I end the month the way I started it; with some ghost-busting. Specifically, Ghostbusters II. The first time I saw it was when my parents rented it on VHS for my birthday one year. I was hugely into the Real Ghostbusters comic book at the time, and I watched the movie at least twice before we returned it. Now it’s not as good as the first one, but I like it. It gets perhaps a little too silly and feel-good towards the end, but overall it’s simply more Ghostbusters and that is a good thing no matter what.
For people craving more Ghostbusters (and what person in their or someone else’s right mind wouldn’t) I recommend the current IDW comics. They may not be Ghostbusters III, but they’re really good.
To me Hellraiser is the quintessential horror movie. Not, I hasten to add, my favourite. But if I were to suggest a type specimen for the species “horror movies,” Hellraiser would be among the first I thought of. Pinhead is instantly recognizable of course, and could hardly be mistaken for cuddly. You also have a mix of lust and pain which makes an excellent foundation for horror. And the question, what happens when your search for new experiences takes you too far? And importantly for the typical horror movie, it spawned a seemingly endless line of sequels.
In the Mouth of Madness is one of my favourite movies. It’s also the best Lovecraftian horror movie made thus far, despite (or perhaps due to) not being based directly on any of Lovecraft’s work. The tone, however, is very much Lovecraftian. Indescribable horrors from beyond are gaining entry to our world through the stories of a popular horror writer. Gradually the characters find it more and more difficult to separate fiction from reality, until the line disappears completely. This is a movie I keep watching over and over again, and enjoying every time. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it turned out that my watching of it was a form of unholy prayer, and that one day I managed to summon ancient abominations through my TV. Until then though, I’ll keep enjoying Sam Neill going slowly mad.
My Name Is Bruce is a movie aimed at fans of Bruce Campbell, or at least people who are aware of who he is. I think it would work fine for someone who didn’t, but some background knowledge makes it more enjoyable. Basically Campbell plays an exaggerated (one would hope) version of himself getting caught up in events which could have been lifted from one of the many B-movies he’s been in. It’s reasonably funny and self-aware. The main attraction is obviously getting to watch Bruce Campbell play a self-obsessed actor down on his luck. It’s not the greatest movie ever, but it’s a nice twist on the usual B horror movie.
Constantine is based on the long-running (and now sadly cancelled) horror comic Hellblazer. A blonde chain-smoking trenchcoat-wearing English magician turned into a dark-haired chain-smoking American psychic exorcist? I was sceptical. Hell, I still am sceptical. I am a big fan of the comics. In no way does this movie live up to those. However. Taken entirely on its own, and through sheer power of will forgetting any connection to the comics, I like this movie. It’s not a movie featuring utter bastard (yet still likable) John Constantine. It’s a movie featuring Keanu Reeves borrowing his name, various plot points from the comics, and not much else. Eight years after the fact I can’t get too upset with that, at least it’s a decent action horror movie. It’s got some cool magic, too. And I’m far too busy being upset with the cancellation of the comic anyway.
I tried to like Homecoming, I really did. It’s another Masters of Horror episode, and I’ve enjoyed all the others I’ve seen. But this one… It starts out with heavy handed political commentary which isn’t much fun to watch even if you happen to agree with the thrust of it. Then it takes a fairly clever twist, which gave me hope that it might be going somewhere interesting. But unfortunately it returned to being heavy handed and stayed that way till the end. The final shot left me groaning inwardly. If the whole thing had been done with more subtlety it could have been great. But there was nothing subtle about Homecoming.
The Washingtonians is an episode of the Masters of Horror TV series. It takes the question “what if George Washington was a cannibal” and does terrible things with it. Terrible in a good way. The first half is far creepier than a story with a slightly silly premise has any right to be. The last half takes a turn for the still creepy but surreal. I’m hesitant to give away details of the story, because this is something which ought to be experienced relatively fresh. Like tender human meat.