Friday, October 31, 2014

#31HorrorFilms31Days Challenge Roundup

As you may know, I took part in Daniel Kraus's #31HorrorFilms31Days challenge on Twitter this year. (Sidenote: Have you read Daniel Kraus's books? Because if you like horror, they are right up your alley! Scowler is a favorite of mine.) It was really fun, and I decided to post a roundup of my tweets, with some extra thoughts, for those of you who aren't on Twitter but are still interested. Happy Halloween!

31 SE7EN: The serial killer that takes some sins way too seriously. I mean, laziness doesn’t seem THAT bad to me.

30 BENEATH: aka, "What the hell is going on?" Or maybe that's just bc I was working out while watching it. Oh, and it's the BENEATH with miners trapped underground, not the BENEATH with Ruthie Camden on a boat.

29 HATCHET III: This girl Marybeth is having the worst 2? 3? days ever. Like whoa.

28 EVIL DEAD (2013): Remake of the 80s classic & one of my favorite movies ever!

27 THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN: Totally bonkers found footage, but at least it was entertaining.

26 HATCHET II: Danielle Harris takes over hunting Victor Crowley. Not really my thing, but I appreciated Harris' presence.

25 FROZEN: Kids stuck on a ski lift all week. Very different from the Disney version.

24 TUCKER&DALE VS EVIL: Kind rednecks mistaken for serial killers by some college kids. Even better than I remembered! Choice quote: "That's college kid blood!"

23 THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014): Meta remake/sequel of the original. Sadly, I wasn't that into it, aside from liking Addison Timlin. Kind of dull, to be honest, but it was watchable.

22 THINNER: The creepiest way to transfer a curse is definitely by sensually rubbing someone's cheek.

21 SINISTER: Crime writer finds *sinister* snuff films in his attic. Fun and creepy ghost story with a killer soundtrack.

20 SCREAM 2: Ghost Face Goes to College.

19 THE RUINS: Americans make the worst tourists, as usual. I love this movie.

18 TRICK 'R TREAT: Fantastic as always. Should be mandatory viewing for horror fans.

17 CREEPSHOW: I liked the visuals, but... a little too goofy for me. I did LOVE Ed Harris' dancing, tho.

16 DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2014): Cop possession movie that got bad reviews, but I liked it! Dark and gritty. Granted, the stuff with The Doors music was kind of random.

15 THE PURGE ANARCHY: A little all over the place&not really horror IMO, but exciting enough.

14 HALLOWEEN 6 THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS: Ha, Paul Rudd as Tommy Doyle. Not great.

13 LIFE AFTER BETH: Liked the first half of this zombie horror comedy, but it lost direction midway thru.

12 PROM NIGHT: Pretty self explanatory, just add serial killer.

11 DELIVERY: Another found footage (I knowww) about demon possession. More realistic than others, but less scary.

10 HORNS: Daniel Radcliffe grows horns and tries to figure out who murdered his gf. I REALLY liked it.

9 THE TUNNEL: Australian found footage that failed to impress. Sorry, not sold on the use of the format in most films.

8 THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES: Unsettling found footage film that isn't terrible. A tiny bit hokey at the end, tho.

7 HAUNT: Slow and depressing haunted house story. Ione Sky is a very tolerant parent.

6 LAKE MUNGO: One of the best horror movies ever to address grief. Also, seriously creepy.

5 ABANDONED MINE: It doesn't even matter if the mine is haunted or not bc these kids would definitely die regardless.

4 CARRIE (2013): Totally unnecessary remake, but Julianne Moore&Portia Doubleday are fantastic.

3 AT THE DEVIL'S DOOR: Waking up 8 months pregnant - basically my worst nightmare, even without the possession part.

2 THE GHOST OF GOODNIGHT LANE: Umm it's about ghosts? And bad doors. I only watched it bc I love Danielle Harris. Choice quote: "Why is she doing this? Why does she hate these doors?!"

