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November 3, 2010

The Halloween Weekend 2010 Horror Movie Recap (Part Two)

Read Part One HERE!
(Note from The Mike: While reading part one over, I realized that I often spent time blaming things on "the ladies".  This isn't intended to be a sexist gesture, as I find that most "ladies" are amazing and awesome and should be revered.  It must be noted that a) these ladies are great people who I am wicked fond of (including my (O)PP co-host The H-Bomb (who is also my arch nemesis)), and b) they're also the kind of ladies that are old friends and hadn't seen each other in a while...and thus they couldn't shut their yappers.  So, know that I am not opposed to ladies, I am opposed to movie-watching yappers.)

Now on to Part Two!
Sunday, October 31st

OK, so I survived two nights of light crowds.  Now it's game time.  After I made it through a wicked cool Packers win (like I said, can't give up my football, as awesome as horror is), it was on to an 8-hour "Scary Movie-Athon" that my friends set up.  Of course, I was in charge of movies.  (And nachos, which are my specialty.  YUM.)

(Before we begin, mini-rant time!  I hate, hate, HATE the term "scary movies".  They're horror movies.  And when someone tells me "Bring something scary!", how the heck am I supposed to know what to bring?  I don't know their fears, and what's scary to me might not be scary to the next person.  Case in point - Prince of Darkness, which I covered in Part One.  I am honestly scared by that movie, despite its silliness, because I get scared at the idea of an evil force entering our world.  Yet those who don't care to think about that won't find it scary.  Some are scared of other things that don't scare me at all.  It's all about their personal perspective!

Next time someone asks me for scary movies, I'm sitting them down for a counseling session until they tell me their deepest fears.  That oughta teach 'em.)

Movie #1 - We started the day off with The Strangers.  I threw this into the mix at the beginning of the weekend because it was kind of recent, and because I knew it was the kind of movie that a normal crowd would at least find creepy.  I'm still not totally sold on the flick - I think the ending goes way too torture porn, and now that I've seen Inside it seems trite - but it's a fun diversion with some great imagery.  (Speaking of Inside, I totally decided that my close friends and I are going to have a foreign horror night soon.  They can't stop me, I'm a force of nature.  It will happen.)
With the crowd up to 8 at this point (5 dudes, 3 dudettes), there was a lot of discussion going around the room.  Myself and a friend got a little too chatty at one point, when I remembered that this was the summer where this film and the July release of The Incredible Hulk made it very clear that Liv Tyler had "had some work done" to make her not look like her dad anymore.  (Now THAT, might be sexist.  And a bit rude.)

Most of the crowd had a lot of trouble with Scott Speedman, too, as we spent a large amount of time discussing his similarities to Scott Caan.  In fact, when the final credits rolled, one of the ladies exclaimed in surprise when she found out it actually was Scott Speedman.  As a light (yet dark) starter for the day, people had fun with it...mostly because the images of the titular Strangers were creeping them out, I think.

Movie #2 - After a quick food break because the nachos were done (and delicious), we sat through the process of my friends trying to hook up their XBox so we could watch Paranormal Activity on Netflix Instant Watch.

I did not want Paranormal Activity involved in the day.  This was not part of my plan.  Still, I intended on bringing a copy of the film because they requested it (I mean, I do like the film, I'm just a little sick of hearing about it), but I totally forgot it in favor of my crock pot when I was leaving home.  (I get a little mush-brained when I'm excited about my Packers winning.)
I feel like I've said everything I have to say about this movie already.  But I was surprised that our crowd (now up to 10 people...big Iowan party!) a) had not seen it, and b) primarily had a lot of fun with it.  There was a lot of commentary about Micah's douchebaggery, as there should be, but there were still a lot of exclamations of discomfort during the film, even if we did watch it during daylight (to protect us from evil, naturally).  So I guess giving up control worked in this situation, because there were surprisingly few complaints about this flick.

