Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 24: 31 Days of Horror: The Birds (1963)

Living in the city, I've noticed that people are really creeped out by birds. Mainly pigeons because they like to swoop low towards people's heads and then eat food off the ground. This proves to scare people to the point that they scream and run away. Due to these extremely dramatic reactions, I'm assuming that the majority of these people must have watched Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds at some point in their lives.

Something hasn't been right with the birds of Bodega Bay since Melanie Daniels has come to town. They've become monsters! Intent on harming anyone who gets in their range of sight. No child or adult is safe from their murderous beaks!

This film makes me laugh throughout the majority of it. Mainly because I can remember my professor showing us his own video that he made while visiting Bodega Bay. He decided to reenact the scene where the kids are running from the school. It was brilliant! I wish I could watch it again right now! However, I do find it scary when the birds won't stop attacking Melanie while she's locked in that upstairs room. Those birds were so vicious!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 23: 31 Days of Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is my favorite Freddy Krueger horror film, the others lack a certain something that the first one had. However, I'll admit that I did enjoy Dream Warriors, but mainly because of the setting and that it kind of continues on from where the first one began.

Dream Warriors takes place in a psychiatric hospital. A group of teenagers, who are all surviving victims of Freddy's, go here in order to learn how to take control of their dreams. Nancy Thompson, Freddy's main victim and nemesis in the first Nightmare movie, has grown up now and is a psychiatrist at the hospital who specializes in dream therapy. She tries to help the teens cope with their fear of Freddy and to teach them how to overcome him. However, this proves to be a very difficult task, especially when Freddy ends up capturing one of the teens. Will Nancy and the others be able to work together to save their friend and end the nightmare for good? Only way to find out is to watch the film!

Freddy is a lot more menacing in this film than he is with the others. He's also a bit more creative in his kills than he was in the beginning. I think it was smart to bring Nancy back into the film, since she played such a huge role in the first. This film is entertaining and definitely worth watching, but only after you've watched the first. Great slasher film and sequel.

Day 22: 31 Days of Horror: The Poltergeist (1982)

Indian burial grounds will forever scare the hell out of me, thanks to The Poltergeist. I remember watching this film back in the fifth grade. My dad and my best friend's dad decided to rent The Poltergeist for us to watch, since it was rated PG and therefore they thought it was suitable. Let me tell you, that PG rating did not mean that this film was not scary! It made me afraid of a certain tree in the backyard and I had nightmares for about 3 weeks from this movie!

The Poltergeist is a haunted house film. It's not like The Changeling (1980), which, in my opinion is the ultimate haunted house film, but it is certainly creepy and being haunted by more than just one human ghost. The house is being haunted by poltergeists, which are malevolent spirits who enjoy terrorizing the living. At first, the family is intrigued by the poltergeists because they appear to be friendly and amusing. However, all of that changes when they 'kidnap' the youngest child in the family and bring her into a different spectrum and they don't know how to save her from it. 

The scene with the creepy clown doll is scary! I hate that damn clown! It scares me about as much as Pennywise the clown and clowns don't freak me out if I see them elsewhere, like in a haunted house or just making balloon animals. I also hate that scary tree when it attempts to kill the little boy! Or how about the scene when the man is in the bathroom and he starts pulling off the skin on his face! Oh, and I can't forget to mention the scene with the pool when the skeletons attempt to drown that woman! Terrifying! Fantastic movie!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 21: 31 Days of Horror: Shaun of the Dead

Oh, how I love dark humor! Shaun of the Dead is a fantastically funny horror movie. It takes from different zombie horror films and mixes it with hilarious situations and ridiculousness. The violence and gore in this film isn't too bad to watch because the characters look silly defending themselves against the undead.

Shaun doesn't have much going for him in his life lately. He goes around behaving more like a zombie than anything, playing video games, working a crap job, and missing his ex. All he really wants is to have his girlfriend back, so he decides that he will do anything to win her over again. However, he ends up deciding to win her back when life is a bit more...chaotic than usual. Will he succeed? Only way to find out is to watch the movie!

This movie had me laughing throughout the majority of it. I loved the jokes, especially when Shaun's best friend, Ed, said to Shaun's mother, "We're coming to get you Barbara!" Great use of a line from Night of the Living Dead by saying "we're" instead of "they're." Zombieland is kind of like this film. If you're a fan of that movie, and haven't yet watched Shaun of the Dead, please do yourself a favor and watch Shaun! You don't know what you're missing until you watch it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 20: 31 Days of Horror: Beetlejuice

I love wacky movies. Beetlejuice definitely falls under my "Best Wacky Movies" list. The theme song is the best part of it. Danny Elfman truly outdid himself with brilliance by creating such a stellar song.

