31 Days of Horror: Halloween

Halloween - Poster

And so we find ourselves at the end of our journey.  It’s cold and rainy here in Lexington, KY, which means there will be precious few trick or treaters out there.  Those that brave the elements will get large handfuls of candy from yours truly.  “Shine on you crazy sugar-loaded monster.”
Over the course of these 31 days, we have watched a lot of great horror movies.  (I actually watched The Babadook this past week and was going to include it, but, since it’s not out for mass consumption, I held off.  I didn’t want to brag too much.)  Let’s look back at some fun times in this series:
We witnessed a minor breakdown.  Wasn’t that fun?  That was fun.
I ranted about my hatred for Peyton Manning, which makes no sense in a horror column, but whatever.
I told you to watch Dracula 3D, laughed about it, promised a post later in the day and didn’t follow through.
I rambled on (yet again) about originals vs. remakes.
And more!  So much more.  31 posts in 31 days.  That’s a lot of writing, even if I barely talked about the actual movie sometimes.

Michael Myers waiting for me to start talking about this movie.
Michael Myers is waiting for me to start talking about this movie.

What’s there to say here?  Halloween is one of the best movies ever, horror or otherwise.  It’s certainly one of the best-looking movies I’ve ever seen.  (I recently bought the 35th anniversary Blu Ray, and it is absolutely stunning.)  It’s a simple tale of a man with the blackest eyes (the devil’s eyes) and his boogeymanning ways, roaming around Haddonfield with his knife.  Will he kill children?  Absolutely not.  Does he have a killing code?  Kinda, but not really.

Halloween - Myers in closet

He’s a silent, murdering psychopath stalking through a peaceful community on Halloween.  Rob Zombie gave him motivation for his actions, but who needs motivation?  Isn’t his murder spree scary enough on its own?  I don’t need to know why he is like he is: I just need to know that he is.

Halloween - Laurie

Gather around, hold your loved ones tight, throw on Halloween, and have an exit strategy in case this is the year Michael Myers shows up in your town.
Have a great Halloween, everyone!  Stay safe.  Have fun.  Leave comments telling of your adventures.  Thanks for sticking with me for these 31 days.  For the most part, it’s been a blast.

"We're not smoking weed or anything.  Nope. Not even a little."
“We’re not smoking weed or anything. Nope. Not even a little.”

31 Days of Horror Day 30: Trick R Treat

Trick R Treat - Poster

Yesterday was insanely busy, so I didn’t get a chance to put this up.  Apologies.  Between work and a playoff softball game (championship game next week!), I just couldn’t find any time.  This is also my excuse for the lateness of my Walking Dead post this week.  I love excuses.
The lack of a post helps out here a little.  It’s Halloween!  Let’s make it a double feature (but I’ll still split it into two posts, because it looks like I did more work that way).

I mean Samhain.  Sorry, Rhonda.
I mean Samhain. Sorry, Rhonda.

I, like many people, am a sucker for movies set on Halloween.  It’s the spookiest time of the year.  Rhonda informs us that it’s the day when the barrier between the living and dead is thinnest, which sets us up for story that takes place in the world as we know it, but with a lot of supernatural forces.

And spooky children.
And spooky children.

We have a pumpkin-headed child who works as a kind of Halloween police.
We have werewolves.
We have vampires (maybe).
We have the dead rising from the grave.
We also have a severe lack of likable characters, which is usually a hindrance for me, but I don’t mind it here.  I think it’s the nature of the movie.  You see the nastiness of these people, and it doesn’t really bother you so much to see them die.  The worst ones get their comeuppance.  The ghosts of Halloween don’t let them get away.  You can almost look at Sam as a boogeyman, although he doesn’t always go about his business in the same way Michael Myers does.  He’s like a conductor of revenge, but he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty from time to time.

Trick R Treat - Sam

It’s a series of stories all taking place in the same town on the same night.  Characters cross paths, but it’s really the spirit of Halloween that connects them all.
It has a terrific atmosphere that is absolutely perfect for this time of year.  Let’s all get dressed up…

Trick R Treat - Anna Paquin

…engage in some Halloween shenanigans, and kick back with this movie.  But don’t forget to help Principal Wilkins with the eyes.  Thurman Merman can tell you all about it.

Trick 'r Treat

31 Days of Horror Day 29: Severance

severance movie poster

A British horror comedy about a work retreat held in a remote cabin in Hungary.  The fear of bears is real, but they soon realize something more sinister is lurking in the trees.  Is their cabin really an old mental institution, or is that just a story?

Severance - Walking on Road

I love this movie.  It’s a comedy, but it also knows its horror movies.  It plays out like a tense slasher, and there are some pretty brutal scenes.  While some of the violence is played for laughs, it’s never overly goofy.  So, while it is absolutely a comedy, it never loses sight of the horror aspect.

Severance - Knife

It’s incredibly funny, and doesn’t lack for blood or gore.  If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend that you do.  If you have, now’s the time to revisit it.

31 Days of Horror Day 28: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow - Poster
We’re almost there.  I know this isn’t the most popular pick, but I always watch it around this time of year.  It’s not a scary movie, but it does have a spooky feel to it.  I love the atmosphere.

Sleepy Hollow - Tree

I love the cast,  as well.  We have a skittish Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane…

Sleepy Hollow - Depp

 

…Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel (the witch with a heart of gold)…

Sleepy Hollow - Depp & Ricci

 

…and Christopher Walken as the horseman, in a role with no speaking parts, but plenty of sharpened teeth and bloody kisses.

Sleepy Hollow - Walken 2

If you’re looking to watch two movies, pair this with another Depp vehicle: the excellent From Hell.

31 Days of Horror Day 27: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

TCM - Poster

There are many things to talk about when we talk about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Many fixate on Leatherface, and rightly so.  He’s one of the most recognizable slashers in horror cinema, but also the one that evokes the most empathy.  How can you hate a man who obviously has mental issues?  He is clearly not in control of his actions.  He’s basically the attack dog for his vindictive father, and that’s a very sad existence.

TCM - Leatherface

We could talk about the brutal nature of the movie.  It’s one that still manages to make me uncomfortable every time I watch it.  It feels real.  It’s a nasty movie, and that nastiness never feels dated.

TCM - Sally 2

But, when I talk about Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I focus on one thing: the superb acting by the late Marilyn Burns.  Simply put, it’s one of the finest performances in the history of horror films.  Her scene at the dinner table is absolutely stunning, but her performance all the way through is incredible.
Because of this (and because of what her character went through), Sally Hardesty is rightfully considered to be one of the all-time best final girls.

TCM - Sally

This is a movie that still has the ability to shatter your nerves.  For a film that’s 40 years old, that’s a major accomplishment.    Throw this movie on.  Let’s get uncomfortable.

TCM - Sally 1

I’ve written a bit about this movie and the death of Marilyn Burns in this piece.  While you’re at it, make sure you read the interview LC Fremont did with Marilyn here.