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Spooky Time Discussion and Recommendations!

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Instead of any of the horror movies I was excited to watch or revisit, I elected to watch something I found at random on Tubi; to that end Medusa: Queen of Serpents.

Ugh.

If not for the fact that Tubi is free, I’d have felt like I was sold a bill of goods; it’s an hour into a 90 minute movie before the premise of “Lady becomes a were-Medusa after getting a snake bite” is fulfilled. And even then, it’s the last fifteen minutes before she becomes a snake lady and decides to use her snake lady powers to avenge herself on those who victimized her.

Even that’s disappointing as she variably looks like a big avocado or a regular lady with bad cg snakes for hair.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
#21
Night of the Comet
The truly most horrifying occurrence in this film is implied rather than shown but this film is still frightening enough just by showing the (relatively) smaller scale horrors that occur in the aftermath.
 
I re-watched Day of the Dead.

For those that haven't seen it: Scientists, civilians and soldiers are in an underground military complex surviving in a zombie apocalypse.

I love the sound track and tone of Day. The sound track is low key synth with hints of dread underneath. When someone says zombie movie, the Day soundtrack is the one that plays in my mind. The tone is very bleak. The humans stuck living together do not get along and their numbers and supplies are dwindling.

I think the bleak tone of the film is realistic given the circumstances of the story. However, Day doesn't have the humor and the fun characters that are in parts of Dawn of the Dead and Land of the Dead. I will say on this re-watch, I found myself missing the humor and fun of Dawn and Land.

Day is probably still my favorite of the Romero Zombie films, but I think Land of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead are very close seconds.

I wonder if Day was an influence on 28 Days Later. At least to me, they seem to share some themes and tone.
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
More of a thriller than anything that could be possibly considered "spooky", but I watched The Bad Seed, an adaptation of the play of the same name, apparently made with the original theatrical cast and it was pretty great. Mom is surprised and then horrified to learn her adorable daughter is, in fact, a full on sociopathic murderer, and every single character is trying to out-act one another.

It is the movie with the greatest possible quantity of acting.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
#20
Warlock
Most of the realized frights in this movie are relatively small scale but the underlying and driving threat is quite enormous. Between those frights is a nice chase and race against time that includes some interesting action scenes and fantastical moments based on old folklore (or at least pop culture's understanding of it). Also has some humor sprinkled throughout which keeps it from becoming too bleak or dark.

(Editor's Note: There are some problematic things in this movie so I certainly wouldn't blame anyone for skipping it.)
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
So I got a subscription to Shudder, and I started watching Creepshow

Episode 1 is an adaptation of the Stephen King short story Grey Matter (about an alcoholic single father who becomes a GOO GUY) and also an original (?) story called House of the Head, about a haunted dollhouse. The first one I thought was a pretty good and tense story that combines the personal tragedy of a frightened child being forced to contend with a sickly, alcoholic father, with a heavy dosage of body-horror thrown on top (and some genuinely impressive visuals on GOO DAD), but they decided to go too far with it at the end by having everyone panic because Goo Dad is less than a week from eating The Entire Human Race, which... y'know... I question where they're getting their numbers from is all; Goo Dad is a serious, but very localized problem.

The other one was a lot better and had a premise I really dug that I hadn't seen before; the house itself, and the people who live in it are fine; it's just very specifically the dolls in the kids doll house who have to contend with a murderous spook; and every time she looks in on it, the dolls are rearranged and terrified of the severed zombie-head inside the house with them. None of the tropes you'd expect to find with a haunted hosue story come up, or are touched upon; just a little girl who is witnessing her dolls being terrified by an evil presense, and her trying to solve the problem by throwing more dolls at it.

I will be continuing with this show, even if the Creep is a poor horror host.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
So I also have a Shudder subscription that I'll end once spooky season is over and I'm watching, piecemeal the four hour long In Search of Darkness. It's the kind of documentary that speaks to me... it's basically saying "you remember ____" and "ever heard of _____" for scary 80s movies. I used to watch Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments all the time around October and this is very much in the same ball park: talking heads providing minor insight into movies that are interesting to me. I mean, it did make me want to watch The Burning, a Friday the 13th rip-off that has a "Better than you'd think" reputation and early roles for Helen Hunt and Jason Alexander and a Rick Wakeman score.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Christine is a movie about an evil car that kills some people and turns it’s new owner into a big jerk. For a John Carpenter directed Stephen King adaption at the peak of both of their powers, I was expecting more. The music is by Carpenter, and therefore very good, and the effects of the evil car healing itself are some of the neatest practical effects I’ve seen.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
The House of the Devil is exactly the kind of movie I wanted it to be, a slow burn horror that plays off of my own personal fears of being alone. I'm rarely scared by horror films but I AM a fraidy cat. It's just that films don't often seem to utilize my own fears of being alone... maybe. This one gets that and also knows how to give the audience just enough info that the lead character doesn't have to maximize the tension. Between this and the Innkeepers, Ti West is a director who both clearly loves horror but also isn't interested in simply slopping on a bunch of what he thinks audiences want but rather films that maximize slow tension that ramps up.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
#19
Tales from the Crypt presents: Demon Knight
Tales from the Crypt is one of my favorite TV shows so I'm all in on a feature length movie in the same vein. *Cryptkeeper cackle*

I will be continuing with this show, even if the Creep is a poor horror host.
Well not everyone can be the Cryptkeeper or Elvira...

the effects of the evil car healing itself are some of the neatest practical effects I’ve seen.
I think I vaguely remember seeing a feature on how they accomplished that so I could spoil the magic if you wanted me to.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Just because you can’t win, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to play!

