📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 29 & 30 🎃

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

This has been a lot fun and I’m a little sad to see it come to an end. I intend to blog more about movies in the future because they really are a form of storytelling that I enjoy.

Day 29 – Your least favorite horror film of all time

I suppose there are horror movies out there that I quit part-way through that might qualify as less favored, but as a movie I watched entirely, I have only ambivalence for Friday the 13th (1980). Maybe it’s the setting (I never went to camp), maybe it’s that it compares poorly in concept and production (imo) to the movies that came before and after it. I probably didn’t watch it until 20 years after its release; by that time, everything about Friday the 13th had become a horror movie cliche. Still, that could be said for Halloween (1978) or Romero’s zombie movies, but I like those well enough. This probably bears some investigation on my part…

Day 30 – Your favorite horror film of all time

I didn’t start really watching horror movies until the 2000s when the internet allowed easier access to them. But even so, I was a late-comer to Candyman (1992). I had chalked it up as another slasher flick. I was surprised at how much story there is and how meta it is. All movie monsters seem to have some sort of mythology surrounding them, but Candyman might be the only one reliant on the mythology being known. I like that concept. And again, this movie has such a strong setting. Give me a fly over shot of Chicago set to Philip Glass’s music box music and I’m hooked. (Pun wasn’t intended…)

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 27 & 28 🎃

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

Day 27 – Your favorite guilty pleasure

For a movie about warring angels, Legion (2010) is amazingly chock full of overwrought action and massive explosions. While kind of an interesting concept—the Archangel Michael rebels against God to save humanity, it just doesn’t solidly land. But, man, I do love watching Paul Bettany kick people’s asses. Plus, that little old lady is pretty darn creepy. This is another movie I went to see in the theater with my sister. Aw, good times…

Day 28 – Your favorite horror film that no one’s ever heard of

(Note: The trailer isn’t entirely SFW.)

I don’t think my tastes are super obscure; so instead, I just want to toot the horn of a horror film I really like that might not have gotten in front of enough eyeballs. Green Room (2015) is the exact opposite of a film like Legion. There are no great-balls-of-fire explosions or aesthetically pleasing fight sequences. There are no supernatural forces, unless you count Patrick Stewart’s dead-eyed portrayal of a Neo-nazi head-honcho. It is, instead, a brutal and realistic survival flick. Anton Yelchin makes a second appearance on this list as the lead singer of a punk band who finds themselves in a very bad situation.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 25 & 26 🎃

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

Day 25 – A horror film that you used to hate, but now like wish had been better

I had no answer for “a horror film that you used to hate, but now like.” If I hated a movie, I’m probably not going to watch it again enough to like it. Occasionally, I’ll gain a liking for a movie that I was ambivalent about, but I couldn’t think of a horror movie that was true for. Instead, here’s a movie that I wish was better.

Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, and Mark Addy  all starred in Brian Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale (2001), a film that is in my personal top 10. Their next project together was The Order (2003). All are great actors with range. Helgeland is a solid director and a better writer. He can do comedy, but also dark stuff like the inky-black adaptation of Mystic River. The premise involves a young priest investigating murders linked to an ancient heretical practice. Joining him are a young woman, who was formerly hospitalized after an exorcism, and his friend, an older demon-busting priest. But, this film doesn’t work and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Maybe the tone is wrong, maybe there are too many flashbacks, maybe something happened in the production that led to the mystery being unfocused. Whatever the case, I wish this movie was better than it is.

Day 26 – Your favorite horror film to watch as a child

Horror movies were one of the few things that my parents didn’t want me to watch when I was a kid. If they rented a horror movie, they watched it after my bedtime. (The exception, like in the case of Jaws, was when trimmed versions came on broadcast TV.) But Gremlins (1984), weirdly, had lots of kid-focused merchandise. (My sister and I had a Gremlins tent which we hung out in in the basement.) So my parents thought it was an acceptable movie. And to be clear here, it was okay. My parents were generally pretty good judges of what I could handle, content-wise. While not a full-on horror movie, there are definitely some creepy and gruesome moments in Gremlins. Even as a kid, I enjoyed its dark humor. Trivia: It and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were part of the reason that the MPAA instituted the PG-13 rating.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 23 & 24 🎃

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

Day 23 – Your favorite made-for-TV horror film

Psycho (1960) is a classic. It’s one of my favorite movies though it’s not on this list. It didn’t quite fit any category well enough for me. Largely forgotten, the sequels to the original aren’t too bad. Psycho II (1983) was obviously a cash grab instigated by the success of Friday the 13th and Jaws sequels. Psycho II, though, is pretty good. It has a nice twist. Psycho III (1986) is less good, but not exactly bad either. Anthony Perkins took up the directing reins and sort of made an art house version of a sequel. Originally shown on Showtime cable network, Psycho IV (1990) serves up a fairly mundane thriller, actually.  Why do I like it then? Just the fun of watching Anthony Perkins deliver a line like “Slowly.” Henry Thomas does a good job as young Norman, too, though is now over-shadowed by Freddie Highmore’s turn as young Norman in the TV series Bates Motel. All in all, the entire franchise is worth watching at least once.

Day 24 – Horror film in which you prefer the edited version over the director’s cut

I really tried to think of a movie that fits this category. Generally, I find director’s cuts better than theatrical cuts. But horror movies are glutted with “unrated” director’s cuts which are really just the theatrical cut plus a few extra seconds of gore here and there that were trimmed for an R-rating. And if it’s a movie that I’m watching the first time? *shrug* I’m sure my fellow bloggers will have some good choices, but for me? I got nothing.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 21 & 22 🎃

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

Day 21 – Your favorite medical horror film

I believe Dead Ringers (1988) was the first David Cronenberg movie I ever watched and the first time I’d ever seen Jeremy Irons in a film. It was the trailer that hooked me, which is actually a rarity for me. In the early days of my movie watching, my “To Be Watched” list was formed by the magazines I read. Today, it’s mostly through the podcasts I listen to (though happily this event has been adding many titles to that list). I watched the trailer and said, “Woah, who it that?”, followed by “What the heck is with those surgical instruments?” I hadn’t, at that point, really been exposed to a movie that took the real world and skewed it slightly.

Day 22 – Your favorite horror themed TV show

I almost went with any half season of American Horror Story… But the meager two seasons of Carnivále (2003-2005) is one of my favorite television series ever. About the only way this show could be more me is if it involved vaudevillian magicians traveling through the dust bowl. Sadly, though, HBO cancelled the show before it’s third season conclusion. I imagine these days, it would be picked up by the likes of Netflix or Amazon. It is dense and arcane, sort of like a historical version of Twin Peaks, which means it didn’t find wide viewership. The show *looks* great, which I assume was a problem budget versus ratings.

📽 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.