Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Horror of It All, 2017 (part 3)

Ravenous (1999)
In a remote military outpost in the 19th Century, Captain John Boyd and his regiment embark on a rescue mission which takes a dark turn when they are ambushed by a sadistic cannibal.

I got hungry while watching this, should I be worried? Anyway, this movie is not off-the-wall strange, but it is an odd shouldn't work, but it is absolutely effective.

House (1986)
A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt.

A ubiquitous 80s film I haven't seen since the actual 80s. Some thoughts:
- Aunt Elizabeth is terrible at tying a proper noose.
- This is less about spooks than it is the main character trauma from the Vietnam War and his stressful divorce.
- Monster Wife has the voice of Carvel's Cookie Puss.

Innocent Blood (1992)
Marie is a vampire with a thirst for bad guys. When she fails to properly dispose of one of her victims, a violent mob boss, she bites off more than she can chew and faces a new, immortal danger.

While not in the same league as Landis's An American Werewolf in London, Innocent Blood has its moments. If you have a say in the matter, the unrated cut is the way to go.

1922 (2017)
A simple yet proud farmer in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to participate.

A somewhat slight film, but it carries its notions of guilt and the avalanche of calamity that follows from giving in to the darker side of one's nature very well.

Lore, Episode 2 (2017)
I thought I'd give Lore another shot, was a mistake. This episode centers on Walter Jackson Freeman II, a doctor who specialized in, and heavily promoted the use of, lobotomies. It's also a solid demonstration of how padded Lore is; repeated reenactments of lobotomies serve to add to the show's mass without adding any depth. I also question the perspective displayed on the show: its depiction of Freeman feels oddly celebratory or exculpatory, whereas most accounts I've seen cast him as someone addicted to his own process rather than as someone who really cared for the well-being of his patients. At this point I'm confident that the rest of Lore can safely be written off.

Stranger Things 2 (2017)
You don't need me to tell you what this is, right?

Anyway, Stranger Things 2 absolutely lived up to the first season and did not disappoint. Like I've said elsewhere, there is a difference between dead-end nostalgia trip and homage. If Stranger Things had, for example, Carrie rolling up in Christine with Pennywise riding shotgun, I'd hate it. But inspired by King et al? Totally cool with me.

The Carmilla Movie (2017)
It has been five years since Laura and Carmilla vanquished the apocalypse and Carmilla became a bona fide mortal human. They have settled in to a cozy apartment in downtown Toronto; Laura continues to hone her journalism skills while Carmilla adjusts to a non-vampire lifestyle. Their domestic bliss is suddenly ruptured when Carmilla begins to show signs of "re-vamping" - from a fondness for bloody treats to accidental biting - while Laura has started having bizarre, ghostly dreams. The couple must now enlist their old friends from Silas University to uncover the unknown supernatural threat and save humanity - including Carmilla's.

This is the opposite of The Vampire Lovers; ergo, I hate it.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

I wanted to pay tribute to Romero this Halloween by saving a couple of his flicks for Oct. 31st. What can I say about this that hasn't been said before? Dawn of the Dead is unarguably a classic; it set the blueprint for stuff like The Walking Dead, but exceeds it in just about every way.

Eaten Alive! (1976)
A psychotic redneck, who owns a dilapidated hotel in rural East Texas, kills various people who upset him or his business, and he feeds their bodies to a large crocodile that he keeps as a pet in the swamp beside his hotel.

(I also wanted to squeeze in some Tobe Hooper as a tribute this Halloween.) It would be easy to write Eaten Alive! off as a grimy 70s video nasty, but I genuinely think that there is more going on in this movie than it's grotty b-movie exterior belies. There is something profoundly nihilistic about this flick that goes beyond the usual extremity of this kind of horror.

Day of the Dead (1985)
A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.

The gory, black comedy entry in Romero's zombie series. While not as inventive as its predecessor, Day of the Dead is also a classic. The whole trilogy is unimpeachable.

Poltergeist (1982)
A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts.

The moral of Poltergeist is that sometimes it's okay to walk away from equity. Also, it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that there was some really bad parenting on display in this movie.