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Horror Films A–Z, Oct. 2020: X, Y & Z (sort of)

Fear X

Year: 2003
Runtime: 1h 31m
Rated: PG-13

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writers: Nicolas Winding Refn, Hubert Selby Jr.

Stars: John Turturro, Deborah Kara Unger, Stephen Eric McIntyre

“Nobody can know all about someone, can they?”

Initial: It was either go with a film title that included an “X” or watch Xtinction: Predator X. Fear X seemed like a good option.

Production Notes: Nicolas Winding Refn also directed Drive (2011), which is probably one of my top 30 favorite films.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
As much as I like Drive, I hadn’t seen any other of Refn’s films. Fear X is pretty low-key. Its plot is relatively simple and its ending is ambiguous. It’s slow and quiet. Apparently, it was such a flop that it put Refn in debt. But I rather like it. John Turturro is excellent and many of the things I like about Drive (a script that doesn’t explain much and long shots of people in hallways) are here in spades.

The Crow

Year: 1994
Runtime: 1h 42m
Rated: R

Director: Alex Proyas

Writers: James O’Barr, David J. Schow, John Shirley

Stars: Brandon Lee, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis, Ernie Hudson

“What are you supposed to be, a clown or something?”


Initial: I had originally slated Young Sherlock Holmes for my “Y” rewatch, but it didn’t sit well with me. I consider it to be too much of a Christmas movie, and I’m not ready to skip that far forward. So, I decided instead on a Devil’s Night movie.

Production Notes: Not only is co-writer John Shirley a novelist, he’s also written lyrics for bands such as Blue Öyster Cult.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
There are so many great things about this movie, least of which is my nostalgia surrounding it. The style obviously owes a lot to O’Barr’s original comic, but director Proyas and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski aren’t slouches when it comes to visuals. (They teamed up again a few years later for Dark City (1998).) Brandon Lee and Ernie Hudson have a great rapport. It has one of the best soundtracks and scores around. Yeah, occasionally, the time-line is a little screwy and things only make sense in a comic book sort of way, but everyone making this movie was invested and it shows.


Year: 2016
Runtime: 1h 42m
Rated: R

Director: Rob Zombie

Writer: Rob Zombie

Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie, Richard Brake

“First, I’m gonna bless you with a story.”

Initial: A movie from Rob Zombie. Zombie. Z. Get it??

Production Notes: A crowdfunded production.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
Rob Zombie does some really nice things as a filmmaker. In all the movies of his that I’ve watched, there are always some really beautiful sequences…I mean, for a blood-drenched splatter films. Zombie knows horror, especially 70s horror. But, man, I wish he’d direct something he hasn’t written. 31‘s set up is tenuous. The characters are stereotypes and their survival is not based on any sort of competence. The plot is basically put five people in a weird place and send killers after them.