OHC Day 6 part II and Day 7 – Back From The Dead

Well. I suppose I should apologize for abandoning the Challenge for the last several days, but that cold I mentioned in the previous post knocked the life out of me. So, I return from the dead, pushing through a hazy cloud of decongestants (thank you, Mucinex D, for being amazing) and cough syrups (no thanks, hippie homeopathic children’s cough syrup, for not being anything other than delicious) to write again about horror films. So, armed with a box of tissues and plenty of hot tea with honey, I bring you the rest of Day 6 and all of Day 7 of the Challenge.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Directed by Charles T. Barton

A yearly tradition in our house, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is one of several Universal movies where the comedy duo meet a variety of the classic horror monsters. Oddly enough, the title is rather misleading here; although they do meet Frankenstein’s monster, they spend more time rubbing elbows with Larry Talbot/the Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr., reprising his most famous role) and Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi, doing the same) than with the staggering giant. The plot is of course corny – Dracula seeks to revive the monster, but he needs a halfwit’s brain to complete the process. Enter Lou Costello and the ever-exasperated Bud Abbott. Hijinks abound. It’s not a great film, but it’s awful entertaining.

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The Innkeepers (2011) – FTV
Directed by Ti West

pictured: not Dee Wallace

Ti West follows his brilliant recreation of late 70s/early 80s horror, House of the Devil, with an even better feature film that’s similar in pacing but even better in story. The Innkeepers follows Claire and Luke (Sara Paxton, Pat Healy), employees of the Yankee Pedlar Inn on its last open weekend. The inn is purportedly haunted by a jilted bride who hung herself in the 1800s, and since Claire and Luke are intrepid ghost hunters, they spend time building a ghost sighting website and making EVP recordings throughout the long quiet nights. On one of these evenings, Claire records audio of the lobby’s grand piano playing by itself, and in any other haunted house film, this is where the movie would kick into high gear. But West is a director who takes his time getting into the story and building a palpable sense of dread instead of bombarding the audience with stingers and jump scares. Some fans disregard the slow burn style as boring or too slowly paced, but I really appreciate this return to the haunted house film that gives us a detailed geography of the house and then uses that geography against us just when we think we know what’s around every corner. I rather hope West maintains this trend. As an additional note, his casting of Kelly McGillis as a former actress-turned-medium is brilliant (she owns the role), and it’s fairly obvious to me that he based this character on Dee Wallace, right down to the moment in the film where Claire identifies her as “you know, the mom from [popular kids’ TV show]!” I can’t count how many times I’ve had to ID Wallace as “the mom from E.T.” Heh.

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[7 October]

Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Directed by Brian DePalma

I’m reticent to write too much about this movie, because I’m contributing an essay on Brian DePalma’s glam rock horror homage to an upcoming book project, so I don’t really want to blow my wad here. Also, once I get going on Phantom of the Paradise, it’s hard to stop. There’s so much that I love about it, I’m afraid of taking up too much space, and of overselling it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Basically all you need to know is that it’s essentially the story of the Phantom of the Opera with a dash of Faust, set to a Paul Williams soundtrack, but told with typical DePalma flair. If you’re so inclined, you can click over to my civilian blog, Bemused and Nonplussed, to read some brief thoughts on both the movie and its star, William Finley, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

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The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) – FTV
Directed by Terence Fisher

My friend Renee, who is blogging the Challenge herself over here at Gaming as Women, and I decided that we should get together one evening and show each other the films we’re respectively writing about for this upcoming book. Conveniently, neither of us had seen each other’s films, so it created a wonderful opportunity to show off a couple of our favorite horror films to each other as first time views. I brought my copy of Phantom of the Paradise; she showed me The Curse of the Werewolf, which is maybe one of the most unusual Hammer productions I’ve ever seen and honestly perhaps my favorite next to their adaptation of Dracula. The werewolf here is Oliver Reed, he of the gorgeous blue eyes and dark, dark hair, and of course there’s the requisite love story and most of the usual werewolf movie trappings, except this movie plays out like a bizarre and horrid fairy tale.

oh…oh my.

Our movie-watching companion rightly pointed out that some scenes were shot like a classic Disney travelogue, and he is right: a montage where our cursed hero leaves his boyhood home and travels off to seek his fortune brings to mind all those old ViewMaster discs I had as a kid. The film’s ending, which I don’t want to spoil, is perhaps one of the most interesting in a werewolf movie because it’s not like any other werewolf movie ending I’ve ever seen. It’s probably more upsetting, but also it fits so well with the entire story it’s probably one of the most perfect horror film endings ever.

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There. Days 6 and 7 are recorded for posterity. I’ll likely have to break up Day 8 into two posts, because I ended up watching EIGHT MOVIES that day and thus completing the Challenge requirements. Since I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself between viewings and blogging, I’ve halted watching for the time being. This also prevents burn-out, which has happened in the past to many a Challenger.

Views So Far:
16 FTVs
8 repeat views
24 total

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One Response to “OHC Day 6 part II and Day 7 – Back From The Dead”

  1. […] variety, which is both refreshing and comforting these days, and completely reminiscent of both Curse of the Werewolf and Naschy’s werewolves. Lobos de Arga only suffers in one major aspect: there are no female […]

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