunch of pretty people head to a cabin in the woods only to get picked off one by one by a killer. There was blood, gore, stereotypical horror characters, cheesy one liners, and beautiful women who were in bikinis the entire film. I may sound misogynistic, but that’s what campy horror films are all about. They’re sure as hell not about the cinematic quality. And campy horror is my favorite. The originality here is that one of the characters only came along on the trip (other than to get laid) because the cabin was in the town where Stephen King apparently lives. The description of the film says that the whole group is looking for Stephen King, but the actuality is that it’s just the one guy. The murders are all copycat kills from different Stephen King books. I’m not going to say that Stephen King was not a character in this film, but I will say that you should not expect a cameo from the Master of Horror himself. I’m sure he doesn’t even know that this film exists. To be honest, the ending was a little confusing, and kind of a let down. I feel like nobody knows how to finish a horror movie anymore. But for the most part, I really enjoyed this movie. Don’t expect it to be good. After all, campy horror films are not known for quality, but for the entertainment. If you’re a true horror fan, you should enjoy this film. Not just for the women in bikinis and the constant Stephen King references. Then again… What else is there?
I Had a Bloody Good Time at House Harker (2016)
I almost forgot to include this movie. In fact, I had to go back and add this in before publishing the article. The fact that I forgot all about this movie is not a good sign. This was one of the ones I was looking forward to too. I’m a big fan of movies about descendants of legendary monster hunters. Especially when the descendants are bumbling idiots. It has similarities to The Last Lovecraft, just not as good. It’s actually more-so like My Name is Bruce, just not as good. But when do you ever see movies about the descendants of the Harkers? There’s books of course, but none of which portray Jonathan Harker as a monster hunter. Usually, Van Helsing gets the credit he deserves. After all, he did all the work. Also, this film took place in America. The writers made this work by saying that the Harkers moved to America after slaying Dracula. Isn’t that convenient? I did enjoy this movie. It had descent characters, and it spent a lot of time making fun of Twilight. That probably gives the film the most amount of points. I love films like 30 Days of Night that make a point to show the ferocious and evil side of the vampire in order to combat all that sparkling vampire bullshit. This film definitely does that. So definitely props for that.
Wait what? Where do I begin with this film? It just had way too much going on. The main plot goes back to the technology element. But I feel like it was barely explored. The film is supposed to be about a game called The Pathway that you sign up for on a website. Then the game calls you up and tells you to do things. It doesn’t show what happens if you refuse though. The game seems to constantly know what you’re doing and thinking. The thing is that the main character doesn’t actually play the game. His friends play the game. They sign him up. He gets one call, but it doesn’t even instruct him to do anything. And then later on he says that he’s the only one who was able to resist the game. How did you resist?! You didn’t even play!! But like I said, the most interesting part of the story wasn’t even utilized. The film had a great cast. It was really creepy. It just had too much going on that it didn’t have any time to get anything done. To be fair, I’m not going to say that I didn’t enjoy it. It kept me interested, and it was definitely scary. I just wanted more… maybe less. The ending was decent, I guess. It was definitely creative… No. It was kind of stupid, to be honest, not as much the ending itself, but the reason why it ended the way it did. But, hey, Dean Winchester is in it!
Silent House (2011)
Not including the show “24”, there’s only two movies that I know of that are shot in real time: Rope and Phone Booth. I’m sure there’s more, but those are the only ones that I can think of. Rope is the reason why I say that Hitchcock is the greatest director of all time. Not Psycho. Not The Birds. Not Rear Window. But because of Rope. The entire film was one shot. Nobody has done that before. It was genius. The actors had up to ten minute takes. So they couldn’t mess up for ten minutes straight. It was probably the boldest film ever made. Silent House was shot in real time and it was all one shot. It almost had a found footage feel because a lot of it kind of seemed like the lead’s point of view. Elizabeth Olsen was amazing as always. At first I thought the film was going to be torture porn, based on the plot. A young woman trapped in her house with home invaders. But it was more The Strangers than I Spit on Your Grave. This movie scared the shit out of me. The fact that we never really see the home invaders is what made it so terrifying. The cast was very limited, and everything felt very isolated. The fright builds up well. Nothing could ever be scarier than that first shock we get when we realize that she isn’t alone. At least once, I would like to say that I liked an ending. Let’s hope it happens by the end of the month! This one wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. There were cool elements to the ending. I’m just not entirely sure if I truly liked it though. The cool thing about this movie is that it is a remake of a Uruguayan film. The original film claims that it is based on true events from the forties that happened at a village in Uruguay. The thing is that there are no records of it ever happening. So I’m going to go ahead and say that that was just a cash grab. This remake is really good though.
Seven in Heaven (2018)
Hey! Look! It’s that weird kid from Season 2 of “American Vandal”! And he’s kind of badass! This movie is weird. It’s advertised as a horror movie, but I wouldn’t really consider it horror. It definitely goes in that direction in the end, but most of the film is much more science fiction. This is about a closet being a portal to alternate realities, and a couple of teenagers travel through the portal by playing Seven Minutes in Heaven. I told you, it’s weird. It’s actually really good though. Blumhouse rarely seems to disapoint me. Gary Cole is in it, and I’ll pretty much watch anything with him. I was really impressed with Travis Tope’s performance in this film, since I’ve only seen him in “American Vandal”. I also fell in love with Haley Ramm from watching this movie. She was absolutely fantastic, and I want to see more things with her in it. I feel like we’ll be seeing a lot of Travis Tope and Haley Ramm in the immediate future. I’m obsessed with time travel and alternate realities. So I really got into this film. It did leave me with more questions than answers. If they’re planning on expanding it into a sequel, then I’m all for it, but I truly doubt it. It starts off with a great science fiction/thriller plot, and then ends with surreal horror. An interesting transition. Things do get a little goofy here and there, but for the most part, this was one of my favorites so far.