Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 31: 31 Days of Horror: The Exorcist

Happy Halloween! I can't believe it's here already. I'm ending the 31 Days of Horror with what I feel is the scariest film I've ever seen: The Exorcist (1973). I grew up Catholic and basically anything involving the Devil freaks me out, especially when it involves the Devil possessing someone! Although the film itself is adapted from the novel of the same name written by Warren Peter Blatty, it is actually based off a real exorcism case, one involving a young boy named Robby Mannheim.

In the film, however, the one being possessed is a young girl named Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). She is living in Georgetown with her mother who is an actress. The first time we meet the girl, we see that she is a sweet and loving child who gets along very well with her mother. However, the girl's behavior suddenly and dramatically changes at a terrifying speed. She becomes vulgar and wicked. Frightened out of her mind, her mother isn't sure what to do at first. Then, after witnessing more troubling behavior from her child and how the doctors and psychologists seem to be making no impact on helping her, she decides to turn to priests for some help. Together, two priests come to exorcise the demon out of Regan.

This is truly psychological horror at its best. It's disturbing beyond belief and I always become completely entranced by it while watching it. I've met some people who actually found this film funny, which I'll never be able to understand. If you find this film funny, then you are not watching it with the right mindset. I don't find anything funny about someone being possessed. If you really want to be freaked out, watch the director's cut of this alone. It's terrifying and sick. It's the perfect horror film.

Day 30: 31 Days of Horror: Halloween

My favorite slasher film of all of the slasher films is Halloween (1978). Michael Myers is the ultimate psychotic boogieman because he is the quiet sneak attack killer. He started murdering at a young age, stabbing his 17 year old sister to death on Halloween night in 1963. He was institutionalized ever since then. However, after being in the institution for 15 years, he escapes on Halloween night. Once he's out, all he can focus on is murdering again. So, he goes back to his old neighborhood and goes on a mindless murdering rampage.

If you haven't seen this yet, then you better go rent it or buy it now. It's awesome and it was made on an extremely low budget. The Halloween theme music is awesome! Definitely horror at its best.

Day 29: 31 Days of Horror: The Haunting

The Haunting (1963) is a film about a haunted house. Dr. Markway, who has been wanting to prove the existence of ghosts for quite sometime, has decided to conduct an investigation at Hill House. The house is an old and vastly large mansion with a terrifying past. It is known for its history of brutal deaths and insanity. There are other people with Dr. Markway for the investigation including a man named Luke, who has inherited the house and doubts the existence of ghosts, as well as Theordora and Eleanor, who were contacted because they have had some sort of interaction with the paranormal in the past. Once there, all of them quickly realize that they have gotten themselves into something that none of them bargained for when the presence of the house continues to make itself known.

Don't let the "G" rating of this film fool you. It is a frightening film. What makes it frightening is because it thrives on the unknown. The unknown being what is causing the noises to occur around the house and why they will not stop. It's clear that the house is indeed haunted. I don't recommend watching the remake of this film. The only thing terrifying about it was how horrible it was.

Day 28: 31 Days of Horror: Coraline

If you have seen Coraline and you claim to not have been freaked out, I don't believe you. This movie is so messed up. I am going to have to go out and get Neil Gaiman's graphic novel that this film is based on. Coraline is about a young girl from Michigan who has just moved to a new town. She moves into a strange house that has some other interesting people living in the same complex. Her parents seem to ignore her and find her a nuisance. She meets a boy named Wybie, who completely annoys her. She feels utterly alone and misses her friends.

One day, her dad gives her the skeleton key to the house, so that she can investigate it while also leaving him and his wife alone. During her investigation, she finds a door leading to a different world, but within the same house. This other world contains her "other" mother. Her other mother seems to be a lot more caring towards her and tries to make her feel like she is loved. She is introduced to the neighbors, who seem to be a lot more amazing than her real neighbors do. She is given homemade meals that are delicious. She is treated like a princess.

Of course, Coraline loves this other world because she is actually recognized. She can't wait to go back to it. After a few visits though, Coraline realizes that something just isn't right. Maybe it has something to do with the unrealistic perfection of everything or maybe it has to do with the other mother's insistence that she have her eyes taken out and replaced with buttons. Maybe it's everything with the other world. It isn't until the real world is taken away from her that Coraline realizes that her real life wasn't so bad after all. Will she be able to get back to the real world or will she be forced to stay in the other world?

