Day 15: Return of the Living Dead: While the 2000’s have Shaun of the Living Dead and Zombieland as their zombie horror/comedies, the 80’s had the cult classic Return of the Living Dead. The premise of this movie revolves around a guy starting a job at a medical supply company and the guy training him tells him a story about the company getting shipped a load of containers by mistake that actually contained zombies. These zombies were actually documented in the original Night of the Living Dead movie which the man claims is based on true events. When the man decides to show his new hire the canisters, they rupture spraying both in the face with zombie fart gas. As you might imagine things quickly go from bad to worse with every corpse in the nearby cemetery getting raised up. The movie is held together by a great cast which is a mix of young actors and older veterans which in many ways offer more comic relief than the young stars. The movie captures a great 80’s horror/comedy feel with some truly bizarre and funny scenes and lines, like the character Suicide and his lines about how his punk rock lifestyle is a WAY OF LIFE and not just a costume. If you are looking for something that is stupidic but in a good way, and funny. Return of the Living Dead needs to be viewed. Also, Linnea Quigley shows ALL her goods in this one which is always a plus.
Day 16 – Possession: A man is in danger of losing his wife, she disappears to places, he wants her to come back, she can’t stand him but keeps returning, she has a secret apartment that houses some kind of tentacle demon she has sex with and she murders men that eventually gives the demon the human form of her husband, then both husband and wife kill themselves in a lot of screaming and craziness. Also there is a scene where the woman walks in a subway tunnel and shits out slime from her vagina…or it is a miscarriage…or something. I think this film is also supposed to be some kind of Art House thing…well fuck that.
Ok…I think this movie showed me that a person can truly put to film their thoughts after having a mental and emotional breakdown. I literally got a headache from this film. The first hour or so is filled with nothing but the characters yelling and screaming at each other, what they are screaming is almost stream of consciousness insanity, and having all kinds of strange physical quirks. About ¾ of the way into the movie I think the director decided to try and have somewhat of a coherent story then he loses it again. I looked up some facts on this movie and found the director was going through some marital problems at the time and possibly a lot of mental stress and a breakdown. I can literally see the director’s mental stress in this film. The director must have taken all his batshit crazy thoughts and placed them onto film and tried to give them a voice. What you get is a movie, that if mental illness could take physical form, this would be it. And it is not a pleasant watch.
Day 17 – Halloween III: Season of the Witch: Yep. I watched this. It has been 30+ years since this movie took a shit lot of criticism for not revolving around Michael Myers. Back in the early 80’s I can understand that, hell I have even criticized the movie for it. But you know what, the movie should be looked at as being a good or bad movie based on its own merits and not bashed for not having Myers in it.
A little history on this film is that John Carpenter wanted to take the Halloween movies in a direction kind of like Twilight Zone and tell stories that revolved around Halloween itself but with different subject material. The result was this movie. Unfortunately the 80’s became defined as having horror icons and franchises and this movie bombed, HARD.
After watching the movie and letting it stand on its own, it really is a shame the movie got bashed so hard as I feel tells a really interesting and odd story.
The story involves a doctor who gets involved with a girl whose father has been murdered and they track his last whereabouts to a small town where Halloween masks are being made by the Silver Shamrock company. It turns out the company’s founders are from Ireland and are rooted in ancient Pagan beliefs. For this Halloween they plan on invoking ancient magics and sacrificing millions of children with the help of modern technology to help them spread the terror. I guess that is much more efficient that the razor blade in the candy gag.
The movie has that classic John Carpenter feel and look to it (even if he did not direct), they story is actually intriguing even though some people have some issues with parts of it. But honestly, I felt the movie plays out well and tells an interesting horror story, it is engaging and creepy. I was watching it with an 8 year old boy and he got a little freaked out by the movie and the ending in fact. Also, that test room scene with the mask is still freaky to this day. Give Season of the Witch a try and bury the Michael Meyers bias and you will have a good time with this film.
Day 18 – Repulsion- I guess ‘horror’ movies in the 60’s were more about psychological type things. Psycho comes to mind…though I wouldn’t call Psycho really horror but yeah, these movies seem to deal a lot with people who have mental troubles and trauma and moving at a snail’s pace. This brings us to Repulsion which follows the life of a young woman who gets left alone in her apartment she shares with her sister. As the time goes by you slowly begin to realize this girl has suffered some terrible trauma at the hands of a man. That trauma seems clearly to be rape. She also encounters several men who try to be…extra attentive to the woman as she is going through her mental breakdown and as a result they end up dead. The movie also has an ending that I think lets the viewer draw the conclusion who the woman originally suffered her attack from.
I didn’t know this when I selected this movie but the movie is directed by Roman Polanski. A movie about rape trauma…directed by Polanski. Talk about irony.
Day 19 – Paprika: This is the only animation I have on my list. The film is about a device that has been invented that allows someone to share in another’s dream. Well what happens is that someone has stolen a few of these devices and have become dream terrorists and have started invading people’s minds and making them go crazy. Also the dreams begin to merge with each other and invade the waking world as well. There is a person responsible for all of this and there is a plan they have. Paprika is an interesting film and while I would call it more sci-fi than horror there are a few scenes that could be described as horror-ish. But the movie is a little too bright and ‘happy’ looking for me to call it horror. Not a bad movie but maybe a pass if you are looking for a pure horror animation.
Day 20 – Insidious: James Wan’s classic horror film about a boy who falls into what appears to be a coma but is actually trapped by an evil entity in an astral dimension. I think Insidious should be considered a modern day classic horror film. It has elements of horror films from the 70’s while also having its own identity. The look of the film is great in its horror moments and there is enough of the movie that is left to the unknown that gives the viewer a sense of uneasiness but yet still left wondering about parts of the film. The paranormal group investigating the circumstances plaguing the family also add a certain charm to the film while their ghost equipment gives the film a creepy and antiquated feel as well. A well done movie that gives the horror genre a new breath of undead life.
Day 14 – Annabelle: Alright! I got the opportunity to actually go see a horror film in the theater so I took the chance. Annabelle revolves around the doll we all saw in the film, ‘The Conjuring’ which was also a James Wan film. First I want to state why anyone would have a doll that looked like this cracked out thing is beyond me but at least in Annabelle the doll does start out as clean and whole.
The movie picks up about a year before the events of ‘The Conjuring’ with a man and his wife who are expecting their first born child. The couple lives next to an older couple whose daughter disappeared two years before. Well the daughter has a homecoming surprise when she and her whacked out boyfriend break in and murder her parents. They then go next door, stab the pregnant woman in the belly while the estranged daughter grabs the Annabelle doll and locks herself in another room and commits suicide.
Well as the movie goes on, it turns out the suicide was a ritual to possess the doll with an evil spirit that poses as the recently deceased estranged daughter. The spirit is looking for a soul and begins harassing the new mother, her baby and husband. Meanwhile Oprah Winfrey shows up and gives some Harpo advice and talks about witchcraft.
While I kind of predicted the ending to Annabelle, it was the journey there that was really great. The movie had some genuinely frightening scares and the way they were employed was especially creepy and scary.
If you get the chance to see Annabelle definitely do so. Again, while the ending is kind of predictable the scares in the movie are fresh and jump inducing. A good flick that deserves your time.
Week 3 was a solid week with the exception of Possession and the slow burner Repulsion. Maybe not as solid as week 2 but not bad. I think the highlight was Annabelle as I got to actually go to the theater. Halloween 3, Return of the Living Dead and Insidious are definite recommends while Possession is watch at your own risk.