November 1, 2016

October 2016 Horror Watching, Part 3

moonlight Halloween scene

I figured my October 2016 horror watching diary would be one post, if that. It quickly expanded from one to two. I look forward to watching way too many bad horror movies on cable every year, and I couldn't stand the thought of missing it this year. With October now over and memories of JesusWeen already fading, this will be the final post in the series.

I thought that the cable channels might be saving some of the better films for later in the month, and there was some evidence of that. My late October list does not reflect that terribly well because I recorded almost all of these on my DVR throughout the month and watched them when my schedule permitted and not in the order in which they aired. That means that I won't get around to watching some of the better ones, including some of the classic Universal monster flicks, until November.

Here are some of the films I caught in late October of 2016:
  • Stake Land (2010) - I've always been fond of this dystopian flick about vampire hunters. While I'm admittedly not a huge fan of vampire films in general, I'd place this one in a top 5 vampire movies list if I had such a list. In some ways, it reminds me a bit of the Walking Dead but with vampires instead of zombies. Of course, the highlight is not the vampires but the religious extremists. Much like the Walking Dead, it seems that the humans pose at least as much of a threat as the undead, and there's nothing quite like religious extremism to amplify the threat. I'm surprised I haven't already added this to my collection.
  • Stake Land 2 (2016) - I caught this new sequel for the first time by chance since I had no idea they had made a sequel. It went straight to SyFy without any real promotion. It was decent but did not make the same sort of impression the first one did. Still, it was nice to see the same actors from the first one reprising their roles. In spite of the jump in time (i.e., this one starts several years after the first one ended), they captured much of what made the first one so good. I suspect that the main reason I liked this one less was that much of the suspense was lost. I'm sure I'll watch it again, but I don't think I'd buy it.
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) - It had been way too long since I'd seen this one, and I have to confess that it did not live up to what I remembered so fondly. As much as I liked Hellraiser, enjoying it again earlier this month, Hellraiser II was a clear case of my memories of seeing the film in the theater when it first came out being overly positive. The special effects were never great to begin with, but they seemed really dated now. I had remembered it as being scarier and far more disturbing than the first one. It did not seem that way this time. I was surprised to discover that I'm in no hurry to see this one again. 
  • Jaws 2 (1978) - Keeping the sequel theme going for a bit longer, this is another one I hadn't seen in years. I love the original Jaws. It scared the hell out of me when I saw it for the first time. As stupid as this sounds, I couldn't go a lake, river, or even a swimming pool for some time without thinking about it. Jaws 2 is a solid sequel in so many ways, but it never affected me on the same level as the first one. It is good, while the first one was great. Still, it is another one I'm sure I'll see again and add to my collection eventually.
  • Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001) - This hilariously bad straight-to-video sequel is indeed a guilty pleasure in the so-bad-its-good category. It is not remotely scary and does not seem to have been made to be intentionally funny, but I can't help liking it. Casting Michael Gross (the father from Family Ties) as the lead in a horror franchise was a work of pure genius. I suppose this would be a fair description of the entire Tremors series of films. I have seen them all, and I have to say that this is the worst of the bunch. And yet, I have no doubt that I'll pick up the Tremors: Attack Pack sooner than later.
  • Re-Animator (1985) -  This cult classic from the evil scientists sub-genre has never been one of my favorites, as I nearly always prefer a good story and creepy suspense to the over-the-top gore of a special effects extravaganza. That does not mean I cannot appreciate why this one gets so much love from fans though. Scientist re-animates corpses, and predictable carnage ensues. It had been awhile since I'd seen it, and I was impressed that many of the effects still hold up reasonably well. I doubt I'll buy this one, but I'm sure I'll see it again.
  • Quarantine (2008) - I first saw this one the year it was released. Aside from the fact that the found-footage gimmick was already wearing thin, I thought it was decent but not great. I figured I would give it another try this year, and I was disappointed to discover that I did not care for it. Because so much of what makes good horror work is the suspense involved, there is always a danger that some films are not going to work on repeat viewing. I usually don't have much of a problem with this because it seems like I often discover other things to appreciate about a movie even once I know what is going to happen. That was not the case here. In fact, I think that the lack of suspense made the shaky camera nonsense even less tolerable. I won't bother watching this one again.
  • Devil's Rejects (2005) - This is a film I did not care for when I saw it the first time; however, it has grown on me to the point where I really like it now. This was probably the fourth time I've seen it, and it is fair to say that I liked it even more this time around. Since I seem to be one of the few people who enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses, I think the problem was that I expected this one to be far more similar to that one. When it wasn't, I think I was disappointed. After multiple viewings, I've come to appreciate that it is not only different but far superior. I have not seen all of Rob Zombie's films yet, but this one makes me want to. I plan to buy this one soon.
And with that, it is time to say farewell to October. I may have plenty of bibles left over from JesusWeen, but I also have a DVR full of horror flicks I have not yet had time to watch. That will be more than enough to get me through November and December.
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