I didn't see this film when it was in theaters, although I wanted to because I loved James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas from Henry Selick. I did, however, end up buying this around the time I had some wisdom teeth removed. They messed up on my surgery, so I was put on pain medication for a while. I watched this film in 3D at this point and I was scared out of my mind, but I loved it. The stop motion animation is spectacular. I find it amazing that people can pull something like this off because it's so detailed oriented and time consuming. The story is creepy, especially how it all plays out. It's definitely worth watching.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 27: 31 Days of Horror: Onibaba

I don't even know how to explain this film. Onibaba (1963) is a Japanese horror film that is more focused on human greed than anything else. Two women, a mother and her daughter-in-law, are desperate to survive after their son/husband, Kichi, is forcefully inducted into war. In order to survive, the two are stalking and slaying worn-out samurais that they find in fields near their huts. They steal the men's belongings and trade them in for food to a greedy merchant. After the arrival of a surviving soldier, Hachi, in the war, the two learn that Kichi has been killed. The woman begins to mistrust her daughter-in-law soon after Hachi's arrival, believing that she is philandering around with him just so she can leave her to fend for herself on her own. Things get a bit creepy once she tries to scare the girl out of trying to be with Hachi.

This film is artistic and odd. At first, I wasn't sure what I was watching. It didn't seem like a horror film and some things were happening that I just didn't care to watch. However, I couldn't stop watching, something about it was so intriguing to me and I had to find out what was going to happen. I wasn't freaked out at all until the appearance of one thing, which is what got me interested in watching the film in the first place. It was the appearance of the extremely frightening mask pictured above. It kind of makes you think, "What the hell am I looking at?!" I had a nightmare involving this mask and was scared out of the mind when I woke up, thinking I was going to see it staring back at me! I loved the ending of this film because it was awesome.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 26: 31 Days of Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street

One, two, Freddy's coming for you... A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is the one Krueger film worth watching. A group of teens finds themselves having horrific nightmares. Strange thing is, they all seem to include the same thing, a severely burned man wearing a ripped red and green sweater who has knives for fingernails. At first, the teens just think he's a scary guy, but harmless since he's only in a nightmare. You can't seriously get hurt from something in a nightmare, right? Wrong, Freddy Krueger is the boogieman and he is able to brutally murder you in your dreams. No teen is safe! Will any of them survive? Watch and find out!

I love the techno music that blasts in the background whenever Freddy appears. I love the overflow of the ridiculous and unnecessary amount of blood that gushes from the victims when he slaughters them. I love that this is the film that got Johnny Depp started with his career as an actor. This is a slasher film that is awesomely 80's, humorous, and fabulous.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 25: 31 Days of Horror: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys (1987) is a cult classic. It's cheesy, but it's awesome. Two brothers move with their mom to a small coastal town in California to go live with their grandfather. A lot of disappearances and mysterious deaths have been occurring all over the town and it's full of biker gangs and strange people. The younger brother, Sam, is really into comic books and meets some other kids who love them and also declare themselves to be vampire hunters. He becomes part of their group and obsessed with being a vampire hunter. The older brother, Michael, is drawn into the biker gang because of a beautiful girl. Little do both brothers know, they are both meddling in something that they ought not to and it all has to do with vampires.

Oh, how I love my vampires. I've also have got a thing for Jason Patric. He's like a mix of Jim Morrison from the Doors and something else sexy. He's the perfect combination for an eighties vampire! The music is awesome. Kiefer Sutherland is insanely evil as the head vampire, David. Seriously, everyone needs to see this movie at least once in their life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 24: 31 Days of Horror: The Shining

Jack Torrance, a writer, has just gotten a new job. He is going to be the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during the winter season and up until it reopens in May. The hotel is located in an isolated area in Colorado. He moves there with his wife Wendy and young son Danny with hopes of getting some writing done while there. While there, Danny witnesses disturbing visions of the hotel's past and future due to his psychic gift known as the 'shining.' Jack, on the other hand, is slowly slipping into insanity due to cabin fever and visits from the ghosts of former guests of the hotel. It isn't until one of the ghosts suggests that Jack's family needs to be "corrected" that Jack loses his mind completely and attempts to cut his family up into little pieces with an axe.

There's nothing quite like watching a guy gradually lose his mind. Being stuck in that hotel during a winter storm would make you go a bit nuts. The Shining (1980) is one of my favorite films of all time. Jack Nicholson is perfect as Jack Torrance. Danny is awesome with his split personality and freaky voice for Tony. The set is amazing. Kubrick is a genius. This is a fantastic horror movie and Stephen King's novel is even more horrific.  

