Archive | November, 2010

31 Nights of Horror: Final thoughts (2010)

23 Nov

This is your brain after 49 hours of horror films.

Now that I’ve finally written up the last straggling reviews from my 31 Nights of Horror experiment, I feel like it’s OK to admit … I had no idea how tough a task I was taking on. Watching a movie a day for 31 straight days is daunting enough, but when you add in writing a timely (at least when I started I thought it would be timely) review of each film? Madness. What was I thinking? I vastly underestimated how difficult it would be to have a life outside of horror movies for the entire month of October, and I vastly overestimated my willingness to give up nearly all of my free time. Continue reading

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Sleepaway Camp (1983)

22 Nov

Couuuuusins! Identical cousins, and you'll find... they laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they'd even talk alike (if Angela talked, that is). They're two of a kiiiiind!

I started the month of October with a review of “The House of the Devil,” a new film aiming to resurrect the feel of a 1980s horror heyday movie. It’s fitting, then, that I ended the month with “Sleepaway Camp,” a bona fide and beloved 80s-era slasher. I got the recommendation for the film from none other than horror auteur Eli Roth in his five picks for great Halloween flicks, and I followed his admonition to know as little as possible about the film before seeing it. In that spirit, if you have never seen “Sleepaway Camp,” you should stop reading right now. I’m not giving away any true spoilers, but honestly, it’s best to go into this one absolutely blind. Continue reading

Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)

21 Nov

You know what? The most disturbing thing in this image is poor Otto's criminally bad wig. At least, I hope it's a wig.

I cannot, in good conscience, say that “Flesh for Frankenstein” is a good film. It is, in fact, a bad film. But it’s a really good bad film. Following me? Some moviegoers love a good bad movie every now and again while others just can’t stand them, period. I’m of the former camp, and this odd re-imagining of the classic Frankenstein tale is ripe with welcome weirdness for those inclined to enjoy this type of film. Continue reading

Fright Night (1985)

19 Nov

And she seemed like such a nice girl too ...

I both wanted and expected to love “Fright Night.” A cheeky vampire movie with a ridiculous premise, ultra 80s styling and Roddy McDowall — what more could I want? Unfortunately, although the movie delivered on all those counts, I was left feeling like I’d just found out the boy I had a crush on didn’t believe in showering or brushing his teeth. The pieces were all right, but they came together all wrong. Continue reading

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

19 Nov

Scuzzy filmmakers ahoy!

When a movie is titled “Cannibal Holocaust,” it’s absurd to expect anything other than over-the-top shock horror. That this film offers measured and intelligent social commentary along with its horrific violence and impossible-to-forget imagery elevates it far beyond mere schlock. Continue reading

The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007)

16 Nov

I couldn't find any really great pictures of the monsters anywhere on the Internet. I assure you they're much more chill-inducing in action than they are just hanging out next to a hot chick.

The Deaths of Ian Stone” reminded me of nothing so much as an episode of “The X-Files,” but without the benefit of already having affection for the main characters. This type of nostalgic monster-of-the-week horror doesn’t bother me, but the film makes it abundantly clear early on that it’s going to answer all possible questions (rather unlike “The X-Files”), and that drains the suspense right out of it. Continue reading

Sisters (1973)

9 Nov

Common sense should dictate that an open flame shouldn't be that close to super styled hair, but Phillip is a boundary pusher like that.

So “Sisters” is a bit of a cheat. Though Criterion lumps it under its “Scary Films” header, it’s more straight-out thriller than horror. The difference is subtle; for me, a horror movie makes me feel immediate “danger.” The film seems to threaten me, personally, and so evokes that fear response. In a thriller, all the danger is for someone else. A thriller may intrigue and shock, but it never steps beyond whatever the boundary is that makes a horror movie frightening. Which is not to say “Sisters” isn’t a great film; it’s just not a horror movie. Continue reading

City of the Living Dead (1980)

5 Nov

Oh sure, he may look menacing now, but just wait til you see him in action.

City of the Living Dead” was an unplanned selection for 31 Nights of Horror. I had expected to get a new movie in the mail, but it didn’t arrive in a timely fashion, so I was left scrounging for something to take its place. Netflix recommended this one, which didn’t seem familiar based on its summary. By the time I realized what I was watching — and which famously gruesome death scene I was about to see — it was too late. Lucio Fulci had won again. Continue reading