Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I hope you all are having a good day.

I always feel bad that I don't enjoy Halloween more than I do. I certainly enjoy the idea. I also enjoy going out and seeing people dressed in creative or creepy costumes out on the streets. I like the month leading up in which normal people get briefly enthused about horror movies and such, making me feel a little more in synch with the world for a brief moment.

And yet, since growing up, the actual day of Halloween always seems a bit of a let down. I guess having mostly lived in neighborhoods in which Trick or Treaters are essentially a non-issue and finding an evening out drinking to be fun, but a kind of fun I don't associate with this. It's usually a night I wander a bit and amuse myself with the costumes, go home and watch a horror movie... This year I don't even specifically have one planned out.

Unless I'm inspired by some other choice, it will likely involve some combination of The House With Laughing Windows, Anthropophagus and The Tripper, as those are the horror movies sitting on top of the TV waiting for a viewing.

I suggest everyone jump over to enjoy the treats over at Happy Halloween! from Kimberly Lindbergs at Cinebeats.

And then there's the 31 Flicks That Give You The Willies, brought to us by the hard-working Ed Hardy, Jr. at Shoot the Projectionist.

It's an interesting list. I must agree with Kimberly that it's hard for me to connect with a list of top horror movies that completely neglects the work of Mario Bava, Roger Corman and Hammer Films.

On the other hand, I was pleased to see brilliant works like The Wicker Man, Eyes Without a Face, Don't Look Now and Suspiria not only make it on but rank pretty respectably, not to mention seeing Night of the Hunter and Carnival of Souls make it on.

I'm not going to bother nitpicking the recent choices, because all of those that made it are still better than Wolf Creek.

My criticism will be much different and one not entirely unexpected.

I really wanted Night of the Living Dead to make #1, and frankly, in my heart, I worried it would place even lower than simply #2, so it's not that, but The Shining?! Aw, crap. I didn't want to get into the goddamn talkin' finger movie!

Look, if I were a guest host on a very special Stanley Kubrick retrospective episode of At the Movies, it would be one of two movies I'd give the proverbial thumbs down to, the other would be Killer's Kiss. For what it's worth, I do indeed quite admire Fear and Desire.

I know, it's a kind of blasphemy in horror circles as well as movie buff circles, and certainly there is much to admire in the movie, the cinematography, the pacing, Scatman Crothers, etc. But I'm not without a number of other issues, but frankly the goddamn talkin' finger is the straw that breaks this camels back. That is frankly the lamest, least scary recurring image in any horror movie. Yes, even comparing it to Trog. That goddamn talkin' finger not only fails me, it just flat pisses me off.

For those of you looking for movie recommendations for the evening, I'll just say that my advice for Halloween is to just have fun with it. I tend toward comedy romp horrors, the Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Mad Monster Party, Young Frankenstein type viewing choices. And perhaps, if I get the chance, I'll scratch that itch myself.

If you want to see something really scary, as the saying goes, I suggest reading Fearing Fear Itself by Paul Krugman.


r_sail said...

I love the Shining... but it's not exactly what I think of for a Halloween movie. And yeah, the talking finger sucks, but everything else about it makes up for that in my mind. I like it mroe than the book, and certainly more than the tv version... which is the least scary thing I think I've ever seen. At least that was attempting to be scary.

Happy Halloween!

Neil Sarver said...

Well, the two of us have discussed this to death at some point or another, although I just re-watched the mini-series version of "The Shining" not too long ago, and probably since then and it's worth noting here. It is disappointing. And what's amazing to me is that, considering how long Stephen King had spent complaining about the changes Kubrick made to the book, that the things I disliked the most in the mini-series are, in fact, things that are either missing from the book or altered from the book.

I feel bad about how little I like Mick Garris as a horror director. He seems like a super-keen guy and his love and knowledge of the genre is obvious and infectious when one hears him speak, but he really lacks any ability to capture it on film at all.

Piper said...

Classic. The goddamn talking finger!

It's surprising to me that this movie possesses some of the worst acting by the boy and Duvall, yet I still love it. I guess I'm surprised that it made the number one spot, but I'm not surprised it made the list.

Neil Sarver said...

I actually recall liking Duvall's performance, by and large, although I admit it has been a while since I really revisited it. I'm a fan of her overall, though, so it could be my bias.

As it goes, I'd have been very surprised if it hadn't made the list... and I'm not at all surprised to see it at #1, just a little strangely disappointed.

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