October Horror Movie Challenge 2013 – week three

I’m using a very loose definition of “week” here. While we reconsider our concepts of time, here’s a another roundup of reviews!

Dawn of the Dead (1978) – repeat – full review over at Bemused and Nonplussed.

Room 237 – ftv / The Shining (1980) – repeat – full review also at Bemused and Nonplussed.

Maniac – ftv – the modern-day remake of William Lustig’s sleazo cult classic, but there’s something lacking here. Perhaps it’s the weird charm of Joe Spinell, who adds a layer of real grossness to the original. Whatever is missing, this one is still gross, but it’s a forced hand with the filmmakers’ decision to shoot most of the film from Frank Zito’s (Elijah Wood) perspective. During the film, it certainly ramps up the ick factor, but once the credits roll, it just feels like a cheap trick.

Aw, rad! They’re rippin’ Frodo’s face off!

Paranormal Activity 4 – ftv – this happens to me every time: the latest PA movie hits Netflix, and I practically break my neck to watch it. The first three have sort of grown on me, despite the basic formula going on repeat in each new film. That there’s a thread of a storyline connecting them just adds to the viewing, but with this fourth entry to the series, I have to wonder: what’s the endgame here? What’s the point, aside from showing off a bunch of special effects? By the time you get to the end of PA4, you’ll wonder, too.

Wild Zero – ftv – when a film describes itself as a “rock ‘n roll zombie horror comedy cult classic,” it’s bound to be an instant favorite, and indeed it is. The plot is…wait. Why am I even talking about the plot for Wild Zero? It’s a rock ‘n roll zombie horror comedy cult classic. Try watching it with the drinking game and kiss your liver goodbye. As a particular point of interest, this is one of the few films I’ve seen that has a really practical and respectful characterization of a trans* woman. Color me pleasantly surprised.


Wicked Wicked – repeat – the horror film shot in DuoVision! This film is probably notable only for the fact that the bulk of it is shot in split-screen; one screen is from the killer’s POV, the other from his victims’. Wicked Wicked doesn’t take much effort in keeping the killer’s identity a secret – it seems to rely on the old trick of showing the audience the bomb under the table to create suspense, but that doesn’t really work either. As anything more than a curiosity, this film doesn’t survive well, yet it’s still one of my favorite slasher films, mostly because it plays very campy.

Suspiria – repeat – this is still and will always be my favorite Dario Argento film, even though Deep Red is probably his best. There’s something very intoxicating about the combination of a Pop Art color scheme, a Goblin soundtrack that varies between tinkling bells and heavy rock, and a fairy-tale story that comes together here. It’s so rare to capture lightning in a bottle; here, Argento manages to do just that.

Scream 2 – repeat – the Woodsboro kids are in college now, and on the anniversary of the infamous massacre, guess what? Folks start getting slashed left and right! This time, there’s new rules – it’s a sequel – and the old gang is back to figure out who the killer is this time. This makes for a great follow-up to the first film, building on and tearing down the mythology of the slasher film, but it lacks some of the original panache.

“No, YOUR facial hair is the worst!”

Rodan – ftv – I started watching this months ago, but never got through it. Frankly, I think I fell asleep. I understand why, now – Rodan doesn’t have the same charm as the Godzilla or Mothra films do. Still, it’s a nice effort, and it’s fun to see some good ol’ fashioned monster city destruction, but this could have been skipped.

Burn Witch Burn – repeat – I’d forgotten that I’d watched this once before, and it’s unfair that it slipped my memory so quickly, because this really is an eerie little film. A staunch unbeliever in witchcraft and the supernatural comes to find out that his wife has been dabbling in the dark arts, and when he accidentally sets a curse on himself, it’s a race against the clock to save his life. The black-and-white photography in this film is particularly gorgeous.


OHMC tally:

23 first time views
10 repeat views

33 total films watched – challenge requirements met, but the month isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.


2 Responses to “October Horror Movie Challenge 2013 – week three”

  1. I am stunned that you hadn’t seen Wild Zero. Actually, I’m stunned that I haven’t seen it more than once, because it seriously rocks. The good news is that Guitar Wolf plays Seattle every couple of years. They were just here about a month ago.

    I watched Maniac when I was projecting it (digital, so my only job as the projectionist is to push play and turn down the lights). Wow, did I dislike it. What a mess.

    And I’m projecting Deep Red tonight, in 35mm. Sadly, I haven’t seen it, but I will have to focus on NOT watching it and just trying to focus on the cigarette burns. We have a different movie almost every night ATM with All Monsters Attack programming. Two weeks ago a projected Killer Klowns with a Q&A with the director via Skyke after. I hadn’t realized just how fun that movie is, especially with an audience. I’d only seen it on cable and was underwhelmed, but after rewatching it, or rather 10 min bits of it, I understand why some consider it underrated.

  2. Hi, DeAnna; thanks for stopping by!

    I love, love, love Wild Zero, and am hitting myself (metaphorically) for not watching it sooner. Have you seen Guitar Wolf live? If no, please pardon my insane jealousy.

    Maniac was just…here’s the thing: the original, despite my love for it, is one of the most awful misogynistic films in horror. So in this day and age, a remake of it seems very out of place and very dated, regardless of how slick it looks. I just question the filmmakers very much on their decision here.

    Be sure to check out Deep Red when you can; it really is one of the best giallos ever. ^__^

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space is one of my favorite 80s horrors. Seeing it with an audience is about the best way to watch it; the last time I watched it was at Facets in Chicago as part of a midnight movie fest. The Chiodos really made magic with that one.

    Thanks again!


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