Friday, October 30, 2009

Month of Horror: The Missing Days

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
If any of the movies on this list deserve its own post, it's Behind the Mask. A mockumentary about a Michael Myers-style serial killer sounds like the equation for an unbearable gimmicky film but that's not the case here. Before the movie had ended, I had purchased my copy off of Amazon for a ridiculously low price. The only reason Behind the Mask made it into the Month of Horror schedule was because of its numerous inclusions on "Best Horror Comedy" lists I read through about four weeks ago. I should track down those list-writers and thank them. And you should thank me once you watch this and love it as much as I did. If I could recommend one movie from these 31 horrific days, this would be the one.

Misery is the best Stephen King adaptation that's ever been commited to film. And that's including 1408. This year, my Halloween costume consisted of a brown wig, a turtleneck top, a blue jumper, and a mallet. Anyone care to guess who I went as?


Zombieland is the best horror comedy since Shaun of the Dead (were there others?) and the type of movie I'll end up seeing in theaters multiple times. Waiting for an eventual DVD release just doesn't seem possible. The narrative is well-structured, the comedy is tight, and the movie is fun. Really fun. The only downside comes in Jesse Eisenberg's performance (picture Michael Cera-lite) which is only minorly bothersome.

The Entity

With all the hype swirling around Paranormal Activity (the most profitable movie of all-time), it was only a matter of time before someone mentioned The Entity in their review. That person wasn't going to be me, I'd never heard of The Entity before. Whitney's friend Jacob is the man to thank for hearing about this movie (through me, of course). This movie, like Behind the Mask, really deserved its own post but an overwhelmingly busy schedule just didn't allow it. Whether or not you enjoyed PA, the odds that you'll enjoy The Entity is high, really high, Cheech and Chong high. That is, if you can stand to watch a movie about ghost rape. Barbara Hershey (Hannah and Her Sisters) stars as a single mom who starts getting harassed by an unseen force. The attacks come at random with without explaination. Together, a duo of supernatual experts and Hershey decide to take on whatever's targeted her. The Entity will most likely end up on the MoH's Top 5 list. Ignore the terrible DVD cover art and watch the awesome movie.


Want to know how bad Pumpkinhead is? The first thirty minutes are far more engrossing than the last sixty. It's always a bad sign when the titular monster shows up and the movie gets steadily worse and worse. Following a Southern father and his adorable Coke-bottle glasses-wearing son as they go through their daily rituals is 30x more interesting and watching Pumpkinhead exude lameness.

How to Ruin Your Daughter's Life in Three Easy Steps: Step One - Buy a stolen crucifix that used to belong to a beloved Latin American priest. Step Two - Mail it to her. Step Three - Actually, that's all you have to do. There is no step three. I guess, if you wanted to, you could tell her that she's adopted and that her birthparents were Osmonds. That'd suck. Stigmata looks so cool that, at times, you get distracted that the plot is stupid and the movie's not really worth watching.

Caught Hitchcock's classic at a free screening at Utah's best theater, Brewvies, where you can get burgers, fries, corndogs, pizzas, beers, and pretty much whatever else you're in the mood for and eat during the screening. The crowd was unruly and the DVD was projected in the wrong aspect ratio which made for an unforgetable night. The cast looked like midgets and the crowd came up with a drinking game for everytime a "dead thing!" showed up on screen. Maybe it was the 90+ cuts, but by the time the infamous shower scene had ended, I had forgotten all about the game. That's when one guy hit his cue with perfect timing. "DEAD THING!" Great night. Lots of fun. The only downside was when my wife won a DVD copy of the Last House on the Left remake...what if she makes me watch it? At least our Month of Horror is almost over!

Black Sunday

Mario Bava's gruesome story about vengeful witch who gets The Devil's Mask nailed to her face in a major way. The opening scene to Black Sunday is unforgettable. The subsequent scenes...not so much. It's beautifully shot; the Italian exploitation movie uses light and shadows with an expertise usually reserved for German Expressionism. The narrative is lacking, and at time, boring, but if you're going to watch one of Bava's films, this should be the one.

Swamp Thing

A campy retelling of the Frakenstein legend. Wes Craven stood at bat twice, both as writer and director. The result of his comic book adaptation is an If Troma Has Money type of film that falls somewhere between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and that Captain America movie no one else seems to remember. When you're thirty days into your Month of Horror, Swamp Thing is a welcomed change of pace. It's worth watching just for the monsterous sword fight in the film's finale. It's the best fight scene since ZOMBIE VS. SHARK!
[Note: Sorry about the messed up indentations and any other uglified elements you're not used to seeing at He Shot Cyrus. Blogger has decided to be difficult lately and as much as I hate it, switching to a Dot Com just makes me queezy.]
[Note: Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it.]


Heather said...

I liked this post a lot. Very funny.

The only thing you need to change is for it to say, "Barbara Hershey (Beaches)."

Also, that crowed at Brewvies totally bugged me! I guess I don't really like fun.

elgringo said...

When I first got to the theater, I hated the crowd, that's not usually my type of movie-going experience. But after a little while, I got into it.

Erich Kuersten said...

People suck, which is why I watch PSYCHO at home, with my mother.

You convinced me to see Leslie Vernon and though I'm too squeamish to see The Entity again, though I recall seeing it years ago on cable with my dad and we were both completely demolished by the end, I mean the concept itself is so horrific, that kind of inescapable hopelessness... heavy.

Jason Soto said...

Holy crap, I remember the Captain America live action movie. Holy crap indeed.

Bob Turnbull said...

I reviewed "Behind The Mask" 2 years ago...Where were ya? B-)

I've been meaning to find "The Entity" for years now - I need to step up the search. Same thing for "Pumpkinhead", but, uh, maybe I'll redirect my focus from that one...

Boy, Bava can make a great looking movie though, eh? "Black Sunday" is gorgeous. Though I like it more than you, I'm not sure it's his best - I'd lean to "Kill Baby...Kill" or even "Lisa And The Devil" which I saw recently.

nolahn said...

For what it's worth, I remember that "Captain America" movie, too... though all I really remember was that Cap wore a ridiculous helmet and was pretty incompetent in the film.

I really enjoyed "Behind the Mask," but couldn't help but feel that once the film shifted gears to "classic slasher flick," it started to feel like... a standard slasher flick. Of course, if I could think of any clever way around that, I'd probably be writing movies instead of movie reviews.

Also looking forward to picking up "Zombieland" on DVD, and the Diet Michael Cera didn't bother me. Best part of the movie that no one talks about: the full reveal of Tallahasse's background might've been the most devestating 30 seconds of film I've seen in a long time.

- Nolahn