Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days of Horror: Year 5 - Part One

We are one week into October, and the 31 Days Of Horror are well underway. While I do have a few things planned for this year, the event will be random for the most part. With each movie, I'll be keeping track of all deaths, and I will have a definite number of people killed on-screen(or close enough) at the end of the month. Why am I doing this? Who are you, a detective or something?

Movie #1
I have a very special relationship with this movie, as it was the first film that was screened at the first Horror-thon I attended back in 2008. The cold open with John Houseman telling a ghost story around a campfire is very well done(despite the fact that the supposed "5 minutes till midnight" was only 2 minutes and 29 seconds-- I timed it). The movie is pretty spooky, despite the antagonists being silly in retrospect(leper ghost pirates), it's a nice change of pace that they politely knock before killing you with swords and ice picks.
Body Count: 6
Best Death: *TIE* A ghostly ice-pick to both eyes, and the sudden beheading of Hal Holbrook.
One More Thing: It takes A LOT of make up and imagination to make Adrian Barbeu look attractive after her drunken bitch performance in Creepshow, or as the creature in Swamp Thing.

Movie #2

Ah Scream, the film the reinvigorated the horror genre for the 1990s. Whether or not it's reinvigoration was for the better is up for serious debate. On one hand, R-rated horror would make a huge comeback to cinemas coast to coast, but most of it was unmemorable teen garbage. I mean, other than the Scream trilogy and the first I know What You Did Last Summer, how many other movies from that time period can you name that had left a lasting impression on horror fans? Maybe The Faculty. Until Blair Witch came out in '99, late 90's horror was pretty wishy-washy.
Scream is a good movie and still holds up pretty well, and it's fun picking up on little nuances that you don't catch at first, like Billy(Skeet Ulrich aka Not Johnny Depp) getting mad at Stuwart(Matthew Lillard) for what you think is him talking about the murders in front of Sydney(Neve Campbell), but really Billy's afraid that nut-bag Stuwart is gonna accidently spill the beans that they are the killers, which is brillient touches that you won't find in the later installments.
Body Count: 7
Best Death: Tatum's(Rose McGowan) large breasts getting her neck snapped because she can't fit them through the doggy-door on the garage door.
One More Thing: Wes Craven was totally brilliant for pulling a Psycho by putting(at the time) megastar Drew Barrymore in the movie, making it look like that she was the heroine, and then killing her off in a violent fashion right as the film starts. I can honestly say that it freaked me out when I originally saw this back in '96.

Movie #3
Freddy's Revenge
I just realized that the title of this movie is kinda redundant, because the whole premise of the first film was that Freddy was extracting his revenge on the parents of Elm Street by taking their children. So that means NOEM 2 is Freddy's double revenge? For his humiliation and defeat in the first film? He doesn't get that revenge until Dream Warriors when he goes after both Nancy and her father.
I will say that this movie shows Freddy at his most evil, and features the most kills using his glove in one film.
Body Count: 9
Best Death: Freddy invading the pool party and slashing a kid right in the face, to me, is Freddy at his meanest and most bad-ass.
One More Thing: This HAS to be the sweatiest film in the whole series.

Movie #4

This film is the other end of the "teen horror genre" that began with Scream in the 90s. Pretty much the ONLY reason to watch these films is for the spectacular death scenes. I feel this movie is the most fun of the series, although the lead actress(A.J. Cook) somehow found a way to combine being both hot and dull.
Body Count: 11(highest so far)
Best Death: Part of me wants to go with the 15 year old being smushed by the pane of glass, but because of my love of head-crushings(despite my fear of head trauma), I award the best death to the "day dream sequence" in the opening with the cop losing his head to a gigantic CGl log.
One more thing: Devon Sawa was supposed to reprise his role from the first movie, but contract disputes prevented that from happening, which I feel hurt the story.

