Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: ‘Ju-on: The Grudge’ and ‘Trick ‘r Treat’

Here they are, the last two movies I watched for my Halloween Horror Movie Marathon.

Ju-on: The Grudge

Ju-on: The curse of one who dies in the grip of powerful rage.

It gathers and takes effect in the places that person was alive.

Those who encounter it die and a new curse is born.

Ju-on: The Grudge is about a haunted house in Tokyo where anyone who enters is pretty much guaranteed to get killed. The spirits won’t just terrorize you in the house, they’ll follow you home and kill you in bed. Nowhere is safe once you’ve entered the curse’s realm! This ghost is no joke.

I was really looking forward to this one because the first Ju-on movie, which was a Japanese straight to video release in 2000 that I got my hands on some time ago, has one of the scariest moments in just about any horror film I’ve ever seen. I thought there was no way that moment could be topped but this 2003 sequel/re-make has made it onto a handful of ‘scariest movies ever’ lists.

I appear to have been right, but that’s not to say that Ju-on: The Grudge doesn’t have its decent share of frights. I must confess, though, that the night I watched this I was getting over an illness and I was kinda sleepy, so I may have lost focus at times. If I were more alert, I might have been even more frightened.

The film is divided up into six parts and by the end of each one, someone is going to be in some serious hurt. The segments are interconnected and jump around time in clever ways. But I think I was too sleepy to really appreciate the broken chronology; at the time, I kind of resented the film for it. “Don’t make me work too hard. I’m tired!”

But it’s still a great film I highly recommend, even if just for its importance in elevating the popularity of “J-Horror” and inspiring Hollywood remakes. Speaking of which, I vaguely recall enjoying the American Grudge remake starring Sarah Michelle Gellar but not nearly as much as this one. I should probably revisit, though. Like I will this one at some point in the future.

Anyway, on to the next film…

Trick 'r Treat

Trick ‘r Treat is a direct to video release from a year ago or so that received some high praise. That acclaim is well deserved. It’s perfect for Halloween night and a perfect way to end my Halloween Horror Movie Marathon. It’s a little funny, a little scary, a tad disturbing… I loved this movie.

Sort of like Ju-on, it tells several different stories, jumping back and forth along its timeline and intersecting each tale in fun ways. First we have the story of Principal Wilkins (Dylan Baker), whose house you probably don’t want your children stopping by on Halloween night. Then we follow a group of kids to a quarry where a prank based upon a local legend goes a little too far. Next Laurie (Anna Paquin) looks for a date with whom she plans on losing her innocence to at a party in the nearby forest. And finally grumpy old Mr. Kreeg (Brian Cox) meets Sam, the cute little guy you see on the movie’s poster up above.

I won’t spoil it by saying much more about it except that the opening minutes contain one of the most pleasantly revolting vomit scenes ever. And I say this as a connoisseur of vomit scenes. This one wins top prize for Grossest Vomit Sound Effects. Even I, with my stomach of stone, got a bit queasy.

So there we have it. Justin’s Halloween Horror Movie Marathon 2010. It’s been a blast. I discovered a few new favorite horror flicks and one that probably enters my overall list of favorite movies in general. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year. Though I may drop in another horror flick or two as the next Halloween approaches. Even now, I hear it in the distance. A distant howl, an evil laugh… I’ll see you on the other side, ghosts and ghouls!

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