Half way through October already?!? How did that happen? The season is simply too short.
I started the second week of moviefest with The Conjuring 2. I had been itching to see this sequel and I was not disappointed. The film opens with a recap of the Warrens' investigation of the Amityville haunting so it grabbed me right away, but that is a prelude to the Enfield Poltergeist investigation in England which is the subject of this movie. With all of its rain and mist, old buildings, royalty and executions, our neighbor across the pond is the perfect scene for a haunting. Almost as good as Japan, but that comes later.
I would say the story in Conjuring 2 is easily as good as the first movie. My husband thought the first was better and I admit I deducted half a skull. The development of the Warrens' characters in the first movie was really well done and central to the plot but ... it had already been done. That's always the down side to a sequel. I am hoping to get this one in a second time before the season is over, I usually enjoy a good movie better the second time around. Don't ask me why.
On the top 20 list of 1980s horror movies is Nightmare on Elm Street. I pretty much never get tired of this film that asks whether dying in your dream means dying in real life. Science is still unable to answer why we sleep, or why we dream. So what's better than a movie that plays on the mysteries of sleep? Well, a lot of things. But still a good film. (Confession: When my kids were little I let them watch this video to keep them quiet when I was working. Yes, I was that mom.)
And since we're talking about sleep and dreams and nightmares and night terrors, we should talk about Insidious. Well, let's not just talk about it, let's watch it. And I did. Insidious is probably in my top ten movie line-up. "It's not the house that's haunted." Talk about your taglines. This film is really original; I mean, obviously the concept of demons in your sleep is not as we've just shown with Nightmare, but I thought the way it was presented here was original. I loved the crazy gas mask demon communicator thing worn by the psychic, Elise. It's so much more scary than a friendly face, except that you don't get the whites of the eyes when they roll backwards during contact. This film gets better, I think, with the sequel which is refreshing as the stories are masterfully woven together. I haven't watched Insidious 3, that is on deck for next week after I get through the second one. Trivia: Elise (Lin Shaye) was in Nightmare on Elm Street. Go back and watch it, see if you can spot her.
Back into the Halloween test kitchen with Thir13en Ghosts to keep me company. I have trouble searching for this movie in any database because if it is spelled correctly, neither "13"nor "thirteen" will give the correct result. It is just this kind of an error that leads to a discovery like Thir13en Ghosts is a remake. I was surprised when the DVD case looked nothing like the poster that I remember and realized I was holding the original version filmed in 1960. In order to see the ghosts, characters in the 2001 film have to wear special glasses. In the 1960 version, the audience has to wear special glasses to see the ghosts. I have not screened the original yet but I'll keep an eye out for this detail and have a pair of 3D glasses handy since I suspect that is how the effect is created. I will get back to you. There is a special treat for those of you who watch this movie on DVD or Blu-Ray. Visit the special features and watch the Ghost Files. This contains the back story of each of the entrapped ghosts as told by the eccentric Cyrus Kriticos, and made the movie that much more entertaining for me.
The first time I watched Paranormal Activity, I wasn't aware of its mockumentary status. By the time I got to the ending, I was pretty sure I had been Blair Witched so I looked it up, just to be sure. That didn't change my enjoyment of the film and I still really like this kind of story-telling through the eye of a camera if it isn't too nervous. If you want to take the "inspired by true events" concept a little too far, then this movie fits. It was inspired by a box of detergent that fell off the shelf while the director was sleeping. Said box placed in a positio n such that it had no business falling off the shelf. Who hasn't had that experience? Maybe not a box of detergent - in my case, it was a bottle of detergent that managed to spill itself onto the floor of the laundry room. At least nobody ever owned up to the accident and it hadn't occurred to me until I read about the director's experience that the laundry room was probably haunted. That may also explain the mystery of the margarita glass. Anyway, for some reason I kept the video running after the epilogue this time and I noticed thousands of names scrolling rapidly on the screen. Why hadn't I seen this before? The readout on the video indicated there was 15 minutes of this activity. It turns out that fans of the theatrical release were rewarded for making the film successful by having their names added to the ending credits on the DVD.
I finished up week two of the moviefest with Tusk, another selection from the comedy horror genre. My niece recommended this one along with Tucker & Dale vs. Evil though I cannot say I enjoyed it as much. I might put this film on my weirdest movie ever list if my husband had agreed. Watch this film and then let me know what you've seen one that is even weirder just to get some perspective. Hailey Joel Osment returns to the big screen an older and ... larger man. Okay, he probably returned a long time ago but you can see my entertainment runs in dark places. It is Osment's podcast co-host Justin Long, however, who really made me laugh. Until he couldn't make me laugh anymore because ... well, you'll get it when you see it. Perhaps the best part of the movie is Fleetwood Mac and the USC Marching Band performing "Tusk." My husband was disappointed they didn't use The Beatles' music, but suggesting what that music should have been would be a spoiler and if you've seen the film, you know the tune I am talking about. If you really liked this movie then you are in luck. Tusk is the first of a trilogy that is followed up with Yoga Hosers (released this year) and Moose Jaws (in production). I didn't have to love Tusk to go searching for Yoga Hosers. They had me at the title.
That wraps up the first half of 2016 Halloween moviefest. Two new movies this week, four reruns. If you like scary movies even half as much as I do, then I hope your favorite films are in your DVD/Blu-Ray collection. As you can see, there are some rewards to owning tangible media, aside from it being ... tangible.