The Witch – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 31

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the-witch

We end this month of horror movies with what turned out to be the most unsettling film so far: The Witch. It’s subtitled “A New England Folktale” and that is precisely what it turns out to be. A folk tale, or elements of folk tales, translated to the screen. Complete with the sometimes horrifying nature of folk tales. The movie follows a family of puritan settlers in New England who strike out on their own after being banished from their community due to religious differences and the father’s unwillingness to stop preaching. They build a farm at the edge of the woods and for a while everything is fine. Until the youngest child, only a baby, disappears. That’s when everything begins to fall apart.

I’d say there are two ways to view this movie. Either you take what is shown literally, and there really is an evil witch living in the woods preying on the family. Or the idea of the witch is a shared delusion made stronger by isolation, fear, superstition and desperation. I lean towards the latter, as the acts of the witch are very stereotypical of witches in folklore. Whatever the case may be, I found the movie very effective in keeping up the mood and tension throughout.

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Slither – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 30

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Slither is as disgusting as it is good. If, like me, leeches make you shudder then some of the creatures in this movie will make you cringe even worse than Stand By Me. That’s hardly a negative though as it’s part of the point. In fact this movie is an excellent take on the theme of an alien creature crashing to Earth and threatening to consume mankind. In this case more literally and thoroughly than most. Also there’s Nathan Fillion.

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Comedy of Terrors – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 29

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Ah, Comedy of Terrors. They don’t make them like this anymore. Which is probably just as well, because there aren’t the actors around to pull it off. From Boris Karloff’s slightly senile and deaf old man to Basil Rathbone’s Macbeth-quoting landlord to Joyce Jameson’s frustrated failed opera singer. Topped by Peter Lorre’s escaped burglar in thrall to Vincent Price’s sociopathic undertaker who starts to take matters into his own hands when business is too slow. This movie is a delight as long as you have a dark sense of humour.

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Doctor Strange – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 28

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I was hoping for a Doctor Strange movie long before it was ever announced, so to say that I was looking forward to going to see it might be an understatement. Especially as Benedict Cumberbatch seems like a fairly good pick for the Sorcerer Supreme. I assiduously avoided spoilers before going to see the movie, and hadn’t even watched a trailer. Unless the Lego set above constitutes a spoiler, I went in blind.

I was not disappointed. This was my favourite Marvel movie to date. That might not hold true for everyone, but being quite biased towards the character practically everything about the movie was a delight. While it had serious moments, it was also surprisingly funny. And the visuals were suitably psychedelic. I’m restraining myself from going on and on. Suffice to say that this is one of those rare movies that I’m already looking forward to watching again.

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King Kong vs Godzilla – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 27

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The Godzilla movies being something I’ve sadly neglected, I’ve started to slowly make my way through them. Hence King Kong vs Godzilla. Wherein an expedition sent out by a Japanese pharmaceutical company manages to capture Kong and brings him back to Japan as a publicity stunt. At the same time Godzilla decides to have another go at Tokyo, and… well, the outcome should be fairly obvious. It’s an entertaining movie, and actually a lot better than the premise might suggest.

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The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 26

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The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb is Hammer’s followup to The Mummy from 1959. It has its good points, but unfortunately fails to do anything very exciting with those. And the mummy itself is probably the weakest part, just a lumbering thing without personality even though the plot actually provided opportunity for much more. Not a terrible movie, but could have been much better. And that’s without even considering the terrible and frankly needless butchering of Egyptian history and myth.

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They Live – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 25

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“I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubble gum.”

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A View from a Hill – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 24

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A View from a Hill is a modern (well, 2005) adaptation of an M. R. James ghost story. It’s relatively faithful to the original, with some changes to introduce more immediate danger than there is in the original story. It’s relatively slow paced, but short enough that it does not become a problem. Not a movie that will necessarily leave a lasting impression, but a satisfying watch as either a fan of M. R. James or old fashioned ghost stories.

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The Mangler – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 23

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the-mangler

The Mangler was one of the first movies I ever rented. Probably because it had Stephen King’s name on the cover. I don’t remember what I thought of it then, but I probably liked it much better than I did rewatching it some twenty years later. Because while a killer mangle sounds like it would be well in to so bad it’s good territory, it’s mostly just kind of bad and doesn’t have any atmosphere to speak of. It’s scary in the way an industrial accident is scary; it’s unnerving to imagine it happening to you or someone you care about, and that’s about it. There’s the seed of a good story here, but unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to grow.

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Frankenweenie – Halloween Horror Month Movie Spectacular 2016 Day 22

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The first word that comes to my mind to describe Frankenweenie is charming. Considering it’s a Tim Burton stop motion movie, comparisons to Nightmare Before Christmas are inevitable. It doesn’t quite reach those heights, but it’s still very good. It’s a love letter to some classic monster movies, and to the love between a boy and his dog. While not a life changing experience, it is probably the best Tim Burton movie for quite a while.

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