Well here we are, a single day away from Halloween. Six weeks have come and gone, and we’ve watched a heck of a lot of movies. As per usual, I have not actually covered all the movies I’ve seen during the horror movie marathon. Sometimes a movie just doesn’t fit with a given week’s theme, or perhaps I only caught a portion of it on television, and sometimes I just don’t have much to say about a movie. So every year, I close out the marathon with a quick roundup of everything I saw that hasn’t already been covered. Behold:
- Dial M for Murder – Hitchcock’s tale of a man who devises an intricate plot to murder his wife only to find that things go horribly wrong. But he’s able to improvise an impressive plan to evade the police anyway. Or is he? This is an impressively engaging movie considering that 90% of the movie takes place in a rather small apartment, and most of the action consists of simple conversations. I get the impression that folks like Quentin Tarantino cribbed from this while trying to ensure their long dialog scenes maintain a certain level of suspense. This is actually one of the better movies I saw during the 6WH. ***
- Scream 2 – I was listening to the Bangers n’ Mash show on the Scream Tetralogy and they seemed to have a high opinion of this, maybe even preferring it to the first Scream. I haven’t seen it since it came out, and I guess I liked it well enough, but it really didn’t make that much of an impression back then. It’s got some interesting stuff going on, I really like the opening of the movie (something the series generally excels at) and there’s a lot of good banter about sequels and whatnot. Unfortunately, it pretty much falls into the same trap as most sequels and in my mind, doesn’t really compare to the first. This is a fine film though, and worth checking out if you’ve never progressed through the series (the third movie, on the other hand, is a harder sell). **1/2
- It Came from Beneath the Sea – I watched this during the Kaiju week, but since it’s not actually Japanese, I didn’t think it fit into that post. But it’s pretty similar to the Kaiju movies. A giant octopus is attacking boats and eventually even the coast, and a team of plucky scientists is the only thing that can stop it. Or something like that. I’d say it compares favorably to Rodan or Ghidirah, but seeing as though I was not particularly on board with those movies, that’ snot saying much. I wasn’t enthralled, though it has some interesting historical value. **
- Eight Legged Freaks – Good old fashioned fun horror movie about a spider researcher who accidentally doses his collection with some sort of growth serum, thus making them gigantic. This ain’t going to be a transcendent experience or radically challenge your status quo, but it’s a fun way to spend a couple hours. **1/2
- The Cabin in the Woods – This movie is holding up reasonably well, and it’s still a fun romp, especially towards the end. The more I see it, the more the very last scenes bother me, but it’s still a minor complaint. Otherwise, not much different from my previous thoughts on this. ***
- I Spit on Your Grave – I watched this because of a book I was reading that featured a chapter on Rape Revenge films, and boy is this one the mother of them all. It’s a pretty brutal film to watch, but it does have its interesting aspects. A hard one to recommend, but it’s interesting to see how this film prefigured more mainstream efforts later on… **1/2
- The Wicker Man – This is the remake, and yes, it’s every bit as bad as you’ve heard. Is it so bad it’s good? Well, at times it is. Nicolas Cage is kinda sleepwalking through some of the movie, but at other moments, he’s extremely animated and simultaneously terrible and great. The bee sequence is particularly brilliant. But it’s still a terrible movie. Check out Kernunrex’s take, which is much better than mine. *
- The Thing – Not much to say about this one, except that it still holds up pretty well. Great practical effects, fantastic ambiguous ending, and if you haven’t seen it, you really should check it out. ****
- Detention – You guys, I do so love this movie, and it gets better every time I watch it. It’s not for everyone, but I love it. ***1/2
- Tales from the Crypt: Season 2, Episode 1 “Dead Right” – I did manage to watch a bunch of Tales from the Crypt this year, and ran out of Wednesday posts to cover them, so here they are. This first one is a prototypical episode. A fortune teller gives Demi Moore advice on how to get rich by marrying into money. Of course, things work out badly for Demi, and in an ironic way.
- Tales from the Crypt: Season 2, Episode 2 “The Switch” – This episode was directed by Arnold Schwartzenegger! And he even makes an appearance at the beginning with the Cryptkeeper. The story is about an old man in love with a younger woman. To please her, he spends all his money on a way to rejuvenate his body, only to find, well let’s not ruin the ironic ending. It’s a good episode though.
- Tales from the Crypt: Season 2, Episode 3 “Cutting Cards” – Another really good episode, this one stands out primarily because of amazing performances by Lance Henriksen and Kevin Tighe. It also doesn’t follow the typical TFtC formulas, which makes it more interesting.
- Tales from the Crypt: Season 2, Episode 4 “‘Til Death” – And here we have a story where the formula is utterly predicable, and this tale of a gold digging real estate prospector ends badly for him in a way that you can see coming from the very beginning of the episode.
- Tales from the Crypt: Season 2, Episode 5 “Three’s a Crowd” – Another middling episode, this one about a husband who’s convinced his wife is cheating on him is saved primarily by its ending, which is, you guessed it, ironic.
- Tales from the Crypt: Season 2, Episode 6 “The Thing from the Grave” – This one would be mostly forgettable except for the performance by Miguel Ferrer, who plays this smarmy, entitled little prick. As per usual, he gets what’s coming to him.
So there you have it. I’m sure I’ll throw Halloween on tomorrow night, as per tradition, and some of this year’s activities will spill over into the coming weeks of blog posts too. So stay tuned, and have a great holiday!