Sis and her husband, BiL7, came up from Texas for the weekend. They were informed that in this house, at this time of year, by god Six Weeks of Halloween participation is mandatory. Not that they weren't agreeable. Joining us: my mother. Yep, mom. Watching horror movies with mom. That also meant homemade vegetarian lasagna replaced the traditional pizza and bacon cheddar fries, which my arteries are likely thankful for. After reading off a few dozen horror titles from my collection, we finally picked one to start.
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III trailer (1990)
Werewolves on Wheels trailer (1971)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror: Dial 'Z' for Zombies" (1992)
Martin (1976) directed by George A. Romero
My second favorite vampire flick after Near Dark. One thing I noticed this time around was the role of religion in the film. "There's no real magic," Martin declares repeatedly, demonstrating this by eating the garlic his cousin Cuda has hung in the house and touching a crucifix to his cheek. Cousin Cuda holds the diametrically opposite belief; he's a traditional Catholic and staunch believer in real vampires. When Cuda asks the new, young priest -- played by Romero himself -- to perform an exorcism on Martin, the priests laughs the idea off and Cuda is forced to recruit an old priest for the task. Young versus old, traditionalist versus modernist and believers versus non-believers are themes that run throughout the background of the film.
I don't think Romero is a believer himself ("For me, tribalism and religion are basically the big reasons we’re in trouble. Patriotism, tribalism, and religion.") and I don't think there's any real magic in the world of the film. This makes the ending of the film particularly interesting. In the end, the evil is stopped by the old, traditionalist, believer when Cuda kills Martin by pounding a stake through his heart. Though he did this in the mistaken belief that Martin was a vampire, he was also the only person on the planet to believe, correctly, that Martin was a monster. So too, I think, Romero may be saying: though the religious do good works in the mistaken belief it will bring favor with their deity, that doesn't make it any less of a positive thing. (9/10)
God Told Me To trailer (1976)
Blood Spattered Bride / I Dismember Mama trailer (1974)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror: The Devil and Homer Simpson" (1993)
The Mothman Prophecies (2002) directed by Mark Pellington
For my money, the Mothman is what a "real" monster would be like. It's not human, so its motivations are utterly incomprehensible. To encounter it is to flirt with insanity. You can't stop it with holy water or silver bullets; it's probably not even corporeal. You can barely describe it after seeing it. Utter powerlessness in the face of something you can't hope to understand is truly scary.
This was fun to watch a second time. I had my eye out for both the flash frames of the Mothman that appear periodically and for shots with pairs of red lights (recalling the Mothman's eyes) in them. I wasn't disappointed. Red lights abound and the flashes we get of the Mothman are creepy. I think Pellington's music video background helped him here. He's used to dealing with quick, surreal imagery. (8/10)
Near Dark trailer (1987)
The Shining fake trailer (2005)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror: The Shinning"(1994)
Masters of Horror: "Dance of the Dead" (2005) directed by Tobe Hooper
A post-apocalypse. A wild ride into the night. Zombies. And Bobby Englund hamming it up. I love this episode. (9/10)
The Halloween Jones Soda flavor of the week was Buried Pomegranate, a new flavor introduced this year. I've never eaten a real pomegranate before, so I don't really know if the liquid in this can was an abomination upon nature, or an eerie reproduction. It was perfectly drinkable, though. Not a bad change from your regular cherry/lemon/orange fruit-flavored pops, I suppose. Kinda tastes like, maybe, plum soda or peach soda or something like that. Still, I'm not going to cry if it gets replaced next year.
I was bit surprised: I though the Mothman would freak my sister out the most, but she found Martin more disturbing. I guess any monster -- no matter how bizarre -- can't really compete against "that quiet kid is secretly an insane serial killer" for things to fear in real life. Mom was also not a fan of Martin. It's not really her usual type of movie, fair enough (she thought it was "bloody"). I think picking a follow-up movie starring the (dreamy and her same age) Richard Gere probably made up for that. BiL7, I could tell from the loud laughter, enjoyed The Simpsons clips. I triple-dipped on those this week because I knew he's a big fan of the show. As you can see, I went for the cream of the crop, there, choosing the best shorts for the best three episodes (IMHO, anyway, and saving "The Raven" for October 31st).