📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 19 & 20 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 19 – Your favorite horror film involving the powers of Hell or Satanism

Day 19 brings me to another sentimental favorite. (Should I worry that I have so many sentimental favorite horror movies?) On Halloween night 1997, I went on a date with this guy from my physiology class. We went to see The Devil’s Advocate (1997). Like Wolf, this movie has actors at their most actorly: Al Pacino is a bombastic Satan, Keanu Reeves is trying hard to be taken seriously post-Speed and pre-Matrix, and Charlize Theron quietly out-shines them both. I rewatched this not long ago. Sadly, it goes a bit around the bend at the end. And it has maybe too much sex for a first-date movie. But then again, the physiology class guy and I have been married for 19 years now. *shrug*

Day 20 – Your favorite horror film involving a killer animal

I gotta go with Jaws (1975) here. I believe that the first time I saw Jaws was when it came on network television when I was a kid. Sure, it was “edited for television.” It didn’t matter. I was left forevermore apprehensive of the water. (Also, there was this nature show clip of an orca whale coming out of the water to chomp a seal. Good thing I grew up in Nebraska…) But I also became utterly fascinated by sharks, especially great whites. They really are interesting animals, more complex than the movies have made them out to be. Monterey Bay Aquarium has a couple of great shark videos.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 17 & 18 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 17 – Your favorite horror film remake

I probably love Fright Night (2011) more than it deserves. Blame my sister, Tess. The original is beloved, but the remake penned by Buffy the Vampire Slayer scribe Marti Noxon has some inventive moments. I always enjoy a counter-intuitive setting, and I don’t think you can get less “vampire” than a Las Vegas suburb. Plus, excellent cast: the late Anton Yelchin, low-key scream queen Toni Collette, Chris Angel, I mean, David Tennant, and the “name” star Colin Farrel as, yes, Jerry the Vampire.

Day 18 – Your favorite foreign horror film (outside of your country of origin)

It was unlikely that I was going to get through this list without more than one Guillermo del Toro entry. The Devil’s Backbone (2001). Honestly, with my general want of different settings, I should watch more foreign films. It’s a better movie than Crimson Peak really, more focused and more real with just as much mystery and just as many chills.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 15 & 16 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

(Late posting today. Played a little bit of frisbee last night and today. My body thinks eating and sleeping are really the only two options. And I’m not an advanced-poster-type blogger…)

Day 15 – Your favorite horror film involving serial killers

Confession time: My favorite film about a serial killer is not Se7en (1995). It’s a different David Fincher movie: Zodiac (2007). The rub here is that if Se7en stretches the definition of “horror film,” Zodiac certainly does. But Se7en is a very close second. Fincher at his best creates a strong sense of place, which is something that resonates with me. Bonus points for a screenplay chocked full of literary references and a detective who hits the library for information.

Day 16 – Your favorite childhood themed horror film

I had an internal war about where Let the Right One In (2008) was going to go on this list. It was a strong contender for favorite vampire movie or favorite foreign film, but the young actors in this film are *so* good. The US remake is good too (Let Me In (2010)), but the original is just a more real feeling and a little more brutal. Oh, and the book’s good too.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 11 & 12 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 11 – Your favorite science fiction horror film

I’m not a super fan of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, but if there is any place in which it’s especially appropriate, it’s the actual cosmos. Space is scary. Let’s leave out what things we might share the universe with. Instead, there is the threat of catastrophe, the internal demons a person might bring, and unimaginable forces that might twist perception. Event Horizon (1997) perfectly embodies this (but see also Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (2007) and the quite a few Doctor Who episodes).  Solid cast and setting only bested by Alien3.

Day 12 – Your favorite horror film involving the occult

The Wicker Man (1973) is another movie whose reputation far preceded it and another movie I watched the first time via pretty crappy early internet streaming. Unlike The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, I was immediately impressed with The Wicker Man. I consider myself a fairly sophisticated movie-watcher, but like Sergeant Howie, I had no idea what turn the story was taking other than the islanders were definitely up to something. I can’t think of too many movies that provide such a feeling of suffocating otherness. (Side note: this might be the only film on my list with Christopher Lee!)


📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge 🎃

Michelle of Castle Macabre and #SomethingWickedFall turned me on to this challenge/tag which originated at Dollar Bin Horror and is being hosted this year by Unleash the Flying Monkeys. I figure this is a perfect accompaniment to #RIPXIV‘s Peril on the Screen.

