I've often heard the saying in sports that the preseason games don't count but the injuries do. I thought that was a fitting analogy to the sport that is the Halloween moviefest. Hey, it takes endurance to watch 31 scary movies in 31 days. And remember from my first post, there are rules. Endurance and rules; that sounds a lot like a sport to me. So let's check in on the 2016 pre-season which started with the remake of The Amityville Horror. Remakes get such a bad rap - and for good reason. They obviously lack originality and they usually suck. (Feel free to debate this with me because there are some great remakes out there.) Anyway, I went into this movie expecting a lame remake so I was pleased that I enjoyed it.
The Wicker Man with Nicholas Cage. I'd never heard of this 2006 mystery thriller before. It is another remake but I never saw the original so somebody will have to let me know if it sucks. This movie goes in my Children of the Corn meets Burning Man bucket. A small bucket as I haven't seen any other movie that fits this combination. My husband said it was the weirdest movie he'd ever seen. Meh, I've seen weirder, but this was not Cage's best performance.
And since we're making combinations, Dreamcatcher goes in my Stand by Me meets It meets The Stand bucket. Except no clowns. I really enjoyed this movie set in Derry where you'll find Stephen King's favorite clown.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Funny how titles draw or repel us. Had my niece not mentioned this, I would have ignored the film they way I did Bill & Ted or Beavis & Butthead. This horror comedy is so original and deliciously well done, I had to watch it twice during the same weekend. When the college kid runs head on into . . . wait. No spoilers here! Watch this one for yourself.
Another pre-season selection in the horror comedy genre is Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. This selection featured on the Shudder channel got off to a slow start but it's worth sticking with it, you won't be sorry.
We are Still Here is kind of a tacky title, but a couple moving into a haunted house after a tragedy is a concept I find irresistible. The theme behind the title was a little unexpected and this B movie held my interest to the end.
I watched the Dark Mirror during a marathon session in the kitchen. This psychological thriller was pretty good although I have to admit I was more concerned with the sear on the grill than the mysterious disappearing subjects, so I may have missed some of the details. I will watch this one again to fill in the gaps, and that should tell You this movie is worth the time.
I finally watched Hostel this month. I've seen bits and pieces of Hostel and Hostel 2, but I'd never really, you know, watched. I wasn't aware this was a Quentin Tarantino film. And I love the Saw movies, so naturally I liked Hostel. Sick, twisted, weird? Probably. But what if I throw in the possibility that the film was inspired by true events? Yeah, that's what they say, and that takes this sick, twisted and weird movie to a whole new level.
And now for the reruns. (You thought I was done, didn't you!)
1408 is hands down my top re-run of the pre-season.
Stephen King strikes again in this thriller starring John Cusack as a professional paranormal skeptic. I mean, how do you even get a job like that? If you haven't seen this movie, drop everything and watch it on Amazon Prime. Supposedly the standard DVD runtime is exactly 104 minutes and 8 seconds, and it stops playing at 1:44:08, both shout-outs to the title. I streamed the film so I'd love to know if this is true. Trivia: I borrowed the skull rating from this film, which gets lots of skulls.
A severe storm system moved through northern Utah last weekend, inspiring me to watch The Mist. Yes, another Stephen King tale. Stormy nights beg for scary movies, I even started a post on the role of storms in scary movies during the storm but we'll save that for a later date. This isn't a bad kid friendly film if you are a responsible parent cutting your children's' teeth on horror. There is no language or nudity to worry about. Just an annoying religious zealot, which might not be all that unusual around here.
Another film fit for your budding horror freaks is The Gate. This movie obviously takes place in the 1980's in a neighborhood where monsters are an acceptable risk if it means your parents leave you alone for the weekend.
I also watched The Others, one of Nicole Kidman's best performances (imho). Executive produced by Tom Cruise, this film was released at the same time the public divorce became final. That trivia made it a little more creepy for me. I love the whispered dialog dotted by bloodcurdling screams.
Last on this pre-season review post is Scream 2. Yep, the sequel. I didn't even watch the original but truth - I couldn't find it on Netflix. Turns out I made a typo in the search box using the miniature Apple TV remote.
If you're keeping score (remember this is a sport), the tally comes to 5 reruns and 8 new movies that I hadn't seen before. I sort of found that fascinating because reruns usually form the foundation of the Halloween moviefest. I'm not sure that is because I used to think that there weren't enough decent new scary movies to sustain me for 31 days, or if it's just that reruns are delightful when you are just too lazy to watch a new flick. That may be the ultimate in sloth. But I still get chilled, so I'm okay with that.