1 AMERICAN MARY: Katherine Isabelle as an "unconventional" surgeon. How do I not own this movie yet?


Found footage. ...Continues to haunt me. I watched five found footage films, and if you can't tell, I didn't like the majority of them. (Why I keep trying, I honestly don't know. I guess because a large portion of new horror movies are found footage, so if I want to see something new, it's kind of inevitably going to come up.) LAKE MUNGO is an old favorite of mine, so I knew I'd like that. Other than that, THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN had a great moment at the end, but other than that, I'm not sure it was worth seeing. The rest (THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES, THE TUNNEL, DELIVERY) were totally blah to me.

So bad they're good. THE GHOST OF GOODNIGHT LANE and THINNER are two that I love purely because they are so terrible and ridiculous - but in a really fun way.

So bad they're just bad. I only really hated a few movies, and they were: ABANDONED MINE (wow, there was nothing there, not even a plot), HALLOWEEN 6 (Druids... 'nuff said), HAUNT (slow and dull), and BENEATH (it's possible I just wasn't paying enough attention to this one, but it didn't grab me at all).

New faves. Well, only one new fave this year, which is kind of sad, but oh well: HORNS was super weird and super fantastic. Definitely a winner for the ages.

Oldies but goodies. I rewatched some of my old favorites, of course (many of which are on my Accelerated Horror Movie Challenge list), including: AMERICAN MARY, LAKE MUNGO, TRICK 'R TREAT (the best!), THE RUINS, SINISTER, FROZEN (2013), EVIL DEAD (2013), SE7EN, TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, and one of the SCREAM movies.

Meh. The rest were somewhere between horrendous and sublime. AT THE DEVIL'S DOOR had some seriously creepy parts, but the three-part structure didn't really work for me as I spent 2/3 of the movie pining for the actress from the first part to come back. LIFE AFTER BETH was a very middling zom-rom-com in a world over-saturated with middling zom-rom-coms. CARRIE is, as I said, a completely unnecessary remake, without any of the inherent chills of the original (the only thing I liked better about this version was Portia Doubleday as Chris). THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN was a disappointment for me; just not very exciting or original. I definitely liked THE PURGE: ANARCHY and DELIVER US FROM EVIL as single-watches, but I doubt I'll be revisiting them. And the HATCHET movies were fun, but I personally didn't connect with them on the nostalgic level I think they were aiming for.

So that's it! Did you participate in the challenge this year? What did you watch - or wish you'd watched, if you didn't participate? And again, happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Accelerated Horror Movie Challenge, Week 4

We're into our fourth and final week of the movie challenge - but there's still another whole week of October to enjoy, luckily. I've also watched 25 out of 31 movies for the #31HorrorFilms31Days challenge, so I think I'll make it. Anyway, without further ado, my final questions and answers...

46) Favorite thriller/mystery: Seven (1995). A longtime favorite of mine. What's in the booooxxx.

47) Favorite sci-fi film: Splice (2009). I don’t like many sci-fi movies, but I love this one. Such a weird idea that delves further into taboos than many movies are willing.

48) Best horror movie you saw during the last year: You’re Next (2013). It’s popped up on this list a whole lot, but for good reason.

49) An underrated horror film: Frozen (2010). I just watched this again the other night, and I was really struck by how ingenious this movie is. It makes incredible use of its (completely real) environment, has some good, realistic characters, and several moments that tread the line between horror and pure tragedy. Watching the behind the scenes featurettes made it even clearer how inventive the filmmakers had to be, and I'm impressed.

50) Favorite musical horror movie: Hmm, I don't love musicals in general, but if I had to choose... Sweeney Todd (2007)? I really love how gothic and dark it is, and I do like the songs.

51) Favorite horror TV series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is by far my all-time favorite, despite not being very scary. (I'd really call it a drama, but it has vampires, so whatever I'm counting it. Also, look at that cast photo! So 90s. So wow.) I will admit here, though, that I have enjoyed some of American Horror Story and Hemlock Grove. Even though those are both deeply flawed shows, they have some really great, horrific moments that out-scary most other shows.

52) A horror film that makes you sad: Eden Lake (2008). This depressed the hell out of me, because it is so bleak, brutal and hopeless – not only for the victims, but for the child perpetrators as well (who are victims in their own way).

53) Best horror movie in the woods: There are a lot of choices, but I'm going to go with The Cabin in the Woods (2012), mostly because I don't think I've mentioned it yet. And it's awesome.

