Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sca-wee Movies

In October we love to curl up with a blanket, a mug of fresh pressed cider and a warm puppy to watch some good old fashioned scary movies.

Mind you, we're not into the mind-numbing gorefests that Hollyweird is intent on force feeding everyone now days. No indeed. Instead we love old campy movies. You know, the ones where you can see the zipper on the back of the monster? Oh yeah. Now THAT'S entertainment.

However, the month didn't start off so well. I'm far too outraged (and cheap) to pay for television, so we only get the feed off the air. (Which is quite enough, thank you much. All I need is Antiques Roadshow and Castle and I'm perfectly happy.) OK, so we do watch a few things on Hulu, but that's all.

One of the free channels is a KATU clone called "This". They show old movies and TV shows all day long, and this month they promise a feast of old bad horror movies. Basically think, "Vincent Price runs rampant!" Haha! We thought! We're in luck!

On October 1st we turned on the TV and settled in for
"IT! The Thing From Beyond Space".

A Martian vampiric monster stows away aboard a spaceship headed to earth! Sounds promising, huh?

Man oh man, was that a dud.

This movie ranks up there with the stupidest flicks of all time. I won't even tell you that I almost threw a mug (empty) at our brand new LCD tv because the ending was SO illogical! But isn't "IT" cute?

Then we tried a few of the Vincent Price offerings.
Yipes. What a bore! Their idea of scary is red jello, druids and naughty innuendo. Yawn, yawn.

Finally I gave up on TV and we pulled out the REAL Halloween stuff.
May I present this year's Halloween Movie Lineup?

1) "The Others"

This is a new comer to our flick fest, but it did well.

Set on the Isle of Jersey in the days following the end of WWII, there is no blood here, just good old fashioned chills.

We originally saw this movie in the theatre with an intrepid band of sisters from the ward. Great fun!

I will say that is was not as scary the second time around, but it was still a very satisfying evening.

(Although I longed to take the heroine aside, tell her the Plan of Salvation and get her a copy of the Book of Mormon. This woman needed help.)

2) "Brides of Dracula"

This is one of those wonderful campy movies that passes all the tests, thanks mainly to the superb stage presence of "Saint" Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.

In my opinion, this is Hammer Film's Best of the Best. Still, be prepared to have your kids laugh, but I love it. (And to think that most people only know Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin!!)

3) "Kwaidan"

This ensemble of spooky Japanese horror stories is wonderful stuff! (If you don't mind reading subtitles.) No anime here! The film is lush and sparse at the same time. I love it!

Oddly enough, the original stories were written by a Caucasian who went to the orient and lost himself in the culture. But that's another story.

Part of the Criterion Collection, it's sometimes hard to get your hands on a copy. Bribe me and I'll loan it to you. :)

4) The Dresden Files

This Canadian-filmed television series only lasted one season, sadly. It does a fair job of bringing the Jim Butcher's "Dresden" books to life.
Yes, they are about a wizard.
Named Harry.
No, not that Harry.
This one is actually a lot of fun. ;)
Harry makes ends meet by using his skills as a private detective.

To be honest, I could only read about four of the Dresden books before I lost interest. Butcher is a bit long winded, and after a while Harry gets to be a pain. The fact that Butcher gives Harry an anti-Christian streak is annoying, even though he is friends with a dyed in the wool Paladin. (Never did figure that one out.)

The good news is that the show is GREAT fun, without any of the weird stuff from the books! It's a nice mix of dark and light, with fun special effects, and a wonderful damned sorcerer's spirit-in-a-skull named "Bob".

You've got to watch this one. It pretty much saved Halloween this year, all by itself!
We have one episode left out of the twelve, and I think we'll save it for Friday night.

5) "Dracula" - the Spanish version

Did you know that while Bela Legosa was filming the classic 1931 version of Dracula, a seperate version, in Spanish was being filmed at the same time? The English actors would film in the day and the Spanish actors would show up and film on the same sets at night!

I think the Spanish version is actually much better than the English version, the only problem is that it lacks a sound track.

Still good fun at Halloween (again with subtitles).

6) "The Ghost and the Darkness"

Frankly the scarest movie I've ever watched, this retelling of the true story of "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo" is beautifully filmed, well played and makes me scream like a girl.

Micheal Douglas and Val Kilmer are at top form! (The costumes are good, too.)

When I first saw it, this movie freaked me out so badly I wouldn't walk through the house in the dark for nearly a month. Superb!

My mother refuses to watch this movie.
NOT for children.

And finally - my favorite movie of all time -

7) "The Thing From Another World"

Also known simply as "The Thing", this is the original 1951 horror flick with James Arness playing the monster, not to be confused with any of the ridiculous remakes.

(Look close at the picture. Can't you just see Matt Dillion?)

But don't be fooled, this is top flight sci fi and horror wrapped into one.

What makes it so great? Frankly, it's the dialog. You have to sit back and listen to these guys. The funniest lines go on in the background. We just crack up every time we watch.

When the monster does appear, he's a force to be reckoned with. You'll scream and cheer and cover your eyes! Doesn't get much better than this, folks.

This one we're saving for the very last!

Here's hoping our list will help you find something to do beside bob for apples this year.
We wish you much popcorn (because it flies in the air so well when you jump and scream).