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An Octoberfest of Horror Films 
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
ed_metal_head wrote:
Freaks was a strange experience for me. I'm not sure that the picture is very good but I flat out love individual scenes so much that I ended up liking the movie quite a bit. Not sure that Browning was a very good technical director and his sound-era career certainly seems less illustrious than what came before.


Cool. Sounds like we had similar feelings, you just liked it much more than I did. It's a film of moments, for sure.


Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:19 pm
Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Ok, so, I'm resurrecting this thread because I'm going to have at it again this year. Since I plan on writing on all the films, I've pared the list down from 20 to 15. It's just too much to watch and write about 20 movies in a month. With 15, I can watch one day, write the next. It's doable, whereas 20 isn't (for me, at least). Ok, so here are the 15 I'm watching, in order:

1. Night of the Comet
2. The Wicker Man
3. The Loved Ones
4. Don’t Look Now
5. The Orphanage
6. The Fog
7. The Witches
8. Village of the Damned
9. The Blob
10. A Tale of Two Sisters
11. Martyrs
12. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
13. Dead Alive
14. Carrie
15. May

All films are the original versions of that film.

Hopefully people are interested in this. If not, whatever. I'm going to keep writing about the movies either way. I enjoy horror movies because they're almost always about something more than the horror. Which is cool. Anyway, I watched Night of the Comet last night and wrote about it today. I'll post the writeup shortly.


Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:56 pm
Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
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The definitive moment in 1984’s horror/sci-fi comedy Night of the Comet takes place about halfway through the film as humanity’s last hope, teenage sisters Reggie and Sam Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney, respectively), parade around a seemingly vacant shopping mall trying on the latest trends in 80s teen fashion while Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” blares from the speakers. No one’s going to accuse the moment of being subtle, but it does manage to get the movie’s point across. It doesn’t matter if it’s a girl or a guy – teenagers just want to have fun.

That message, trite and unsophisticated as it may be, fits the B-movie vibe of the film like a glove. The film’s effects were probably dated a week after production wrapped, and the highest praise I can give the acting is passable at best. The rough plot – Earth passes through the tail of a comet that ends up killing most of the planet’s population and morphing the rest into zombie-like fiends, save for a select few who accidentally or knowingly barricade themselves under steel enforced structures – is nothing more than an amalgam of just about every late night cable horror/sci-fi movie you’ve ever seen. If you’re reminded of The Omega Man (made 12 years prior and itself a remake of 1964’s The Last Man on Earth and also remade in 2007 as I Am Legend), or the original Dawn of the Dead, you’re on the right track. Countless (bad) movies that no one remembers have been made using a similar premise as well. Night of the Comet has little in common with those films (the good ones or the bad ones) in the details or spirit, and that ultimately makes it a much different film than its predecessors.

In addition to the horror/sci-fi combo, the film mixes in another genre that was wildly popular at the time: the teen comedy. It ends up being the movie’s most interesting aspect and the main reason it rises above the cheese-fests it initially appears to hold as brethren. You can’t really talk about the 80s in film without mentioning the titanic wave of teen comedies. Whether you’re talking about Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Porky’s, the Revenge of the Nerds series, Teen Wolf, Back to the Future, Say Anything, Heathers, or the vast majority of John Hughes’ filmography, you just can’t ignore the sheer number of successful teen films made during the decade. In 1984, Night of the Comet fell firmly within a Hollywood culture that was very interested in making money off of teenagers and their plight. So, what we end up with is a mesh of horror/sci-fi and 80s teen comedy. It’s a unique sort of genre blending, and probably something only possible in the 80s.

The movie is worth seeing and praising because of how it manages to convey a tone that’s completely at odds with the world it creates. Someone searching for some deeper meaning might say that the conflict between the film’s background influences (horror/sci-fi films) and it’s more upfront influences (teen comedies) reflects the mindset of your typical teenager at odds with the teenage and adult worlds. The movies referenced by the plot give the viewer an automatic expectation of a movie that’s about survival and the loneliness of being the last few people on Earth. However, the film only generically touches on any of that. As the referenced scene at the beginning of this write-up alludes to, survival comes second to being fashionable. Hell, one might even make the case that in a teenager’s world, being fashionable is essential to survival.