54) Favorite horror movie child actor: Oh my gosh, this is a straight-up tie between Isaac from Children of the Corn (1984) and Damien from The Omen (1976). Isaac, for his insane, egregious, wackjob overacting - which is the best thing about that movie - and Damien for being so incredibly cute and understated that you'd never expect him to be the most evil thing on the planet. Opposite ends of the spectrum, both fantastic and special in their own way.

55) Favorite final girl: Mia (Jane Levy) in Evil Dead (2013). When will this movie stop showing up on this list? Never, is the right answer. I can't help it - Jane Levy is amazing in this movie, and Mia is an amazing final girl. I mean, the shit she goes through - almost drowning, tree rape, having her face scalded by boiling water, possession, pulling off her own hand. She really deserves this title.

57) Favorite supernatural movie: Drag Me to Hell (2009). I love everything about this movie, from the story to the performances to the effects.

58) Favorite movie based on a book: The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Can anyone claim that this isn’t a pitch perfect adaptation?

59) Favorite friendship in a film: Eli and Oskar in Let the Right One In (2008). Their friendship is totally screwed-up and scary, but oddly poignant and sweet at times.

60) A horror movie you'd be in: I'm not sure what this question means, exactly... a horror movie I'd want to be in? A horror movie I'd most likely end up in? In any case, I'm going to go with Friday the 13th. It's possible I'm being way too cavalier about this, but I just think I'd have a better chance of surviving, whether it be Mrs. Voorhees in the 1980 version or Jason in the reboot. Mrs. Voorhees has a lot of crazy going on, but come on - she's a little old lady! And yes, Jason is supernatural in that he never seems to die, but it's also not impossible to outrun him, like it is with a ghost, and it's not impossible to outsmart him, because he can't get into your head like, say, Freddy Krueger. I was also a pretty good girl in high school, so I'd have that going for me as a potential final girl. And I just like the camp setting.

So we've come to the end of our challenge! What would your answers to some of these questions be (especially the last one!)?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Accelerated Horror Movie Challenge, Week 3

We're already on Week 3?! At least that means we're closer to Halloween...

31) A film you watch to feel good: Urban Legend (1998). This is total comfort-horror for me. I find myself putting it in the DVD player when I’m home alone way more often than I’d like to admit.

32) A film that reminds you of someone: Dark Corners (2006) always makes me chuckle. It somehow scared the living crap out of my friend, Blythe, and me in high school, and looking back at it now is pure hilarity.

33) A film that reminds you of your past: The Devil’s Advocate (1997). I was obsessed with this movie when I was young, and I have no idea why. I can’t even count how many times I watched it.

34) A film you can quote best: Jaws (1975). This goes way beyond “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” I can probably recite the script from top to bottom.

35) A film with your favorite actor (male): I don’t think I have a favorite actor, but I guess Jaws (1975) would be the closest thing, with great performances from all the male leads. (We did name our dog after Chief Brody, after all.)

36) A film with your favorite actor (female): American Mary (2012). I’ve already mentioned my love for Katherine Isabelle. I mean, just look at my sidebar.

37) A film you used to love but now hate: The Devil's Advocate (1997). No, I don't hate it, but I did watch it so many damn times as a teenager that I have no desire to watch it any time in the foreseeable future. Watching Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino see who can scream louder in every scene is much more tiresome than it used to be.

38) A film you used to hate but now love: Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009). I wrote a scathing review of this movie for my college paper, and now I own it. I’m not going to try to defend it, or even say that I love it, but I get some perverse pleasure out of watching it.

39) A favorite horror film with animals: Oh, I have a lot. Man (or woman) versus animal/wilderness if a favorite subgenre of mine. One of my favorites is actually the indie movie Frozen (2010). I found the making-of doc fascinating; it does a lot with a small budget.

40) A film that no one expected you to like: Deadgirl (2008). I’m surprised I liked this, but I found it enjoyably disturbing.

41) Favorite found footage horror movie: You might know from reading this blog that I'm largely a major hater of found footage horror - but only because the genre has become so over-saturated and formulaic. That being said, there are still a few really well done examples, including Lake Mungo (mentioned elsewhere on this list). However, my favorite is still the one and only Blair Witch Project (1999). Sure, there are annoying parts, but it largely works as both a found footage film and an effectively frightening horror film.

