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November 1, 2010

The Halloween Weekend 2010 Horror Movie Recap (Part One)

I'll be honest and up front with you all as I start this off: As much as I love Halloween, I kind of dread the actual holiday, particularly when it falls on a weekend.  It's not the stupid people out on the streets (not to mention that I live in a college town and it was also Homecoming this weekend) that I dread, it's not the choosing of a costume (didn't even get into my crate of masks this year, sadly) that gives me fear.  It's having to pick movies for all those friends and acquaintances who want to see "scary" movies that drives me batty.

In my time as an awesome horror fan who's wicked cool, I've come to accept the fact that a lot of people - like, at least 96.3% of people - don't mesh well with horror cinema.  Some just are too wussy to watch anything that might scare them, some can't suspend disbelief at all, and some just don't seem willing to care about horror films.  Yet, when Halloween comes around, they suddenly want to be scared.  My friends, who are also awesome and wicked cool, try harder to be part of the other 3.7% than most sane people would.  And I still have trouble pleasing their urge for scares.

Does that deter me from trying?  No, because I'm way too much of a control freak to let Halloween off that easy.  So now, I'm gonna go all Randy Meeks and tell y'all how the weekend of viewing went.

Movie #1 - After I escaped my workplace, I settled in at home with some time to kill and some writing to get done.  Since I was writing about Halloween for the Locus Focus thang over at Shredded Cheddar (CHEAP PLUG!), I popped in the blu-ray of said film.  I actually ended up watching it, then starting back at the point where the film enters Haddonfield and watching it again.  It's my favorite horror, so of course I love it.  I will add the blu-ray kind of cheapens the film to me, as have the last few DVD editions.  The colors just aren't right, and the soundtrack is too clean.  I'll be happy to stick with my original Anchor Bay DVD next time I want to watch it.

Movie #2 - After I finished up some writing and some real-world work stuff, it was off to start the weekend of horror (and football, I can't very well give that up on a fall weekend) with some friends.  It was a small crowd to start, a total of four viewers, and I was presented a pre-ordered late birthday gift from my friends: a blu-ray copy of Psycho.  The friends who had bought it for me have acquired my love for Hitchcock over the years, so it was quickly put in the player and enjoyed by all.  My weekend was two-for-two....but it was almost too easy.
(By the way, the blu-ray is pretty good.  The picture is fantastically crisp, and the sound is really impressive.  Didn't have a chance to get into the features, but it looks like a great package.)

After a morning of tailgating and an afternoon ISU victory (GO STATE!), we were back for a couple more flicks.  The crowd was up to six viewers now, with a former roommate who was used to sharing horrors with me joining the crowd, and I had my bag of goodies that I chose for the weekend ready to go.  While they were debating which flick we should pick (for the life of me, I can NOT figure out what my old roommate has against Creepshow - he clearly must be evil), I may have jumped the gun a bit and made the decision for them.

Movie #3 - Thus, I popped in my copy of John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness and let 'er rip.  I made sure to use the term "vat of liquid Satan" about 36 times in the minute before I hit play, because I wanted to make sure they understood that this movie takes place on a slightly different plane of existence than they're used to.  For the most part, they missed that message.
Now, I love the heck out of Prince of Darkness.  I think it's dark and creepy, and I dig the crazy religious horror it offers.  As a horror fan, it doesn't bother me when a green satanic liquid squirts at a radiologist with glasses and she happens to have her mouth open.  That's just what NEEDS to happen at that moment in the movie, and I'm good with that.  To them (particularly the lady folks in the room), that was a bit ridiculous.  As were the swarms of bugs, the mirror imagery, and the dreams.  Ahhhhh, the dreams.  My favorite part of the movie.  I don't think they cared for the dreams.

There were a few "ewww"s and "ahhhh"s, and I was a little surprised by how well they reacted to the epic scene involving Alice Cooper and a half-bike, but in general I'm afraid I'd have to put this in the loss column.  They just weren't in my head on this one.  That's OK though, I still loved it.

(The ladies also seemed offended by the fact that the African American character, once doomed, sings 'Amazing Grace'.  Racism or creepiness?  I say creepiness.  That dude rules.)

Movie #4 - After the ladies deemed that flick ridiculous, they decided that the next movie needed to be something "scary".  This is one of my biggest pet peeves in flick watching, but I let it roll this time (more on that in Part Two).  I talked them into trying what might be my favorite haunted house film, The Legend of Hell House.  Buzzword to coaching them up for this flick? "Weird sexual stuff".  They, of course, asked if this was a porno.  (I'm not sure why my friends assume I'm going to bring over a porno some day.  Seriously, the closest I ever came to bringing a porno was the time I showed them Straw Dogs.  And I honestly had forgotten about the rape scene.)
Of course, the ladies that were so ridiculousized by the previous movie fell asleep soon after this one started.  The rest of us had a lot of fun trying to figure it out, and I had one of those "Whoa, I really love this movie more than I remember" experiences.  It's such a rich film with all kinds of odd stuff, and unpredictable too.  The ending is much maligned, but I liked it more this time.  It didn't go over poorly with the couple of friends that made it through it, either.  I call it a win, but only because the ladies stopped their yabbering.  (Also, Gayle Hunnicutt is amazing in this movie.  Just had to say it.)

In fact, that's probably my second biggest pet peeve about watching these flicks with people.  When you invite people over to watch movies, and want to experience something from the should probably commit to not talking about random events throughout the entire movie.  We had to rewind a couple of times early in this flick, because of talking over the exposition; and I had to do Cliff's Notes of Prince of Darkness at many moments.  Next year, I'm only taking silent horror movies.  That'll teach 'em.

Read Part Two HERE!


Enbrethiliel said...


The Mike, I totally know what you mean! People asking for Horror recommendations because you seem to be "in the know" and then failing to appreciate the top-grade Horror you select for them? Beyond frustrating! And disdaining Horror the whole year and then feeling the Halloween spirit and wanting to be scared? That puts them on the level of Christmas-and-Easter Christians!

I would have loved to have joined you and your friends for this Horror marathon--if only to have heard that "vat of liquid Satan" introduction first hand. If I were less principled, I'd steal that line and make everyone think I had come up with it.

Jose Cruz said...

Dude, your friend IS evil! How can you not adore Creepshow? I still have difficulty looking my girlfriend in the eye because she feels the same way about the movie.

I also understand the pain you went through. Thus is the punishment of being a learned horror fan. Heretics be damned!

The Mike said...

@E - Don't worry, Prince of Darkness is widely known as THE "vat of liquid Satan" movie. I love it to death, and highly recommend it. I covered it way back in FMWL's early days of formatted reviews (it was like the second or third post here!), right about here:

@Joe - I can't explain it. It's a perfect case of the hivemind brain that decides something that's not straight-faced and not an obvious comedy is "bad". Made me very sad.

Emily said...

Awesome picks! I also fret when people ask me for horror recommendations, especially if they're not horror fans, as there are movies that I love that I'm not sure would go over well for the casual viewer. I feel the need to recommend more mainstream stuff in a lot of cases, because I'm afraid they won't like the more obscure horror films and get mad at me for recommending something "not scary enough". This year my Halloween movie marathon just consisted of me (and sometimes my boyfriend when he was awake - he had worked overnight the previous night), so I didn't have to worry about what anyone else thought. Last year we had my bf's brothers over- one of which considers anything older than the 90's ancient, so that was quite annoying.