Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When September Ends. . .

If there is one thing I can't stand, it's an unfinished to-do list. So I'm extending my September media items through the weekend so I can get to them in good time without having to rush. Despite having picked some real S-H-I-tut for reading material this month, I have had extremely good fortune with William Styron (author of Sophie's Choice) who I may actually be in love with; I'm also planning on watching the film even though I know it's going to make me very uncomfortable. I'm quite looking forward to hearing Meryl's Polish accent though, when she's not sharing the screen with Amy Adams, she's aces in my book.

Also: September being Hispanic heritage month and all, I took up with KINGPIN (the mini-series, not the Randy Quaid/Woody Harrelson) last night. There are three disks, I got them all in a set when Hollywood on Lyndale went out of business earlier this year. It's good! If you like The Godfather, The Sopranos, or Breaking Bad, seriously, give this a try. Danny Trejo and Sheryl Lee are so far, awesome.

Speaking of my boy, Danny, I am actually going to try very hard to see Machete again before October. I just wasn't able to write about it when I got home from seeing it before, nice writer, right? I just burst in the door, Matt could see that I obviously had been crying, and I walked around in a daze for about an hour, trying to explain just how great the film had been but unable. Yes, Machete made me cry. Well, Rodriguezes (Michelle and Robert) made me cry, put it that way. I will write it up, I promise.


Thanks everyone who sent me recommendations for "Scariest Film Ever" project. I took them to heart and I've even made a calendar! Some I am looking forward to a lot. Others I am dreading, but I'm a girl of my word, and if I can find them, I'll watch them. I'm just glad no one brought up Paranormal Activity, because I will not watch it. EVER. Once my other list is finished, I'm starting on yours.

However, these are some that did not make the cut this year for whatever reason. Some (like Fright Night) I feel like I write about every other month anyway, if you really want more on any of these, check the 80s horror tag in the labels section over on the right side, I'm sure there's plenty.

1. The Halloween Series (and we're talking John Carpenter, Rick Rosenthal, and Tommy Lee Wallace directing, not Rob Zombie.)
I think these were scary. They were part of that early 80s horror wave that had a tan, grainy look to everything and were just very unsettling.

Michael Myers peeking out from behind the bush and then up from the clothes line outside the window to stalk Laurie Strode? That's a very real, very disturbing kind of horror. That mask is gross. His slow, deliberate movements are scary, especially in the hospital setting in the second film. Somehow the scalpel as a weapon has always really bothered me. The third film was a kind of black sheep, not having anything to do with Michael Meyers or Laurie Strode, but it's still damned creepy. All those little dolls, and robots in that giant factory? And the turning of human beings into what, fleshy roach and worm havens when the laser on the mask "activates"? Yuck. I still remember that long fingernailed hand hanging off the car door at the end, grasping at nothing and then attacking Dr. Challis, or the way the eyes moved back and forth on the severed head lying on the ground. . .

2. Nightmare on Elm Street series. Ah, yes: comedy and horror combine! I found these to have scary moments also, especially the first one. The boiler room played a pretty major part in the first film, giving it a dirty, boiler-y feeling. I think of Freddy making the finger-knives contraption at the opening (with all the grunting) and just shudder. And the creepy hall monitor? One of my favorite moments. I think just before her scene there was another with a student in Nancy's class, reading from Hamlet, maybe? He started out reading normally, but when Nancy falls asleep and starts dreaming, his voice gets very throaty and creepy ". . . because I have bad dreeeeeaaaaaaams!" That part has always bothered me, Tina levitating around in the body bag also. Loved the three-foot long arms in the ally on Freddy.

The second film had some interesting items but was mostly bad: little girl at the breakfast table with sharp, pink plastic fingers she picked out of the cereal box? THESE ARE MY FOO-MAN FINGERS! Robert Rusler as the smokin' hot friend (you may remember him from Weird Science as Mad Max). . . that's about all. Nancy comes back for the third film to join Patricia Arquette and the kid that played Eyeball Chambers in Stand By Me, blah, blah, blah, although I did enjoy the little Elm Street House Kirsten made out of popsicle sticks, good craftmanship. Freddy starts with the comical taunts as he slaughters; "I said, 'where's the fuckin' bourbon?'" "Welcome to the Prime Time, Bitch!"

Four and Five were forgettably bad. Freddy's Dead had a few chuckles (You're Fucked on the map was my personal favorite; "yeah, well, the map says we're fucked!") but that q-tip getting jammed into Carlos's ear was just awful. "You better speak up, looks like you caught my deaf ear!" Freddy exclaims while jiggling around the hearing aid. Yeee. New Nightmare scared me a little, just because of how it steps outside the film franchise and *attempts* reality film, which, as a concept, was still in its infancy in 1994. Anyway, I like Wes Craven, I think he's all right.

3. Friday the Thirteenth Series. Now I know most people out there don't find any of these scary at all, and okay, maybe not, but trust me, there are creepy parts in these films, especially the early ones. Mrs. Voorhees? "Get her mommy, get her, don't let her get away! Kill her, Mommy, KILL HER!" Yuck. There is a part in the very first film where the mother is looking for Alice, discovers that she's in the closet with the door barricaded, chops all of the stuff out of the way and then does this disgusting excited smirk-sigh when she finally sees her hovering in a corner inside. Fucking GROSS! Charlie made me watch that face, probably ten times in a row, rewind, rewind, rewind. Ugh.

There's also a part in the second film where Amy and Paul go back to the cabin after running through the woods. Everyone else is dead, and they're planning their escape or standoff, whichever, and Amy suddenly stops and says, "Something's not right. Something's not right in here, Paul." Yes, well, Jason in his dish towel face-wrapping (this was before the hockey mask years) was lurking in the corner, so yes, something definitely was not right. I just think it was a really real response to what was going on, and it showed that danger could almost be palpable or something. Heavy, I know.

4. 28 Days Later. I think I watched this for the first time in Hawaii. And I was actually terrified. INFECTED-eds! There is no humor in this film whatsoever, which usually is the way of Zombie films, whether or not it's intentional. I have not seen the sequel, nor do I plan to. . .

5. Fright Night. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is seriously one of my favorites. "Hello, Charlie. I know you're there. I can see you." Long fingernails pulling down the window shade? Chris Sarandon as Vampire Jerry Dandridge is kind of sexy. I said kind of; Eric Northman was still decades off at this point so you had to take it or leave it. Evil Ed? Great lines. +50 for Marcy Darcy as Amy. Red eyes shining in the dark next door at the end still freak me out. . .

6. Alone in the Dark. Now, I haven't actually seen this one, but it's part of a compilation documentary on horror films that I have seen (see #7 below), and the scenes from it have always scared me. Martin Landau apparently plays some escaped mental patient who, together with two others, stalks his psychiatrist. The only scene I can remember is Landau becoming obsessed with the mail carrier's hat and then running the guy down with his van in order to swipe it off his head. Has anyone seen this?

7. Terror in the Aisles. If you like 80s horror, watch this. It's one of my favorites, and will forever remind me of the video store when it was inside 9th Street Boutique. Charlie, Erica, and I watched this I'm sure a hundred times (which was normal, if we liked a film).