42) Favorite single-location horror movie: The Ruins (2008). I hate to keep mentioning movies more than once, but this really is a major favorite of mine. I'm weirdly a big fan of single-setting horror in general, though, so some other favorites include: Frozen (2010), The Hole (2001), The Killing Room (2009), The Mist (2007), and REC (2007).

43) Your favorite film as a teen: The Craft (1996). I mean, I still love it! But back when I was a teenager, I also totally thought I could be a witch if I just bought my own book of shadows... so that really took my enjoyment of this movie to another level.

44) The most atmospheric horror film you have seen: While I don’t think All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) is quite up to all the hype it was getting for a while, I do think it has great atmosphere. Sometimes I like to watch it alone at night just to soak in all the teenaged hormones and pent-up tension.

45) Favorite documentary horror: Never Sleep Again, The Elm Street Legacy. I love how this doc moves sequentially through every Elm Street movie, and it really gives you some in-depth insider information. I might like this doc better than some of the actual movies!

Next week, stop by for the final installment! I'll reveal the answers to my favorite sci-fi film, a horror film that disappointed me, and more.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Accelerated Horror Movie Challenge, Week 2

We're into week two of the horror movie challenge! So let's just dive right in, shall we?

16) Favorite Werewolf movie: Ginger Snaps (2000). Oh, I could go on and on about my love for this movie, and my obsession for Katherine Isabelle, but I won’t. Maybe you need to be a girl to understand.

17) Favorite 80's Horror: Evil Dead II (1987). Mostly funny, occasionally creepy, and totally campy. Perfection.

18) Favorite Horror Movie Filmed In Black & White: Repulsion (1965). I love the tone and atmosphere.

19) Best Use Of Gore: Evil Dead (2013). The gore in this movie is insane, and yet it manages to keep an undercurrent of fun in there, rather than meanness. I think that’s pretty special.

20) Favorite Horror Character: Sam from Trick ’r Treat (2007). He’s adorable, but deadly!

21) Best Horror Franchise: The Scream movies. Okay, so not every movie is perfect, but I still love them all. Plus, look at that adorable cast photo! It's so 90s.

22) Best Death Scene: All the deaths in The Ruins (2008). Creative and grisly.

23) A Great Quote From A Horror Movie: Death Proof. "Hey Pam! Remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you really gotta be sitting in my seat." I don't know that this movie is technically horror, aside from a few bits, but I think that is a truly chilling moment.

24) Horror Film With A Great Soundtrack: Sinister (2012). This movie wouldn’t be half as effective without the incredible soundtrack.

25) Favorite 'Holiday' Horror Movie: Gosh, I don’t know. Mother’s Day (2010)? I haven’t seen any of the well-known Christmas horror fare, and everything else I can think of (My Bloody Valentine, Thankskilling, Leprechaun) was varying degrees of awful. Mother’s Day is mean-spirited and not that great, but at least it’s watchable.

26) Horror Movie For A Chicken: Lake Mungo (2008). The majority of this film plays out like an episode of Paranormal State, and is more spooky than actually scary. It's a great story and a great rumination on grief that anyone should be able to handle, but it does have one deeply chilling moment that will totally sneak up on you.

27) Your Guilty Pleasure Horror Movie: I wouldn’t say I necessarily have guilty pleasures, because horror in itself is kind of looked at as a guilty pleasure by those who don’t like it, and therefore I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to defending what I like. That being said, I do find it a little embarrassing how much I enjoyed the remake of the The Last House on the Left (2009). I don’t know, it just seems like, as a woman, I shouldn’t enjoy it so much??

28) Horror Film You'd Like To See Remade: Poltergeist (1982). Which is great, because they are remaking it! I liked the original, but I would love to see it remade to amp up the effects and the scariness. Assuming it’s done well, that is.

29) Worst Horror Movie: This is an incredibly broad topic, and I could name fifty horrible, badly acted, ridiculous films. Instead, I’m going to ignore those in favor of an even worse offender: Warm Bodies (2013). There are hardly words to express my hatred for this film – not because it’s a terrible movie, but because it completely ruins everything good about zombies and turns them into metaphors for a romantic fucking comedy. NO.

