Thursday, October 27, 2005

Halloween Viewing Essentials: Part V & VI (The Final Nail in the Coffin)

And the final Installment of Essential Halloween Joy! First we have the denizens of madness - - The Slasher Flicks! Don’t forget to lock the doors and windows before you go to bed, kids. You never know who may be out there!

Slasher Flicks
1) Halloween – The ultimate, the epitome, and the best slasher flick ever made. For years, this perfect movie was the biggest grossing independent film ever made. John Carpenter’s staccatto music, wierd camera angles, and sense of imminent doom in the guise of a William Shatner masked Michael Meyers was the slasher flick that jump-started the slasher genre. Many tried to match the sheer brilliance of this film, and they all failed miserably.
2) Halloween II – A slightly flawed sequel, it did a great job of picking up moments after the end of the first movie. All subsequent Halloween sequels could be lost to time immortal, and I’d be fine with it.
3) Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece based on the twisted, necrophilic life of Ed Gein. TCM is truly one of the most disturbing and harrowing films of all time.
4) House of 1000 Corpses – Rob Zombie’s ode to TCM, and all of the other 70’s exploitation slasher flicks. His freshman effort was brilliant, although I still wish he’d release an unrated director’s cut. Rob, being related in undead fashion to Doctor Zombie, is my favorite singer and performer. Hands down.
5) The Devil’s Rejects – Not a slasher flick, but worthy of inclusion because of the serial killing Firefly clan. This movie is gory, loud, violent, and balls out from beginning to end. Although the movie took a much different, albeit disturbing, tack from HOTK, Zombie showed how much he had matured as a director and a writer. I found myself in the not entirely uncomfortable position of rooting for the serial killers. This emotional juxtaposition alone makes this one of the best movies of all time.
6) Nightmare on Elm Street – The first one and the first one only. Wes Craven does shit right. I remember seeing this in high school (with yet another girl I was trying to seduce with my irresistible undead charm, as it were) and seeing this movie. With the exception of the cheesy dummy getting pulled through the 6”x6” window at the end, this movie is wicked scary. And gory. Gods, Wes Craven rocks.
7) Psycho – Still one of the best movies ever. I remember being a tween, renting this movie, and playing the shower murder scene over and over again; awed by the sheer fucking genius of Hitchcock. Of course, that sort of behavior goes a long way towards explaining why Dr. Zombie is not considered a ‘normal’ member of polite society.
8) The Silence of the Lambs – Anthony Hopkins in the only role I’ve ever liked him in. The whole scene with Lector’s escape still gives me the chills. The best part about this movie, and Hopkin’s portrayal of Hannibal the Cannibal, is how REAL he made the character. Michael Meyers, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, or any of the other movie madmen are just that. MOVIE madmen. They are caricatures of evil. Lector was a real world kind of evil. And Sir Anthony captured that verisimilitude.

You’ll notice there’s no Friday the 13th movies on the list. That’s because I hate them. They’re dumb, sophomoric, and a joke. They were lame to begin with and they went downhill from there. Now that Jason has been around for like 37 sequels, he’s just a parody of a caricature of a parody. It’s like a skit from MadTV. Lame, lame, lame….

Honorable mentions…
Scream – Wes Craven again, reinvigorating the genre.
Hammer’s House That Dripped Blood – specifically the first milieu with Denholm Elliot as the writer stalked by his own killer creation. I remember watching it on my local late night creature feature show in the late 70’s and being freaked out and turning it off. Just sooo creepy…

And, to wrap up…

Miscellaneous Monsters and Mayhem
1) Godzilla – You’ve gotta love the big green galoot! Would you believe I used to have nightmares about Godzilla when I was a child?
2) Patterson’s Bigfoot film – This creeps me out more than anything else out there. This film (you know it. Everyone’s seen it. It’s like the Zapruder film for unexplained phenomena) caused more nightmares than any movie I’ve ever seen. Especially where the Bigfoot turns and looks at the camera with that calculating, INTELLIGENT look. I’ve got goose bumps just writing about it! Interesting note… Outside of the Pacific Northwest, the state that has the next highest Bigfoot encounters is MY home state – Ohio. I know, it seems weird, but it’s true. And I think of that every damn time I walk through the woods of SE Ohio on my way to my tree stand at 5:15 in the morning.
3) In Search Of…This 70’s staple introduced many of my generation to Bigfoot, UFO’s, and other assorted unexplained phenomenon. To this day, the idea of alien abduction freaks the hell out of me. And, I’ve already mentioned my Bigfoot hang-up…
4) The Exorcist – I remember, being the little gore hound that I am, staying up expectantly to watch the television premier of this sometime in the 80’s. I got 20 – 25 minutes into it and turned it off because it gave me the shivering heebeejeebies. It was the scene with the subliminal demonic face. What a great, great movie.
5) From Beyond – More HP Lovecraft/Stewart Gordon/ Jeffery Combs goodness. Not 100% faithful, but still a bloody good time!
6) Dagon – A low budget, Italian film that aired on the Sci-Fi channel, this is probably the best HP Lovecraft adaptation I’ve ever, ever seen. It captured the feel of Lovecraft’s work, and the evil coastal town of Imboca (where it takes place) captures the claustrophobia of Lovecraft’s Massachusetts. Note… Imboca, in Italian, means ‘in mouth’, an allusion to Innsmouth – one of the stories by Lovecraft that this movie uses as a source. Too cool…
7) John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness – More Lovecraftian madness. That, mixed with the Prince of Darkness himself - John Carpenter, are a recipe for all kinds of twisted, terrifying shit. Truly excellent in all regards.


Anyway, I’m going to be incommunicado for the next few days. I’ll be doing various, nefarious Halloween related things. So - - no updates until Tuesday of next week.

And remember, dear reader, the Doctor will be out and about this Halloween. Lock your doors, turn on all the lights, and hide in the safety and comfort of your warm bed - - and pray that I don't call on you!

Unpleasant dreams…

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