Also, hardly a surprising revelation and more of a “How did I never notice this before”, but Wilford Brimley was definitely a The Thing when Kurt Russel went to his shack-prison just before the difibulator scene, presumably having been absorbed after he commits suicide in order to deny The Thing a meal
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Episode 2 of Creepshow was more of a let down; the first story was a pretty underwhelming story of werewolves punching Nazis until they completely exploded (how that can be a disappointment I don’t know), but the second half was about DJ Quallis adopting a murderous gremlin who eats people who bug him. That one was pretty fun and the murder gremlin had some real nice puppetry.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
#18
Critters 2
The Critters movies are a fun mix of sci-fi, horror and comedy with much of the humor coming from the sub-titled dialogue of the man-eating alien Krites (the titular Critters). I enjoy how the second film / first sequel ramps the threat (and everything else) up from the smaller stakes of the first film. It also contains one of the greatest scenes ever committed to film - the giant Critter ball.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Blacula is a pretty darn good drac-em-up starring The King of Cartoons, and a Coroner who was weirdly quick to realize that Vampires are causing a ruckus.

Well, not a big ruckus; none of them seem to mind being vampires, but the entire police force of New York is made up of racist idiots, so they aren’t up for debating things.

Come for William Marshall to be a vampire, and stay for William Marshall being a vampire because man, he’s good at vampiring
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
Evil Dead: I quit ten minutes in and skipped to the second one after consulting with people in the know.

Evil Dead 2: A fun-enough schlocky romp with Bruce Campbell just going full throttle the entire time. A couple memorable moments, like Ash's hand getting possessed and attacking him, and especially the legendary chainsaw hand scene and almost as legendary time travel ending - does this movie need spoiler tags at all? - but other than that, just kind of a competent campy horror movie.

Army of Darkness: Now, this. THIS is what I came to see. This is a masterwork, a paradigm of campy, schlocky, extremely 90's cinema. It was so stupid and endlessly entertaining for it. I would hesitate to even really call it a horror film, rather a comedy based on horror elements. Evil Dead was plowing the field and planting the seed, Evil Dead 2 is where the plant started to grow, but Army of Darkness is the delicious fruit it was all leading up to. This I could easily see becoming a semi-regular rewatch.

The Lighthouse: That was... really something. I kept thinking "They don't make movies like this anymore," though without thinking that was necessarily good or bad either way. I like movies that mess with perceptions and lean into the surreal, which is not to say I aways get them, necessarily.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Tenebre is a crackerjack giallo I don't trust Dario Argento to intentionally take himself for task, this might be a movie that says "yeah, maybe the guy who writes stories were beautiful women are fetishistically murdered and brutalized might have some internalized misogyny." I think he's more just trolling his critics, though. This definitely isn't a feminist movie. In all honesty, I kept expecting the killer to be "guy... BUT DRESSED AS WOMAN!" so thanks for not doing that at least, movie. Putting aside the issues, it is a very watchable, stylish movie and while the reveal wasn't "OOH MY GOD", I didn't see the specifics of it coming and that I like. Plus some cool visuals in the last act.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
#17
The Fly (1986)
A stark and scary reminder to all scientists to always be sure to control all variables in an experiment. A gory, gruesome and gripping film. But what else would you expect from a big budget horror remake directed by David Cronenberg?

"He was searching for the truth. He almost found a great truth but for one instant, he was careless. The search for the truth is the most important work in the whole world and the most dangerous."

Advance knowledge of that spoiler fuelled my interest in watching that series [Critters]
So what did you think of them?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Only watched the first, but I loved it

Also; regarding The Fly; Seth sure… ruined a lot of perfectly good baboons, huh?

Feels like that’s a less… baboon-intensive way to conduct those experiments
 
Evil Dead: I quit ten minutes in and skipped to the second one after consulting with people in the know.

Evil Dead 2: A fun-enough schlocky romp with Bruce Campbell just going full throttle the entire time. A couple memorable moments, like Ash's hand getting possessed and attacking him, and especially the legendary chainsaw hand scene and almost as legendary time travel ending - does this movie need spoiler tags at all? - but other than that, just kind of a competent campy horror movie.

Army of Darkness: Now, this. THIS is what I came to see. This is a masterwork, a paradigm of campy, schlocky, extremely 90's cinema. It was so stupid and endlessly entertaining for it. I would hesitate to even really call it a horror film, rather a comedy based on horror elements. Evil Dead was plowing the field and planting the seed, Evil Dead 2 is where the plant started to grow, but Army of Darkness is the delicious fruit it was all leading up to. This I could easily see becoming a semi-regular rewatch.

The Lighthouse: That was... really something. I kept thinking "They don't make movies like this anymore," though without thinking that was necessarily good or bad either way. I like movies that mess with perceptions and lean into the surreal, which is not to say I aways get them, necessarily.
I think you should retry Evil dead 1. It's my favorite of them, despite not having what the series is famed for. I find it genuinely unsettling. I also like the very homemade, guerilla filmmaking aspect of it.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Conversely, based on those write-ups I say you made the right call by skipping 1 (and presumably the remake, but I didn’t see that).

The TV show, however, I will absolutely vouch for
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I liked the remake. It's definitely gory and you will likely wince but it reminds me of the films of Alexander Aja: I feel like he doesn't wallow in it the way a lot of torture heavy movies are. It is something of a ride, particularly in the last act.

I also recommend Don't Breathe.
 
Conversely, based on those write-ups I say you made the right call by skipping 1 (and presumably the remake, but I didn’t see that).

The TV show, however, I will absolutely vouch for
I strongly stan for TV show. Season 2 morgue scene is one of the craziest things outside of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive.

Also Dead Alive free on Youtube if anyone hasn't seen it.
 
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