October 14, 2016

October 2016 Horror Watching


I did not anticipate that I was going to have much time to enjoy horror movies this October. The more I thought about that, the more it pissed me off. You know what they say about all work and no play...

And so I'm happy to report that I decided to make time to work in a few when I found myself too tired after long days at work to do anything else. And yes, there have been at least a couple of occasions where I just didn't want to do anything else.

Here are some of the horror movies I've managed to catch so far this month:
  • The Burning (1981) - This classic summer camp slasher from the early 80s may be a bit dated but that did not make it any less fun to see again. While I can't claim that it was particularly scary, it features several young actors and actresses who would go on to do other things. Seeing a young Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame was enough to make it worthwhile for me. I hadn't seen this one since the 80s, and I'd definitely watch it again.
  • C.H.U.D. (1984) - Another 80s classic, this one involves nuclear contamination, mutants, and special effects that were quite impressive for the early to mid 80s. I have to admit this is a case where my fond memories of seeing it back in the day clashed with the experience of watching it now. While I enjoyed it, it did not hold up as well as I had hoped. It deserves its cult status and has some great lines, but I'm in no hurry to see it again. At least it was much better than C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud, which isn't saying much unless you really liked Encino Man.
  • Reeker (2005) - Strangers trapped together in a deserted location are attacked by some sort of supernatural creature. Although I can't pretend it is scary, I've always liked this one for some reason. There's just something about the atmosphere and the characters that seems to work. I think this was the third time I've seen it, and I'm sure it won't be the last.
  • Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995), Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996), Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998) - I'll be the first to admit that the Children of the Corn series is a puzzle. The original film was not well received, and none of the sequels have been particularly good either. And yet, I think they made seven of them! For whatever reason, I've always liked them even though they fall into the so-bad-they're-good category. Creepy kids always creep me out (of course, kids of any kind tend to creep me out a bit), and the not-so-subtle religious/cult themes work too. I'd seen the first three before, but I think this was the first time I watched 4 and 5. Now I need to see the rest of them.
  • You're Next (2011) - The home invasion subgenre (if there is such a thing) has never been one of my favorites; however, this one was better than most. It had more impact the first time I saw it, offering some good creepy moments and a couple surprises. I've always liked horror, thriller, and action films that feature a bad-ass female lead (e.g., Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2), and this was more than enough to make You're Next enjoyable on my second viewing. I'd probably watch it again.
  • House at the End of the Street (2012) - I'm not sure this one is best classified as horror or as a thriller. It was mildly creepy in places, but there was nothing scary about it. Despite two big name leads (i.e., Elisabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence), it had too much of a made-for-TV feel to it. This was the first time I'd seen it, and I have no desire to see it again.
All the films above have aired on cable, which is how I watched them. It is becoming increasingly evident that if I want to see something truly scary this year, I am going to have to dip into my own horror collection or add to it. While I've managed to find some films I enjoyed on cable, I've yet to find anything that was sufficiently scary. Maybe the second half of October will be better.