17 October 2009

6WH: October 17th

Chef Gregory joins us for a second night of horror movies. Aided by some take-out Indian food, Korean snack cakes and some mulled apple cider (yeah, weird), we ventured into horrorland:

Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (2005) trailer
Basket Case (1981) trailer
Merrie Melodies: "Hair-Raising Hare" (1946)

Tales from the Crypt: "As Ye Sow" (1993) directed by Kyle MacLachlan
Nothing surprising here as far as Crypt stories go. A man suspects that his wife is cheating on him. He hires a detective who fingers the priest at her church. He hires a hitman to take the priest out in front of her to teach her a lesson. That this man ends up dressed as a priest, in the church and with his wife when the hitman shows up can't really surprise anyone very much. More interesting to me is that Special Agent Dale Cooper directed this episode. He never got a shot to sit in the chair on Twin Peaks since it was canceled so quickly. Looks like he didn't like the job so well, as this was his first and last directing credit. (6/10)

Blood Spattered Bride / I Dismember Mama (1974) trailer
Thanksgiving (2007) fake trailer
Johnny Bravo: "Frankenbravo" (2001)

Trick 'r Treat (2007) directed by Michael Dougherty
It was a full two years ago that I showed Chef Gregory the trailer for this. "That was cool! When's it coming out?" I remember him asking. Little did we know it'd be 24 months later before we'd be able to watch it. Was it worth the wait? Can it possibly stand aside Carpenter's Halloween as an all-time Halloween classic? I'm not sure I can answer that. I think I'm going to need to watch it again to really know how I feel about the film as a whole.

I do know that there are aspects of the movie I like quite a bit. I love that it boldly attempts to add to the mythology of the holiday by way of the "rules of Halloween":
  1. Wear a costume
  2. Hand out treats
  3. Never blow out a jack-o-lantern
  4. Always check your candy
In most of the stories in this anthology, breaking these rules results in your brutal death. I liked that the stories intersected with each other -- though it sometimes feels like the lady in the robot costume is everywhere -- and that the stories leap around Pulp Fiction-style in time. I think the atmosphere presented in the movie captures the spirit of Halloween nicely (I'm glad this film doesn't look like summer in California with fake leaves being throw from off screen!).

I'm not sure I understand the point of the comic book stuff. The beginning credits suggest the film is really a story in a comic book and the transitions between the stories use comic-style "Earlier..." and "Later than night..." captions. I suppose, like the ill-conceived director's cut of The Warriors, it was meant to spin the movie as a not-so-serious slice of fun. Why the comic format should suggest this in a world with Maus and The Sandman, I'm not sure. I don't think it was necessary here, anyway. This film should be able to stand as a film without having to reference other artistic media.

I liked the movie, but I wasn't as wowed by it as I was hoping. Maybe the long wait and nigh-universal high reviews ruined it for me, but I don't think I'll be able to tell if this is a holiday classic until I've seen it again. Maybe I'll pop it in again on October 31st and see if it affects me differently? Still, I feel like I can't rate it less than: (8/10)

Season's Greetings (1996)
Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) trailer
The Curious Dr. Humpp (1971) trailer
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror IV: The Devil and Homer Simpson" (1993)

Deadgirl (2008) directed by Marcel Sarmiento & Gadi Harel
Chef Gregory and I agreed: better than we expected it to be. I thought this movie was going to be a lot goofier due to the fact that it was written by the man who wrote Citizen Toxie. It's actually a fairly serious examination of how power and sex warp people's thinking. A couple of high school students wander into an abandoned mental hospital and discover a nude woman chained to a table in the basement. It turns out she's a zombie. One of the kids decides to keep her there as a plaything. The other is disgusted by the idea. Their conflict drives the rest of the movie, which also involves asshole jocks, unrequited love and what use rotten bullet holes in a living dead woman have. Disturbing and thought-provoking. (8/10)

Poe Celebrating Halloween