Beetlejuice is the story of a married couple, Adam Maitland and Barbara Maitland, who end up dead after their car swerves off a bridge, due to a little dog being in the middle of the bridge. At first, the two do not realize that they are dead, but the quickly realize it when a series of strange events begin to occur. One in particular, that their fingertips are now able to catch on fire without causing them any pain. Obviously, something isn't right when that happens!

Afterlife gets even stranger for Adam and Barbara when they realize that their house has been taken over by some new owners with a very bizarre taste in decorating. The two desperately want to get rid of the new owners, the Deetz family, but don't know the first thing about how to properly haunt a house. During their desperation, the two decide to dress up as pathetic looking ghosts, with only sheets draped over them. No one seems to notice them at all, except for the odd girl, Lydia, who is obsessed with the strange and unusual.

Although the ghosts like the girl, they still want her parents to get the hell out of their house. Since they are unable to do so and aren't getting much guidance from their death advisor, Juno, they end up doing something that proves to be insane and stupid. They decide to summon the foul bio-exorcist, Beetlejuice, who can only be summoned by saying his name three times in a row. Juno warned them against Beetlejuice, but they didn't listen because they were getting no where.

Beetlejuice proves to be a nightmare. Although he successfully scares the family by turning into a snake, he ends up causing the Deetz to try to exorcise Adam and Barbara into a new dimension of death. However, Lydia comes to their rescue, putting herself in danger with Beetlejuice and his cunning ways.

Great movie! Definitely worth watching this film on more than one occasion. I love Adam and Barbara's relationship and how clueless they are about being remotely scary. It's so cute and funny! Lydia is an awesome character too. She's smart and overly intrigued by death, which makes her pretty interesting and cool. I like how she socializes with the ghosts and they become a little family.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 19: 31 Days of Horror: Halloweentown

Want to guess what my favorite Debbie Reynolds movie is? If you didn't guess Halloweentown, then you obviously haven't seen this movie or don't like silly Halloween movies that Disney made. I happen to love the majority of them, except for the one about a Mummy, that one was boring! Debbie Reynolds played one of the coolest witches ever, Aggie Cromwell!

Halloweentown begins with the soon to be 13 year old Marnie Cromwell arguing with her mother, Gwen, about going to a Halloween party. For her entire life, as well as her siblings' lives, none have been allowed to participate in ANY Halloween festivities. No dressing up, no trick-r-treating, absolutely nothing. They are the only house on their block that doesn't handout candy. Marnie doesn't understand why this is, but her mom still refuses to let her go to a party and refuses to tell her why. Dylan, Marnie's nerdy younger brother doesn't understand why she is so obsessed with going to the party anyway. Dylan  is a complete suck-up to their mom, so Marnie starts arguing with him, too.  

However, Marnie's argument with her mother and Dylan is cut short once a visitor shows up at their door. The visitor happens to be their grandmother, Aggie, who is Marnie's favorite! Her brother and little sister, Sophie, are just as excited as she is to see their grandma as Marnie is. Gwen is displeased to see her mom, despite not seeing her for a while, because her mom is a bit more eccentric than she thinks is necessary. Aggie ignores her daughter and continues to have a nice time with her grandchildren, bringing a bunch of candy, decorations, and costumes for them. She then asks if she can read the kids a bedtime story before she has to leave again. Although reluctant at first, Gwen allows her to, but is furious when she realizes that her mom is telling the children about a place called Halloweentown.

Confused and curious, Marnie sneaks downstairs and overhears her grandma and mom talking about something very strange, Marnie's training to be a witch! Perplexed by what she's hearing, Marnie listens some more and learns that something evil has been invading Halloweentown. Aggie asks Gwen if she would be willing to come back with her and help find out and defeat whatever it in order to save the residents of Halloween. Gwen refuses to come and help, so Aggie does some magic to annoy her and then leaves. Marnie rushes upstairs to change her clothes and tell her brother what she just saw. She tells him that she's going to go after grandma and follow her, in order to go help her fight the bad thing. Dylan isn't sure how to respond, but despite his doubts, he decides to go with Marnie to follow their grandmother back to wherever she's going. As they follow their grandma, they are shocked to see as a bus magically appears before their eyes. The two board the bus from the back of it, careful to not approach their grandma at first in case she ends up taking them back home right then and there. However, they become a bit freaked out when the bus suddenly takes off and seems to be transporting them to a different spectrum in the world, which is exactly what it is doing because they land in Halloweentown.

