Every year, right around Halloween, I have grand plans to fill the whole month–every single day in October, in fact–with horror viewing. The sad news is, I usually crap out about a week in, having only seen two or three movies. This year it’ll be different, I swear!
I was so excited to begin, I couldn’t even wait until October 1st! The movie I began with was Shelley (2016); a story which revolves around a childless couple, and the young woman they’ve hired to help around the house, who then later agrees to carry their baby. Though the pregnancy is weird(er) and gross(er) than normal, the film was quite beautiful, with that somber, isolated property and the eerie woods surrounding it, and that gorgeous darkened lake. I have a tough time with pregnancy horror, though (no offense to my mommy friends and their little ones, but) I don’t believe pregnancy is the most natural thing in the world. To me, it seems anything but. So this movie really was not one of my favorites.
Shelley is on Netflix now.
Day One. Body (2015) is described thusly: “A night out turns deadly when three girls break into a seemingly empty mansion.” Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Also, there’s Larry Fessenden in another scene-stealing role. Don’t you love it when he shows up? Also: when doesn’t he show up? He’s in everything! I quite enjoying the beginning scenes where we got a sense of the friendship between the young women, and see how dumb and ridiculous people act when they are hanging out with friends and family. It reminded me of my sisters and I when we get together for Thanksgiving.
I watched Body on Shudder.
Day Two: Transfiguration (2016). Milo is a weird kid utterly obsessed with vampires, and driven to violence by his obsessive urges. I would have had a huge and unfortunate crush on him when I was the same age. We even have the same book! I’d have preferred a different ending, but that, as Milo is wont to say, wouldn’t have been very “realistic”.
Transfiguration is on Netflix now.
Day Three: High Tension (2003). So, I guess this film is about two friends, one of whom is bringing the other to visit her family on a break from school? And then a psychotic trucker breaks into their secluded house and starts brutally murdering everyone and then kidnaps one of the friends and the other friend tries to save her? I guess? That’s all I will say. Except this: considering the how the film plays out–how does this opening sequence make any bit of sense? I am still mad about this.
High Tension is on Hulu right now.
Day Four: I paid $3.99 (!!) to watch The Haunting of Julia (1977) on Amazon, and in addition to being lovely (as much as a film about a woman grieving the death, of her daughter, and the ghosts allowed entry by grief can be considered lovely, one supposes), the bleak autumn scenery managed to profoundly scratch all of my current, moody seasonal itches. Extra credit: The film is based on Julia by Peter Straub
Day Five: Dark Signal (2016). The voice of a murdered woman cuts through the static of a radio interview and tries to implicate her murderer. There’s some other stuff going on too, but it’s all really dumb and not even worth going into. The highlight of this film was when, I realized halfway through who this woman was, and felt a profound peal of delight, clanging like a demented bell, trembling through my very soul. I’ve only seen her in one other film (though she’s been in a few) and it was one of the most memorable performances I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, Dark Signal, despite her casting, remains really stupid and pointless. Do you recognize her, too? Let’s squee together. (I’ve given you a huge hint with the side-by-side imagery!)
Dark Signal is on Netflix right now.
Day Six: Jacob’s Ladder (1990). It’s difficult to talk about films like this because reasons I can’t even share without ruining the story for someone. What can you say? This guy came back from the war all fucked up? I’ll sum up with a question. What’s the word for both heartbreaking terror and brb I’ll be in my bunk thinking about chubby-cheeked Tim Robbins? Sorry, I’m gross.
I watched Jacob’s Ladder on dvd at a friend’s house, but you can get it on Amazon, too.
Day Seven: Pet Sematary (1989). Though Pet Sematary is one of my favorite Stephen King novels (a huge thank you to Mrs. Haney for letting me borrow this book my second week into your sixth grade class!) I’d never before seen the film. And… I could have waited a longer never. I was warned, but okay, you were all right, it was pretty hokey. And the actor playing Louis Creed was so bland and awful and just….blah. It was nice to see Tasha Yar and Herman Munster, though. I started this on day 7 and finished this the next day, but I think it still counts.
Pet Sematary is on Amazon Prime right now.
Day 8: The Asphyx (1972) Sir Hugo Cunningham is an arrogant idiot and keeps killing the ones he loves with his incredibly scientific experiments in his quest for immortality. Forgive the sarcasm. But. It was actually kind of fun! And you can watch the whole thing on youtube.
Day 8, no. 2: Last Shift (2014).This was was a genuinely creepy film about a rookie cop whose first day on the job is the last shift at the Sanford police station before it closes. And, of course, the supernatural shenanigans that ensue. Parts of this were actually filmed in Sanford FL *and* I’m pretty sure there’s a real-life Sanford police uniform and cruiser in the movie. Apparently there was a big kerfuffle on this point; the Sanford police chief launched an investigation to figure out how the department’s police uniforms and a cruiser ended up as props in this film (Although the department did sign off on it! Le whoopsie.) Another interesting surprise is that my horror-averse partner actually sat through this one with me!
Last Shift is available on Netflix right now.