There’s a clever one-liner towards the end where Sam “surprisingly” shows up in the nick of time to rescue Reggie that illustrates just how concerned the movie is with celebrating teenage life. Instead of Reggie giving Sam a hug or thanking her for saving her life, she utters the line, “cute outfit.” It’s certainly a girly, cheesy moment, but it’s played for laughs and works well within the context of the film.

Let’s also take a look at how the girls are able to survive the comet in the first place. It’s mentioned that being within a steel structure is the probable reason the comet doesn’t turn the girls into burnt orange dust. However, the reasons they’re in those steel structures in the first place are more important to the movie than them simply being underneath steel beams. Reggie is holing up in the projection room of the movie theater where she works to have sex with her boyfriend. It’s also worth mentioning that she lied to her step mother about where she would be for the night. Sam gets into an actual fight with her nasty, bitch of a stepmother, and runs away from home and sleeps in a yard shed. It’s also later revealed that Hector (the last man on Earth, and the man the girls bicker about) spent the night in the bed of his steel truck with a woman he recently picked up. The point is all three are behaving like normal teenagers by lying to their parents, fighting with their parents, having sex, and running away from home. Since we’ve all seen Scream and know the “rules of horror movies”, these actions would normally land them all as the first victims of the film. Instead, these kids aren’t killed for acting irresponsibly, but are rewarded for their actions and become the heroes of our movie.

The film’s final act introduces us to a group of scientists who prepared for the comet’s arrival by creating an underground bunker. They’re working on a serum that they hope will cure those who survived but are being turned into zombies. The idea behind this plot thread is to serve as a point of contrast to the teenagers. The scientists represent the adult world’s conservativeness and selfishness. The group eventually becomes exposed to the virus because of a silly little detail they overlooked. They begin coaxing younger people (teenagers and children) into their underground bunker, in order to use them as guinea pigs to find a cure. They are quite literally sucking the life out of these kids. The point is that by not trying to safeguard against every possible negative outcomes, and instead having some fun, you’ll live a better life. It’s an interesting way to state your point, but this plot development bogs the film down and takes away from the unadulterated fun vibe the first two-thirds of the film has.

Given the odd combination of movie genres that make up Night of the Comet, it’s easy to see why this is more of a cult film than a classic from the 80s. To me, a movie described as a teenage zombie comedy is something I’m going to make a point of seeing. That’s because I’m awesome. Not everyone is, and that’s something we all have to come to terms with. Night of the Comet isn’t a great, or scary, movie, but it’s a fun one because of its attention to detail, clever writing, and energy. There’s more brains put into this than you would expect, and more than in virtually any blockbuster made today. I appreciated the effort and the result.


Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:03 pm
Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Nice write-up. I haven't seen Night Of The Comet, but I'll have to give it a look sometime this month. I've been meaning to queue up some horror films for October.

There are some quality films on your list. Are they all ones that you haven't seen? If so, you're in for a treat. Several on your list I would put up there among my favorite horror films ever. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your write-ups!

PeachyPete wrote:
12. Invasion of the Body Snatchers


The original version of this is solid, but I strongly prefer the Philip Kaufman version from the '70s.

PeachyPete wrote:
3. The Loved Ones


I just watched this one last month and for the most part enjoyed it. It definitely wears its influences on its sleeve, particularly The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Carrie. At times it can get very intense, so much so that the filmmakers have to frequently cut away to a mostly unrelated and fairly unsuccessful comic subplot, which brings down the film a little bit. Still an admirable effort though.


Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:06 pm
Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
I prefer the 1993 version of Invasion myself.


Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:30 pm
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Great stuff @ Night of the Comet.

