The day is finally here! Doing these little movie write-ups has been a lot of fun for me. Thanks to everyone -- however few of you there -- who has stopped by to check out my recommendations. So now we're down to the last one, but instead of writing about a film I just watched I decided to write about the film I'm going to watch tonight.
Were this a weekend I'd probably be up all night watching movies, but since Halloween has fallen mid-week this year by the time we get done with trick-or-treating I'll probably only be able to squeezing in one last film. That made it a tough call. Should I go with something modern, bloody and gruesome or maybe a classic from the 30's or 50's, films which I realize I've neglected so far in this marathon. I almost went with Creature From the Black Lagoon, which would have been a great choice. But in the end, I've decided to go with one that's both creepy, gruesome and a whole lot of fun. Possibly the perfect Halloween film.
I mentioned in my writeup on V/H/S that anthology films are notoriously uneven affairs. There's often one segment that shines above the others. Or one segment that drags the whole film down. In other words, there's no perfect anthology film.
But hands down, the anthology film that comes closest to perfection is Creepshow. I think that's because more than any other anthology film I've seen, Creepshow feels like a whole film. There are five different stories, but they are wonderfully tied together in this comic-book framework and there is a consistent tone and visual style throughout giving the entire film a cohesion that most anthology films lack. Is there one segment that shines above the others? Sure. But I don't think there's a dud in the bunch. There are probably some of you out there who will feel differently. I know there are those that don't care much for the segment starring writer Stephen King. Fair enough. I feel, though, that each segment has it's own charms, and even if some are better than others none drag the film down. Although I must confess I have been known to skip the final segment with the cockroaches from time to time. But that's not because it's bad. It's just ... you know, it's a bunch of freakin' cockroaches. Ewww.
If perchance you've never seen it before, Creepshow is an homage to the old EC line of comic books like "Vault of Horror" and "Tales from the Crypt." Written by horror novelist Stephen King and directed by George Romero (Night of the Living Dead), the film opens with a short little setup where an overbearing father takes the titular horror comic away from his son, giving him a good smack for his troubles. He tosses the comic in the garbage, but then the Creeper (obviously inspired by The Crypt Keeper from "Tales from the Crypt") shows up to rescue the comic and guide us through its five short stories. It's all a ton of fun with lots of scares along the way.
To give you a little taste, I found the trailer on YouTube:
And that's what I'm really in the mood for tonight; a great combination of fun and scares.
And if that wasn't reason enough for me to pick Creepshow as my final film, here's one last good reason: Playing the small role of the too-strict father in the wrap-around segment is none other than this marathon's most watched actor ...
And a few more suggestions:
Black Christmas - I'm talking about the 1974 original, not the 2006 remake. Halloween typically gets the credit (or blame) for starting the slasher movie craze of the 1980's, but this little film came four years earlier and was a huge influence itself. If you've never seen it, find a copy and watch it. The only reason I didn't watch and review it this year; I can't find my copy!!! But I'll find a new one in time for Christmas.
Halloween - Do I really need to say anything here?
A Nightmare on Elm Street - Also a no brainer. But skip the remake. Again, I'm not anti-remakes. This one just isn't very good.
CREEPY DEAD GIRL
Ringu (Japanese Original), The Ring Virus (Korean Remake), The Ring (American Remake) - I don't know that you'd want to make these into a triple feature or anything as all three versions tell essentially the same story, but any one of these would make for a frightful Halloween screening. Worth a look if you can track it down is the Korean version. Not as well known as the other two, but quite good.
Uh, Chuck? How do you have a "The Devil" category, but you left out The Exorcist? Very simple. The Exorcist isn't just a great horror movie. It's a great film. Period. Full stop. It has terrifying aspects to be sure, and I'd never argue that it's not a horror film (as the film's writer often does), but it just doesn't feel like a Halloween movie to me. And it's my blog, so deal with it. Now ...
The Omen - The antichrist is born! A classic film. And as a friend pointed out, one of the best horror musical scores evah.
The House of the Devil - Good indie flick from director Ti West. I felt the climax happened and wrapped up way too fast, and it ended exactly as I thought it would, but otherwise it's a solid, creepy film.
Prince of Darkness - John Carpenter's take on the antichrist attempting to enter our world. An interesting attempt to mix the mythic with a bit of sci-fi. Not 100% successful in that respect, but a good, solid horror film nonetheless.
The Thing - John Carpenter's classic paranoid sci-fi horror thriller from 1982, and it's my all-time favorite in the Monster Movie category. There is none better. Don't even try to argue. (Also proof that I don't hate remakes. Though that prequel/remake The Thing that came out last year is kinda iffy. Stick to the original remake ... if that makes sense.)
Pumpkinhead - Not necessarily a great film, but a great monster without a doubt. This is actually half a really good movie. Anytime actor Lance Henrikson is on screen, or the old mountain witch or Pumpkinhead itself, you're gold. But whenever you're forced to watch the 30-something actors playing 20-something campers and their badly scripted yammering ... yikes. Still, it's a fun movie.
Let the Right One In - I should have watched this in my vampire run because it's one of the best (if not the best) vampire films in a decade (or more).
And last, but certainly not least ...
Night of the Living Dead - Well duh.
The Return of the Living Dead - The perfect combination of horror, black comedy and punk. Will forever be remembered for making zombies specifically hungry for braaaaaaains!
Cemetery Man - Probably my favorite Italian horror film, this one also includes a healthy dose of black humor. But be warned, you might be lulled into a false sense of ease by the presence of star Rubert Everett, who would later go on to fame (or infamy) as the ultimate gay-best-friend-character in My Best Friend's Wedding. Don't be. This is a weird one with a capital WEIRD.
Oh, you know what? As long as we're on zombies you could always watch ...
**WARNING: Shameless self-promotion in 3, 2, 1**
Buy it HERE!
And that's all for my first Halloween Movie Marathon series. Thanks again for checking it out.
Of course, now that I've gotten into the habit of actively writing on my blog I need to decide what to write about next. Suggestions?