Good god, what a beautiful man. "I'll split you from your groin to your gullet." Please do!
Welcome back, folks! Picking up where I left off, here's what I've watched in the second half of October:
October 16- Candyman (1992)
Yes, I'm including a second GIF. It's Tony Todd, how could I not?!
Like I said before, there is no greater mind than that of Clive Barker, and Candyman might just be his magnum opus. Well, it's really Bernard Rose's as he wrote the screenplay and directed it, but it's based on Barker's short story "The Forbidden" and that's good enough for me. Coincidentally, October 16th was the 25th anniversary of the film. Set in Cabrini-Green, a housing project in Chicago, Candyman features real gang members and real bees, and a really great cast. This movie is a masterpiece and easily one of my favourite films of the 90's. Bernard Rose perfectly captures the exquisite pain of this story that's sure to be burned on your brain for a very long time. And speaking of exquisite pain...
October 17- Hellraiser (1987)
I actually revisited this classic not long ago, in late spring or early summer, but that Hellraiser documentary made me want to do it all over again. And what other film deserves to follow Candyman? I'm not going to discuss this film at any length, but it was a game changer that still holds up well. One of my personal favourites that I highly recommend, obviously.
October 17- Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Hellbound is the Godfather Part II of horror sequels. It truly is just as good as the first, and many fans actually prefer it. I, for one, do not but I certainly enjoy it equally. Kirsty's back in this installment and unfortunately for her, so are Julia and the cenobites. We are also introduced to a new character, Tiffany, who adds an interesting element to the story. There's something fresh and exciting about about this sequel that is just as stunning, clever and disturbing as the original.
October 18- Creepshow The Series (2019, episode 4)
The Companion/ Lydia Layne's Better Half
This might be the strongest episode yet, with both segments offering up some good old fashioned scares and some great performances. I was especially excited to see Canadian actress Trisha Helfer (Battlestar Gallactica, Walk All Over Me). She's such a badass. This one gave me some serious 80's vibes and was tons of fun.
October 18- Paperhouse (1989)
Another Bernard Rose film, and much like Candyman this one is super unique and disturbing. I cannot believe that I haven't seen this until now. If I watched it as a child when it debuted, it probably would have been my favourite movie. It's super dark and haunting and the young actors do an amazing job. I wouldn't skip this over if I were you. It's not a good time gore fest or anything like that, and likely not lively enough for a gathering on Halloween night, but it might be perfect for a cold November's evening, cozied up with tea and a blanket.
October 19- Thirst (1979)
When a synopsis reads, "The descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by a cult..." you think you're going to be for a wild ride, but this isn't even like bumper cars. With the exception of a few cool scenes, and the fact that the protagonist looks a lot like my counsellor who I adore, it was pretty much a snooze fest and certainly one I won't be recommending.
October 20- Halloween: Feast of the Dying Sun (2005)
An enjoyable documentary that centers on the origins of Halloween and associated pagan folklore. This would be a good choice for something playing in the background on Halloween day, while putting the finishing touches on decorating and carving. I especially loved the parts about mischievous fairy debauchery. My mind wandered right away to True Blood and I now realize that their writers incorporated many elements of traditional folklore into their story.
October 20- Body Bags (1993)
This anthology got off to a great start. The first segment, "The Gas Station" was my favourite of the three, which isn't exactly so good because it meant that the rest of the film was a step down. Two steps down. The middle segment is the weakest, the third is pretty good, but just a little too mean-spirited for me, at least for Halloween.
October 21- The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015)
This movie scared the pants off of me. I didn't really know anything about it going in, other than the fact that many people seemed to like it. Now I know why. I highly recommend going in blind like I did.
October 22- The Little Rascals Scary Spooktacular! (1938)
Such a cute little film! Four mini films in one, actually, and super fun for the whole family. I recommend checking it out if you haven't seen it.
