4 Weeks of Halloween: Week 1

Blatantly stealing this concept from Kernunrex’s Six Weeks of Halloween, here’s my week 1 schedule:

  • The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V: The Shinning
  • Shining (fake trailer)
  • Black Sunday (trailer)
  • Tre volti della paura, I (1963) Mario Bava’s trio of short stories is a little tame by today’s standards, but his ability to use atmosphere and sound to create tension is undeniable. The first story tells the tale of a beautiful woman terrorized by her ex-boyfriend. It somehow manages to pull off two twists in a short time, and it’s the best of the three stories. The second story is a plodding vampire tale, probably the most famous of the three, as it stars Boris Karloff, but it might be my least favorite. The third story follows a nurse who makes a bad decision when her patient dies in the midst of a seance. It’s the shortest of the three stories, but it delivers on it’s straightforward premise. All in all, an enjoyable experience, if a bit cheesy (and if you don’t mind subtitles). **1/2
  • The Exorcist (unused trailer) – This trailer is awesome – light years ahead of it’s time though. Previews from the era were… lame. To put it lightly. This is great though.
  • Mary Poppins (recut trailer)
  • Horror Friends (YouTube short)
  • Masters of Horror: Incident On and Off a Mountain Road (2005): Directed by Kaedrin favorite, Don Coscarelli (of Phantasm fame), this was one of the first Masters of Horror short films. Adapted from a short story by Joe R. Lansdale, this 1 hour story isn’t tremendously brilliant or groundbreaking, but it is well made and has a couple decent twists. It’s got some gory touches and the relationship the protagonist was in (told in flashbacks) is a bit rushed, but overall it’s not too bad. Very entertaining and certainly worthy of a watch, but it’s rather straightforward. (Note to Netflix users, a lot of the Masters of Horror series are available on their Watch Online service, including this one and probably a bunch of others I’ll watch in coming weeks) **1/2
  • Alien (trailer)
  • Evil Aliens (trailer)
  • Robot Chicken: Horror Big Brother
  • Friday the 13th (1980): Taking it’s cue from John Carpenter’s brilliant Halloween, this film ratcheted up the gore… and the implausibility. Alas, more gore also meant less scares. It’s got some inventive kill scenes (notably Kevin Bacon’s, though it was pretty much stolen right from Mario Bava’s even more implausible Bay of Blood) and a great twist ending (you could probably make the argument that this steals from the twist endings of films like Halloween and Phantasm, but this was at least well constructed on it’s own. It’s also worth noting that A Nightmare on Elm Street does the same thing, so at least this film is in good company.), but is otherwise pretty pedestrian. I’ve watched all the Friday movies (er most of ’em, they tend to blend together), but remember very little about them, which is why I decided to revisit this. I’ll probably take in a couple of other ones over the coming month as well. **1/2

There you have it. I hope I didn’t just use up all my favorite of the shorts & trailers… The trailers for The Exorcist and Alien are the best, and they’re amazing because they’re way ahead of their time. As I mentioned above, most trailers of the era are just excruciatingly bad. Anyway, this was a reasonable start to my little horror marathon. Look for more next week.

4 thoughts on “4 Weeks of Halloween: Week 1”

  1. I think that the interesting thing about Friday the 13th is that it works best if you’re aware of the franchise, but haven’t seen or read much about the first one. Which is sort of weird, I think.

  2. Yeah, I’ve known several people who were… surprised by what you’re referring to. I had seen the movie before, so I already knew, but still. In any case, while a decent watch, it’s still inferior to the other horror classics of the era:P

  3. I’m biased, because I’m not really much of a fan of a lot of that era’s horror. I dislike the emphasis on gore and violence over actual fear and terror that so many slasher flicks emphasized. It’s easier to startle and disgust an audience than it is to actual scare them, and I sort of feel like a lot of slasher films gave up on trying to be scary, and opted for gross, instead.

  4. Exactly. I don’t know if I’d lump Halloween in with Friday the 13th though. It’s got its boo moments, but it’s not that gory and it spends a lot of time establishing tension. The Shining is another good one from that era.

    I think there’s a place for gross and gory horror, and it can certainly be fun, but like you say, films that emphasise actual fear and horror are preferable.

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