Once they are off the bus, they end up losing their grandma in a crowd, but end up finding that their little sister followed them onto the bus. Together, the three kids end up finding their way to their grandma's house with a little help from the friendly town mayor and taxi driver. However, shortly after their arrival, their mom shows up and is enraged, convinced that her mom took them there behind her back. Gwen quickly makes her children come with her and leave their grandma behind, so that they can go back home. Unfortunately for Gwen, the bus isn't running back any time soon, so she decides to go to the mayor for help, but is sidetracked when Marnie takes off after her grandma again due to her belief that her grandma is in danger. Marnie's instincts end up being right and watches as both her grandma and mom are attacked by the evil cloaked man in the local movie theater. It's up to Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie to do whatever they can in order to collect the ingredients to activate Merlin's talisman to defeat the evil wizard and save both their grandma and mom. 

I love this movie! I have to watch it every single October in order to celebrate Halloween time properly. It's got a cool story-line that it follows. Yes, it's a bit corny, but that's just part of the fun of watching it.  Awesome movie!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 18: 31 Days of Horror: Gaslight (1944)

Being tricked into believing that you are losing your mind is a pretty messed up concept. It's even more messed up if the one trying to make you lose your mind is someone who you trust and love. What kind of man would want to make his spouse believe that she is losing her mind when, in fact, she is completely healthy? An evil bastard, obviously! 

Gaslight is about a woman, Paula, who found the body of her murdered aunt when she was younger. The police fail to find the murderer and Paula is sent away to live somewhere else. A decade later, Paula returns to live in the home where the killing took place. She returns with her husband, the charming Gregory Anton, who she fell in love with while taking her music lessons. She feels that she is ready to live in the home again because Gregory will be there to protect her from everything bad in the world. 

Sadly, this is not the case. Once the two start living in the home, Gregory seems to change. He goes away every night to some unknown place to work. He constantly accuses Paula of misplacing items, losing items, and being mentally unstable. Poor Paula doesn't think she's doing any of these things, but Gregory keeps insisting that she just doesn't realize it because she's unhealthy and tries to keep her isolated from meeting anyone in the neighborhood.

However, there are a couple of neighbors that she has met and are interested in getting to know her better. One is a nosy, old woman, Miss. Thwaites who she met on a train ride and again on the street outside of her home the day she moved back in. The other is a man, the kind and handsome Brian Cameron, who was a great admirer of her aunt when he was a young boy. Brian is especially interested in learning more about Paula because she reminds him so much of her aunt. Will he be able to help her? Why is Gregory so intent on making Paula believe that she is insane? What is wrong with this guy?

I love this movie. The acting is fantastic by everyone involved. Sure, it's not the scariest film of all time and it's definitely not difficult to see where the plot is going, but it's still awesome. It's got horrific elements in it, which is why it should be watched during the season of horror!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 17: 31 Days of Horror: Suspiria (1977)

How weird can a movie about ballet get? Pretty freaking weird apparently, if you've ever seen Black Swan (2010), The Red Shoes (1948), or Suspiria, then you know what I'm talking about. I haven't met very many ballet dancers in my life, but I'm starting to wonder if a lot of them are deeply disturbed...

Suspiria is creepy right from the beginning. It begins with an American dancer arriving in Europe in order to attend a prestigious ballet school. As she is arriving, the camera strays away from her and follows another young woman who seems to be sprinting away from the school in fear. She ends up returning to her apartment, clearly still extremely freaked out by something. Then, when learn that it is some sort of monster because the monster comes and murders her!

The story then moves back onto the American dancer. She seems to quickly realizes that something isn't right with the school after her first ballet lesson there. She ends up passing out during it, given a strange concoction that is supposedly meant to heal her. However, all it seems to do is make her extremely drowsy. She begins experiencing and witnessing very bizarre events, such as strange sounds, a maggot infestation in the whole school, and more. Why are these things happening? What is in the school? It looks like the dancer has some snooping she has to do in order to find out what is going on, but will she be safe if she eventually finds out? Watch the movie to find out.

