October 4th, 2015
This used to be my favorite time of year.
Did I ever tell you about the time I spent 2 years of my life living as horror-rocker Glenn Danzig because I was portraying him in a Tribute band dedicated to his group The Misfits?
It's a hoot.
If you were a customer here in the late 1990's I'm sure you saw me with my dyed black hair and it's questionable styling.
Please note that PIc A Flic Staff-Superstar Kent Bendall is on the far right of the pic too!
At any rate, during that time I was obsessed with all things horror--Halloween decorations went up in my house (including my collection of over 20 ceramic Jack-O-Lanterns) on October 1st. For the entire month I would watch (at least) 1 horror film every night. I collected dead leaves (only the gathered from the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery would do) and placed them on every counter top in the house. The list of dark oddities went on and on...
My wife was on board, luckily.
Now I barely can even muster the energy to carve one pumpkin on the 29th, let alone climb in the attic to drag down those ceramic ones at all.
Sad but true.
I still love horror movies though. My taste has changed slightly over the last decade but the main shift has been in the scope of my acceptance of films from that genre. I used to measure how good a horror movie was by how fun watching it turned out to be. Now it needs to be original. Full of style. Very well acted, paced and shot.
That means I don't watch all that many anymore, simply to avoid wasting time and when I do I am more disappointed than excited or having a good time.
All those years I spent immersing myself in this stuff is your gain, my friends and readers as today I will list for you my very best horror picks in different genres, saving you time and heartache.
Best Horror Documentary: Hell House (2001)
An evangelical Christian sect builds a haunted house on the outskirts of the small American town they live in and populate its rooms with deadly sins instead of monsters. It's always a huge hit with the locals and earns the congregation a surprising number of new members via a very effective and shocking methods. Full of dark psychology and laughs. A+
Best Movie About Halloween: Trick 'r Treat (2007)
The colour palette is all gorgeous oranges, golds and blues in this tightly constructed horror anthology with 5 separate stories taking place joined together on Halloween night. Enough blood for the hardcore fans, a bit of boobs to harkens back to the exploitive nature of the 1980s but this is ultimately, just a fun time. Scary/sweet I'd call it!
Best Deranged Hillbilly Movie that Doesn't Take Place in The US of A: Calvaire (2004)
A travelling singer's van breaks down in the back country of France and he takes shelter at the only mechanic in a the tiny village he ends up in. Everyone in this village is a perverted weirdo and what they do to him changes his whole being. Funny, disturbing and truly original, this is one of my favourite foreign horror films of all time.
In French with English Subtitles
Best Deranged Hillbilly Movie That Takes Place in The US of A: Wrong Turn (2003)
A a group of twenty-something's head into the backwoods for a fun-filled party weekend only to be way-laid by a family of mutant in-breds intent on having these kids for dinner!! This is pretty standard stuff for the most part but the inventiveness of the deaths is exceptional and I truly think you can feel the spirit of joy the cast and crew had while making this. It's infectious.
Best Movie Where Bloody Paranoia is an Allegory for A Romantic Relationship: Bug (2006)
Directed by The Exorcist's William Friedkin this tells the story of a small town waitress who budding romance with a drifter begins to alienate her core group of friends and then progresses to panic-filled terror trip involving government experiments tests of loyalty and digging into each other to find what really lies beneath.
It's incredible that at the age of 65 Friedkin is still so successfully pushing the boundaries.
Best Haunted House Movie: The Haunting (1963)
This is a case where less is more. There is very little shown in this film but so much is implied and imparted. Sound design and shadows playing over ordinary settings and objects an atmosphere of real dread.
One of the all-time classics that still plays with today's more "sophisticated" viewers.
**PS: There's a whole section we just set up in the store for Ghost Story/Haunted House movies for the month**
Best Movie That Tells The Truth About Angels: The Prophecy (1998)
Christopher Walken stars as arch angel Gabriel
in this story about the warring factions of Heaven's Armies coming to Earth and involving some unknowing mortals. There is some decent (if flawed) theological history in this that presents a more accurate, darkly complex portrait of Angels than the benign Sarah-Mclauchlan-singing helpers we think of now days. Bonus points for the cameo by Viggo Mortensen who plays the most foul and quietly threatening Satan I've ever seen.
I could go on and on. I hope this gives at least some of you something fun to watch during this time of year.
I'm personally hoping to find just 1 new horror movie I actually like. Even a little bit.
Now the question is will I climb the stair to the attic to get those pumpkins?