Kicking Off My Monstrous Horror Movie Marathon in October
by Alex Billington
October 5, 2010
Every October when I return home from the always awesome genre festival Fantastic Fest in Austin, all I feel like doing is watching horror movies non-stop. As a kid I was honestly very scared of most horror (I'll admit it). My older brother showed me some but it would scare me so much that I literally couldn't sleep, so I've dodged the genre as much as humanly possible. Over the years I've toughened up and, with the help of friends and colleagues, been introduced to lots of great horror which has made me appreciate the genre. But, of course, there's still many great horror movies I haven't seen, which is why I'm kicking off this new series.
I made the decision during my film festival tour in September to come home and watch as much horror as I can throughout October. Most people go for one-a-day, but I've just decided to watch what I want, whenever I can, and write about my reactions as often as I can. I'll be watching mostly horror films that I haven't seen, good or bad, anything I've heard people mention that I've missed, anything that's been on my mind all these years. I won't include a lot of the good horror I have already seen, like The Shining, Poltergeist, Evil Dead, Gremlins, or any recent horror from the last few years (which I've seen a lot of), mostly because my focus here is to expand my knowledge and get into the genre like never before. I'm very excited to dive into this.
I officially kicked things off October 1st when I got to check out Darren Lynn Bousman's new film Mother's Day, the remake of classic 1980 Troma horror film. I'm only using it as my kick off movie, even though I've got plenty on my plate, because it was the only horror film I watched that day. I'm a fan of Bousman's work and I will admit that Saw II and Saw III were a few of the first horror films to get me sucked into the genre (though they're certainly not representative of my current taste in horror). I'm down for checking out a lot of the truly great classics, but I'm also more interested in going through all the cheesy must-see flicks as well.
Over this last weekend, I decided to catch a few more horror movies from my growing list (which I'll post online soon) that I've been anxious to finally watch. I started out with The Faculty, Club Dread (which I've already seen - a favorite of mine), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Fright Night, which is currently being remade. I'll provide some quick comments on the four of them below and we'll go from there. I'm really just taking my personal horror exploration experience and writing about all my thoughts for you guys to read, so there's no form or structure to any of this, just a free flow of my opinions. Let's get into with these first four!
The Faculty - I didn't even know this was directed by Robert Rodriguez until I put in the DVD. Although I remember hearing buzz about it when it first came out in 1998, I didn't know that much about it, but was still entertained. It's got a good cast (Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster), some fun moments, but it's not that memorable. I thought the (spoiler!) alien effects were pretty mediocre and by the end I'd almost lost all interest in the movie. Overall it was good, but fairly forgettable. The one thing this did do well is make me really want to watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 1978 version) - which just arrived today on Blu-Ray, so I will be watching it soon!
Club Dread - This one is a big guilty pleasure mostly because I love the Broken Lizard guys and their mix of horror and comedy in this was perfect (for my tastes). It's a whole lot of fun to watch, which is why I think I like it so much. I'm only throwing it on here as one of the few films I have already seen because it's a good film to get out of the way early and it was the perfect way to get me in the mood for more serious horror.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - I'd hardly call this horror, but I guess for a low budget thriller from 1978, it would do the trick. Though I'd already knew of the movie, I didn't know that it was going to be extremely cheesy, nor that the tomatoes have no threatening features (no snarling mouth or anything), and that it was another Jaws inspired creature feature. But all that said, I still didn't hate it. I can see it for what it is and appreciate it, but that's about it. I will say one thing - I definitely can't wait to see the Ask a Ninja guys remake this!
Fright Night - Now this was exactly what I'd been looking forward to seeing! I really wanted to find a damn good, cheesy 80's horror flick (like Monster Squad or Gremlins - two of my other favorites) to get me in the mood for this horrific journey I'm embarking upon, and this was exactly what I wanted to watch. I loved the comedy, the vampire horror aspect was surprisingly creepy, overall I was quite impressed. I can definitely consider this one of my favorites so far. Plus, anything with Roddy McDowall is always awesome.
My goal is to watch at least one new horror film a day, and I'll write about them when I can. I'll be stocking up for my trip to New York this week (for NY Comic-Con) and will let you know if I catch anything on the road. To give you an idea of some of the other horror classics I need to see (and will be watching), here are a few from my list: The Car, The Haunting, Candyman, Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, George Romero's Night of the Living Dead trilogy, Scream trilogy, the Nightmare on Elm Street films, Dario Argento's Deep Red, The Howling, Stephen King's IT (I'm nervous about this one), Pet Sematary, Leprechaun, The Lost Boys, Swamp Thing, Videodrome and more. You're more than welcome to make suggestions or ask me if I've already seen a particular film and I'll answer in the comments below.
I'm simply trying to get caught up with the horror genre, where I feel like I'm very far behind, and enjoy as many of the great (and maybe not-so-great) horror classics as I can while it's still the month of Halloween. I'm ready to be scared out of my mind, to a certain degree (I still hate aliens) and I've been waiting all year to finally start this. And instead of doing it without telling anyone, I thought why not share my experiences and my thoughts with all of you guys, so here we go. There is plenty more to come, as I'm truly diving head first into the genre and will be watching as much as I can over the next 26 days, so stick around. I'll be back!