October 23- Scream (1996)
I hadn't seen this in ages, yet I can still pretty much recite it word-for-word. This movie is so much fun, and that opening scene is iconic. I will never tire of the horror movie references, especially the Elm Street ones. Scream would make a fantastic Halloween party movie. The pacing is perfect and the mix of camp, dark humour and scares is just right. Also, the movie Halloween (1978) plays in the background, so you can't go wrong.
October 24- Creepshow The Series (2019, episode 5)
Night of the Paw/Times is Tough in Musky Holler
This episode was my least favourite so far. The first segment had promise and some cool spooky scenes, but it just fell flat for me. Same goes for the second, actually. The effects were super cool and the concept was fun, but ultimately it just didn't work. While I do enjoy the comic book panels and illustrations in the Creepshow series, this segment had way too much exposition with the voiceover. It was kind of annoying. Too bad because it got off to a great start.
October 25- Night of 1000 Cats (1972)
I actually didn't watch this movie. I turned it off early on, after a disturbing scene involving animal abuse. I then came across an article about cats being tortured and dying during the filming. Don't watch this movie. I thought it might be fun and campy, but it's just dumb and gross. I hope Amazon Prime removes it from their catalog.
October 25- Haunt (2019)
This would be a fun movie to throw on with a group of friends before heading out to a haunted house. It didn't exactly blow me away but it was entertaining. There were some good haunts in there too, one in particular, that was simple yet chilling and I hope to encounter something similar in a future haunted house.
October 26- The Old Dark House (1932)
I threw this on as a background movie while I made treat bags, but it's really cool. For something I was sort of half paying attention to, I must say that it was super entertaining. Plus, it features Boris Karloff in his first starring role.
October 26- The Thing (1982)
Such a classic. You really can't go wrong with this one, although I tend to throw it on during the winter more than Fall. The practical effects in this movie give me life. It's absolutely a game changer, and also the first movie I watched (when I was probably too young) that made me afraid to fall asleep. That's what makes it a great Halloween watch. If you're not at least a little creeped out when you're nuzzled in your bed, is it really Halloween at all?
October 27- Trick 'r Treat (2007)
I watched this with the commentary on, while I did other festive things like tending to costume details and carving a pumpkin. I also watched the special features, which are super cool. I highly recommend you do the same, especially if you've seen this movie pretty much every year since it came out like me. It's always fun learning about behind the scenes stuff in movies. I actually met Mark Freeborn, the production designer for Trick 'r Treat once. He lives on a nearby island and I wound up at his garage sale totally by accident. He and his wife are lovely people who both work in the industry. I'm sure many of you would be familiar with their work on The X-Files, Bates Motel and Breaking Bad. I picked up a few things at that garage sale, including a scratching post for my cat Beans that Mark made himself.
October 28- The Lost Boys (1987) I can't think of any October in recent memory when I didn't watch this movie. An all-time favourite, and one of the best vampire films ever made. I love the cast, I love the characters and the setting is pure magic.
October 29-Phantasm (1979)
Let the Tall Man into your heart this holiday season. I'm sure glad I did. I frickin' love this movie, and I hadn't seen it for many years so it was extra fun to revisit. I recently found out that the film was supposed to be over 3 hours in length, but was trimmed back to a cool 89 minutes. That's crazy! I wish I could see the rest of the footage, but apparently most of it is lost.
October 30- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The most sincere Halloween film. Sometimes you just feel like switching gears. Also, it occurred to me that I hadn't watched it yet this year. Plus I was tired and wanted to watch something short so I could just make tea, light candles, burn incense, relax and enjoy the final evening before Halloween.
My plans for the big day are to carve my last pumpkin while watching Halloween (1978), roast more pumpkin seeds, put the finishing touches on decorating and costume details, watch Halloween III Season of the Witch (1982 ) and hand out candy. After that I'll be checking out the new episode of Creepshow, which I'm really excited about because it's directed by Tom Savini! I can almost guarantee that there will be another horror movie thrown in there during the day and/or night, but I'm going to let that be a game-time decision. As for what I recommend...I mean, whatever floats your boat, but I feel it's always essential to watch something from the Halloween franchise on Halloween day. I also highly recommend watching Trick 'r Treat if you haven't already. Anything that takes place on or around Halloween is always a good idea too, such as E.T. which is great fun for the whole family. Of course there are so many other options, and I look forward to hearing what everyone picked.