30) Favorite All Time Horror Movie: Seriously? This is so hard. If pressed, at the moment, I suppose I might say the Evil Dead (2013) remake (I know, it’s really showing up a lot on this list). But that is such a loaded question.

Next week, tune in to discover my feel-good horror movie, favorite horror actress, and more! And don't forget to check me out on Twitter if you want to see the horror movies I've been watching for #31HorrorFilms31Days. Spoiler: I've been watching ALL OF THEM.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy October!: Accelerated Horror Movie Challenge

Taking a page from a blog I love, Fascination With Fear, I'm doing an accelerated version of a 30-day movie challenge. It's 60 questions that I'll post the answers to in installments, once a week, all month long. 'Tis the season, after all. Let's get started.

1) Your First Horror Movie: Hmm. The first horror movie I remember seeing was The Birds (1963). It scared the shit out of me, and I spent the next five to ten years asking people, “Would you rather [insert weird scenario here], or be pecked to death by birds?” True story.

2) The Last Horror Movie You Saw In Theaters: World War Z (2013). Not the scariest, or the most horror-y, but a good zombie action movie.

3) Favorite Classic Horror Movie: Carrie (1976). Hands-down. There is no replacement for Sissy Spacek’s insane eyes; as much as I like Chloe Moretz, she couldn’t even hold a candle to the original.

4) A Horror Movie You Thought You'd Love But Didn't: Teeth (2007). The premise sounded so smart and funny and dark (a pro-abstinence high school girl with teeth in her ladybits; I mean, come on!), but this movie sadly didn’t do it for me on any level – satire, horror, or otherwise.

5) Favorite Horror Remake: Evil Dead (2013). Good lord the practical effects in this movie were spectacular. Not to mention this was one of the rare remakes that actually justifies itself by a) honoring the original, and b) bringing something new to the table. Possibly one of my favorite horror movies ever. Full review here.

6) Favorite Vampire Movie: I’m not that much of a vampire film buff, to be honest, but I do have some faves nonetheless. My high-brow answer would be Let the Right One In (2008), but if I’m being really, completely real here… 30 Days of Night (2007). It has some moments that totally creep me out.

7) A Horror Movie You Think No One Has Seen: I honestly don’t know. Stake Land (2010)? I’m sure many horror fans have seen it, but I don’t think it ever got the recognition it deserved for being an original, affecting little movie.

8) Favorite Foreign Horror: High Tension (2003). I know, I know, everyone hates the ending, but… I actually don’t. This movie kept me on the edge of my seat, plot holes and all.

9) Favorite Supernatural/Ghost Horror Movie: The Innkeepers (2011). The creepiest and most atmospheric ghost story I’ve seen. A lot of people find it to be too slow, but that’s what I love about it – the tension practically drives you insane. Sinister (2012) is a super-close second – also full to the brim with atmosphere – but loses because, despite being really good, it wasn’t as scary as I hoped it would be.

10) Horror Movie Everyone Loves But You Don't: Inside (2007). Not that I hated it, or even disliked it, but it’s just that: it’s so meh to me. Gory, yes, but nothing I haven’t seen before. Frankly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

11) Favorite Horror/Comedy: Sorority Row (2009). I can’t help it, I think this is hilarious. Even in a year where I’m finding myself growing increasingly tired of horror-comedies, this one treads just the right line between funny and dark.

12) Your Most Disturbing Horror Film: The first movie that ever truly disturbed me was The Exorcist (1973) – that scene with Regan and the cross… you know what I mean. As a child, that was shocking, to say the least. Today, though, I think Irreversible (2002) would probably top my list.

13) Favorite Zombie Movie: 28 Days Later (2002). It never gets boring or old.

14) Favorite Indie Horror Movie: This is so broad, how can I even be expected to choose?? You’re Next (2013) is probably at the top of the list, but I have to make some honorable mentions: American Mary (2012), Wake Wood (2010), The Loved Ones (2009), Lake Mungo (2008). I could go on.

15) Favorite Monster Movie: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), for having the most original, disturbing monster ever.

Next week I'll tell you about my favorite 80s horror movie, favorite horror character, and more! So tune in! Also join me on Twitter, where I'll be documenting my 31 Horror Movies in 31 Days Challenge. Yes, I'm challenging it up around here.