October Horror Marathon

The Thing

I got a late start this October and I resisted going crazy trying to cram in as many films as I could. As a result I can actually process the films I did watch instead of having vague memories of blood and guts while craving a Disney marathon to make me feel like less of a sicko.

Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland is one of those films that, even after multiple viewings, remains an absolute blast. It nails everything — the gore, the cast, the rules, the humor. Plus it has BILL FUCKING MURRAY. It’s rare when something feels like an instant classic, but methinks people will be enjoying Zombieland for many years to come.

A-

Contagion (2011)

Holy fucking terrifying movie. Yeah I know it’s not “horror” but it scared the shit out of me. I’m already a germaphobe and people already kind of gross me out, this film did not help. It is however, pretty fantastic. Much more documentary than drama, it simply gives an honest view of how events would play out during a global pandemic. Characters are introduced and discarded without sympathy. Everyone is a number, a piece of data, an acceptable loss.  What I most appreciated though, is the characters are human — people who get emotional and, more importantly, make mistakes. There’s no Dustin Hoffman jumping from helicopters here. These are people just trying to do their job, or do what  they think is best for their families. It’s the realism that makes it so terrifying.

Now nobody touch me ever again.

A

The Thing (1982)

One of my favorites. This was playing at the Denver Film Center and was my second chance to catch it on the big screen. I’m not sure what to say, it’s a sci-fi horror classic in every sense of the word. Fantastic effects, great cast, tense atmosphere, plenty of gore…KURT FUCKING RUSSELL.

Diabeetus.

A

Videodrome (1983)

Yeah I’m not sure about this one. I think it might have been more compelling 28 years ago. The effects are good, but the story just wasn’t very interesting for how fucked up it could have been. I like some Cronenberg, others not so much. This one not so much.

C+

Red State (2011)

Points to Kevin Smith for making a film as ballsy as this one. Points for using non-traditional methods to produce and distribute the film he wanted to make. Points for daring to venture outside the comfort zone, both his and ours. That being said, I’m not entirely sure I liked it.

Can you even like a film with such an unflinching view of hatred in this country? It’s not exactly something you watch for enjoyment, despite the fantastic performance from Michael Parks. It’s a maddening, terrifying film because it could (and has) happened. Religious nutbags are scary people, but the things our own government is capable of may be worse.

“People just do the strangest things when they believe they’re entitled. But they do even stranger things when they just plain believe.”

B-

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

This one has grown on me over the years. I was a huge Tim Burton fan and I remember being horribly disappointed when I first saw it in theaters. But that’s something I’ve come to expect in the years since, so maybe that’s why this quirky and beautifully shot film has become more appealing. I think what most disappointed me back then was the ultimately lame explanation behind the headless horseman. He deserved better. Despite that it still looks amazing (I’m watching it on HD-DVD, fist pump) and I’ll admit Burton gets the atmosphere spot on. Watching it in HD really sucks you in…until bits of bad CGI poke their head in to ruin the moment.

Ah well, it gets enough right that it’s fun.

B+

Night of the Creeps (1986)

I don’t know if it’s quality so much as scarcity that has made this one a “must watch” over the years. Well, now it’s out on Blu-ray and I honestly can’t see what all the fuss is about. I’m not saying it’s a bad film, it’s just your standard zombie fare, and I guess I expected more. Fred Dekker is the same guy that directed The Monster Squad, a film I also don’t understand all the hype for, so perhaps there’s a pattern here. Sometimes shit just doesn’t appeal to me, and I’m okay with that. As far as zombie space slugs go, I’ll take Slither.

C+

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

A respectable remake, mostly because Zach Snyder does his own thing with the premise instead of trying to recreate the original. These zombies are faster and meaner and what it lacks in message it makes up for in intensity.

B+

Rubber (2010)

What a bizarre little film. It warns the viewer at the beginning that this will be a story where things happen for no reason, and it delivers. A tire becomes conscious and wanders around the desert killing things with its mind while an audience watches from afar with binoculars. Yep. It’s bizarre, funny, and sometimes oddly beautiful. Major creativity points for this one, even though the whole thing becomes tiresome by the end of the film.

B

All in all a fun month, five new films and four re-watches. On to November, which we have deemed SCI-FI MONTH. Less gore, more films my husband will watch with me. Whee.

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