Halloween is a special time. For me, what makes it extra special is that, unlike Christmas where it's traditionally about spending time with family, Halloween is about spending time with strangers. You open your door to people you presumably don't know, give children treats, say hi to their parents, chat about costumes and share in the festive spirit of the season. For someone like me who has social anxiety, that really means a lot. Being able to talk to strangers and share laughs while wearing a spooky costume somehow puts me in my happy place. Here's wishing that, whatever it is you choose to do on Halloween night, you find yourself in your happy place. Be safe, be scary, and remember to keep your pets inside.
For those of you who decided to be my victim by reading these two posts, I thank you very much. Now I will leave you with some festive music from King Diamond. I still can't believe that I'll be seeing him live in Vancouver next month. I'll be sure to tell you guys all about it. Now go forth and be creepy, and have a spooktacular Halloween!
It's a waste of good suffering.
Hey guys, I'm having a good day! Actually, it's been a good week. This hasn't happened for a very long time, and for that reason I am determined to celebrate to the fullest. I won't be partying or anything like that, but rather taking the time to appreciate where I'm at and be grateful. I know it won't last forever, and maybe won't even last another week, so I am going to sink into this moment and enjoy.
As we're now in the thick of Fall, my love of horror and all things spooky has kicked into overdrive. I don't usually commit to watching something scary or Halloween themed every single day in October, but this year I decided to. I also thought that I would take advantage of a month-long free trial with Shudder. There's a lot of good shit on there, people, and I'm going to have a hard time resisting a continued subscription when this month is over. I've been watching tons of movies, TV shows and specials on Shudder, as well as watching films from my own collection. In the spirit of the season, I thought I would share what I've seen during the first half of October. Here's what I've watched so far and what I think.
October 1- Critters: A New Binge (2019, episodes 1-4)
October 2- Critters: A New Binge (2019, episodes 5-8)
I don't know what you guys think, but to me this series is worth a watch. As a kid, I loved Critters so there's an element of nostalgia there, but this is a straight up gory good time. If you're looking for something silly and gross that you don't have to put too much thought into, I highly recommend it. Plus, at roughly 9 minutes per episode, you're not investing much of your time. I say go for it!
October 3- Tourist Trap (1979)
This is a old time favourite, and one that I tend to watch in the summer more than Fall, but I was sick and needed a comfort film. Those of you who know of my fascination with mannequins will not find this surprising in the least. I also have an affinity for roadside attractions in small towns, but this little gem might make you think twice about pulling over for a gander.
October 3- Re-Animator (1985)
Based on the Lovecraft tale, this movie is an absolute classic and hits all the marks for me. Weirdness? Check! Gore? Check! Engaging story? Check! Incredible acting? Check! I can't really say enough good things about it, and will continue to recommend it to anyone, especially at this time of year.
October 3- Stagefright or Deliria (1987)
Shout out to Sarah Jane on Twitter for recommending this beauty. I'm such a sucker for stories that take place predominantly in one location, and the theatre is the perfect backdrop for the bloody terror in this tale. This film is stunning. Literally, I was stunned at how good it was, start to finish. Admittedly, I'm not as well versed in Italian cinema as many of you may be but I'm making a point to watch more, and movies like this are certainly encouraging me to do so. Put this on your list immediately.
October 4- Eli Roth's History of Horror (2018, episodes 1-4)
Episode 1: Zombies
Episode 2: Slashers pt 1
Episode 2: Slashers pt 2
Episode 4: The Demon Inside
I will watch Eli Roth in anything because he's a babe, but also because he is the biggest horror nerd and I love seeing him get excited about the genre. He's so knowledgeable and entertaining; you couldn't pick a better host. I'm sure crybabies out there are reading this, sniveling "But, but, what about..." save it. He's the best. I won't go into detail about each episode because this post is going to be long enough as it is, but every single one is worth checking out. Tons of wicked guests, cool stories and so much insight. I can almost bet you will learn something new, maybe even about yourself. I learned why women gravitate toward slasher films and it really resonated with me. This show is awesome and the episodes fly by. Check it out!