Do they make movies like this any more? Ever since irony died (9/11/2001), came back to life (9/21/2001), died again (election season, 2004), came back as a zombie (election season, 2004) and stuck around (gaining energy during the election season of 2008 and picking up brains along the way til today), a movie like Night of the Comet seems impossible.

Things have changed; adults, now emulating kids full-time, are making movies for teenagers that consider the kid-emulating adults to be inauthentic emulators of what they perceive as teen culture (rather than what they are: effective emulators of teen culture). This zombified irony is like a man with a strong allergy to fish getting eaten by a shark with a severe allergy to man. There's some comfort in something as patronizing as Night of the Comet: there was a time, not that long ago, when adults saw the youth culture as something stupid and sweet. Now? Adults see the youth culture as stupid and distant while consuming The Hunger Games, diagnosing themselves with ADHD and filming a sequel to The Hangover.

Who, exactly, is the audience for The Hangover? It's a teen comedy made for and by adults. Night of the Comet was probably out-of-touch the instant it came out though nobody minded: it wasn't made as symbol of hipness, it was a silly movie to watch before getting picked up by mom. The post-irony movie is so much viscera and desperacy. I'll take Return of the Living Dead or the Comet film any day. Weird. We've all gotten so used to irony as an operational mode that to attempt making a movie about mall girls fighting monsters would be to get eaten by that allergic-to-man shark. It would create a rift in spacetime, sucking us all into the Ironic Void.

Also: I'll watch The Fog when you watch it. Epic post, Pete. May they continue!

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Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:04 am
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Blonde Almond wrote:
There are some quality films on your list. Are they all ones that you haven't seen? If so, you're in for a treat. Several on your list I would put up there among my favorite horror films ever. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your write-ups!


I saw The Witches as a kid. I remember loving it, but don't rememeber it well at all. Someone recommended it, and since I don't really remember it, I decided it could make the list. I haven't seen any of the others, which was part of the plan.

I know you're a big fan of Don't Look Now (which is actually partly why I chose it, so feel special!), what others do you like?

Blonde Almond wrote:
The original version of this is solid, but I strongly prefer the Philip Kaufman version from the '70s.


Yeah, I've heard really good things about both, and debated on which one to watch. Since I've seen neither, I ultimately decided I should start with the original. I'll probably seek out the Kaufman version sometime soon.

Mark III wrote:
There's some comfort in something as patronizing as Night of the Comet: there was a time, not that long ago, when adults saw the youth culture as something stupid and sweet. Now? Adults see the youth culture as stupid and distant while consuming The Hunger Games, diagnosing themselves with ADHD and filming a sequel to The Hangover.


This...

Mark III wrote:
Night of the Comet was probably out-of-touch the instant it came out though nobody minded: it wasn't made as symbol of hipness, it was a silly movie to watch before getting picked up by mom. The post-irony movie is so much viscera and desperacy.


...and this.

Both points are terrific. At this point, does the youth culture even know what something like a late night cable movie is? I mean, I guess they have their version of it, but that's probably vastly different than our version, right? Maybe it's just me being a product of that time, but there's something sad about that to me. I can't imagine being 15 or 16 and staying up until 2am watching Saw 5. Seriously, that fucking sucks.

Mark III wrote:
Also: I'll watch The Fog when you watch it. Epic post, Pete. May they continue!


Sounds good! It's available on Netflix Instant right now too! It's one of the few Carpenter horror movies I haven't seen, so I'm excited despite hearing bad things.


Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:54 am
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Quote:
Ok, so, I'm resurrecting this thread because I'm going to have at it again this year


so you finished the list from last year? what did you think of The Fly?


Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:55 pm
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
PeachyPete wrote:
I know you're a big fan of Don't Look Now (which is actually partly why I chose it, so feel special!), what others do you like?


