Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Horror Film Roundup

Every year I try and do a week-long run up to Halloween where I spotlight and talk about some of my favourite horror movies. Since I'm coming in a little late this year, and seeing as I've been watching a lot of horror movies in the last few months, I decided I would make a list of those movies and post clips (via YouTube) for your viewing pleasure.

To start off with, I've just finished watching George A. Romero's Martin, a strange little vampire picture that is more of a mood piece than a senses-shattering shocker. Similar in pacing to Night of the Living dead, I think. Slow and atmospheric.

Anyway, here's the trailer:

Dark Water I sort of came to by accident but I'm glad I did. Proper moody ghost stories are in short supply these days and to see one executed this well and taking itself seriously made me happy. The cast is top notch with Jennifer Connelly putting in a great performance as the haunted mother, Dougray Scott playing her estranged husband and Pete Postlethwaite as the creepy superintendant. It may be dark and a little oppressive, but it's not gory and it's not torture porn so it's the kind of movie you could show to a group of people who may not be big on horror movies and still keep them as friends.

Here's a scene from the movie:

Clive Barker's Hellraiser was a movie that really left an impression on me when I was younger, but it wasn't what I would call a great one. While I would never forget its blood, its visual design or its crazy looking Cenobites, I always remembered it as being a little over the top. Watching it again, recently, I've changed my opinion of it somewhat. Sure it's over the top, but it's meant to be that way. Barker weaves this twisted love story that is very operatic which is evidenced in the design and the music of the film. It's bombastic, not moody, and coupled with some great performances by the cast it makes for a classic horror flick that I'll be sure to revisit before the next Halloween rolls around.

Here's the opening scene of the movie:

Pulse, like Dark Water started life as a Japanese horror film that was adapted for an American audience. Kristen Bell (known around Jozic HQ as Veronica Mars) was the main draw but the movie turned out better than I expected it to be. Another non-gory mood piece that does, sometimes, slip into 'teen horror flick' territory but manages to hold itself up on the strength of its visuals, its cast and it doesn't have a bad story.

This clip is a bit longer than the rest:

The next two movies are both classic Werewolf movies. The Howling and An American Werewolf in London both made it into my DVD player earlier this month and it had been a while since I had seen either of them so it was a bit of a treat. Both movies hold up after many, many years, and are both funny and scary in equal measure. Different flavours to each one but when you have Landis and Dante at the top of their games, it's hard to go wrong.

Both of these clips are the famous in-camera transformation scenes from each movie. First clip is from The Howling with effects by Rob Bottin:

And American Werewolf with effects by Rick Baker:

I found Resident Evil: Apocalypse for a bargain so I picked it up. I liked the first one for what it was and, although I'd heard terrible things about #2, I figured I would try it out. Turns out it was better than I thought it was but still wasn't good enough to top the first (which should have been no mean feat) despite opening the story and environment up to reflect more of the game elements. It gets better with further viewings, but you kind of have to want to watch it again for that to happen which, I'm told, most people don't.

Oh, well, here's the trailer:

Last on the list is Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors. The third in the series and the second of the Craven written ones (although his script got a serious once-over on this one), Dream Warriors features the return of Nancy to the series and a group of teens who are willing to track Freddy back to the dreamworld where their imaginations give them powers with which they hope to combat and destroy him. Not a bad concept, not a bad film. It's a fun popcorn slasher flick if ever there was one.

Here's the opening scene of the movie:

I haven't quite made it to the 10 I was aiming for, but if I count the 'getting to them' discs, that will flesh it out perfectly. So, while I haven't watched them just yet, I have Evil Dead (the original) and Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (I know, I know, but I haven't seen it in years and I found it for a couple of dollars in a bargain bin) sitting on my desk and I plan to watch those in the next 24 hours.

So, with that, Happy Halloween, folks. Have a great October 31st!


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