The best thing about Suspiria is the music. The Goblins are very successful at making some deliciously creepy tunes. I also like how colorful the film is. The sets look amazing because of the beautiful colors and lighting used. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 16: 31 Days of Horror: The Good Son (1993)

Little kids who enjoy murdering are beyond creepy! If they're already monsters at this age, think of how dangerous they'll be when they're older. It's a very unsettling thought. The Good Son focuses on the freakiness of a child who seems completely innocent, but in reality, the child is pure evil.

The Good Son is very similar to the 1956 horror movie, The Bad Seed. In both films, both Rhonda and Henry seem to be very sweet and cute children. However, this behavior is fake and used in order to manipulate people into believing that they are anything but what they truly are. Both of these children are murderous raving lunatics. They both enjoy killing. Rhonda enjoyed murdering her classmate because she felt that he deserved it because he defeated her in winning a medal that she felt she rightfully deserved. Henry murdered his baby brother because he didn't like all the attention that he was getting from his parents. Their desire to stop murdering doesn't end here though, which is why they are so frightening. What is wrong with these children?

I really like The Good Son. I think Macaulay and Elijah are great in the film together. Macaulay was the perfect choice for Henry, he's great at acting like a psycho and he knows how to act like a master manipulator. My only major complaint is the casting of Macaulay's sister Quinn as his on-screen sister Connie. She just didn't have the same acting skills as her brother. Still, this movie is worth checking out.

Day 15: 31 Days of Horror: Santa Sangre (1989)

I watched Santa Sangre for the first time earlier this year. While I was watching the film, I wasn't scared from what I was watching. I was more sitting there thinking, "Well, this is kind of weird and disturbing, yet I can't stop watching it." But then later on, after I had finished the film and was still thinking about what all happened in it, I was completely freaked out! It was awful!  I kept having to put the light back on after I had turned it off because I kept thinking I was going to be attacked by a scary circus performer once I was sitting there in the dark.  I can't even exactly pinpoint what it was that successfully scared the hell out of me, but something about what I watched in this movie clearly traumatized me!

Santa Sangre is about a young man, Fenix, who is in a mental hospital. The film follows his life, beginning with his childhood, to explain how he ended up in the mental institution in the first place. Through flashbacks, you learn how incredibly strange his life has been. He grew up in the circus as a young magician, performing alongside his close friend and crush, a deaf, mute girl named Alma. His father, Orgo, was a knife thrower and his mother, Concha, was a trapeze artist who was the leader of an extremely religious cult.

All goes downhill for everyone once Orgo starts having an affair with Alma's abusive, trashy mother, the tattoo lady of the show. Once Concha realizes that Orgo is cheating on her, it sets her into a crazy rage. She follows the two and throws acid on Orgo's manhood. Orgo doesn't react very well to this, so he cuts off Concha's arms, then commits suicide by slitting his own throat. Poor Fenix is left petrified by what he has witnessed, then watches in horror as his love is driven away from him. Life after this becomes very strange for Fenix, but you'll have to watch the movie to learn more about that because I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

This movie is great. Weird and disturbing, definitely. It's not meant for everyone, but that can be said about every movie out there, right?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 14: 31 Days of Horror: Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Shining with Tin Man

I am a bit behind on my 31 Days of Horror and I apologize for that. I've been extremely busy, traveling to and from different states, attending my first college football game (MSU vs. U of M), meeting up with a close friend that I haven't seen in a year, and preparing for my first day at a new job. Busy, but with a bunch of great things!

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies of all time. I've loved it since I was a little kid. It seems that I tend to associate horror movies with my childhood, but that's because I was scared by a bunch of movies back then! It takes a lot more to scare me now, but I appreciate the old scares too!

Four things freaked me out in the Wizard of Oz: (1) the Wizard, (2) the flying monkeys, (3) the evil apple trees, and (4) the witch! These didn't scare me to the point where I ever refused to watch the movie. In fact, I think I enjoyed being scared because I watched this movie practically every day when I was a kid. The Wizard freaked me out when he talked through the projection thing on the wall because he was super loud! All that fire, smoke and other loud sounds scared me too!

The flying monkeys freaked me out because they were monkeys that could fly...  That's just not right! Monkeys should not have the ability to fly! The monkeys look very strange and evil, even if you were to remove the wings! They have blue fur and freakish faces. It actually still frightens me to watch the part where the flying monkeys come and beat up the Scarecrow and take off with Dorothy and poor Toto. Leave sweet little Toto alone, you bullying flying monkeys!