PeachyPete wrote:
The Wicker Man
Don’t Look Now
The Orphanage
A Tale of Two Sisters


Out of the ones that I've seen on your list, these are my favorites. Way back when, The Wicker Man was originally shown as a B-feature with Don't Look Now, which might be the greatest double feature of all time. Most people now think of the terrible Nic Cage remake when The Wicker Man is brought up, which is a shame, because the original is still a real gem of a horror film.

I've had good things to say about The Orphanage on this forum for awhile. Most people point to The Descent as the best horror film of the last decade, and while that is a very good film, I think The Orphanage tops it.

A Tale Of Two Sisters is really strange and surreal. I need to revisit it again because I'm not sure I truly understood it the first time through. Very atmospheric and creepy though. The director, Ji-woon Kim, also made I Saw The Devil, and he's recently made the jump over to the States to direct the Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Last Stand. Go figure.

The Blob and Dead Alive are really great fun. The former earns extra points for having the best theme song for a horror film ever.

PeachyPete wrote:
Night of the Comet
The Witches
Martyrs
May


These are the only four on your list I haven't seen, and I'm going to try to get to them here in October. I've heard Martyrs is really tough, almost unbearably tough.


Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:16 pm
Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Blonde Almond wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
I know you're a big fan of Don't Look Now (which is actually partly why I chose it, so feel special!), what others do you like?


PeachyPete wrote:
The Wicker Man
Don’t Look Now
The Orphanage
A Tale of Two Sisters


Out of the ones that I've seen on your list, these are my favorites. Way back when, The Wicker Man was originally shown as a B-feature with Don't Look Now, which might be the greatest double feature of all time. Most people now think of the terrible Nic Cage remake when The Wicker Man is brought up, which is a shame, because the original is still a real gem of a horror film.

I've had good things to say about The Orphanage on this forum for awhile. Most people point to The Descent as the best horror film of the last decade, and while that is a very good film, I think The Orphanage tops it.

A Tale Of Two Sisters is really strange and surreal. I need to revisit it again because I'm not sure I truly understood it the first time through. Very atmospheric and creepy though. The director, Ji-woon Kim, also made I Saw The Devil, and he's recently made the jump over to the States to direct the Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Last Stand. Go figure.

The Blob and Dead Alive are really great fun. The former earns extra points for having the best theme song for a horror film ever.

PeachyPete wrote:
Night of the Comet
The Witches
Martyrs
May


These are the only four on your list I haven't seen, and I'm going to try to get to them here in October. I've heard Martyrs is really tough, almost unbearably tough.
i loved the descent, but THe Orphanage didn't really od anything for me nor did Skeleton Key. I would recommend The Hills Have Eyes Remake(and the sequel to a lesser extent)


Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:25 pm
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
PeachyPete wrote:

Both points are terrific. At this point, does the youth culture even know what something like a late night cable movie is? I mean, I guess they have their version of it, but that's probably vastly different than our version, right? Maybe it's just me being a product of that time, but there's something sad about that to me. I can't imagine being 15 or 16 and staying up until 2am watching Saw 5. Seriously, that fucking sucks.


Firstlich: thank you! Secondlich: how the youth, and by extension the grown-ups, watch movies has significantly changed. It's the Young Adultification of movie consumption, a more passive washing-over of a film than an actual appreciation of content. This minimization hasn't always been the case because... how could it have been? The media has changed significantly and, evolution being what it is, has left the modern moviewatcher more stunned and less receptive to the classic modes. Add to this the Netflix Instant model, the volume of movies available at a touch... the Late Night movie is a dinosaur.

There are some out there that are fighting the good fight. I won't name names but they number few.

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Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:34 pm
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Most movie watchers are accustomed to horror films where the horror arises strictly from situations the characters encounter through plot development. In that regard, 1973’s The Wicker Man is a different breed of horror film entirely. The story unfolds more like a slow burn thriller (with the occasional odd musical interlude) than it does anything resembling your typical scary movie. In fact, until The Big Reveal of the last 10-15 minutes, it’s tough to even consider it a horror film. The movie is much more concerned with the ideas and causes behind what is taking place than it is with strictly what is taking place. It ends up being a picture that’s less visceral and more intellectual – one that’s scarier when you sit down and think about it.