Movie #5

Part two of the Scream series is an improvement over the first film in style, but not substance. While the film has a new setting(Greendale Community College, or something), and has some great gags & dialogue, it's a bit of the same as the first film. Sydney has a stalker. Gale saves the day. Doofy gets brutalized. Everyone else dies.
Liev Schreiber's Cotton Weary is fantastic, but needed more screentime, which he sadly won't get in the 3rd film.
For a horror movie, it's a great part 2, but as far as movies on a whole, it leaves plenty to be desired.
Also, Scream 2 kills off all the interesting characters, leaving us with the boring main-cast. That's why I started the Twitter hashtag #ShouldaBeenDoofy. This will carry over the next few installments.
Body Count: 9
Best Death: Randy getting turned into a Cobb Salad in the mini van was nice and nasty. See also: Saddest Death in Series.
One More Thing: Scream 2 gave the world a sneak preview at how awesome Tim Olyphant was going to be.

Movie # 6
aka The Creepers
Jennifer Connelly can talk to insects with her mind? Donald Pleasance doing his best Professor X impression? An all-girls school with a killer on the loose? All from the mind of Dario Argento? Yes and please!
Body Count: 7
Best Death: Despite a sweet beheading, l'd have to say that "death by chimp with a straight razor" trumps anything and everything.
One More Thing: Is there a man alive who does not love Jennifer Connelly?

Movie #7

I remember hating Scream 3 when I saw it in theaters. Time has done wonders for this movie, because today I like it much better than the 2nd one. The best cast so far for a Scream film(spoiler alert: everyone dies...AGAIN) and an out-of-left-field killer made this a fun rewatch.
Body Count: 9
Best Death: Eh, they're all pretty standard knife deaths. No "garage doors crushing heads because your tits are too delicious" going on here.
One More Thing: AH FUCK! #ShouldaBeenDoofy! Stop killing all the interesting characters! This time they did it in the first scene! The writers of these films went to the Joss Whedon School for Character Death.

Movie #8

There's sadly not a whole lot to say about The Boogens. It's a pretty standard, POV-"monsters that you don't see till the end" kind of movie. It's not a bad film, and the cast is likable(which includes a guy who is the splitting image of Dana Carvey), but it's probably better if you watched this as a kid and can be all nostalgic about it now, so gear-up those time machines.
It's watchable, but at the same time forgettable.
Body Count: 5
Best Death: The girl that gets killed in her bath-towel, because fuck you, she's in a bath-towel.
One More Thing: This movie(along with My Bloody Valentine) has made me realize that I love small mining towns, and I'd love to live in one when I get older.

Movie #9

For me, this film has become a despicable classic. This particular viewing was done at the Forum Theater in Metuchen, NJ on 35mm. The event was so much fun that I'll be covering it in a separate blog. Look for that this week.
Body Count: 5
Best Death: Nothing, and I mean nothing beats the infamous burning scene. It has to be seen to be believed. Or maybe it should never be seen.
One More Thing: Despite how much I love this movie, I'd never recommend it to anyone except for the most hardcore of Gorehounds.

Movie #10

11 years later, we return to Woodsboro, the scene of the original Scream film, for it's 4th installment. It was a risky move, but they ended up with a pretty decent story, and the best cast in the series. Much like the 3rd film, they did a great job of keeping you guessing of who the killer(s) are until the revelation.
I still dislike the ending, and I think they should've gone in a different direction, which would've set up Scream 5 beautifully. But no, they had to go with a "message," which I understood. Doesn't mean I liked it. Fuck the message, Scream 5 could've been awesome.
Body Count: 13(highest so far, sorry Final Destination 2)
Best Death: The hot girl who was slaughtered in her bedroom is well done, especially because you actually see her guts hanging out of her belly post-mortem. Also, her head going through the bedroom window seemed like a nod to Dario Argento.
One More Thing: [SPOlLER ALERT] #ShouldaBeenDoofy! FUCK THIS! Stop killing off all the interesting characters and letting this dope live! ln fact, not killing off any of the original cast was a huge cop-out.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for my review of the DGlTH screening this week, and the next installment of the 31 Days Of Horror next Sunday.

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