6WH: Week 6.5 – Speed Round!

It’s time to cover some movies that I’ve seen recently, but that haven’t been discussed in the Six Weeks of Halloween marathon so far. Some of them just didn’t fit with a given week’s theme and some of them are just things I’ve seen already (and have maybe even written about). So here goes:

  • Paranormal Activity 2: Ultimately a repetitive and pretty unnecessary venture, it still manages a few well executed “Boo” moments and they actually manage to retcon a semi-interesting link between the two films (sure, it doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it’s much better than I was expecting). It’s a little too slick and redundant for its own good, but it’s not devoid of value and there’s something about the premise that just gets under my skin. I’ll give this one a pass, but I expect the third installment will finally wear out its welcome… **1/2
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon: It’s not really as clever as it wants to be, but it’s an interesting, self-aware neo-slasher parody and worth a watch for fans of the sub-genre (as I am). It tries to put a name to the many conventions of the genre, though the only really new terminology that’s coined is the concept of an “Ahab” (basically, in the context of slashers, the primary example of an Ahab would be Dr. Loomis from the Halloween films). **1/2
  • Alice, Sweet Alice: This 1976 movie, on the other hand, is a proto-slasher and prefigures some of the conventions. The Catholic themes and one of the more interesting masks make this a step above most of the sub-genre, though I don’t think of it as one of the greatest examples. ***

    Alice, Sweet Alice

  • The Roost: If you’ve seen any of Ti West’s other movies, this one won’t really come as a surprise. It’s a very deliberately paced tale of… something that lives in a farmhouse and seems to be turning people into zombies. It’s obviously low-budget and it’s not exactly a great film, but it’s clear that West’s less-is-more approach works well, even on a small budget. **
  • Piranha Part Two: The Spawning: I’ve noted several times that the Piranha series has a surprisingly good pedigree, and for this one, we get James Cameron’s second effort as director (apparently he was fired from this film though, so it’s not all his fault). It’s a surprisingly fun schlock-fest, and while there was a small reprise of the silliness at the end of the most recent Piranha installment, I would have liked to have seen more flying Piranha… **1/2
  • Zombieland: Revisted this movie and had a blast with it. It’s just as funny as it was the first time, it’s got the best cameo ever, and in the end, it’s a big ball of fun. ***
  • Ghost Busters: After seeing it mentioned in Zombieland, I had to throw my blu-ray in and watch it. Not much to say about it though – it’s a classic! ****
  • The Hills Have Eyes II: A pretty tiresome retread of a tiresome premise. The big twist this time around is that the victims are in the National Guard. ZOMG! It’s still a boring, paint by numbers, gory horror film. I had trouble staying awake. **
  • Masters of Horror: “The V Word”: The MoH series has been wildly inconsistent, and this tale of teens accidentally becoming vampires comes in somewhere around the middle of the pack. It’s always nice to see Michael Ironside getting work, but it’s otherwise unremarkable. **
  • Masters of Horror: “The Black Cat”: How did Edgar Allen Poe come to write his story “The Black Cat”? Do we care? Not really. I think what I learned in this episode is that Poe was a douche. **
  • Masters of Horror: “The Washingtonians”: A quite intriguing premise, but the episode doesn’t quite deliver on the potential. It’s one of the more entertaining episodes in the series, and it features the most absurd ending of any of the episodes I’ve seen. **1/2
  • Session 9: Haven’t seen it yet, but it’s on Netflix Watch Instantly, so I’ll probably take a gander before Halloween…
  • Martyrs: Just came in the mail from Netflix. I’ve heard a lot about this one, and figured it was time to check it out.
  • The Brood: I’ve inexplicably neglected Cronenberg’s early filmography, and this one just came in the mail too.
  • Grindhouse: They’ve finally released the theatrical cut of this movie, complete with fake trailers and missing reels, and I went and bought me the blu-ray as soon as I found out. Now I just need to carve out 3 hours to watch it!

That’s all for now. See you on the big day, when I’ll probably do some awards (any categories beyond the traditional that I should consider? Let’s see, best picture, best director, best performances (actor, actress, supporting, etc…), scariest movie, best kill, and of course, “The Proximity to Jason Vorhees Award for Heroic Stupidity”. Anything else?