The film’s plot is rather simple: Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) comes to the island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Howie is met with indifference and resistance when he starts his investigation. As the investigation moves along, Howie soon realizes he’s being told lies and suspects a town-wide cover up of the girl’s death. While the story deals solely with Howie’s investigation, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what the movie is really about.

The key to the movie is the contrast between Howie’s devout Christianity and the inhabitants of Summerisle’s devout Paganism. It’s all tied into the narrative about the missing girl, but there’s no mistaking by the end of the film that the religious aspect is what’s been more important throughout. Howie sees the islanders as heathens, and they see him as a fool. Neither accepts the other as anything more than a weirdo or outsider, and that’s where the film’s main source of conflict arises. Both Howie and the people of Summerisle see the world through their separate religious perspectives. There’s no way they’re ever going to understand one another or learn to coexist because they’re unable to comprehend why someone would be different in the first place. These people are all living as if their one way is the only possible way.

There’s a sequence in the middle of the film where our “hero” visits the island’s local schoolhouse that goes a long way to explaining exactly what this film is about. After chastising the teacher’s methods as “corrupting the young” (because, you know, since he’s a Christian police officer, he’s an authority on these things), Howie shows the students (all girls) a picture of the missing girl, and asks if they know who she is. They claim they don’t, but Howie notices an empty desk and asks whose it is. When he takes a look at the desk, he opens it up and sees a beetle walking around a nail that it’s tied to with a piece of string. The creepy young girl looks at him and says, “The little old beetle goes 'round and 'round. Always the same way, y'see, until it ends up right up tight to the nail. Poor old thing!” It’s a wonderful visualization of the movie’s theme – that people who blindly follow anything (in this case religion) are ultimately controlled by that thing, and end up “right up tight to the nail”. In addition to showing how the theme applies to Howie, just before the schoolhouse scene begins, the sergeant is watching the school’s male students parade around a wooden pole while holding long streamers attached to the pole. It’s a visual parallel to the beetle going around the nail used to condemn the townspeople’s way of life just as much as Howie’s. These sorts of subtle visual metaphors are all over the film (the ending visually echoes Christ’s walk to the cross), and I imagine rewatching the movie would be rewarding.

It should be noted that The Wicker Man has a number of flaws. For all the inspired moments of visual metaphor, there are far too many moments of dullness. At times, the way certain information is relayed to the viewer is uninvolving. For instance, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) and Howie have a long talk about Paganism that ends up being a clumsy way to communicate his back-story and his religion to the audience. There’s another instance where Howie is reading a book on Paganism in the library where, via voiceover, the contents of the book are relayed to the audience. Again, that’s a sloppy and uninteresting way of giving the audience information.

There’s also the problem with the way the main character is presented. Howie functions as something of a surrogate for the audience. We’re invited to see things the way he does since he’s the typical “hero” of these kinds of movies. I imagine this was a more successful tactic in 1973 than in 2012, as being open minded about religion has become a bit more typical. Plus, the fact that Howie is an uptight jerk makes him a difficult character to relate to unless you’re also an uptight jerk. This misstep ends up being the film’s most significant fault. The ending, where it’s revealed that the townspeople have orchestrated the entire missing girl case as a test of Howie’s faith (they need his pure faith to make a successful sacrifice to their Pagan gods), would have been incredibly affecting if the movie had spent time making us root for Howie. Instead, we get a really smart, clever condemnation of everyone, but one that is emotionally hollow. You get the sense that Howie gets what he deserves rather than the complete shock that would result from identifying with him. I’m not necessarily against an unlikable protagonist, but the lack of identification with literally everyone in the film, made this a hard one for me to care about. As stated earlier, it’s more of an intellectual exercise than anything else. However, the movie successfully makes its point, which is something that’s always appreciated.

