Friday, November 4, 2016

#31HorrorFilms31Days Roundup

This was a less exciting Halloween than past years: There were hardly any new movies coming out to anticipate (in fact, all the movies I'm hyped up for seem to be coming out in November and December this year, which is a little odd), and the election season has been kicking my ass and making life generally unpleasant. I'm pretty much living for November 9th, when I hope America will start its slow and painful transition back to sanity. But I digress.

The sad truth is that I failed the #31HorrorFilms31Days challenge - for the first time in years! But I still feel a duty to exhaustively detail and analyze everything I did watch, so. Click here to see all the movies I watched on Storify, or just read about the highlights here. Although I spent a lot of October enjoying old favorites (The Shining, Misery, Arachnophobia, Idle Hands, The Craft, Dawn of the Dead, etc. etc.), there were some new films, or at least new-to-me films, that I also liked. Some trends and a few recs from my month of viewing:

Vampires. I watched a fair amount of Anne Rice this month - more than I've probably watched since I was a teenager. Although Queen of the Damned was just as cheesy as I remembered, I really liked Interview with the Vampire (which I'd never seen before!), and another vampire flick from director Neil Jordan, Byzantium. I recommend them both, but Byzantium was really a standout of the month for me.

Mind benders. I've been reading a lot of this blog lately, and the author turned me on to several mind-bending scifi/psychological/horror films. Circle, They Look Like People, and Containment were all recs from that site, and I enjoyed them all to a degree, though Circle was my favorite of the three. (On the non-horror front, I loved Z For Zachariah, another rec.) On this same wavelength, I feel I have to mention that I also watched the third season of Black Mirror in October and really, really liked it. My standout episodes were the same as basically everyone on the internet (San Junipero, Playtest, Nosedive, in that order), but it bears repeating because they were really great.

Old favorites. There were lots and lots of oldies-but-goodies, but allow me to mention a few of the lesser-discussed ones. Mother's Day is a horror remake I never hear anyone talk about, and maybe that's fair... it's not a huge standout in any respect, but it is solidly entertaining. Delightfully nihilistic and nasty, and featuring a performance by Rebecca De Mornay (who plays unhinged amazingly well) as the titular mother, this was a nice surprise. The Collector and 1408 were two other horror films I expected to be terrible but were actually quite solid. Oh, and now that I've rewatched it, I really can't stop singing nostalgic praises for Idle Hands. It's just so much fun.

Brand new. Looking back, I only watched two recently released films: Lights Out and Jack Goes Home. Lights Out had a more interesting premise than I originally gave it credit for, and was a lot better than I expected. That being said, there wasn't anything terribly original about the way it was made that would compel me to watch it again. Jack Goes Home was a much more mixed bag, and admittedly had a lot of issues, but I ended up kind of loving it. Rory Culkin and Lin Shaye really commit to their wild performances in what is a crazy story. I might have to write a full review on it.

So there you have it. Another Halloween has passed, sadly, and now we're onto the holidays (ugh, already?). Luckily there's a lot of great stuff coming out in the next couple of months: Trash Fire, Sun Choke, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, The Monster, Evolution, Pet, and The Autopsy of Jane Doe are all films I'm looking forward to. What are you anticipating in the coming months? And how was your Halloween; did you do better than I did at #31HorrorFilms31Days? Tell me in the comments!

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