Day 23: 31 Days of Horror: The Witches

Roald Dahl always wrote fantastically creepy children's novels, which were awesome. The Witches (1990) is based off one of them. Young Luke, who is recently orphaned, moves in to live with his grandma. He and his grandma get along very well and she is always telling him stories. She tells him stories about witches and insists that they are in fact real. One day, the two go to an old hotel in England for a vacation. At the hotel that they are staying at, a witch's convention is secretly being held by the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) and Luke accidently stumbles in on it. The witches are plotting to rid the entire world of children by turning them all into mice. After he is caught and turned into a mouse himself, Luke does everything in his power to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan.

Day 22: 31 Days of Horror: Dracula

Dracula (1931) is based off Bram Stoker's novel. It's about the fearsome vampire Count Dracula. He's able to corrupt the mind of whoever he decides to prey on with his hypnotic powers. No one can resist his charm. It isn't until Dr. Van Helsing is brought into the picture that the Count is recognized as being a vampire. Now, everything must be done to protect the Count's latest victim, Mina Seward, from becoming one of the undead. How will the Count be stopped? Will Mina Seward be saved?

Bela Lugosi is the best Dracula! No one can or will ever be a better Dracula than he was. Bela was even buried in his Dracula cape. Now that's dedication to a role!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 21: 31 Days of Horror: Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in-2008) is a Swedish vampire story. It's about a young boy, Oskar, who has always been treated as an outcast by his classmates. He's constantly being bullied and too outnumbered to defend himself properly, thus he craves to be able to have revenge on them someday. His life outside of school is lonely as well, since his parents are divorced and his mother always has to work. However, life begins to change for Oskar when a new girl, Eli, moves in next door to him. She too is an outcast, but for reasons Oskar is not made aware of at first. The truth is, Eli is a vampire. The two become friends and because of this Oskar is able to feel love and a taste of revenge.

I love this film. It's not your typical vampire film because of the different directions the story line goes into. It's unnerving and disturbing, yet awesome at the same time. Also, yes, this film has recently been remade in the US and it is called Let Me In (2010). I find it to be an unnecessary remake, but I'd still like to see this new interpretation as well. I'm sick at the present time with a strange cough and my voice has been sounding like a mix of Regan from The Exorcist and Marge from The Simpson's. Maybe I'll be able to go to see this movie tomorrow, but I don't want to get anyone else sick.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 20: 31 Days of Horror: Eyes Without a Face

Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage-1960), directed by Georges Franju, is about a young woman, Christiane, whose entire face has been destroyed by damages inflicted by a car accident. Her father is an accomplished surgeon and is desperate to help reapply skin to her face. So desperate, in fact, that he and his assistant Louise kidnap young women, so that he can remove their faces and graft them onto the skinless face of Christiane. However, these experiments haven't been going as planned because the experiments constantly fail and the victims die. Will Dr. Génessier ever succeed? Will he be caught for being responsible for the murder of these young women? Only way to find out is to watch the film.

This is a brilliant horror film. The cinematography of it is fantastic. The contrast between dark and light shots really helps set the mood of the film. Christiane wears a haunting porcelain mask, which gives her a mournful looking face, like a ghost. She moves like she's gliding about like a ghost from a silent movie. The surgical procedures conducted by her father are somewhat repulsive and oddly intriguing to watch because of the stage blood. If you're looking for an intelligent horror film that is full of emotion and chills, then look no further than Eyes Without a Face.

Day 19: 31 Days of Horror: Interview with the Vampire

I love vampires, especially Anne Rice vampires. These vampires don't sparkle in the sunlight. They don't go after awkward teenagers with monotone voices and they sure as hell don't feast only on deer and other animals in the forest!  Sure, one of the vampires may have been apprehensive of finishing off humans at first, but that attitude didn't last long. Human blood is too intoxicating to the vampires for them to resist it. Murdering is part of their nature and oh how some of them love it! They also seem to be stellar virtuosos, which is awesome!

Interview with the Vampire (1994) is based off the novel with the same title. The book was written in 1976 and it's the first of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. It's focused on the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac. He seeks out a human to tell his tragic life story, starting with how he first became a vampire and the sort of human life he was living up to that point. His story isn't for the faint of heart. It's full of sadness, murder, ecstasy, love, betrayal, and the promise of eternal loneliness.

