See my Week 1 movies HERE!
Ok so week two I think was better overall than week one, though I got a real piece of shit of a movie in here that was NOT horror even though Rotten Tomatoes has it listed as such. Anyway, if I have time I might try to mulligan that one and watch another. With that said let’s get to it!
Day 8- Cronos: I was curious about this movie as I had heard about it for some time and I know it was Guillermo del Toro’s first movie as a director. It also marked the beginning of his working relationship with Ron Pearlman. So, What we have with Cronos is a bit of a mixture of Steampunk, medieval alchemy science and vampires. When watching Cronos I had no idea that essentially what I was going to be watching is a vampire movie wrapped in an unconventional way of how they are shown and created. The story is basically a quest for immortality through science trying to control and harness nature…though it comes with a severe price. Not a bad movie though it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting either. It is ok.
Day 9 – The Blob (1988): Who said remakes were a bad thing? This will be one of two remakes I will be watching during my Halloween marathon. This is a remake of the 1950’s b-movie which starred Steve McQueen that involved a meteor hitting the planet that had…well a blob thing in it. I remember watching the 50’s version as a kid late one night on TV in the 80’s and my dad actually watched it with me which was rare for him to do and he even seemed to like it, which was even more rare.
So in the 80’s they decided to give it a remake treatment, with a few twists and some 80’s horror charm. The movie again, involves what appears to be a meteor hitting the earth, a hobo finds it, pokes it with a stick and a mini-blob pops out and decides the hobo’s hand looks like a nice meal. As the blob consumes the hobo, and other people, it gets bigger and bigger. The Blob remake, while still keeping with the idea of the original story, adds some new things such as the blob being a biogerm that is manmade and its inability to absorb glass. It also keeps the classic scenes from the original movie like the hobo getting his hand blobified and the theater scene. The acting is well done, the movie is engaging and fun to watch and the practical effects are pretty awesome for an 80’s b-movie except a few cases where they super impose the blob creature in shots of the film…those look a little off. Also, this movie’s screenplay was co-written by none other than Frank Darabont of The Walking Dead fame and it even has the guy who played Dale in the TV show as the town Sheriff. Watching this movie I can see Darabont’s influence in the way the characters are written in that even actors with small roles have some depth to them which gives their characters a human and relatable quality, which is good to see and makes this remake a nice hidden gem I think people should definitely seek out. Watch out for those phone booths.
Day 10 – Russian Ark: What the fuck is this shit? Why this was categorized in horror is beyond me. We have a guy who wakes up and remembers nothing of what has happened to him. We then proceed to take what is essentially a guided museum tour through the history of Russia where no one else can see the guy except a European guy dressed in black who offers his opinion on Russia and European affairs. I hear this movie was shot all in one take…well congratulations on that I guess. Otherwise I found it pretentious, boring and stupid. Even when I tried to just view it as a non horror movie it became tedious and dull. I want a do over.
Day 11 – Shaun of the Dead: Ok so I guess this is the British version of Zombieland. This is my first viewing of Shaun of the Dead as I had seen Hot Fuzz years previous and thought it sucked ass so I was afraid the same would be true for Shaun. But I finally thought I would give this a shot and see for sure or not. As it turns out I liked the film and it has good humor along with trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. It has some subtle zombie culture references in the film and it is an all around good film. I can’t say I like it better than Zombieland, as some people do, but it should be checked out as it is a fun watch.
Day 12 – Near Dark: A movie about white trash vampires who travel the American Heartland’s small towns and cities in search of prey. This is the first time I have viewed Near Dark and I really dug the take on vampires in this film. For anyone who is familiar with role playing games, the tone and aesthetics of Near Dark really reminded me of White Wolf’s, Vampire the Masquerade game setting. The vampires in this film are degenerate, deplorable and filthy. The movie centers on a Midwest country boy named Caleb who tries to seduce a girl named Mae. Mae as it turns out is a vampire and she bites Caleb…which as you might imagine causes Caleb some trouble. Caleb is then kidnapped by Mae’s vamp family led by a Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen) and is given a chance to be indoctrinated into the group. This is where we witness just how awful this vamp family is, especially when we see the bar scene. Many horror movies allow the audiences to somehow relate to the villains but in Near Dark these vamps are really dirty, nasty and decadent. Near Dark seems to mix in American Heartland life, moral decay and even some cyberpunk (the soundtrack) in a surprisingly effective package. The film does have some flaws (such as some things not being totally fleshed out and some spotty acting), but my biggest issues is with Bill Paxton…while his ‘look’ for his character is awesome, has this guy ever been able to act, he came close to ruining the movie for me. What an irritating twat.
Day 13 – The Mist: This is a do over for that awful Russian Ark film. This is another Frank Darabont film here, like The Blob. This time he is also directing. The Mist is based off a novella by Stephen King and stars Thomas Jane playing a guy named David Drayton who is an artist who paints movie posters for Hollywood studios. One night a severe storm hits the small town he lives in and smashes up his house. Drayton and his family notice a mist coming down from the mountains the day after the storm but think nothing of it at the time. While Drayton and his son are at the town grocery store picking up supplies to fix up their house the mist rolls in. By roll in I mean it engulfs the town and shits out creatures that have never been seen before except in your nightmares. The Mist I feel is an excellent film that delivers a well executed story with compelling characters, thanks to Darabont’s and King’s writing. While it is a horror story about some whacked out shit coming out of fog, it is also a good story of showing what people, who have all their securities of life taken away from them for a short time, will do when the shit is scared out of them. Well worth your time.
As a side note, Darabont must have been building up his cast for The Walking Dead with this film. Like The Blob, we have the guy who played Dale in this along with the girl who played Andrea and the lady who plays Carol in The Walking Dead as well. It is all about networking I suppose.
Day 14 – Lord of Illusions: The last time I saw this movie was in the theater in 1995. At the time I wasn’t very impressed with the film for some reason. Re-watching it now I can really appreciate it a lot more. The story involves the guy from Quantum Leap who takes on the role of a private investigator who has ties to the supernatural. When he is hired to investigate an insurance fraud claim in L.A. he stumbles upon something else totally unrelated to his case. What he finds is a plot to resurrect a cult leader who was killed thirteen years earlier. Without the help of Al or Ziggy, our hero finds some former cult members who help kill the cult leader years prior and enlists the help of the most promising student Swann, while also boning Swann’s hot ass wife. They sort of succeed in the sense they stop a crazed lunatic who likes to wear a head piece from a Behemoth concert but not before he rises from the grave and turns a bunch of cultists into mud covered lawn ornaments. A good movie that I didn’t give enough credit for back when it came out. It reminds me a lot of an H.P. Lovecraft story as well and I’m always a sucker for those.
All in all this week was a much better watch than week 1, with the exception of that stupid Russian Ark movie. I discovered some new gems while also going back and gaining a new appreciation for some films I previously disregarded. If I had to pick the best of this bunch I would say maybe Near Dark for the ones I had not seen before and then for the ones I had it would be a tie between The Blob and The Mist, both of which are solid watches.