The list of prompts is here if you want to peek ahead. The rule is pick a horror movie for every prompt and don’t list any movie twice. I’m probably going to update every few days.

Day 01 – A horror film that no one would expect you to love, but you do

This is a hard question because I’m not sure what people expect of me. I’m not sure many people even know that I like horror movies. But if you do know that I like horror movies, you probably know that I don’t care for zombies. Therefore, it might be surprising that I love Night of the Living Dead (1968). I can’t deny George Romero is a heck of a filmmaker. Working on a micro-budget he created an iconic film that laid the groundwork for an entire genre. Duane Jones gives a performance as Ben that should have made him a star. (Available free on Tubi)

Day 02 – The horror film that you relate most to

“Relate” might be the wrong word. Instead I’ll reinterpret the prompt as  “is most on-brand for you.” If  Guillermo del Toro were to have peeked directly into my brain, he probably couldn’t have come up with a horror movie more me than  Crimson Peak (2015). Dreamy, dilapidated old mansion? Check. Creepy ghosts who hold the clues to a murder mystery? Check. Juxtaposition of technology and the supernatural near the turn of the (19th) century? Check. I mean, half of those things showed up in my first novel, Lucinda at the Window, before I had even read or watched much in the gothic genre.

#RIPXIII and #SomethingWickedFall Update 3

Here are a couple of perilous goodies of which I’ve partaken:

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

A Long Fatal Love Chase

“I’d gladly sell my soul to Satan for a year of freedom,” cries Rosamond Vivian to her callous grandfather. A brooding stranger seduces her from the remote island onto his yacht. Trapped in a web of intrigue, cruelty, and deceit, she flees to Italy, France, Germany, from Paris garret to mental asylum, from convent to chateau – stalked by obsessed Phillip Tempest. (via Goodreads)

This was a “lost” novel from Louisa May Alcott. After an eventful European tour, Alcott returned home and began writing a serial in order to help provide for her family. (This was before the publication of Little Women.) A Long Fatal Love Chase is sensational, melodramatic, and sometimes over-wrought. There is a bit of swooning, but also a heroine who escapes via balconies, disguises, intricate plans. I enjoyed this books quite a bit.

Haunters: The Art of the Scare (2017)

I have a confession: Aside from the very tame haunted “ride” at Peony Park, I’ve never been to a haunted house. Honestly, I have no desire to, but I am curious about how these attractions are created, who runs them, and who works at them. I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror, but I’ve always loved make-up and practical special effects. This is a really interesting documentary about all of those things. Haunters also addresses extreme haunted/torture houses, a relatively new phenomenon which I really don’t understand.

The Last Perilous Update

October has been more slumpy than expected both on the reading and writing ends. The unusually high temperatures probably aren’t helping. And maybe I started my Halloween celebrating too early. I’m not burnt out on “spooky,” but it’s definitely more on the background level of things. Which is perfectly fine and comfortable.

Peril of the Short Story

Ben at Short Story Magic Tricks did a whole week of Ambrose Bierce stories around mid-October. I’m a little sad that I didn’t read Bierce when I was young, when I had first read Poe. Bierce is lighter, maybe a little more clever, but still with all the chills that 19th century lit can allow. (And with a mysterious real-life death/disappearance!)

Peril on the Screen

On the opposite side of the horror coin from Ambrose Bierce, there is the Saw franchise. Personally, I have affection for Saw and at least a few of its sequels. I think I’ve watched at least through Saw IV, though I don’t remember much about the last one. The last time I watched any of  them was before I’d read much about magic. The story telling in Saw and Saw II, which I’ve recently rewatched, does remind me of how magic tricks are structured. The audience doesn’t know where the trick (or movie) is heading and there is plenty of misdirection and hidden moves, though within the bounds of reality (mostly). I picked up a “box” set of  movies 1-7 and plan on watching one a day until Halloween.

Peril of the Playlist

While I’ve been mostly enjoying great horror movie scores, like Christopher Young’s Hellraiser and Franz Waxman’s The Bride of Frankenstein, my all-time favorite bit of Halloween music the The Nightmare Before Christmas and its cover album Nightmare Revisited which includes Marilyn Manson’s great version of “This is Halloween.”