I MADE IT.
It's been a long 31 days, but we've powered through. Here we are at the end of the road. It's been a long and bumpy one but we've covered a wide array of the horror genre and learned a little along the way. There were new movies, there were old favorites. In the end, it was still fun and hopefully enjoyable!
Read on for the final 9 movies of the October Challenge!
So, spurred on by nostalgia and a waning constitution for the October Challenge, I turned to a tried and true classic, "Friday the 13th". This is one of the first slashers that I cut my teeth on so it always ranks high on the favorites list. The atmosphere, the story of a neglected kid, the revenge angle...all great stuff, and Jason hadn't even shown up yet!
Another of my tried and true favorites, "Phantasm". Angus Scrimm is scary as all hell and he doesn't even need makeup! Throw in Reggie Bannister and his mullet and it's even better. There's just the right balance of fantasy, scary and cheese here that makes it last the years. For me, there's always been a bit of a rock and roll feel underlying the thing too which is fun. Not to mention the world they tried to create with subsequent sequels and I get all giddy thinking about it again!
I had never seen George C. Scott's "The Changeling"; in fact I was afraid that the new Angelina Jolie flick was a remake and figured I better jump on the train so I can complain about another remake! Thankfully, not the case. Anywho... I was so surprised by this flick. A classic slow burner, the movie starts slow but contains some truly scary themes that took even me off guard.
"Saw V". Boiled down, "Saw V" is better than "Saw IV", probably "Saw 3", and it actually made sense. There were some great traps in this, and I'm actually starting to not mind Costas Mandalore. There's really not much more to say on it really. All I can say though is that if VI will be the last movie on the franchise? The mind rape is going to be pretty heinous!
"Pieces" first came to my attention in the 2006 documentary "Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film". One of the first slashers out there, it added a bunch to the genre, started many of the tropes, all sorts of stuff. As a movie? It's kind of boring. There's some good kills and good gore, but the stuff in between can be hard to focus on.
Hey look, another classic! "Fright Night" was one of movies that used to scare the crap out of me back in the day. It doesn't scare me anymore, but I still enjoy it. I think it's angle of adding in a vampire slaying horror host that cracks me up. That and I can't help but laughing at Amanda Bearse in the girlfriend roll because I'll never be able to see her as anything but Marcy D'Arcy!
Despite all the scares, you still have to have some yucks too. For yucks, "Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein" is always a safe bet. The fact that Universal got Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. to come back and do this is great.
Lucio Fulci is an acquired taste and "The Beyond" is no exception. Fulci films have such a fantastical bent to them. The atmosphere behind them create completely unique scenes and films a la Argento. "The Beyond" has some really strong points; the gore is outstanding. Even the overarching plot is decent and compelling, a hotel built on a gateway to hell. The problem is it because muddled and hard to follow after a bit and it becomes a jump from gore shot to gore shot. This one may be better after a second viewing though.
"Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer" brought us Michael Rooker and Tom Towles who grew to be cult icons in their own right and for good reason. Rooker's serial killer is chilling in his nonchalance in his acts. Tom Towles starts to show that same chill them ramps it up with a reckless abandon.
Finally, for day 31 it is still early and I haven't watched these two yet, but how could I finish up the October Challenge with anything but the titular movies that started many a horror hound's obsession? Carpenter's "Halloween" is iconic. Zombie's is a reimagining that adds a bit of a new flavor to the icon. Most people don't agree with me, but I really dug Zombie's Halloween. There's a grindhouse feel here that I think goes unappreciated and overlooked because we can't get over the fact that he's tampered with such a classic. It doesn't over take the original by any means, but it sets itself up to stand on its on.