Movie #3 - Darkness had crossed the land before we got movie number 3 queued up, and this time I was taking control of the situation.  This was the moment I'd been waiting for, the hidden agenda among my selections for the weekend was now coming to pass.  I was not taking no for an answer; I was putting in the next DVD no matter what people said.

The film? Suspiria.

Yes, this was the moment where I stopped being a "This is something they might like!" guy and became a "Y'all are watching this and y'all are gonna like it!" guy.  I knew days, maybe even weeks in advance that this was the best chance I'd ever have to introduce them to Argento.  And in my heart, I knew that they NEEDED to be introduced to Argento.  Of course, before starting, I had to offer disclaimers about the blood being made of paint and about the dialogue being heavily dubbed due to language barriers.  I also told them that this was "kind of a big deal" and that Argento has been called "The Italian Hitchcock".  No pressure there, Mikey boy.
The look of the film, with its vibrant colors and wicked Goblin score, won over the crowd for the most part, but they lost the plot pretty easily and were back in "let's determine why the characters' actions are illogical" mode.  When I told them "It's going to get weird here" right before the final scenes, they of course responded with "Compared to what it's already been?"  Nice comeback, you cheeky monkeys!

So yeah, I don't think anyone's gonna rush out and buy their own copy of Suspiria, sadly.  But I know - deep down inside I know - that someday soon one of them will say something to the effect of "Hey, what was that one movie called that one time?  The one with the bright colors at the ballet school?"  And when I remind them it was Suspiria, they'll say something along the lines of "That flick was so cool!"

I believe it, because I have to hold on to the hope that everyone will love Argento someday.

(Also, the crowd decided to cast Harry Potter starlet Emma Watson as the lead in a potential remake of Suspiria.  Sad thing is, I kinda see it.)

Movie #4 - About half the crowd cleared out by the time we were prepping for the fourth movie of the day.  Among the leftover horrors I'd brought, there weren't many heavyweights left, so we threw in Pumpkinhead to end the evening.

This was the first time I'd seen the film in widescreen, having recently updated from the old P&S DVD, and I was very impressed by the presentation.  This is a film that had terrified me on VHS when I was 9 years old (I think it may have been the first R-rated film I was shown), and I still get a little creeped by the monster.

Of course, the big story of the viewing among the crowd was that a) one of the young backwoods girls was in some TV show with Claire Danes, and b) another of the wee lasses was Mayim Bialik of Blossom fame.  That's right, Blossom herself.  WHOA.
(On a random film criticism note, it always makes me laugh when we randomly see Lance Henriksen's Ed Harley using a flamethrower to start a fire in the film's opening scene.  One of the great "Gee, you gotta wonder if that's gonna come into play later on...." moments in film history.)

So, the film happened quickly, I enjoyed it, everyone else was pretty much dead, and the night ended with one of my favorite on-screen demons ever.  All 13 people who watched horror films at some point over the weekend lived to see another day.
Closing Thoughts:
When I started Part One yesterday, I noted that I sometimes dread this experience.  I'm not sure why, as I'm thankful as can be to have been blessed with friends who're at least willing to try these films out.  I could have gotten booted from the place the minute I suggested a 33 year old Italian film or a film about a vat of liquid Satan, but I didn't.  And even though the approach these people have to films doesn't match my vigor, I can't say they don't show an interest.

Still the difficulty remains when trying to determine what horrors fans of "normal" cinema will find effective.  I can't say I was very surprised by the results, and I kinda wish I had taken a couple of shots with less known flicks (I can't think of any good examples, except something like Triangle which I'd already shown some of them).  Good thing is, I know I'll keep trying to figure it out.  Halloween's more than one weekend out of the year in The Mike's land.

1 comment:

Enbrethiliel said...


I think that pre-movie counselling session is a great strategy. Because if they're asking for "scary movies" as opposed to "Horror movies" (and you're spot on to point out the difference--although I've used these terms interchangeably myself), then they might not be asking for what we think they're asking for.