I hate the apple trees that Dorothy and Scarecrow stumble upon during their walk on the yellow brick road. Apple trees should not have the ability to talk! They definitely shouldn't have the ability to attack, either!

The Wicked Witch of the West is severely deranged. Her constant messed up attitude towards everything is ridiculous. I could kind of understand why she disliked Dorothy, I mean with Dorothy's house accidently landing on and murdering her sister and then Dorothy ends up getting her sister's shoes, that must have been upsetting to witness. It's not like Dorothy did any of this intentionally though! Oh well, what more can you expect from a wicked witch other than insanity and wickedness?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 13: 31 Days of Horror: Misery (1990)

Having a number one fan can be pretty exciting! Someone really looks up to you and thinks you're amazing! On the other hand, it can be petrifying, due to the number fan acting more like a number one stalker. Stalkers are not cool, they are terrifying. You never know when they're going to show up or where they might be watching you from. Imagine having this person keep you hostage and you have no ability to escape or defend yourself! Scary, right?

Misery is about a famous author, Paul Sheldon, who, one day after driving on the icy roads of Colorado after finishing another novel, ends up crashing his car. Paul is severely injured from the crash, but is rescued by a woman, Annie Wilkes, who happens to be a former nurse and his "number one fan."

Annie is an extremely strange woman, very secluded from society and overly sensitive about certain words. She decides to take Paul back to her home in the middle of no where, without telling anyone. At first, she seems intent on helping Paul make a full recovery, but all of that changes after she reads the most recent novel Paul's written about her favorite heroine, Misery, killing her off. This causes Annie to go berserk and torture Paul, while also forcing him to write a novel bringing Misery back to life. Will Paul ever escape her or will he be forced to be her prisoner for the rest of his life?

Misery is a fantastic book and horror movie. The movie is great because of the acting in it. James Caan is hilarious and perfect for the role of Paul Sheldon. However, Kathy Bates is the one who really steals the show. No one, and I mean no one, could have portrayed Annie Wilkes better than Kathy Bates. Kathy gave the performance of a lifetime when she played Annie. She was utterly psychotic and completely believable. She's talked about how that people have actually been afraid of her because of Annie. That's pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Day 12: 31 Days of Horror: Jaws (1975)

Let me just say, it took a lot to make myself find a picture to put in this post. Nothing scares me more than being stuck out in the middle of the ocean in a sinking boat. Well, unless the boat was sinking AND being attacked by a bloodthirsty shark! I would probably die from being scared to death if I was in that sort of situation, which is why Jaws scares the hell out of me.

Sure, the shark doesn't look very real, but I still don't like the looks of it. Mainly because I can imagine it malfunctioning and actually killing me! That's why I will never go on the Jaws ride in Universal Studios. The chances of that mechanical shark malfunctioning and accidently killing people is probably 1 out of some ridiculously high number, but still, even if the chance is small, it's still possible!

I remember watching Jaws for the first time when I was a little kid. It terrified me at the same level as Pinocchio. How is this possible, you ask? Well, like I said, I hate the thought of me being on a sinking boat, especially is something is attacking it! The shark was like Monstro the whale, so I hated it! Strangely, it didn't keep me away from swimming in the lake, pool, or ocean. What can I say, I love to swim. However, it did make me panic a few times while I was swimming, so I'd run out of there if I saw something or if algae got tangled around my foot. Definitely thought it was Jaws trying to kill me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 11: 31 Days of Horror: Village of the Damned (1960)

Like I was talking about during the Orphanage post, little kids in horror movies are creepy! Some of the creepiest kids are in Village of the Damned. The similar awful blond hairstyles and frightening glowing eyeballs that all the kids have makes them a bit unsettling to be around. Not to mention, all of them were mysteriously conceived while everyone in the village was under a deep sleep and all have the ability to brainwash any of the other villagers if they decide to stare into their eyes...

I can't decide what these children are. I think that they are aliens, but why do they all have to have such ugly hairstyles? A weird alien must have been responsible for impregnating all the women or a crazy evil scientist. The kids are clearly intellectually superior compared to the rest of the villagers. That, along with their ability to read minds, makes them a huge threat to the society.

This horror movie is awesome because Martin Stephens is in it. Martin plays David in the film and he is one of the best child actors I've ever seen. Another notable role he plays is Miles in The Innocents (1961). He really put himself into each of these roles and was absolutely believable in both of them, which is why the characters he plays are so petrifying.