I highly recommend reading the Vampire Chronicles, I haven't read all of them yet, but I loved the ones that I did read. I took a course based on Vampires and human psychology during my freshman year of college. It was part of the liberal studies program that students are required to take a course from. It was an awesome class, everything about it was fantastic. We read the second installment in the Vampire Chronicles, The Vampire Lestat. I had read Interview with the Vampire during spring break before that class began, so it was perfect. Something about depressed vampires telling the story of their life as both mortals and immortals is extremely engrossing. I think it's because some of us fear death and think it'd be better if we were able to live forever, without appearing physically older. After the class I took, I'm not so sure it'd be that wise of a choice.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 18: 31 Days of Halloween: Scream

Don't ever answer the phone and continue talking to that person if you are positive that you do not know who the person is! Sure, this person may seem like he or she is just a great conversationalist, but it's people like this who end up being completely deranged! It's best not to have anything to do with him or her. Especially is he or she asks if you like scary movies! You must hang up, call the police, and grab a weapon to protect yourself!

I love Scream (1996)! It's one of Wes Craven's best, I'd say second to Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). I think it's clever, an unknown psychopathic serial killer stalks and slaughters unsuspecting teens while sporting a strange mask and carrying a frightening weapon. It sounds like your typical slasher film, which it is, but it has a sense of realism to it. There aren't any boogeymen in this film, just psychopathic humans who enjoy murdering for the thrill of it. It purposely parodies slasher films, which adds even more realism to the film, while also giving it some comic relief. How can you not enjoy a horror film like this?!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 17: 31 Days of Horror: Psycho

It's wise to stay away from men who are overly obsessed with their mothers. Psycho (1960) taught me this lesson when I first watched it as a young child. I watched it without my parents knowing when I was about six or seven years old. I had no idea who Hitch was then (seems unimaginable now because he's one of my favorites), but I remember watching this and loving it. It's still one of my favorites!

For those of you who still haven't seen this film, don't worry, there's still time! Just know, you're missing out big time for not having seen it yet. It's about a woman, Marion Crane, (Janet Leigh) who has been having an affair with a handsome man, Sam Loomis. She wants desperately to run away with him and to get married, but they have no money because Sam is stuck paying alimony checks. So, one day, her boss gives her $40,000 to go deposit for the company. Instead of depositing it, she feigns being sick, leaves the office, and takes off with it in hopes of using it to begin a new life with Sam. However, things don't quite go as planned once she has to stop and stay at the Bate's Motel due to a heavy rainstorm. Something about the man, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who is running the motel, just doesn't seem to be right. Does it have something to do with his overly possessive mother or is it something else? One can only find out by watching the film.

Day 16: 31 Days of Horror: Evil Dead

Gruesome, hilarious, ridiculous, unnerving, and disgusting are all words that come to my mind when I think about Sam Raimi's Evil Dead (1981). It's about five friends from Michigan State who decide travel to a cabin in the woods together for a fun time. However, things don't go as planned when they find an ancient book of the dead in the cabin and accidently release evil spirits. One by one, these spirits possess the college students, turning them into ferociously psychotic zombies. The one left must do whatever he can to defend himself from being taken from the grueling evil dead! 

It's a cult classic and it needs to be seen at least once by anyone who loves the horror genre or wants to experience more of it. Got to love zombies and low budget horror!!! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 15: 31 Days of Horror: The Omen

Sometimes, we meet children who we might classify as evil. An evil child might just be an overly mischievous one, a spoiled brat, or literally evil like the 'bad seed' I described in an earlier post. However, Damien Thorn is more than the typical evil. He is the Antichrist, which means he's similar to a bad seed, but worse because he's the spawn of Satan and a female jackal. He's been marked with the number of the beast on his scalp. Murdering is expected of him.

Of course, the American Ambassador to Italy, Robert Thorn, didn't know this about his son when he agreed to adopt him without ever telling his wife that Damien isn't their biological son. Their own son was stillborn and Robert adopted Damien from a priest after the he informed him that Damien's mother had died during childbirth and he had no other family. Everything with the child seems fine at first, however, once Robert moves the family to London. Strange things start to occur, including a dramatic suicide, consistent warnings from a priest, and unusual deaths, which are all oddly connected to Damien. As soon as Robert starts realizing this, he is shocked and unsure of what to do. Who will he go to? What will happen?

