Thursday, October 23, 2014

SUSPIRIA (1977, ITALY)

12 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!
DAY 4



Plot: A young American woman named Suzy arrives at Swiss dance academy only to find evil lurking around every ballet bar.

Best screaming: The one's from the young lady during the opening scene who had just ran away from the academy only to be attacked at a friend's house. The screams from Suzy's friend Sarah when she falls on the razor wire are pretty good, too.

Scariest part: When Suzy's friend Sarah (above) gets trapped on some razor wire before she is to be killed. Of course, this may have something to do with my phobia about being trapped on razor wire.

Least favorite part: What is going on in this movie? One may rightly ask this question at about the halfway point. No worries. Suspiria supplies this information to the main character in the guise of a rather conveniently placed psychiatrist and professor, who know all about the history of the academy and tell it all to Suzy. Good to know these things, but wish they could have been conveyed to the audience in a less obvious manner.

Favorite part: When things start percolating in the academy at the end and we see all the evil come to the surface, it's a nice payoff for an at times confusing plotline. But maybe we should be confused and unsure to relate more to the heroine's plight, eh?



Additional casting notes: I had always liked Jessica Harper (above) in several films from the 70's and 80's such as Inserts, Stardust Memories, Love and DeathPennies From Heaven and My Favorite Year. I had no idea that a cult Italian horror film may be her best known role!

And in addition, it's interesting to see Joan Bennett playing a similar matronly role in this film that she played for years on my favorite cult soap opera Dark Shadows during the 60's.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CANDYMAN (1992)

12 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!
DAY 3



Plot: Graduate student explores urban legend about a lethal figure named Candyman who returns to commit mayhem whenever you say his name five times in a mirror.

Favorite part: When Helen the graduate student abruptly turns from the film's investigator to the film's accused.

Least favorite part: I wish the Candyman character enunciated a little better. Had trouble making out some of his dialogue. I'm sure it was scary though!

Scariest part: Whenever Candyman appears to commit mayhem, it's usually pretty quick and frightening.

Best Screaming: Grad student accused of murder screams that Candyman is under the bed!


Additional casting note: I always liked Candyman leading lady Virginia Madsen, most specifically as the sexy expert on all things wine in Sideways. I didn't realize that an even more noted role for her was the starring role of this horror flick. And she always looks great.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CABIN IN THE WOODS (2012)

12 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!
DAY 2


Plot: Five college students go to a remote cabin only to be terrorized by forces out of their control...but in control by something totally unexpected.

Favorite part: When all hell breaks loose in the labyrinth of horrors underneath the cabin. Also, when Josh from The West Wing (above right) finally gets his wish and sees a merman.

Least favorite part: The story set up with the college students was necessary, but still a trifle slow.

Scariest part: When we learn that a well armed and trained SWAT team is no match for a motivated group of unleashed monsters.

Best screaming: The screams when the zombie redneck torture family first attack are pretty good. But the first scream is usually the best in these films.


Additional casting note: I didn't even recognize that the guy who played one of the students went on to later play Thor until after I watched the whole movie. I guess a lot of people don't recognize me either when I'm not wearing my Thor outfit.

Monday, October 20, 2014

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)

12 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!
DAY 1 


Plot: Three college students go out in the woods to film a documentary about the legendary Blair Witch. It does not go as planned.

Favorite part: Little tricks of the film, such as the leaving behind of cairns or faraway noises by the unseen antagonists add much to the tension of the film. (By the way, is this film a real documentary or not?)

Least favorite part: I'm not trying to be prudish here, but our travelers use of four letter words throughout their filmmaking journey got to be distracting after awhile. Save the cursin' for when the witch is chasin' ya!

Scariest part: The end, when we see one of the characters performing a ritual that was subtly alluded to during the course of the film.

Best screaming: At the end of the film, we hear the remaining survivor screeching for her companion, Mike! Wait! Mike!! Mike!!! Mike!!!! Mike!!!!



Additional note: The critical rating on this movie is thirty percent higher than the fan rating on the rotten tomatoes website. Perhaps what seemed so different and unique at one time can start to seem old hat to viewers if it gets imitated enough.