Friday, 2 October 2009
October Horror 2009 #1
Yep, it's going to be that kind of month...
October is a beautiful time of the year in my neck of the woods - the Fall colours are starting to pop, the weather is crisp yet not too cold and the grey skies feel strangely comforting. So, what better time for some Horror? This particular month always puts me in the mood to hack my way through heaps of scary movies and then stack the watched DVDs like old bones in a graveyard. Of course, I'll watch 'em at any time of year (as evidenced by previous Cesspool posts), but they get some additional focus leading up to Halloween.
The challenge going around a few blogs these days is to watch 31 horror films in 31 days. Pshaw. Child's Play! I should make mince meat of that number easily and even make them all first time viewings. Just like last year, I'll try to keep track of each movie I mow down, though this time I'll separate them from the Cesspool series.
Here are the first to fall (including 3 movies that were watched previous to October - so I'm only at 2 for the month at the moment):
Kaidan (2007 - Hideo Nakata) - A quiet, fairly slow and slightly too long ghost story about a man and woman whose fates have already been sealed by the actions of their parents. Nakata's name attached to this film will bring certain assumptions and expectations - best if you shed those up front. This isn't really a horror film per se, but a melodrama with horror elements. It's actually quite good from that standpoint since the period details and style are very well done and the ghost story slowly pulls the man deeper into his inevitable fate. The major flaw is the casting of the lead actor who just doesn't have the subtlety required to match the rest of the performances. There aren't many (if any) major scares, but definitely some unsettling moments and occurrences. Karma really is a bitch.
Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971 - Curtis Harrington) - Shelly Winters plays a woman living alone (not including her servants) in a big old mansion. She loves to give Christmas parties for the orphans and one year she finds a special young girl who reminds her of her own late daughter. Fortunately, she's kept her daughter's room exactly the same as it was when she died, so she has plenty of room to keep the little girl. Not so much her older brother though...She's obviously not firing on all neurons and the girl's brother realizes this and tries to save his sister. It moves at a decent enough pace and has some nice touches to the mystery part of the story, but it's not exactly a ripping good yarn. And since Shelly Winters is in it, all you really need to know follows in the screencaps:
Geezus, that is frightening...
Fear[s] Of The Dark (2007 - Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire) - An omnibus film of 6 scary tales done by 6 different animators - each one in black and white. It's a great idea that features some terrific animation and beautiful moments, but either the stories don't quite hold up or the terror elements aren't quite realized as well as they could have been. Having said that, I still greatly enjoyed it since there are some creepy moments and many creative approaches to the styles used. Some animators choose to exploit the grey scale extensively, while others take "black and white" to be quite literal instructions. There is the odd splash of colour which is also quite effective...
Alice, Sweet Alice (1976 - Alfred Sole) - Also known as Communion, Alice's story plays with numerous Christian religious symbols and conventions (at least to my fairly unschooled eye) and paces the mystery elements of her sister's death quite effectively. The performances throughout are a bit iffy at times which makes it a tad slow, but overall there's some great atmosphere and really well composed shots that help set up the tension as well as a few good jarring moments. It's also known for being Brooke Shields' first ever feature film. I have no major issue with Brooke in general, but in this case let's just say that when she, ahem, departs early on, she isn't greatly missed.
That last guy (Alphonso DeNoble - also in Night Of The Zombies apparently) was kinda making me cringe whenever he was on screen. He was pretty darn creepy around the young girls, but it was mostly due to his really horrendous acting.
Child's Play (1988 - Tom Holland) - Really stupid, not very scary, and yet still kinda fun. I laughed out loud at least 3 or 4 times at Chucky (his "Banzai" leap, him chowing down on Catherine Hicks' arm, every time he got thrown against the wall in slow motion), so you can't be too unhappy about that. It doesn't even matter how he came to life - don't ask - just that he did. So I'm thinking that Child's Play 2, Child's Play 3, Bride Of Chucky and Seed Of Chucky are all now on my list to see (the last two were already on it due to some other trusted people's opinions, but I'll try to view them all in order now) - hopefully this month.