The Omen (1976) is a good movie and the score is perfectly horrific. The uncovering of Damien's past and the true meaning of his existence makes the film intriguing. The cast is quite good, especially Billie Whitelaw as Mrs. Baylock. She reminds me of Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock's Rebecca. She is so creepy! Gregory Peck and Lee Remick were great and I loved David Warner as the photographer Keith Jennings. The guy that plays the priest is awesome, too. It's the performances given by all of them that makes the film worth seeing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 14: 31 Days of Horror: Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th (1980) is a film about revenge. It takes place at a secluded camp called Camp Crystal Lake, which had been shut down for the past twenty years due to some mysterious deaths that had been occurring on the grounds. Now, the new camp counselors are being brought in early to prepare for the re-opening of the camp. However, we find out fairly soon that the mysterious 'death curse' of Camp Crystal Lake has not yet vanished and we watch as the camp counselors are killed off one by one. Who is responsible for these killings? What is the reasoning for them?

Friday the 13th convinced me that being a camp counselor for a camp located in the middle of nowhere is obviously a terrible idea. Camp Crystal Lake, along with any other secluded camp, looks like it'd be a serial killer's dreamland. No one is close enough to hear the victims' screams for help, so they're basically in the clear for killing whoever steps in their way. Can't be caught or stopped if no one knows it's happening! 

This movie is kind of ridiculous, but it's enjoyable at the same time. It's not my favorite, but it's still a necessary horror film to watch because it's an 80's slasher film. It's got the psychotic killer, the stupid teenagers, the sneak attack kills, and the classic slasher film horror movie theme music. Also, this movie was made on a budget of only $550,000, which is impressively low. There is only one thing that I really hate about the movie and it's that they killed a live snake just for the making of it. Snakes might be scary to see at times, but that doesn't mean that they deserve to be murdered for no acceptable reason! I find that mean and completely unnecessary. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 13: 31 Days of Horror: Carrie

Carrie White isn't like other people, and unbeknownst to the majority of others, she has the gift of telekinesis. Having been raised by an abusive, chemically imbalanced, and overly religious mother, she has always been a social outcast. Her classmates taunt and mock her on a regular basis. After being brutally humiliated by her classmates in the girl's locker room for her horrified reaction to experiencing her first period, Carrie is sent home early to recuperate. The girls who mocked her, however, are being punished in detention for their actions.

One of the girls, Sue, feels terribly guilty for how she and the others have treated Carrie and decides that she wants to make it up to her. She and the other girls have been banned from the senior prom, so she decides to have her boyfriend Tommy, the most popular guy in school, ask Carrie to go with him. However, the other girls don't feel guilty at all, in fact, they hate Carrie even more because they blame her for getting them banned from the prom. One girl in particular, Chris, along with her boyfriend and a few other friends, decide that if they can't go to the prom, then they'll just have to do something to ruin Carrie's prom experience as well. What will they do? How will Carrie react?

I enjoy this film, even though I feel awful for Carrie. I could do without the beginning of it because it disgusts me, both by what occurs and how meanly she is treated. I guess that seems sort of silly though because we wouldn't really have a story or a film if something drastic like this didn't happen to Carrie. The mother is the most frightening one! She's a monster and is completely psychotic! Carrie isn't as scary as her, even though her bulging eyes are pretty freaky. Sissy Spacek did a phenomenal job playing Carrie. I can see why she was nominated for an Oscar for this performance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 12: 31 Days of Horror: The Bad Seed

"Bad Seeds" exist in our world still. They are evil, terrifying, and corruptive people, young or old, tall or short, cute or ugly. However, it's more unnerving when the bad seed is a young child. A young child who seems perfect and innocent; incapable of scheming up a plan to cause harm to another. This is the worst sort of bad seed there is because the seemingly perfect and innocent child ends up being something monstrous from the beginning! The child is a manipulative cold-blooded killer! 

Creepy picture of the twisted side of the "Bad Seed."

This is essentially what The Bad Seed (1956) is about. Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack) is thought to be the most adorable, the most angelic, and the most perfect daughter in the entire world. She's always curtseying, dancing around in her tap shoes, or being so polite to her parents and other adults. However, don't let these actions fool you! This little girl is pure evil and will do anything to get her way, anything, including murder! How long will it take for someone to realize that Rhoda isn't so sweet and perfect after all? What will happen to them once they do? Watch and find out!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 11: 31 Days of Horror: Pinocchio

Disney's version of Pinocchio (1940) scares the hell out of me, still. I'm not alone in this either, I know people 50+ years old who are still freaked out from it. It scares me mainly because of the evil and humongous whale, Monstro! I've had terrible nightmares involving that whale chasing after me in the ocean, breaking a boat that I'm on, and swallowing me as it's sinking! This started when I first saw the movie, I swear.