October 4- Creepshow The Series (2019, episodes 1 and 2)
Episode 1: Gray Matter/The House of the Head
Episode 2: Bad Wolf Down/The Finger
Not surprisingly, I've been enjoying the hell out of this series. It's very similar in style to the films, with each segment offering a fun throwback as well as something new. Super cool for the OGs and newer horror fans alike. Each vignette from the first two episodes is solid, with my favourite being The House of the Head. Crooked and creepy. Right up my alley.
October 4- Splatter University (1984)
No. Not for me, and I wouldn't recommend it to you either. It's boring as hell. Next!
October 5- Eli Roth's History of Horror (2018, episodes 5-7)
Episode 5: Creatures
Episode 6: Vampires
Episode 7: Ghost Stories
I don't need to repeat myself here. I love the show and I love Eli. These were the final episodes. They were fucking great and I want more. Eli, can you hear me?!
October 5- Nosferatu the Vampyre or Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
This is a beautiful film that I enjoy revisiting. I hadn't seen it in a while and my roomie had never seen it, so that was extra fun. Herzog's films are truly special and this one seemed to blend perfectly into the biting cool air of the season's first chill. If you haven't seen it, you need to, and if you have, you need to again. With such a delicate balance of creep and humour, it's absolutely haunting and delightful.
October 6- Steelers/Ravens game
Always frightening, no matter what the season. We lost. Boo.
October 6- Halloween H20 (1998)
I've always liked this one, aside from Michael's mask. It's got a great cast, including the dreamy Josh Hartnett, and the story is decent. I don't find it as scary as the other installments, but I'm always down to see Laurie Strode kick some Myers ass, unless we're talking about 2018's Halloween. Yikes.
October 7- Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser Part 1 (2015)
There is no greater mind than that of Clive Barker. I love his stories so very much. His novella The Hellbound Heart is incredibly good and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, dark sexy read. Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 are horror perfection in my mind, so it was interesting to get a glimpse into the making of the films. I especially love learning about practical effects and you get all the gory details here, which is awesome. Part one focuses more on the first film and apparently the documentary is 7 hours in its entirety. Whaaaaat?! I'd love to watch the whole thing. If you're a Clive Barker fan and love the Hellraiser films as much as I do, you should probably see this.
October 8- The Gates of Hell or City of the Living Dead (1980)
I'm just going to leave this clip below, without context.
This movie is fucking awesome! I enjoyed every nasty minute of it, and now I have finally completed Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy. Not in the order intended, but I don't think it really matters. I watched The Beyond a year or two ago and have seen The House by the Cemetery many times. I think The Gates of Hell/City of the Living Dead might be my favourite. A must see, especially if you adore practical effects like I do.
October 9- Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2013)
I got a kick out of this, but at four hours in length you better be a big Elm Street fan. If that's you, please watch this. I doubt you'll regret it. Similar to the Hellraiser documentary, this dives into the making of the films, with some fun stories and an interesting look at the special effects. I find it comforting seeing Wes Craven talk film, or talk about anything at all, I suppose. He was such a gem and is sorely missed. RIP, Wes.
October 9- Aenigma (1988)
Back on my Fulci bullshit only a day later. This was another win for me, but I wouldn't put it on the same level as The Gates of Hell. I feel like the premise for the story was better than the execution, but boy oh boy does Fulci deliver on the gore. Bless him. I just discovered that there's a documentary about his films. I'll probably need to check that out soon.
October 10- Creepshow The Series (2019, episode 3 )
Episode 3: All Hallow's Eve/The Man in the Suitcase
I seem to have enjoyed this episode more than others, although I preferred the second segment. I'm not one for spoilers, but I can't not say that Big Boi makes an appearance. I love him so much, and the song "Shutterbug" gets me amped! I'm looking forward to seeing what episode 4 has in store.
