Halloween Horror Movie “Marathon”

Summer’s over, kiddos. Not that it ever felt too much like summer this year. I’m glad the heat was fairly mild and there wasn’t too much need for leaving all the windows open at night. But I wonder what, if anything, that says about the fall and winter seasons ahead of us?

Ah, who cares. What I am starting to get excited about is Halloween! Yes, you heard me right, Halloween is almost here! Okay, it’s not almost here, but it’s getting close. Time to start thinking about decorations and even our Little Guy’s costume. I want to dress him in bloody rags and teach him to walk down the street like a zombie, but he probably won’t hit as many houses shuffling along at an undead pace. Though that won’t likely be a concern; if there’s anything he doesn’t do these days, it’s move slow.

I love Halloween and I think one of the main reasons is that it officially signifies the beginning of the holiday season, which I love for all the obvious reasons. When Halloween comes around, it’s like the beginning of a long trip filled with family & friends, food, travel, time off of work, and hot chocolate on the couch with my wife.

But best of all the Halloween season is an excuse for me to watch a whole bunch of horror movies. I love the horror genre. It’s probably my favorite genre of film. I miss the days when the UC Theatre ran all night horror movie marathons. I’d love to host one of my own but, alas, being the father of a three year old pretty much rules that out for the time being. Instead, I’m piling a bunch of horror flicks on to the top of my Netflix queue with plans to watch as many as I can over the next few weeks until October 31st.

I’m actually ahead of the game. I found myself with some time to spare around the end of August and I took the opportunity to see Piranha 3D. If you’re a fan of bloody b-movies, it’s well worth seeing, though you’ll have to wait for DVD. You can probably guess the plot or come pretty close. It’s a bunch of fish in a lake attacking half-naked college students who are partying during Spring Break. Flesh abounds, of both the naked and torn-to-bloody-shreds variety. What more do you need? 3D? Sure! The 3D aspect of the film doesn’t add much, though you do get some puke in the face. And 3D boobs. And what is probably the first instance of a fish eating a penis on the big screen. The movie goes absolutely insane during the last third in a marvelous set piece where nearly every college student on the lake is turned into chum. Fantastic stuff. Piranha 3D is bloody without being disturbing and funny without being overly campy. Check it out.

A Tale of Two Sisters is… a tale of two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return home to their father, their wicked stepmother, and a ghost. But all is not what it seems and soon secrets are revealed that threaten to destroy the sisters’ lives! Mwah hah-hah-haaaaa!

After the craziness of Piranha, I was in the mood for something slow-paced and creepy. This Korean psychological/thriller/horror flick was just what I was looking for. I loved the quiet tone, the careful cinematography and the gradually building tension. Sisters did not scare me as much as I might have liked, though there are a couple of effectively eerie scenes.

The plot is twisty in a way that invites a repeat viewing to look for clues that hint to the ultimate reality of the film. There are confusing yet intriguing scenes that make no sense until the truth has been revealed. That kind of thing might frustrate some viewers but I like it; I enjoy mentally working my way forward through the plot again to see how it all fits.

Next on the Netflix queue was The Devil’s Backbone, a film by Guillermo del Toro, director of the fantastic Pan’s Labyrinth. I was looking forward to this one, perhaps a bit  too much. The horror aspect of the film left me a bit wanting; I failed to feel much tension during the scenes with the ghost. But I enjoyed the overall story of an orphanage struggling for existence during the end of the Spanish Civil War. Devil’s Backbone is not quite as compelling as Labyrinth, but it’s worth watching. I really wish I had a little more to say about it, but maybe I’m just ready to move on to…

 

The Last Exorcism

I knew I wanted to see The Last Exorcism so I had to catch it during the last week of its run at the local theater. This was just what I was looking for– an engaging story, some good acting, and a slowly building tension that takes us through some satisfying scares.

Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) has been a preacher most of his life. Exorcisms are his specialty but what his followers don’t know is that Cotton has lost his faith. He takes the “possessed” through the motions of an exorcism in order to cure them of their “possession”.

He’d thought of himself as a bit of an undercover therapist but after reading about the death of a boy during the course of an exorcism, he decides to quit the business.  Except for one last exorcism, for which he hires a documentary crew to film in order to expose himself, and the entire exorcism business, as a fraud.

But things are not what they seem at the Sweetzer farmhouse…

I loved it, in spite of some minor flaws. The film is in a faux-documentary/found footage style, like several horror films we’ve seen the over the past few years, so I suppose the filmmakers could be accused of “ripping off” The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield or Paranormal Activity. And if you’re the sort for whom this would be a huge sticking point, you probably shouldn’t bother.

I admit, it did have some problems sticking strictly to its style. The documentary’s film crew utilizes only one cameraman but there are scenes that were clearly shot with more than one handheld camera. And there is a musical soundtrack that, while effective, wouldn’t make sense for this faux-documentary. These issues distracted me briefly; not enough to ruin the experience…

…the experience of me loving he hell out of this movie and its fantastic ending. I dunno, I can see how this movie might not satisfy everyone but I’m a fan.

All right, I’ve been sitting on this blog post long enough. I have a couple more horror flicks to get to. Keep an eye out for ’em. And watch some bloody horror, fer pete’s sake!

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2 Responses to “Halloween Horror Movie “Marathon””

  1. Michael K vaughan Says:

    It’s funny, I’m doing the exact same thing you are doing. Today I watched Re-Animator for the first time since we saw it on movie-night. I will be watching as many horror/creature features as I can until the 31st, when I indulge in a horror movie marathon while giving tons of candy away to the hundreds of kids who will come to the door (if you can slip away some time that night you are welcome to stop by). I love Halloween just as much as you do, and it gives me the same excuse to watch horror films.

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