HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON 2014 #18
Toad Road (Jason Banker, USA, 2013)
there is zero shortage of independent movies from filmmakers portraying the aimless lives of young independent people but toad road goes about it in a very unique way. because of the subject matter and what happens in the movie, once you hear about the fate of sara anne jones it’s impossible to separate film from reality, and this actually heightens the emotional impact of the movie once the credits starts rolling. this is like if harmony korine circa-gummo directed a horror movie—the cinema-verite footage of partying and drug use exudes an honest, raw energy that provides a great foil for the (misguided?) spiritual journey that would ultimately be the protagonist’s undoing.
1:56 am • 21 October 2014
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON #17
Lake Mungo (Joel Anderson, Australia, 2008)
one of the most technically accomplished and flat out terrifying found footage horror movies i’ve seen. i mean if the main objective of a movie like this is realism this one knocks it out of the park. great mix of convincing talking-head testimonials, newsreel footage, photographs, videos from every source possible…just an excellent technical feat on all fronts. you can probably fool a bunch of people into thinking it’s a real documentary without much problem. also the filmmakers use this documentary format to facilitate some surprisingly deep characterization among its main cast and capture feelings of dread, guilt, and intense loneliness better than most conventional horror movies. i liked this one a bunch.
7:05 pm • 20 October 2014
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON #16
Repulsion (Roman Polanski, United Kingdom, 1965)
the first entry in polanski’s famed apartment trilogy. maybe i’ll watch the tenant this year, i dunno. catherine deneuve is so good in this i wonder if she would have done a better job than mia farrow in rosemary’s baby but who cares. it’s a straightforward, tense, claustrophobic slow-burner similar to knife in the water but i think the cinematography is a bit better in this one. apples and oranges tho
3:03 am • 20 October 2014
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON 2014 #15
Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, France/Germany, 1981)
holy shit, this was incredible. the emotions run so high from beginning to end, but there’s a sense of clinical control over it (like sort of a sanitary, cronenberg-type feel to it? i sorta think isabelle adjani’s exhausting performance throughout this movie is like if you take shelley duvall’s hysterics in the final act of the shining and stretch it out for two hours) and it’s so artfully crafted and perfectly performed. one of the most tense, visceral movies i’ve ever seen.
10:05 pm • 19 October 2014
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON 2014 #14
Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (John D. Hancock, USA, 1971)
without question a tier 1 grindhouse horror flick. i fucking loved everything about this movie. very straightforward, excellently paced storytelling that manages to be engrossing and creepy (like, really really fucking creepy!) throughout which i can’t say for most of even the good movies in its genre. it’s got that low budget, grainy grindhouse aesthetic that i love so much, like that stepped on print look that’s kind of crucial for something like this. sports a pretty terrific soundtrack too! love it love it love it. i loved it so much that it’s baffling how i’ve only heard of this movie last year, how is there not a larger cult following for such a great movie? where’s the positive critical reappraisal for this?
4:41 am • 19 October 2014
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON #13
The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick/Eduardo Sanchez, USA, 1999)
there’s something about the blair witch project. it has a low budget rough and tumble charm, sure, but almost everything here works so well and accomplishes everything it sets out to do with limited resources. i’ll single out the sound design as the one thing that makes it so overwhelmingly successful, i watch it once every four years or so and even though it’s diminishing returns after multiple viewings it holds up. a halloween staple.
6:17 pm • 16 October 2014
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON #12
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, USA, 2001)
1. I know this doesn’t fit into the conventional “horror” mold but I would argue that it’s more horrifying than 99% of any other categorized horror film. i mean that scene at the back of winky’s alone is a top 10 scary moment for me. it was my third time watching this and it still nearly made me shit my pants.
2. yeah it’s my third viewing and after feeling vindicated/dumb as hell by reading a few long-form pieces on this i love this movie even more now. i always thought it was unfair that lynch is considered an absurdist director who puts up weird stuff on screen for no rhyme or reason (the fact that he understandably won’t talk about the meaning of his movies isn’t helping things tho) and for a lot of people he’ll always be that “oh hey look a floating banana!” type filmmaker. but this movie, more than any other, is so rich and detailed in its exploration of the human psyche through film (and how the subconscious mind processes memories and feelings like resentment and guilt) that all that criticism is just fuckin noise. every crazy detail falls into place and it never seems like a meaningless, convoluted puzzle. even not getting all that though it’s such an unnerving, visceral experience that first time viewers will not have a problem getting into it.
3. at the risk of sounding hyperbolic an hour after viewing this, mulholland dr might be my favorite movie of all time. or at the very least it’s the movie i would most vocally fawn over about. given how popular and influential it is sometimes i can’t believe this film exists. also, naomi watts gives one of the greatest acting performances ever.
4. i always remember this movie being available on demand when i was like 12 years old and they used manfred mann’s earth band’s cover of “blinded by the light” during the promos (is there a reason for this?) and that song kind of haunted me for years because i remember the trailer being pretty creepy. i ended up seeing the movie 7 years later.
5:18 am • 15 October 2014 • 2 notes
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON #11
Wild Zero (Tetsuo Takeuchi, Japan, 2000)
here’s a “review” i wrote when i was 19 years old. you can tell i wrote it years ago because i still cared about using upper case appropriately. i stand by 45% of it:
11:49 pm • 14 October 2014 • 2 notes
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON #10
Freaks (Tod Browning, USA, 1933)
a holiday classic, one of my fav films since seeing it on tcm a decade back. the recent remaster looks unbelievably good imo (i mean check out the pics i capped, also really weird to watch any pre-code type movie on 720p and shit, it just is) and the movie itself has aged beautifully, probably still as bizarrely entertaining and shocking as it was when it came out 80+ years ago. i’m positive the original lost 90 minute cut of this is even better.
8:09 pm • 14 October 2014 • 2 notes
HALLOWEEN HORROR SPOOK-A-THON #9
The Ring (2002, USA, Gore Verbinski)
i saw this for the first time last night and it’s really, really fucking good. it has a subtly distinct, frequently brilliant visual style that totally makes or breaks any psychological horror film. the plot’s pretty ridiculous but i love that they make the most of it, especially naomi watts who owns her role to a frightening degree. if the ring came out in the web 2.0 age or whatever, imagine the viral video marketing if it was as well-executed as the movie itself. although like, instead of a videotape it would have been a mkv file on a usb stick or something
3:53 pm • 14 October 2014