The part where the kids start turning into to donkeys is frightening, too. Where did that guy send all of them to once they changed?! It's so messed up. Sure, the kids shouldn't have gone to Pleasure Island and I bet that they sure learned their lesson when they realized they had become a donkey. Except, the punishment was way worse than just becoming one! If they could turn back into a human afterwards, then it wouldn't be so terrible. Disturbing, but not as terrible as it ends up being. Turning a kid into a permanent donkey is just insane and cruel.

I do enjoy this film, despite it scaring me. Classic Disney is dazzling with its hand-drawn animations and stellar musical scores. Pinocchio has beautiful animation and it has "When you Wish Upon a Star," which is a fantastic song. Also, it sure teaches you some good lessons, such as telling you that you should have a conscience and that you shouldn't lie. Maybe they felt they needed the cruelty and scariness in the scenes to emphasize the lessons more and make sure that you wouldn't forget them?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 10: 31 Days of Horror: M

M (1931) directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre as the fictional child-murderer Hans Beckert is a German crime/thriller film. However, I'm including it as a horror film because it's about a serial killer. A serial killer is always creepy and disturbing, especially one who murders children. In this film, the police are having a difficult time catching the child-murderer. So, a bunch of criminals decide to help out with the manhunt.

I love this film. It's incredibly well done. Peter Lorre is perfect in it because he acts so awkward and creepy. Especially when he whistles the freaky whistling tune, "In the Hall of the Mountain King."

Day 9: 31 Days of Horror: The Uninvited

The Uninvited (1944) is another fantastic ghost story. A composer, Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) stumble upon a beautiful secluded mansion on the shores of the English coast. Pamela falls in love with the place and convinces the brother to ask about the purchasing price. Surprisingly, the mansion is very cheap, so the two buy it and move in. However, once they move in, they start to hear very strange sounds in the house during the night. It becomes obvious that something had occurred in that house in the past and that it is now haunted. Who is haunting the house? What happened to them? Why won't they leave?

This film has no blood or gore, but that does not mean it won't scare you. It's a suspenseful ghost story with a romance on the side. I'd categorize it as a mix of The Innocents (1961), Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940), and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947). The story is interesting and thrilling. The acting performances are all well done. Ray Milland's is especially spectacular.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 8: 31 Days of Horror: Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead (1968) is one of my favorite zombie films. It's about the mass infection effecting the recently deceased that is believed to have been caused by the radiation emitting from a fallen satellite. This infection causes the dead to be living, even though they are completely brain dead. Also, the only thing they crave is human flesh and they need to consume it in order to survive. No living human is safe! However, a group of humans in a boarded up farmhouse will do all that they can think of in order to survive. Will they succeed or will they too become victims of the living dead?

Zombies are crazy! That's all I have to say.

The Trailer

The Movie: In the Public Domain

Day 7: 31 Days of Horror: The Changeling

The Changeling (1980) is another ghost story. It's about a man who has just lost his wife and daughter after they were tragically killed before his eyes. The man, trying to cope with his sorrow, as well as focus more on his career as a composer, decides to move a different house. He buys an old, large, and secluded mansion, which holds the secret to an extremely dark past. He does not realize this until strange things start occurring around the house and he realizes that he is not the only one in the house. The house is still home to the spirit of a murdered child whose disturbing past and deceit has been silenced for many years by a well-known and respected man. The spirit does everything to make the man aware of what happened to him and for him to help him finally be at peace.

This film is very scary! It's also creepy, psychological, and sad. If you want to experience the full scary effect of this film, then watch it in a dark room with no interruptions. Except, I totally recommend having another person there to watch it with. Last time I watched this, it was with a now ex-boyfriend. We were both freaked out from the film and I would have been even more freaked out if he wasn't there. However, some time after we watched it, I ended up having a terrible nightmare involving a scene in this film and I haven't been able to watch it again since. Actually, my nightmare was even scarier than the movie. I'm afraid to watch the film again because I don't ever want to have a nightmare like that again! I'll probably end up watching it though. Watch this, if you dare!