The Wicker Man was a movie that initially left me feeling a bit indifferent, but the more I contemplated the ideas of the film, the more I appreciated what it is trying to do and how smart it really is. I can’t give it an unconditional recommendation, but it’s definitely a movie I can see getting better with repeated viewings. It’s much more invested in its visuals than its story (especially at the end; I can’t stress enough how smart it is), which is something to be appreciated for a horror film. There just isn’t enough feeling in it for me to agree with the film’s exquisite reputation.


Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:40 pm
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
I haven't seen the movie in a long time and can't really comment. That hasn't stopped me before but it will give me some pause here.

I'll say two things:

(1) It won't be long before someone uses the words "bear", "suit", "punching", "cage" and "bees" in one of their posts. Someone other than me. So I'll be the guy that plugs a movie he didn't really like: Kill List, the spiritual neighbor of The Wicker Man. It isn't really as good but it's, um, scarier.

(2) Fun fact: screenwriter Anthony Shaffer had a twin brother, Peter, who in 1973 (the year of The Wicker Man) published a play called Equus about a troubled youth who blinds horses and then spends an entire play talking to a psychiatrist about it. It's a remarkable thing! Anyhow, the shrink has an epiphany wherein he realizes that the horse-blinding youth is able to live free from certain moral and social constraints that have left him, the shrink, with the knowledge that you can get used to practically everything up to and including a loveless marriage.

"And while I sit there, baiting a poor unimaginative woman with the word, that freaky boy tries to conjure the reality! I sit looking at pages of centaurs trampling the soil of Argos--and outside my window he is trying to become one in a Hampshire field! --I watch that woman knitting, night after night--a woman I haven't kissed in six years--and he stands in the dark for an hour, sucking the sweat off his God's hairy cheek! Then in the morning, I put away my books on the cultural shelf, close up the kodachrome snaps of Mount Olympus, touch my reproduction statue of Dionysus for luck, and go off to hospital to treat him for insanity. Do you see?"

Those Shaffer boys! Always writing about prisons. Peter also wrote Amadeus, dontcha know. I don't know; maybe, for a proper appreciation of The Wicker Man, one has gotta look at what being English in 1973 meant. I'm no saint, I don't do this as often as I should, but maybe it'd be enlightening to consider the movies we watch in as close to their 'proper context' as we can. When you and I looked at Easy Rider we examined the zeitgeist of the era of Easy Rider. The Wicker Man is possibly owed the same thing.

And now a picture of what you were all waiting for:

Attachment:
Not_the_bees.jpg
Not_the_bees.jpg [ 14.14 KiB | Viewed 943 times ]

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Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:53 am
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Ah, yes, that Wicker Man.

The one where you're doing yourself a big favor if you watch it along with the RiffTrax commentary.

It's a sport coat and slacks.


Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:18 am
Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
We be doing this?

We be doing this.

(I'd like to preface this by saying that expanded versions of the below critiques can be read at my somewhat brand-spankin' new blog http://cineslice.wordpress.com -- just sayin'... :D )

Day 1: Spookies - 6/10

A bona fide movie loaf (a combination of two different productions helmed by a combined three directors), but darn it, if the cool-looking monsters and admittedly effective setting made it kinda fun to watch. Not a "good" movie, but it's rarely boring, and there's always a new weird monster waiting around the corner to look at.

Day 2: The House of Clocks - 5/10

A needlessly-complicated way of spilling peoples' guts. Lucio Fulci is sitting on a great concept here, but what he cranks out is a mundane and increasingly boring version of what it could've been.

Day 3: Monkey Shines - 5/10

Man, if George Romero went full Grindhouse here and had fun with his premise, I'm almost positive we would've had a cult classic blast on our hands. Instead, he treats the story of a man and his razor-wielding psychic monkey almost as high drama, and the results will make you either chuckle or facepalm the movie's two hours away.

