Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days of Halloween: Scary Movies Part Two

So we had some lesser known horror films that I love, here are a few more and why I love them. Some of these may be a bit more familiar and still completely worth watching as far as I am concerned.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Plot: Brain-hungry zombies shamble through the streets of London, but all unambitious electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) cares about is his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), who just dumped him. With the help of his slacker roommate Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun fights his way across town to rescue Liz, but the petty concerns of life keep getting in the way: When they're trying to use vinyl records to decapitate a pair of zombies, Shaun and Ed bicker about which bands deserve preservation--New Order they keep, but Sade becomes a lethal frisbee.
Why It’s Good: I had to have at least one zombie flick in here and despite my love for Raimi and Romero, Edgar Wright is my hero. I love this film. It’s brilliant in its hilarity and snark. It has great performances by all involved and while playing with the genre, manages to do everything it is supposed to do without being too over the top. If you haven’t seen this film, shame on you.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Plot: Vincent Price stars as a deliciously silky millionaire married to a greedy gold digger (Carol Ohmart) who refuses to divorce him. When he turns his wife's idea for a haunted-house party into a contest--$10,000 to whoever will spend the night in "the only truly haunted house in the world"--it seems he may have found an alternative to divorce. Five strangers gather to test their stamina, Price hands each of them delightfully twisted party favors (loaded handguns, delivered in their own tiny coffins), and the spook show begins.
Why It’s Good: I have to have at least one of Vincent price’s movies in my list if it is Halloween season and this is one of my favorites. Though I also own and have a soft spot for Dark Castle’s remake with Geoffrey Rush, CGI inkblots ruined it for me. Is it terribly scary? No. Most of it is just campy fun and I would have loved to have seen this back in the day when the skeleton flew at you from the screen. But it has some great witty banter between Frederick and Annabelle and the ending leaves it up the viewer on what really happens in the end. Which I love. Again no horrid ink blots that ruin a perfectly good film.

The Frighteners (1996)
Plot: In the sleepy little town of Fairwater, a monstrous evil has evil so powerful, its reach extends beyond the grave. For Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox), death is a great way to make a living: ridding haunted houses of their "unwelcome" guests." But he's in cahoots with the very ghosts he promises to evict! It's the perfect scam...until Frank finds himself at the center of a dark mystery. A diabolical spirit is on a murderous rampage, and the whole town.
Why It’s Good: Peter Jackson (yep of Dead Alive and Lord of the Rings fame) directed this little gem that is part black comedy, part horror and part thriller. The performances are great especially Jeffrey Combs’ demented little agent. I find it clever and a great little blend of elements. Plus it has few minor chills and I love Michael J Fox. He’ll always be my Alex P Keaton.

1408 (2007)
Plot: The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his last book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the evil room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally the reports relating the death of more than fifty guests along decades in the cursed room. However, Mike threatens Mr. Oiln, promising to sue the hotel, and finally checks in the room. Along the night, he finds that guests of room 1408 can check in when they like, but they can never leave the room alive.
Why It’s Good: Old school horror, such as the 5 ½ minute hallway is something that I love. Samuel L Jackson sums it up perfectly when he says that it is just a fucked up room. There is something about this film, that psychological horror that makes my horror girly geek go all warm and fuzzy in a fond fond way for the horrible things that happen in that hotel room. Imagine never escaping. Imagine losing your mind. There is more than ghostly apparitions and spooky bits, it is psychological horror. Prepare to lose some sanity points.

Scream (1996)
Plot: A killer known as "ghost face" begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count begins rising, one girl and her friends find themselves contemplating the "Rules" of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.
Why It’s Good: A I said I am a big horror fan including all of that 80's camp I grew up with. There were rules to the horror films. You drank you died. You had sex, you died. If you were the girl with the big breasts, yep you died too. When Scream came out my sister and I went, excited to see it. We laughed, we grinned at all of the in jokes and by the end we were happily surprised to see a decent horror flick.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Plot: Two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return to the home of their father and cruel stepmother. Once there, in addition to dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, an interfering ghost also affects their recovery.
Why It’s Good: This creepy little Korean horror flick has some truly odd and frightening images that I swear have nothing to do with the overall story, but that I loved all the same. Its a great blend of psychological thriller, horror, drama and a bit more. It was also remade in the US as the Uninvited. For me it's up there with Ringu, the Original grudge, The Original Eye, and Audition.

Poltergeist (1982)
Plot: While living an an average family house in a pleasant neighborhood, the youngest daughter of the Freeling family, Carol Anne, seems to be connecting with the supernatural through a dead channel on the television. It is not for long when the mysterious beings enter the house's walls. At first seeming like harmless ghosts, they play tricks and amuse the family, but they take a nasty turn- they horrify the family to death with angry trees and murderous dolls, and finally abduct Carol Anne into her bedroom closet, which seems like the entrance to the other side.
Why It’s Good: Ok who wasnt completely petrified when you were a kid after watching this film. The iconic 'They're here" to crawling steaks and one hell of a demented clown doll that still has me checking underneath my bed, it is a Halloween staple that I love, love, love. And remember: Rule number one, don't build your house on a cemetery.

Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Plot: A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn't what he believes it to be when he's attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.
Why It’s Good: What can I say about this film. It has some of the creepiest imagery ever and shows how great of an actor Tim Robbins is. Its depressing really how horrific it is for Jacob as he tries to figure out what is real and what is not. From demonic faces in ordinary places to war flashbacks and more, it is a great film that should be watched.

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