Day 6: 31 Days of Horror: The Innocents

The Innocents (1961), directed by Jack Clayton, is one of my favorite ghost stories! I think that Deborah Kerr gives her best performance in this film. She plays Miss. Giddens in the film. I'm also impressed by the performance given by Martin Stephens, who is the young boy Miles in the film. 

Miss. Giddens is hired to be the governess to two orphaned children, Flora and Miles. She is hired by their bachelor uncle, who is more concerned about keeping his playboy lifestyle than taking care of his niece and nephew, and overlooks the fact that Miss. Giddens hardly has any experience with being a governess. Once Miss. Giddens arrives at the estate, she is entranced by its beauty, largeness, and secludedness. However, soon after her arrival, she becomes aware of two deaths that had occurred on the grounds. The two deaths involved the former governess, Miss. Jessel, and the former valet man, Peter Quint, who had a love affair. She becomes to believe that the spirits of these two lovers are possessing the children and decides that she must do something to save them! 

This film is very psychological. It's hard to tell whether Miss. Giddens is actually insane and only imagining the spirits or if the spirits are indeed present and possessing the children. I've watched this film several times and I'm still not sure what to think. Either way, the outcome of the film is disturbing. Watch it and see for yourself!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 5: 31 Days of Horror: Carnival of Souls

The Carnival of Souls (1962) starts out with a drag race. A car of men challenges a car of women to a race, which ends when the women's car is forced off of a bridge. All of the women seem to be dead, having plunged into the depths of the water without ever resurfacing. Some time later, one of the woman, Mary Henry, emerges from the water without any injury. Mary continues on with her life and decides to take a job as a church organist in a different town. However, wherever she seems to go, she is haunted by the appearance of a zombielike man and is mysteriously drawn to an abandoned carnival house. What does this mean?! What will happen to her?!

This film is a cult classic. It is full of creepiness! The zombielike phantom man coupled with the organ  playing is what gives this film its chill factor. I can still see those dark and dead eyes of the man leering at me through the screen!

This film is in the public domain. You can watch it here or you can download it for yourself by clicking: Carnival of Souls.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 4: 31 Days of Horror: Teen Witch

Teen Witch (1989) is about a teenage girl, Louise Miller (Robyn Lively), who has always been treated as though she's a loser. She's mocked by a teacher and the popular cheerleader crowd at her high school on a weekly basis. All she wants is to be is popular and for the cutest guy in school, Brad Powell, to fall in love with her. Before her 16th birthday, she ends up meeting Madame Serena (Zelda Rubenstein) who informs her that she is a witch and will receive her powers the night of her 16th birthday. Once she gets her powers, she decides to use them to get back at those who were always mean to her and to make herself the most popular girl in school. She also uses them to make Brad fall in love with her. However, after a while, she realizes that she basically cheated to get everything that she wanted. What will she do?

Ok, so Teen Witch may not be a horror film per se. Unless, of course, you are afraid of 80's fashion and hairstyles, frighteningly annoying little brothers, horrific uses of corniness, and unexplainable musical bits. However, I still think it should be included into 31 Days of Horror because it's a Halloween themed sort of movie and it's fun. I love this movie because of it's ridiculousness. It's awesomely terrible. It's awesomely hilarious. Watch it and find out for yourself! 

Day 3: 31 Days of Horror: Diabolique

Well, I've been too busy to watch horror movies the past couple of days. However, I've seen enough to dedicate a post to them. Diabolique (Les diaboliques) (1955) is a french horror film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. I'd classify it as a Hitchcock film that Hitch never directed. In fact, Hitch reportedly tried to buy the rights to the novel Celle qui n'était plus by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, which the film is based off of, but Clouzot beat him to it by only a matter of hours. Boileau and Narcejac ended up writing D'Entre les morts solely for Hitch, which he in turn used for the basis of Vertigo (1958).

Diabolique is about a wife of an atrocious headmaster and his mistress who concert a plan to murder him. However, after the murder is committed, his body mysteriously disappears. Bizarre events follow the disappearance. Panic and confusion consume the wife, while the mistress tries to keep calm about the situation. Where did the body go to? What will happen?

This film is full of suspense! In fact, that's the best part of it. Expecting something to happen, and waiting for it, then something else happens, and you aren't sure what the outcome will be, but you're expecting something insane! I'm a suspense film addict. I crave it and I love it. To my fellow suspense film lovers, you're going to want to see this film as soon as possible.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 2: 31 Days of Horror: A Tale of Two Sisters

A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongryeon) (2003) is a Korean horror film directed by Ji-woon Kim based off the Korean folk tale "Janghwa Heungryeonjeon." The Uninvited (2009) is based off of this film, but it does not touch the original.

