October Horror Movie Challenge 2013 – week one

OctoberChallenge2013-DraculaLong

Hello again! Welcome back to another year of the October Horror Movie Challenge! Here’s a round-up of the films I watched during week one of the Challenge:

Wake In Fright – ftv – full review at Bemused and Nonplussed, with some spoilers.

Frogs –  ftv – American International Picture about an old Southern curmudgeon whose previous shady ecological practices come back to bite him in the ass. As his family is picked off one by one by a variety of swamp animals including snakes, tarantulas, and even turtles, and the frogs are apparently the ones controlling all this. Enjoyable for a couple of reasons, including the rare sight of Sam Elliott without a mustache, and Ray Milland as a crabby old asshole.

Barracuda – ftv – strange Jaws ripoff that explains a string of barracuda attacks first as the product of oceanic pollution and then as the result of hypoglycemia, a.k.a. low blood sugar. The weird plot and sudden downbeat ending make this slightly more than memorable.

Tremors 2: Aftershocks – ftv – a goofy sequel to the cult hit, Fred Ward returns as Earl, but sadly there’s no Kevin Bacon in sight. Thankfully Michael Gross also returns, resuming his role as survivalist Burt Gummer. Thank god, because the film would suffer without him. Also, the graboids have sprouted legs!

tremors-2-aftershocks-1

Look ma! I can walk!

American Mary – ftv – twisted horror about a med student studying to be a surgeon who is trapped by debt. During an interview at a strip club, she’s asked to perform an emergency surgery on a man who’s been knifed open from chest to chin, earning her a quick $5000. Her work gains her fast notoriety, and as she performs an increasingly-weird variety of body modification surgeries, she also finds herself falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of revenge. Slick and icky.

The Possession – ftv – The Exorcist meets orthodox Judaism. Bland aside from a couple of brief creepy moments, but ultimately too derivative of other possession films to stand apart from the crowd.

Apollo 18 – ftv – found footage film that presupposes the Apollo 17 mission was indeed not NASA’s final trip to the moon. Perhaps one of the better found footage films, in that it almost seems believable, but still suffers from that style’s trappings. Far better than stuff like The Fourth Kind, which was just awful.

apollo 18

Help! I’m trapped in a found-footage horror film!

The Afflicted – ftv – terrible, terrible, terrible “based on a true story” film about an ultra-religious mother who tortures and kills two of her children. Immediately creates an unsympathetic and overly ridiculous villain with Leslie Easterbrook as the mom. The children aren’t fleshed out enough to make the audience care too much about them, either. Had this been more based in the truth of the actual story, this could have been far more chilling. Instead, Easterbrook overplays her hand too soon, and the film becomes a slog.

Carnival of Souls – repeat – classic atmospheric creeper about a church organist who mysteriously survives a watery car crash, only to find herself both increasingly out of touch with the people around her, and haunted by a ghoulish man who appears out of nowhere. One of the best cult horror films of all time.

Night of the Living Dead – repeat – the grandfather of all zombie movies, George Romero’s 1968 shocker still packs a mighty punch after multiple viewings. The formula is set here: a group of strangers, forced to work together to fight a horde of undead ghouls (the zed word never gets mentioned here). The cause isn’t so important as the way people act under pressure, which can sometimes be a more volatile situation than if you were out among the ghouls. Also, the ending is still one of the absolute most devastating in any film, horror or otherwise.

The Devil Rides Out – ftv – Christopher Lee attempts to save his young friend from a Satanic cult, led by Charles Grey. An enjoyable Hammer / Seven Arts production, with a great supporting cast, and a truly bizarre story. A+.

devilridesout

Hello, ladies.

The Hole – ftv – Joe Dante’s 2009 horror flick about two boys and their neighbor who find what seems to be a bottomless pit in the basement. Combining elements from The Gate and IT, this is a perfect film to get younger kids interested in fright flicks while keeping more seasoned fans entertained as well. Some truly creepy moments within, as well as Dante stalwarts Bruce Dern and Dick Miller (in a brief cameo), make this one a sweet slice of spookiness.

The Baby – ftv – full review at Bemused and Nonplussed, with minor spoilers.

Exorcismus – ftv – terrible possession flick about a bratty young girl who deliberately goes and gets herself possessed by Satan to get back at her mother. Doug Bradley makes a small appearance near the end for no reason whatsoever. Skip this with extreme prejudice.

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OHMC tally:

12 first time views
2 repeat views

14 total films watched

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One Response to “October Horror Movie Challenge 2013 – week one”

  1. […] and here’s a round-up of mini-reviews for my first week of the Challenge, over at Dreams In The Bitch House! […]

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