So there’s this horror movie competition that takes place on Facebook every October, and this is my first year participating. I’m still a little lost, so bear with me. I have watched more than this, but these are the movies I watched during the week of Oct 4th – October 11th, the first official week of The Madness. I hope I can squeeze some more in this week, but having a 4 year old makes that tough to do. I think I had a pretty good week considering all obstacles. Plus, I saw some great stuff this week. Some revisits that I try to do annually, as well as some new movies, not released to theaters yet.
Late Phases (2014) – 2 pts
Director: Adrián García Bogliano
Easily misunderstood, but still solid. We don’t get much in the way of werewolf horror, so it’s good to support it when we do. And, from the director of Cold Sweat and Here Comes the Devil, no less. Recommended.
Extraterrestrial (2014) – 2 pts
Director: Colin Minihan
This one took a bit to kick into gear. I was annoyed with the initial setup, you know, a diverse group of “kids” go into the woods and get picked off one-by-one, but this one has something much different to offer.
Life After Beth (2014) – 2 pts
Director: Jeff Baena
I haven’t seen her in much, but I am a fan of Aubrey Plaza. A friend of mine, Kevin from Screen-Connections, alerted me to the existence of this upcoming movie, so I jumped at it when it hit VOD. It’s okay. If you watch it, you will probably enjoy it, but I don’t see it making any top 10 lists this year.
Maximum Overdrive (1986) – 6 pts
Director: Stephen King
BONUS! In reality, I didn’t realize this was a bonus movie until after I had already watch it. This is one of my favorite Eighties horror movies, and I watch it annually. If you haven’t seen this movie, you probably aren’t reading this right now. Mandatory October viewing.
The Thing: Terror Takes Shape (1998) – 2 pts
Director: Michael Matessino
I didn’t want to watch The Thing yet, as that’s more of a X-mas-time horror movie, what with all the snow and such, but I didn’t mind watching Terror Takes Shape. If you are a fan of The Thing, or even just John Carpenter in general, then this is a documentary that you must seek. It was released in 1998 as a bonus feature on the special edition DVD. I don’t think it was ported over to the Blu-ray release.
Halloween: The Inside Story (2010)- 2 pts
Director: Phil Nobile Jr.
Again, didn’t want to watch any of the Halloween movies yet, as I like to save those for the last couple of nights in October, but I did want to get myself in the mood. This E! Entertainment documentary is great if you’re a fan of the Halloween franchise, highly recommended if you haven’t seen it. I don’t know if it’s available anywhere on disc, but you can find it on YouTube easily enough.
Still Screaming (2011) – 2 pts
Director: Ryan Turek
Scream is a divisive film within the horror community. I wasn’t a huge fan of it when it first came out, but in retrospect, I become more and more aware of what it meant to the genre as a whole. We were at a stalemate when Scream came along, and this little film by genre veteran Wes Craven breathed new life into the “scary movie”. This documentary by Ryan Turek of Shock Till You Drop is a must, if you’re a fan of the film.
It’s Alive (1974) (Monstervision) – 2 pts
Director: Larry Cohen
I realized that I had access to a lot of old episodes of Monstervision on VHS, so I picked a few out, and had a mini-marathon. It had been a long time since I had seen It’s Alive, or any Larry Cohen movie for that matter, so the It’s Alive/It Lives Again double feature was very appealing to me. Granted, I could have watched these films in much better quality, but it felt appropriate to add a little nostalgia to my viewing, in honor of the upcoming holiday.
It Lives Again (1978) (Monstervision) – 2 pts
Director: Larry Cohen
Definitely the inferior film between the two, but I felt like I couldn’t watch one episode of Monstervision covering this series without watching the other, and it’s not THAT bad. It’s a watchable sequel to the pinnacle in creepy-kid horror movies. I had only seen this one once before, so it was good to revisit it, see if it stood the test of time.
The Stepfather (1987) (Monstervision) – 2 pts
Director: Joseph Ruben
Dead Air did a Stepfather retrospective recently, so it hadn’t been all that long since I had seen this film, but I wanted to see what Joe Bob had to say about it, so I chose it as the closing film in my Monstervision mini-marathon. This film holds up pretty well. It’s infinitely better than the fuck-awful remake. Terry O’Quinn is creepy, and fits his role quite well. I’d say this won’t be the last time that I revisit The Stepfather.
Wyrmwood (2014) – 2 pts
Director: Kiah Roache-Turner
A little something new to shake something up. I only know of this film’s existence because of Christian Burgess, who helps to program the Toronto After Dark Film Festival each year. Wyrmwood is one of this year’s TAD selections, and it’s easy to see why. It’s exciting, and different enough, while operating within the confines of its chosen sub-genre. The closest thing I could even think to compare it to, would be Neil Marshall’s Doomsday, but this is a completely different beast. If you like “different” zombie films, then give this one a try when you get a chance. It’s a little more Mad Max than Dawn of the Dead but it does well to blend both styles, while remaining mostly-original.
