Saturday, October 24, 2009
Let's See A Movie!
The Halloween Countdown, Day 23
As I've gotten older my ability and opportunities to engage in Halloween shenanigans have diminished considerably--I'm pretty much limited to a big bowl of popcorn, a Roseanne Halloween episodes marathon on TV Land/Nick At Nite if I'm lucky, some Addams Family reruns...
...and scary movies.
My friend Alex, aka damiankarras (who often describes himself as "a horror whore and a comedy snob"), just posted A Decade of Horror on his blog: mini-reviews and personal commentary about Fifty Horror Films Worth Seeing From the Last Decade. Go read it; it's well worth your time, especially if you're staying home this Halloween and would like a few movie suggestions.
"As for what's made the list so far, they may not be classics. They may not be seminal works in the genre. Some of them probably aren't even really horror films in the classic sense of the phrase, but it is some of those classic elements of the horror film which make them at the very least, fun to watch. A few are genuinely frightening. More than a few are genuinely disturbing, a trait they share with a number of the classic films of the seventies. I'm tempted here to go into a longer discussion of the similarities between the decades in terms of social upheaval, and the inevitable connection between those things and the disturbing nature of the horror films we're seeing, but that's for another time."
"Fun to watch." See, that's what it's really all about, assuming the proper frame of mind. JSam, my oldest horror film compadre (one may take that several ways... and they would all be correct), once said, "Since a lot of horror films tend to be pure, unadulterated, exploitative pieces of crap, if you go to one expecting to find nuggets of gold you're going to be severely disappointed; true horror fans learn to settle for flecks of color."* Okay, JSam, it's not an exact quote, but it's close enough (we were both floating from an excess intake of Dr. Pepper... or something... at the time).
So I started a mental list of underrated films appropriate to The Season. "No thinky thoughts, no grand proclamations, no fifty cent words," as my friend Anne S. says on her LiveJournal, just a weird old guy with a Blogger account and two flecks of color to share.
The Exorcist III
After the abortion that was Exorcist II: The Heretic, I was surprised anyone was willing to risk making another sequel, but risk it they did and I loved it. Eerie, spooky, and, at times, decently frightening.
The Company of Wolves
I don't know why this film always seems to be forgotten; it's creepy, evocative, has a fantastic look and feel with a little gratuitous Angela Lansbury. Plus, it's every bit as good as the trailer makes it out to be.
As St. Joe Bob Briggs of the Eternal Drive-In would say, "Check 'em out!"
* I'm reminded of the opening to Student Bodies, a 1981 film parodying the Slasher Flick movement of the times, which opened with a black screen and the following text:
This motion picture is based on an actual incident.
Last year 26 horror films were released...
None of them lost money.
There's also a lovely moment in the middle of the film where, for no immediately apparent reason, there's an abrupt cut to an announcer behind a desk:
"Ladies and gentlemen, in order to achieve an 'R' rating today, a motion picture must contain full frontal nudity, graphic violence, or an explicit reference to the sex act. Since this film has none of those, and since research has proven that R-rated films are by far the most popular with the moviegoing public, the producers of this motion picture have asked me to take this opportunity to say 'Fuck you.' "
(the MPAA R-rating logo appears on the screen)
The entire film is available in ~10.5 min. installments on YouTube here.