Day 4: He Knows You're Alone - 4/10

Well, if that wasn't one of the dullest slasher movies I've ever seen. Gets off to a pretty cool start but succumbs to routine shorly thereafter, one filled with some of the most pale excuses for kill scenes I've ever seen. Blech.

Day 5: Alligator - 6/10

Not an entirely successful comedy-tinged horror flick, but it's close. Robert Forster is a badass, Henry Silva croaks out gator mating calls, and wry gags abound. It's not always on the ball, but when it is, this can be an amusing little B-movie treat.

Day 6: Return to Horror High - 3/10

Not awful enough to take the "King of Shitty Horror Comedies" title away from Stan Helsing, but with its combination of Airplane!-style sight gags and a story that never figures out how seriously to take itself, it's sure a contender. Excrutiating stuff, regardless.


Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:05 am
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Blonde Almond wrote:
I've heard Martyrs is really tough, almost unbearably tough.


I've heard the same. Forum member Shade recommended this one to me by telling me to stop being a pussy (or something along those lines).

Vexer wrote:
i loved the descent, but THe Orphanage didn't really od anything for me nor did Skeleton Key. I would recommend The Hills Have Eyes Remake(and the sequel to a lesser extent)


I've seen both The Hills Have Eyes remake and its sequel. I really liked the remake. So much so that I saw the sequel in theaters. That sequel, however, is in the running for worst movie I've ever seen in a theater.

Mark III wrote:
(2) Fun fact: screenwriter Anthony Shaffer had a twin brother, Peter, who in 1973 (the year of The Wicker Man) published a play called Equus


I've read that play! My girlfriend had to read for for a class she took and told me I'd really like it. And I do!

Mark III wrote:
Those Shaffer boys! Always writing about prisons.


You're certainly right about giving the film a fair shake by considering the context within which is was written. I'm also glad you brought this point up, because it's been nagging at me since I watched the movie. Howie trying to leave and his plane not starting reminds me of the unknown source of the tapes in Cache. Like in Haneke's film, the reason for the broken down plane very possibly could be some abstract concept rather than a realistic, rational reason. In this case, it's most likely Howie's blind faith. The island setting serves as this film's prison, and the imagery of Howie in the wicker man very much looks like he's in a prison cell. The more I think about this movie, the more I like it. I'm definitely going to have to watch this one again.


Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:30 pm
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
Glad to hear you're coming around to The Wicker Man. I like it quite a bit but would stop short at calling it a great film. As always, your eye for visual metaphor is second to none. Looking forward to hearing how much you adore The Loved Ones.

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Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:41 pm
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
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Adolescence, that romanticized period of great suffering, seems like the most natural point of entry for the torture porn film. Having seen 2009’s Australian import, The Loved Ones, I’m left wondering what took so long. Teenagers make for great fictional fodder, and there’s no kind of film that can depict suffering of any sort better than torture porn. The result is a wholly original take on a typical, standard horror story.

Writer/director Sean Byrne’s debut film follows main character Brent Mitchell (Xavier Samuel) as he attempts to deal with the guilt of killing his father in a car accident. Brent’s ways of dealing with that guilt are as misguided as you would expect from an adolescent. He smokes weed, cuts himself with a razor, and ponders suicide. His lone source of hope is his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thane). One day at school, fellow classmate Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy) asks Brent to prom, and he politely refuses because he’s already planning on going with his girlfriend. It’s quite a nice rejection, and there’s no reason to think Lola would take offense. However, what Brent, and the entire town, doesn’t know, is that Lola and her father, Daddy Stone (John Brumpton), are about as sane as Leatherface’s parents. Brent goes for a walk on the day of the dance, is attacked as he listens to music, and finds himself being held captive in the home of the Stones. From that point on, the film decidedly earns its torture porn label.

