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October Horror Fest 2011

Each year we usually watch a lot of horror movies in October. The last few I’ve tried to track them.

Rating system.
1′s These are work.
2′s I liked parts and pieces, such as effects or story. I’d suggest it to a genre fan.
3′s Complete packages here, well done all around. Genre fans will probably enjoy also. Strong likes.
4′s Probably becomes repeat viewer and purchase, gets suggested to others and defended if others hate it.
5′s Loved it. Definite buys, definite suggestions if asked. Not only a great horror movie but great movie in general. These stay with you and set the bars.

I love conventional effects, I’d rather see a string than CGI. No excuse for digital blood and my ratings will swing on that. In most cases a guy in a suit beats most animated beasts. Ghosts get a pass, mostly.

I’m not a huge fan of the torture pron direction the horror genre has taken recently. I understand the scary reality link but not many will get a 5 out of me. Cheesy slashers with the great effects are one of my favorite sub genres. Demeaning women loses points even if she comes back for revenge. I understand the shock value is important to some but it’s hard to watch at times.

My favorite stuff plays around in the creature features, teen slasher, paranormal areas. Zombies, vampires, etc are welcome. Sparkly vampires are not. A great ghost story goes a long way with me as do crazed cults. Many modern creature flicks show you everything and leave nothing to the imagination and lose points due to that.

I’m open to so many forms of “horror” and personally would include a film like Gremlins or even Red State in a “horror” list.

Here are the movies for 2011.

1. Shadow.  3 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Good twist in this one, Surviving The Game meets Hostel. Real creepy bad guy.

2. People Under The Stairs. 2 out of 5 Netflix Instant

This is my 3rd viewing of this since its release, still kind of meh on it. The brother and sister are arguably the best part.

3. Tucker and Dale vs Evil. 4 out of 5 HDNET Movies

Loved it, very fun, laid back spoof with a nice twist on perception. Wife liked it. Nothing too over the top. With the genre full of CGI garbage this was refreshing.

4. Night of the Creeps. 5 out of 5 Crackle.com

Fred Dekker does it again, I love his stuff. It’s been a long time since I saw this so it was pretty fresh. Great throwbacks to the 50′s and a bit of Noir.

5. The Awakening. 1 out of 5 total piece of poop. Netflix Instant

Hipster youth die to crappy nu-metal at the hands of some ancient evil.

6. Intruder. 4 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Late 80′s slasher that I’d not seen before. Sam Raimi stars. The camera work stood out for me. On further reading I think I saw the edited version because there wasn’t any real gore to speak of just great tension.

7. Strangeland. 3 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Pretty decent flick, pretty decent badguy. Captain Howdy could use a prequel in my opinion.

8. John Carpenter’s The Ward. 5 out of 5 Vudu

Very well done movie. Probably one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while. John Carpenter is a master so little doubt was there. Got at least 2 squirms and 2 jumps out of us without entering torture pron territory. Loosely plays with Alice In Wonderland and doesn’t over do it.

9. Trick ‘r Treat. 5 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Second viewing and it gets better.  A series of connected events centered around Halloween. I cannot recommend it enough. It is to Halloween what A Christmas Story is to Christmas. Surely something for everyone in this movie. A huge bonus is the lack of CGI, it didn’t need any.

10. Child’s Play. 4out of 5 Netflix Instant

One of my all time faves, the killer doll has some great lines and the kid looks really scared. Lots of fun and creepy. Terrific fiery ending.

11. House on Skull Mountain. 2 out of 5 Netflix Instant

A slow atmospheric piece with hints of blacksploitation and Voodoo. Similar to Sugar Hill but no where near as good. This dish needed more cheese. I thought the audio was great. The chanting and hypnotic drums felt right for a voodoo flick.

12. Poltergeist 2. 4 out of 5 Netflix Instant

One of the stronger sequels to any franchise. I dig the Native American slant on this. Locally we have many Native sites that have been built over for urban development over the years. Some really great conventional effects in this movie and a really creepy old dude.

13. Frontier (s). 3 out of 5 Vudu

The lead actress in this one is the star. Some really great scenes but it feels like Hostel to me.  This puts it over into the torture pron area which I feel is taking over the “horror” genre. Never the less, a great flick with some stuff that will stick with you.

14. Incident on and Off a Mountain Road.  3 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Pretty good short story. Good blend of two themes. Girl gets taught how to survive by her jerk husband and then puts all the training to use on a freak in the woods.

15. The Guardian 5 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Being a new family this means a lot more now than it did when I saw it years back. They got the baby audio right, the new parent insecurities, and a tree that eats dudes. Really well done story that could be sold as a mystery or horror and it is rooted in just enough mystical stuff to not go crazy. Great conventional effects in this.

16. Deathwatch 3 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Gritty, dirty, and bleak. Mud, rain, rats, and bodies in the water. A little slow but worth the watch. For some reason it reminded me of those old Eerie Comics.

17. Graduation Day 1 outof 5 Netflix Instant

Normally I dig Troma stuff but this was bad. Best part would be the music and the non-augmented women. Nowhere near Class of Nuke ‘em High in quality. At times it is very dramatic then decides to be a slasher flick. Mostly it was work to get through.

18. An American Werewolf in London. 5 out of 5 Netflix Instant

One of all time faves. Great blend of comedy and gore. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the transformation or when I got old enough to understand the zombie scene in the theater. It’s pretty much the standard by which werewolf movies are judged.

19. Hell Night. 1 out of 5 Netflix Instant

This confirms that Linda Blair’s best movie is the Exorcist. I will say the sets were interesting. The fact I’m into the sets also says that the rest sucked. Maybe I need to revisit this one another year?

