October 14, 2017

October 2017 Horror Watching

Halloween monster with knife

One of the October traditions for which I try to find some time every year involves watching as many horror movies as I can. I am fairly successful some years, managing to see several. And there are other years where it just doesn't work out at all, with the month flying by before I realize what I missed.

Last year I discovered that the quality of the horror flicks available on cable improved to some degree as the month went on. I am hoping that will happen again this October, as things aren't off to an encouraging start.

Here's what I've seen so far:
  • My Bloody Valentine (1981) - As dated as this one feels in places, I still like it much better than the remake. Many good slashers were released during the early 80s, and this is one of the better ones. It has sometimes been criticized as a bad rip-off of Halloween, but I don't think this is entirely fair. Of the many films of the era inspired by Halloween, this is one of my favorites. It is darker and more violent than many, and I've always thought the mine setting worked well. As is the case with many classics, I still enjoy watching it no matter how many times I've seen it. This one is easy to recommend.
  • Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988) - I first saw this cult classic in the early 90s, and I thought it was fun back then. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my recent viewing. In fact, I barely made it through the flick without turning it off. The only way to see this one (aside from being under the influence of something) is to go in expecting a movie so bad one might actually enjoy it. Even then, it didn't work for me this time. I have a hard time imagining that even someone terrified of clowns would find it mildly scary, and the acting was poor enough to distract from the story (which might have been a good thing here). I have no desire to sit through this one again. I know this one has its fans, but I can't recommend it.
  • They Look Like People (2015) - This was an independent psychological thriller that I hadn't seen before that is often compared to The Babadook. I can see why one would make this comparison, but I think I liked this one better even though it was less scary and less of a traditional horror film. It was as stripped down and low-budget as could be, but this seemed to bring the focus more to the interesting dynamics between the few characters. Aside from what I thought was an unsatisfying ending, this was pretty good and probably one I'd watch again. Recommended to fans of psychological thrillers looking for something a bit different from the traditional horror fare.
  • Truth or Dare (2017) - Although this one suffered from many of the same problems that always seem to plague made-for-TV horror films, I can honestly say that it was the first SyFy original film I've seen that was worth watching. I know that isn't saying much, but I was pleasantly surprised. Compared with everything else I've seen on SyFy, this came close enough to resembling an actual horror flick that it was enjoyable. I probably wouldn't watch it again, but that wouldn't stop me from recommending it to those with cable who aren't interested in paying more than what they already are for horror.
  • The Purge: Election Year (2016) - I have never particularly cared for The Purge films. I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps the premise of an extremely violent nation attempting to solve its problems with violence through a government-sanctioned violence seems a bit too plausible. The first film in the series was mildly interesting but nothing I'd recommend or bother to watch again. I did not care for the second one at all, finding it more of the same but even less compelling. I hadn't planned on seeing the third; however, many people insisted that it was the best of the three. After watching it, I have to agree. Of the three, I thought it was easily the best. I'd recommend it to fans of either of the first two Purge films. Of the three films in the series, Election Year was the only one I can imagine watching again at some point.
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002) - If this isn't the worst of all the Halloween films, it has to be close. A group of college kids goes to Michael Myers' childhood home for something along the lines of a ghost-hunting reality TV style webcast. Others watch online while the predictable happens. I'm almost positive I had seen it before, but I didn't remember it at all. That's the only reason I watched it again. I hope not to make that mistake again. I can't recommend this one even to die-hard fans of the series.
  • Mischief Night (2014) - This one starts off as a typical stalker-terrorizing-baby-sitter flick before morphing into something quite different. I thought the beginning was quite good and that the ending, while way too predictable, was decent. Unfortunately, the pace of the middle of the film slowed to a crawl and resulted in boredom. I'm not sure what they were going for here, but it ruined what could have been an otherwise decent flick. Viewers desperate for something different might enjoy it, but it wasn't for me.
  • House of the Witch (2017) - This was a SyFy original that was far more typical of SyFy originals. That is, it was terrible. A group of college kids gets trapped in a house by supernatural forces, and the audience rapidly loses interest. Horrid acting, weak special effects, and the other characteristics I've come to expect from SyFy. Skip this one.
Continue on to Part 2 (if you dare).