The Houses October Built (2014) – 2 pts
Director: Bobby Roe
Another something new. This was a screener that was sent to me by IMAGE Entertainment, for an upcoming found footage movie they are distributing. At first, I thought it was a documentary about haunted attractions, which sounds awesome, but in actuality, it’s a creepy and effective found footage film, that manages to stand out among the 30 other found footage movies waiting in my queue. It seems to be dividing audiences, at least among my circle of friends. But if you are a fan of the found footage style, then this is a shining example of that type of horror film.
Nightbreed – The Director’s Cut (1990) 2 pts
Director: Clive Barker
Oh, wow. I, neigh, WE have waited a long time for this. It’s not exactly the Cabal Cut, but it’s better. This is Clive Barker’s Director’s Cut of, arguably his best film. They don’t make monster movies like this anymore. It has been nearly 20 years since I saw the theatrical cut of the film, so I will be watching that sometime soon for comparison, but this is one of the most epic monster movies ever made.
Almost Human (2013) – 2 pts
Director: Joe Begos
This was a revisit. I watched Almost Human recently, as IFC sent me a Blu-ray for coverage. This is one of my favorite horror movies of 2014. It’s a crazy combination of Fire in the Sky, The Terminator, and Friday the 13th. This is an Alien, slasher, pod-person little piece of insanity. It’s extremely quick-paced, and even more violent. The gore effects are practical, and gorgeous. Watch this movie.
Child’s Play (1988) – 6 pts
Director: Tom Holland
BONUS! Again, until I put the first Child’s Play film in the player, I didn’t realize it was a bonus film. But once I found out, I figured I might as well marathon the whole series. I bought the Chucky Blu-ray box set last year, so I might as well get some use out of it, right? Child’s Play is definitely the best film in the entire series, as it’s legitimately a horror film. The rest cross the line into comedy, or at least self-parody, except maybe for the recently-released sequel Curse of Chucky. So, I enjoy revisiting the first film from time to time.
Child’s Play 2 (1990) – 6 pts
Director: John Lafia
Okay, Child’s Play 2 isn’t as good as the first film, but it’s not bad, either. The only thing I consider to be a “bad” Chucky film is part 3, and even that is watchable. Child’s Play 2 is interesting, because it takes place in the aftermath of the original film, with Andy’s life in upheaval, his mother gone from his life, because of a cover-up/conspiracy to convince the institution that she is insane. Child’s Play 2 isn’t like Halloween 2, where it’s almost mandatory to follow the first film with the second, but it’s enjoyable enough to be worth the double feature.
Child’s Play 3 (1991) – 6 pts
Director: Jack Bender
Now we reach the “bad” Chucky. The biggest problem with Child’s Play 3, is that this is when the money train kicked in. This movie is much less about continuing the story, and more about Friday 13th’ing the franchise. Chucky was killed again in Child’s Play 2, but they still found a way to bring him back, as nonsensical as it is. The setting is lackluster as well, taking place at a military school. We’ve seen GOOD horror films take place at a military school, such as Evilspeak, so you can’t blame all of its issues on that. Mostly what causes this to be the “bad” Chucky is the complete lack of heart.
Bride of Chucky (1998) – 6 pts
Director: Ronny Yu
Okay, I know a lot of people hate this post-Scream Chucky flick, but I enjoy it quite a bit. I’m very aware that some of it is due to the nostalgia factor, because Bride of Chucky definitely encapsulates the nineties, if any horror film achieved such a thing. The soundtrack, the clothes, the hair, the everything! My brother from another mother, James Harris from Docterror.com isn’t a fan of this one either, but I’ll watch it every single time I’m in the mood for some Chucky.
Seed of Chucky (2004) -6 pts
Director: Don Mancini
Seed of Chucky is both the first film directed by series writer/creator Don Mancini, but also the first Chucky movie of the 00s. This one is pretty divisive, as it gets a lot of hate, but I think it brought the series into the new millennium in a way that only Mancini could have done. It’s basically Bride of Chucky, but more raunchy, in the spirit of the 2000s. You could nitpick the shit out of this movie if you wanted to, but why? It’s a movie about a killer doll, it’s funny, it’s gory, and he’s back!
Curse of Chucky (2013) – 6 pts
Director: Don Mancini
In a shocking turn of events, the Child’s Play sequel that seemingly everyone dreaded, turned out to be the best sequel in the entire series. How Seed and Bride took Chucky into more comedic territory, Curse brings him back to his horror roots. Curse of Chucky is the closest thing we’ve had to a Chucky sequel that captures the tone of the first film. I didn’t expect much from this one when it came out last year, but now I actively look forward to re-watching it.
Stake Land – (2010) 2 pts
Director: Jim Mickle
Granted, I saw Mulberry St before Stake Land, but Stake Land is the film that made me sit up and pay attention to whatever Jim Mickle would be doing next. This vampire movie came at a time, when vampire movies needed an enema. In 2010 when this was released, vampire movies had sunk deep into the Twilight rabbit hole, with most non-Twilight vampire movies trying to mimic the style. Mickle’s vampires are quick, and nasty, and they don’t even resemble anything human, much less sparkle and attend high school. If you haven’t seen Stake Land yet, October 2014 is the time to change that.