October 10- 100 Years of Horror with Christopher Lee (1997)
Episode 1: Dracula and his Desciples
I'm not gonna sit here and hate on Christopher Lee because I'm not an idiot, but this series is not nearly as enjoyable as Eli Roth's. Of course I love Sir Christopher, but this show just doesn't have the gusto. I think it's probably because it seems like Lee is just the host, rather than the mind behind the project. Having said that, I am always happy to hear that voice. Sigh.
October 11- Next of Kin (1982)
This clever Australian film flew under the radar for far too long, until my friend (and twin) Morgan recommended it. Thanks, girl! This film has a creepy, gloomy vibe and some good gore which fits the season perfectly. I really enjoyed the lead performance as well. Great story and effects. Top notch.
October 11- Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019)
A fascinating documentary that I highly recommend. Featuring Ken Foree, Jordan Peele, Tony Todd and many others, Horror Noire takes you on an often uncomfortable journey into the history of black representation in the genre. Man, I felt pretty ignorant watching this. I never really gave much consideration to the racist connotations in films like King Kong, but I can't unsee it now, and I'm grateful for it. A must watch for horror fans, and well, everyone.
October 12- Rabid (1977)
I cannot believe that I never knew about this film until now. It's incredible. I mean, just look at that shot! It is everything. I love David Cronenberg yet this one completely slipped through the cracks. If any of you knew how good this was and never thought to recommend it to me, I will never forgive you. Much like Re-Animator, this checks off every box for me, and if you've seen this movie, the term "box" might make you laugh. It's cool when you watch a film that's been around for a while and realize the influence it's had on some of your favourites. This was very much the case for Rabid. In fact, there was one scene that I figured was influenced by Dawn of the Dead (1978), but this film actually preceded that one. Super intriguing!
October 13- 100 Years of Horror (1997)
Episode 21: Aliens
Episode 22: Blood Drinking Beginnings
Damn, that would make a great title for Dracula's origin story. Again, this was just ok. I mean, I love me some Christopher Lee, but this show misses the mark for me. It kind of jumps all over he place and isn't as entertaining or informative as I would have liked.
October 14- Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser Part 2 (2015)
This was just as entertaining as the first installment, with more of a focus on the second film. Some cool interviews and perspectives, and I loved hearing about how many critics despised the films, claiming that viewers would be driven into therapy and even thought Clive Barker and his team should go to jail. Fuck, that's funny. Doug Bradley called such claims "utter bullshit" and said that nobody will ever wind up in a psychiatrist's office and say "I'm here because I saw Hellraiser." Hah! He's not wrong.
October 14- Salem's Lot (1979)
I hadn't seen this bad boy in ages! It still holds up, though you can certainly tell that it was made for TV. It was a miniseries, so I won't complain about the length, but there were some lulls. Having said that, I still love it. Some scenes are scary as heck and Barlo is, to this day, one of the most badass vampires in film. Also, I forgot how much I relate to the character Mark. Man, that kid rules. His life literally depends upon his knowledge of horror. So cool.
October 15- The Monster Squad (1987)
Eating Halloween candy and watching The Monster Squad took me right back to my childhood. Sorting through candy on Halloween night after trick or treating with the movie on in the background. I can't believe it took me so long to revisit this absolute gem. I can promise it won't be long until the next watch. Predictably, I cried again. I think I'll always cry during this one, just like E.T. But sometimes I love crying while watching movies, don't you?
So that's what I've been watching for the first half of October. I thought I'd cut it off there and write a second post, telling you guys about the second half. Sound good? Don't answer that. I'm doing it anyway because it's keeping me focused and in a good place.
Thanks for reading, y'all. Let me know what you've been watching so far this spooky season. I'm curious to see what everyone's enjoying (and not). If I don't catch you before the big day... happy haunting!
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!