Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween Traditions....what better way to celebrate Election Day.

You know 90 minutes on the train everyday really yielded a lot of time to devote to writing. Going to have to figure this new situation out better.

Either way another HALLOWEEN has come and gone. The evolution of Samhain into Halloween is a gloriously pagan tale that has intrigued people for ages. For us, it marks the beginning of the holiday season and of course out yearly Halloween marathon. This year we introduced the youngest of the sisters Funkowitz to the celebration and in doing so we were able to enjoy some great Halloween moments as we exposed her to one of my favorite yearly traditions.

This year was all about a broad spectrum. Rather than focus on pure frights, I wanted to delve into the diversity that "horror" has to offer as well get through some classics of the genre. Easily one of the most successful we've had. Here's our list with some quick commentary. I hope you all had a great Halloween.

Trick R' Treat - Michael Dougherty
Great way to start off the month with this underrated celebration of Halloween. Filled with great character actors and plenty of fun, this is a great way to introduce the spirit of Halloween.

2. The Beyond - Lucio Fulci
On the other side of the spectrum we have Italian horror maestro Fulci, at his grotesque best giving us a tale of hell on earth. Zombies, and demons, and spiders and ghosts abound in this "collection of images" as Fulci calls it. The loose plot and Italian style dubbing definitely didn't resonate with the uninitiated sisters Funkowitz. But the brilliance of imagery is undeniable.

3. Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein - Charles Barton
An absolute classic and completely timeless. My favorite collection of monsters on film. If you haven't seen this Universal released a great Blu Ray recently, I strongly suggest you pick it up.

4. Cabin in the Woods - Drew Goddard
Celebration and condemnation of horror films and how formulaic they have become. Whedon and Goddard have crafted a supremely entertaining love letter that has its fair share of gore and more than enough monsters for any movie goer.

5. Ed Wood - Tim Burton
Going behind the scenes with Burton's fairy tale telling of the b movie master Ed Wood. This rather optimistic take on the infamous director gives us a look at the outcasts and misfits behind the scenes of the schlocky monster films of yesterday. Like I said trying to hit all aspects of the horror industry.

6. Cabin Fever - Eli Roth
Nothing like a good teens in the woods story to set the frame of a great horror film. Eli Roth burst onto the scene with this nostalgic tale, which reinterpreted the slasher film as a flesh eating virus. Love the references in this movie, underrated in my opinion.

7. Hostel II - Eli Roth
Not sure how we ended up watching so much Eli Roth, but I like the guy and think he has a great knowledge of the genre. He definitely has no qualms about going for the jugular. This sequel to his torture porn original expands on the world glimpsed at in the first one. Rather than being just a retread of the first film he gives us an idea of the expansive reach this company has. I actually prefer the original, but Roth gets a lot of shit for his torture porn, when he's actually doing it well.

8. V/H/S - Multiple directors
The new anthology film from quite a few up and coming horror directors. This is extremely low budget and really takes a look at the multiple types of found footage films there could be. As to be expected the film is uneven. Ti West with his story of a struggling relationship on the road is a standout entry that goes to some pretty dark places. Joe Swanberg also turns in a creepy ghost story told over Skype, with a turn that is surprising rather than insulting. Radio Collective however turns in the final film which is easily the most entertaining and most fun to watch, what they were able to accomplish is impressive and the story loves up to the technical prowess. The framing story as well as the first film and the middle film leave much to be desired.

9. The Intruders - Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Really excited to see where this guys career takes him. Unfortunately this film is as forgettable as they come. A kind of ok ghost story with some ok visuals, that just loses whatever potential it had with a lackluster and honestly confusing ending...so it was all in their head? Does that mean the psychiatrist's intervention was right?

10. Death Proof - Quentin Tarantino
Quentin's entry into the grind house experiment plays like a fetish film for all of his regular obsessions. But while Kill Bill was post modern to an extreme here there is an overwhelming sense of fun throughout. If you never thought Quentin was actually obsessed with legs and feet, well this is the film to turn you around.

11. The American Scream - Michael Stephenson
The follow up documentary from the director of Best Worst Movie. This film takes a sympathetic look at those who call themselves "home haunters". The people that take decorating their house for Halloween to the next level. What Stephenson does so well, as in his last film, is show us these eccentrics, these weirdos, but most of all he shows us the passion they all have for creating a memory for one night. Really excited to have this one in the rotation, like I said trying to run the gamut of what Halloween had to offer, this at the end definitely was a nice way to being winding down.

12. The Shining - Stanley Kubrick
Wanted to finish with an absolute classic of the horror genre, it came down to this or Rosemary's Baby. Both would've been great choices, but I went here as Kubrick's tale of a descent into madness is so downright creepy and uncomfortable that its hard to not let the film seep into your soul. Jack Nicholson gives high strung and crazy better than anyone and the result is one of the best movies of all time and easily top five horror films of all time.

Hope you had a great Halloween, now it's time to vote.


One last thought - next year I HAVE to work in Suspiria.

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