20. Body Snatchers 3 out of 5 Netflix Instant

I love the original and most of its remakes, this is a 90′s version. Not so much horror in the traditional sense but the social aspect is scary. I see hive minds and they really scare me.

 

21. The Howling. 4 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Pretty decent werewolf flick. I was introduced to the sequels far before I saw the first so the marsupial mess ruined the franchise for me. The original is a nice and dark movie with pretty good monsters and a good story.

22. Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning. 3 out of 5 Netflix Instant

A bit slow but well made, I enjoyed the first one which I watched after this one, and this is recommended by fans. It’s sort of a “Last of the Mohicans” meets the Wolfman. There are way worse wolf flicks out there.

23. The Craft. 4 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Big fan of this. Nice slice of the 90′s. Even the wife will watch. The effects are mostly well done and as things come back to haunt the girls it gets really good playing with the high school tension and the “craft.”

24. Scream. 4 out of 5 Netflix Instant

I missed this back in the day. I never saw it or the ” I Know What You Did” movies. Glad I waited. This is a smart movie that cashes in on the history of horror which gives fans of the genre an extra bit to hold onto. Little hidden things make the watch all the better. One of the cooler ones this year.

25. Silver Bullet. 4 outof 5 AMC

I like this movie a lot. Gary Busey stars as himself along with Sam Emerson before he met the Frog Brothers. Anne of Green Gables narrates. How much better can a movie get? Add a werewolf priest and Stephen King.

26. Parents. 2 out of 5 Vudu

I like dark comedy. This is a dark comedy with not a lot of funny. It pokes holes in the gleaming suburbia we all see and reveals things that are very scary. Some deadpan acting from Quaid stands out and the feelings of the boy really come through and are shown expertly. It gets a 2 because it just doesn’t fit the genre for me.

27. Joshua. 3 out of 5 Vudu

I dug this slow burner. Hard to tell who is in charge but by the end it’s very clear. Evil kids owning their parents really hits home with a newborn in the house. They capture the stress of having a newborn quite nicely and they build out Joshua’s plan expertly. Sam Rockwell tries to go to war and it is funny. If you like evil kid films check it out.

28. Happy Birthday to Me. 4 out of 5 Crackle

Quite a good entry into the 80′s slasher stuff. Not a ton of gore but it didn’t need it. It plays up the mystery side and has a few twists that I loved. Pretty smart in my opinion. It didn’t hurt that is had Tracey E. Bregman in it either.

29. The House of the Devil. 5 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Still love this. Perfection.

30. The Legend of Hell House. 4 out of 5 Netflix Instant

Such a good classic movie, actual effects and actual acting. Very well done scary house. Great atmosphere. Roddy McDowell pretty much rules. I love the conventional effects and I’m sure real smoke was used.

31. The Lost Boys. 5 out of 5 Netflix Instant

One of the best vampire movies ever. One of the best 80′s movies ever. If you like it you need to see the most recent one. The only sparkle on the vampires is when they are on fire. Great soundtrack too.

32. 976-EVIL. 4 out of 5 Blockbuster Movie Pass Dish Network

Some great 80′s cheese. Flirts with Freddie with many one liners after it gets going. I hated it the first time I saw it but this time around I loved it. I hesitate to say it but it felt one of Stephen King’s lowly type of guys that gets powered up.

33. Cameron’s Closet 2 out of 5  Crackle.com

Not a good one but worth a viewing. Feels like a cheap Poltergeist slash Exorcist thing.

34. The Thing. 5 out of 5 Netflix Instant

What a great film. To this day the effects hold up. Very creepy very claustrophobic. Very badass. Even if you aren’t into horror this one is hard to deny.

35. Prince of Darkness. 5 out of 5 Netflix Instant

This movie is freaky on lots of levels. Some people don’t get it and that’s fine. I love it. It sticks with me. The Jesse Ferguson scenes gives me chills and I feel the panic when they have to fight their way out. I kept an eye open for transmissions up until 1999.

36. Ginger Snaps. 4 out of 5 DVD

Nice weaving of werewolves into puberty. Good effects and characters that work. Should become a classic in the werewolf genre. It was a first time viewing for me and the suggestions held up. Nice creature design.

For 37 through 42 I watched the first 6 of the  A Nightmare On Elm Street series. The first is an obvious classic. Later films in the series draw lots of debate. I like them all differently as Freddy dished out cool demises across all his movies. Standouts are to be found in all of these. A particular favorite is part 3. Some people don’t like Alice but I really dig part 4 and 5 with her in it. They are well done and seem to give the series some weight and a great mythology. Speaking of mythology part 6 kind of shoots that notion down. I wasn’t impressed with the direction it took. Part 2 seems to be hard to place within the later ones and is probably the most true sequel in that sense regarding the original. Lots of excellent effects in this series. You can watch how effects progress across each movie. I really like the animatronic stuff. All in all a classic series that just about anyone can get into I think there’s something for everyone in it. 5 out of 5

 

There you have it, October Horror Fest 2011. This year I stayed away from the total gore fests and looks like I  hit werewolves a lot. No zombies. What is up with that? I think I did well considering we had a newborn in the house. I’ll have to rethink this for next year as she’ll be old enough to understand some things that we don’t really want her to understand. I’m not ready for those questions and I prefer that she find her own way into a film genre.

  1. October 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Awesome list, dude. I think we’ve got a lot in common regarding movies. I’m still dying to see The Ward; hope it’s more Escape From New York/Prince of Darkness/The Thing Carpenter than “Ghosts of Mars” Carpenter.

    • October 31, 2011 at 5:29 am

      The Ward is on Netflix Instant.

      • November 5, 2011 at 8:05 am

        just added it to “Le Q”

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