31 October 2009

6WH: October 31st ** HALLOWEEN **

Happy Halloween! Today was a good day. Ate some farmer's market pumpkin pie. Finally convinced my daughter to wear her costume and got some good photos. Carved some pumpkins. Got more trick 'r treaters to the house than ever and likely will be known as "the guy who will let you take a giant handful of candy." And, naturally, I watched some horror movies:

Merrie Melodies: "Scaredy Cat" (1948)
nine inch nails: "the perfect drug" (1997)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror VI: Attack of the 50 Ft. Eyesores" (1995)

Event Horizon (1997) directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
From IMDb's trivia on this movie: "Paramount didn't officially greenlight the film until 10 weeks before production was due to begin. This meant that the production design was unnecessarily rushed and was the reason why many leading production designers turned the film down." Damn, I hope production designer Joseph Bennett got some kind of award for this film, then. The design of the Event Horizon is fantastic. It's better, I'm willing to say, than the Nostromo, the only other haunted cathedral-like spaceship I can think of. From the cruel, stainless steel medical bay to the medieval-looking gravity drive room to the subtly coffin-shaped doors, it's all made to unnerve.

The movie itself is a nice Haunting meets Hellraiser slice of sci-fi horror. A few of the lines get a little cheezy (describing the dimension the EH travels through as "pure evil" is pushing things), but the cruelty of the ship on its occupants makes up for this for the most part. I dig the recurring theme of characters scooping out their own eyes because they can't handle the horrors they've seen. A bit lovecraftian, that. (7/10)

Merrie Melodies: "Claws for Alarm" (1954)
VAST: "Pretty When You Cry" (1998)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror V: The Shinning" (1994)

Night of the Creeps: Director's Cut (1986) directed by Fred Dekker
I'd somehow missed seeing this one for all these years. I love Monster Squad, but I guess I never looked up what other movies Dekker made back in the day. Based on the love Creeps gets from folks in horrorland, I blind-bought the blu-ray this week just to watch on Halloween. I was not disappointed; it fits in well with the rest of my '80s horror collection.

Man, Tom Atkins kicks ass in this one. Creeps easily displaces Halloween 3 and The Fog as my favorite of his films. You can tell he had a blast playing Detective Cameron in this movie. I should answer the phone at work with "thrill me."

I think part of the reason folks like this one -- outside of the Atkin's Cameron and the awesome zombies-with-space-slugs-in-their-brains thing -- is that it's a geek wish-fulfillment tale. The dorky guy not only gets the girl in the end, but he gets to roast douchebag frat guys with a flamethrower. What's not to love? (8/10)

Merrie Melodies: "Jumpin' Jupiter" (1955)
Rob Zombie: "American Witch (animated)" (2006)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror: The Raven" (1990)

The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror XX" (2009) directed by Mike B. Anderson & Matthew Schofield
Wow! A Simpsons halloween special airs before halloween? Will wonders ever cease? Maybe due to that fact alone, this was the best "Treehouse" in many years. The first segment, "Dial 'M' for Murder or Press '#' to Return to Main Menu," obviously parodied Hitchcock. It was also done in black and white, which I don't think they've ever done in a halloween episode before. It looked good. There were tons and tons of Hitch references to chew on in this one. I loved it. "Don't Have a Cow Mankind" parodied 28 Days Later. It was nice to have another zombie tale added to the "Treehouse" canon. I watch "Dial 'Z' for Zombie" every Halloween. The final segment, "There's No Business Like Moe Business," I wasn't so keen on. It's a musical vaguely inspired by Sweeney Todd and not terribly horror-ish, though the idea of blood-infused beer is pretty gross. (7/10)

The Real Ghostbusters: "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) directed by Richard Raynis
Ah, The Real Ghostbusters: one of the reasons I'm a horror fan. As a nine-year-old kid watching this show, I was blown away. Other than Slimer, it took its ghostly subject quite seriously for a Saturday morning cartoon. This episode is one that has always stuck in my mind since then. Watching it 23 years later, I was surprised at how much I remembered. Ah, memories... (7/10)

Halloween (1978) directed by John Carpenter
For the eleventh year in a row, I watched Halloween. I think it's pretty damned close to a perfect horror movie. This year, I really paid attention to the theme of watching. In the beginning of the movie, Carpenter puts Myer's clown mask over the camera lens and forces the audience to be him as he kills his sister. Though the rest of the movie is masked-lens-free, I don't think the audience ever stops seeing things through the killer's eyes. Often, Carpenter will pull way, way back and watches, for example, the teen-aged girls walking home from school from a distance. As the audience, we're voyeuristically spying on these future victims in exactly the same way Myers has been doing in the film.

By the time I got to this film, it was nearly 3 in the morning (pre-fall back). Watching the movie while drifting in and out of a light doze is fun. While my eyes were closed, my brain would go off on tangents related to the film. Then, I would snap awake and have to readjust my thoughts as to where the film really is. Kinda surreal. (9/10)

It was good six weeks. I managed to watch 55 movies over the 42 days. That beats the hell out of any of the previous six years I've been doing this. I got caught up on a lot of this decade's horror movies I hadn't gotten around to seeing yet. That feels good. Still, I haven't seen any of the Underworld, Resident Evil or Sam Raimi's Ghost House films yet. Ah well. Next year's only 46 weeks away. For now, I'm looking forward to watching some non-scary shows. Firefly and Serenity, here I come...

R2 and Obi-Wan Hanging Out