It's almost time! Halloween comes around again. As we get pounded by wind and rain from that Frankenstorm! It's time for some horror films to take our minds of the storm outside. Man, I'm hoping the power stays on. Anyway, on to the Halloween horrors!
10-Wake Wood (2011)
I'm hesitant to watch many of the horror films made in the last ten years. Often they're filled with unlikable, downright stupid characters and cookie cutter plots, that or it's a damn remake. But sifting through all the horror turds out there, once in awhile you'll come across something highly original and intriguing. Wake Wood falls into the latter category. The plot has echos of Wicker Man and Pet Semetery without seeming like a rip off. The story and characters are mature, dealing with grief and loss and what it can drive somebody to do. The Irish setting is beautiful and eerie at times. The ending twist is dark and feels like it's from a '70's horror film. The "new" Hammer has scored a winner with this one.
So, it's Christmas time in Wisconsin and pissed off Samurai Ghost has crashed Ted and Dolly's family reunion. The cold, drab looking woodland has that October chill in spades. The people, the fashions, the furniture, all pure '80's. It's a slasher that wants to be something a bit more. It doesn't hit the mark, but it's so bizarrely entertaining you won't mind. Made in Wisconsin by a French director and edited in Paris. This crazy little film needs a DVD posthaste, last time I checked you could find it on YouTube.
8-Day of the Dead (1985)
With that storm smashing the East Coast, rain and wind rattling the house as I write this, it feels very apocalyptic. Day may not be the best of George Romero's zombie bunch but it's damn close to the top. It steadily grows on me with each viewing. I miss the days of practical gore effects, nothing like Tom Savini going all out on the blood and guts. Dark, witty and full of Romero's trademark magic . What more could you want in a zombie Apocalypse?
7-The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
Some films just burn themselves into your mind after you see them, making you think about them long after you viewed it. Poughkeepsie Tapes is one of these. Perhaps the creepiest, most disturbing "Found Footage" horror film I've seen. Defiantly not for those easily offended or disgusted.
6-Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson
Now for something a little different. What's better then sitting down on a cold fall night and reading scary stories? This amazing hardcover collects horror legend Bernie Wrightson's Creepy and Eerie short stories, color illustrations, and frontispieces in one damn nice looking book! His infamous "Jenifer" is included, as well as Wrightson's full-color "Muck Monster" and adaptations of Poe and Lovecraft classics. This is a close to perfect collection of horror stories.
Oh Canada, you've produced so many great horror films over the years. Prom Night, My Bloody Valentine, Rituals, Curtains, the Ginger Snaps films, David Cronenberg films. Just to name a few. Add Ghostkeeper to the cool Canadian horror mix. It has lots of atmosphere, a creepy isolated, snowbound mansion setting and a neat little mystery. Would make for a wonderful double bill with House of The Devil.
4-Count Dracula (1977)
My favorite adaptation of Dracula is this BBC miniseries. Louis Jourdan makes for an awesome Drac. He doesn't look like how you'd expect Dracula to look. He wears a simple black suit and only has a cape a few times. His performance isn't over the top, his Count appears normal at first. The menace is subtle. Dracula is no love sick crybaby here. Frank Finlay is wonderful as Professor Van Helsing. He steals every scene he's in. Bosco Hogan as Jonathan Harker is no Keanu Reeves and that's a good thing. The sets are wonderfull. The castle creepy. The homes look like actual homes people would have. The cemetery they used is beautiful, and the scenes filmed in Whitby are fantastic.
3-The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Never has one film captured a descent into hell as well as Chain Saw Massacre. There's much to love. There's Leatherface. The Hitchhiker. Cook. The dinner scene. The grittiness of the house interior contrasted with the beauty of the outdoors. I love the fact that a good portion of the film is set during the daytime. That dark humor that runs through the film. Tobe Hooper's wonderful use of oddball characters. The old drunk in the graveyard. The window washer at the gas station. There's poor, annoying as hell invalid Franklin, such an un-P.C. character. Abused by everything and everybody around him. Leatherface's first appearance in that doorway. That shot that follow's Pam as she approaches the house. I love the simple ending of the film. No twist, no big surprise. Simply madness. Sally's crazed laughing and Leatherface's chainsaw dance. Sally ends up like a character from an H.P Lovecraft story. Shattered and driven mad by the events she's witnessed.
2-The House That Dripped Blood (1971)
Amicus Productions, the masters of the horror anthology. No one else could top them. House, in my opinion is their best. Written by Robert Bloch, the story deals with a house with a diabolical past. The four stories are told to a police inspector investigating the disappearance of the last tenant, a famous horror actor (Jon Pertwee). Ingrid Pitt shows up as a very busty vampire, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee both get their own story. All four stories and the wrap around are strong.
1-Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
A yearly staple of my Halloween viewing. Sure there's no Myers on the loose, however there's that insanely catchy Silver Shamrock jingle. I'll never understand how someone could steal part of Stonehenge, but what the hell. That's one of Halloween III's charms, along with the all powerful mustache king Tom Atkins and a slinky and sexy Stacey Nelkin. The score by John Carpenter is also on of the best of the series and highly recommenced. With a new special edition out, it's the perfect time to revisit Santa Mira.
This week's monster brawl is one I wish old Universal had got around to making! House of The Mummy! Since We can't have Two of the monsters be by the same actor for this, I'm going with the Glen Strange version of The Monster. Check out the groovy Basil Gogos portraits!
Last week's winner
Hammer's Drac walked away with the win. The Werewolf came in a close second, The Monster trailed with one vote.
This week and next the Smackdown will feature two "Dream" battles for me. This one is a "What If" of sorts. What if Hammer had done a "House o"f film with their monsters, like Universal. I present you the "House of Hammer" monster brawl. Dracula, The Werewolf and Frankenstein's monster.
Last week's winner
A New Nightmare's Freddy beat Uber Jason three to one!