Instead of simply showing the audience Brent’s ordeal with Lola and her father, which ends up being about as standard a torture porn trope as you could find, Byrne juxtaposes the happenings with some good, old-fashioned, grounded in reality, teenage angst. Brent’s best pal Jamie (Richard Wilson) ends up going to the dance with his dream girl, the goth Mia (Jessica McNamee). It’s this plot line, which in a lesser filmmaker’s hands would feel superfluous and unrelated, that manages to give the film a little more substance than one would initially expect. I’ll spare the details since the movie reveals them slowly, but it’s fair to call Mia one psychologically fucked up chick. Like Brent, she’s incapable of healthily dealing with her problems, and resorts to drinking, drugs, and fucking to release her pain. Some might fault the film for how open ended it leaves this plot line, but any sort of resolution would be forced and condescending. Mia’s predicament isn’t something that just gets better. We end up getting a full picture of who Mia is, and that’s all that’s necessary for the film since her character exists as a point of contrast. If anything, the film ties itself together a little too neatly. Everything and everyone is connected. The point, I guess, is to show the impact Lola and her father’s serial killings have had on everyone in the town, but it doesn’t really feel important. We’re drawn to the film because of the teenagers, and anything else just feels unnecessary.

The real strength of the movie is the aforementioned teenage characters. Byrne manages to create a handful of characters that are fairly representative of the teenage experience in a running time of less than 90 minutes. They may be broadly drawn, but I’d argue that most teenagers are anyway. The people they are aren’t exactly people everyone knew as a teenager, but they’re close enough. The film creates a hyper stylized, incredibly violent version of teenage life. Brent’s the loner who does what he wants; Lola’s the spoiled rotten brat whose parents cow-towed to her every wish; Holly’s the popular, pretty girl; Mia’s the goth chick with issues; and Jamie is the typical male friend who’s only looking to get laid. The only difference is in this world, the princess gets to lobotomize her crushes so she can keep them forever and torture them the way she feels tortured.

The film’s concerns with the uniqueness of being a teen isn’t quite The Breakfast Club (it’s about a step or two down in terms of insight), but it counteracts that with gory, grisly violence and a very dark sense of humor. Unlike most torture porn movies, The Loved Ones doesn’t bog itself down with simply trying to gross its audience out. The requisite gore and violence are certainly present, but it strives for a bit more, and that’s always a worthy aim. Those looking for a straight torture porn movie in the vein of the Saw films might not be happy with Byrne’s film, and art-house audiences might find its bluntness off-putting. It’s destined to be a cult film once it finds itself an audience.


Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:28 pm
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Gaffer
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
^ What surprised me about The Loved Ones is that it took a full 2+ years until it saw a theatrical release date in the US. Even then, it just opened in enough screens so it wouldn't earn the "straight to dvd" title. Marketed correctly, this could have made some money. It's not too heavy and is quite a bit of fun (and there's some weight behind it, as you've pointed out though that won't do much for the BO). Apart from the Aussie accents I see no reason why this could not have seen a wider release.

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Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:47 pm
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Post Re: An Octoberfest of Horror Films
ed_metal_head wrote:
^ What surprised me about The Loved Ones is that it took a full 2+ years until it saw a theatrical release date in the US. Even then, it just opened in enough screens so it wouldn't earn the "straight to dvd" title. Marketed correctly, this could have made some money. It's not too heavy and is quite a bit of fun (and there's some weight behind it, as you've pointed out though that won't do much for the BO). Apart from the Aussie accents I see no reason why this could not have seen a wider release.


Agreed. I read a bit about the film after watching it and was equally surprised. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but wikipedia says the budget was $4 million (not citation). There's no reason a wider release of this movie wouldn't have made more than that. There are enough horror junkies out there that would go see this, especially with the reviews it got and positive word-of-mouth it would receive. Something I undersold in my write-up is just how funny the movie is. It's dark humor (which I mentioned), but it's hilarious in parts. I'm mostly talking about Lola and the actress' performance. It's just awesome. It's a nice contrast to the ultra serious desperation of the Hostels and Saws of the torture porn world.


Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:25 am
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