It's about two sisters, Su-mi and Su-yeon, who have been hospitalized for their mental health after the death of their mother. The two return home to live with their father and step-mother. Once home, the mental stability of the two is tested by both the actions of their overly obsessive and abusive step-mother and the appearance of a ghost. Will the two sustain their mental stability or will they slowly be driven insane and sent back to the sanitarium?

This film is very frightening! It is a psychological thriller to the extreme. I watched it by myself not knowing much about it at all and it really freaked me out! There were some very horrific scenes in it, so I recommend watching it with someone else, especially if you aren't a horror movie fanatic. The first appearance of the ghost had me about turning the film off and running out of the room, but my curiosity trumped the amount of fear I was experiencing, so I continued watching. I'm glad I was so curious because the film overall is brilliant. The cinematography is beautiful. I loved the house that they chose to film because it had the perfect mix of isolation and creepiness. Also, the storyline was twisted enough for me to highly enjoy it, even though it is sad. I don't want to say too much more about the film because I don't want to ruin the severity of the scariness of it!

(Not sure how good the English subtitles are).

Day 1: 31 Days of Horror: The Devil's Backbone

On October 1st, I decided to watch The Devil's Backbone (El espinazo del diablo). I wouldn't categorize it as an extremely scary horror film, but more as a supernatural psychological thriller. It is definitely worth checking out. Also, I completely forgot that I had watched another Guillermo del Toro film besides this one and Pan's Labyrinth. The one I forgot about is The Orphanage (El orfanato). I didn't forget about the movie because it was insane and disturbing and it freaked me out a bit, but I forgot that Guillermo del Toro directed it!

The Devil's Backbone is about a boy, Carlos, who is abandoned by his tutor at the Santa Lucia orphanage, which is located in a severely secluded area and marked by a large non-exploding bomb. This orphanage is the home to orphans of the Republican militia and politicians during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. It is run by a headmistress, Carmen and a kind Professor, Dr. Casares, both who are very sympathetic towards the orphans.

Upon his arrival, Carlos is immediately signaled out for bullying by the schoolhouse bully, Jaime, and the horrible caretaker, Jacinto. Also, he is haunted by the ghost of a young boy named Santi who used to be an orphan there. He continuously seeks out Carlos and warns him that basically all the inhabitants at the orphanage are in danger of death. However, Carlos handles all of this as best he can and gradually gains the respect of Jaime, the courage to stand up to Jacinto, and an understanding of Santi's presence, as well as his warning.

This film is well done. It has scenes that induce a lot of fear, but not in an over-the-top or unnecessary manner. The storyline is interesting and it keeps your attention because of its complexity. The atmosphere of the film is dark and gloomy, which fits the storyline perfectly. I found this film to be very sad. I'd recommend this film to those who enjoyed the films The Sixth Sense (1999), The Changeling (1980), and Pan's Labyrinth (2006).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Autumn has Arrived: 31 Days of Horror Begins!

It's the start to my favorite month! I've already been enjoying honey crisp apples, apple crisp, apple cider, and pumpkin spice lattes. I haven't started all of my horror films yet. Although, I kind of watched a few during September. 31 days of horror will begin tonight! I'm debating about what I will be watching first. I think I'm going to either go with The Innocents or The Devil's Backbone (El espinazo del diablo). I've watched The Innocents, but haven't watched it since last October and I've missed it!

The Devil's Backbone (2001) will be a new one for me and I'm sure it won't disappoint. Spanish horror films happen to be extremely scary! According to my friend from Mexico, Spanish horror films and stories are so frightening because of their cultural beliefs. I was then told a horrific story about a dead grandmother haunting someone's family, which reminded me a bit of Más negro que la noche. Also, The Devil's Backbone is directed by Guillermo del Toro. I really enjoyed Pan's Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno) by him because of the amount of imagery and artistry it displayed, as well as the imaginative storyline it possessed. I'm excited to watch something else he's done!

I've got a new job now since I've graduated from college and I'm so excited about it! I'm going to be an accountant! This shouldn't effect my 31 Days of Horror because I'm an insomniac. Also, I'm already planning to go to some horrific haunted houses with my friends and enjoy some other fall festivities around the neighborhood.