Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Countdown recommendations

We are in the countdown of the last 8 days til Halloween.  I am certainly going to do my best to review a movie for each remaining day.  But in case I am not able to watch a movie everyday, I am going to go ahead and provide a list for my top movies to watch leading up to Halloween.  These will be the movies that I plan to watch and review in this final pre-Halloween week.  Even if I am not able to watch these movies this week, I have seen them enough times before to know that they are awesome! Every movie on this list is going to be a definite must rent.  Some of them will be must buy, and others will be worth buying if you find it at a good enough price.  So here are some of my favorite Halloween movies, in no particular order:

Young Frankenstein.  One of Mel Brooks's best films, this black-&-white horror/comedy pays homage to classic horror films, most notably Frankenstein (obviously).  It's not quite as "silly" as some of Mel Brooks's other films, but in my opinion it's one of the funniest.  The fact that the actors play the roles seriously helps to serve a contrast to some of the more amusing lines.  You should be able to find the DVD for around $5, and the Blue Ray for around $10.  Regardless of extras, the rewatchability alone makes this a must buy.

28 Days Later.  This is a good take on the zombie flick, because rather than being "undead," they are filled with the "rage virus."  Great soundtrack, good cinematography, great actors, and good horror/gore.  One of the things I really like about this one is the philosophical questions that arise from the "zombies" being living beings filled with a rage virus, rather than being undead monsters.  Are they still people?  Is there any still humanity left in them?  There is an alternate ending presented via storyboards and narration.  This ending was never filmed because they kind of back themselves into a corner that wouldn't have ended up working out.  But even just the narration and story boards still provide plenty of drama.  There is a 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later combo pack, but I don't know if it has the extras.  I suggest you get the version that actually has the special features.  So double check before you buy.

Shaun of the Dead.  This movie is absolutely hilarious!  I love the use of running jokes, and this movie is full of them.  The more that I watch it, the more that I pick up on things that happen in the first half that are then repeated in the second half.  It's also a decent zombie flick, and not just "for a comedy."  Even watching it as a serious zombie film, it still holds up.

Psycho.  This is one of Hitchcock's greatests.  Everyone knows the iconic shower scene.  But if you've seen the movie, you know that there are several other great scenes with a lot of tension and a lot of suspense.  Even though this film has been around for over 50 years, I'll not spoil this one for those who haven't seen it.  There is no excuse for missing this one...go buy it right now!!

Nosferatu.  I already reviewed this one, so I won't be re-reviewing it this week.  But, it is definitely a must see.  The entirety of the movie might not be the most amazing, but Schreck's portrayal of Count Orlock is almost disturbingly creepy.  Check out my full review here.  

The Thing.  In case there is any doubt, I am talking about John Carpenter's original, not the prequel that was released a year or two ago.  John Carpenter's The Thing combined many classic horror themes, such as being trapped with no escape, not knowing who or what the creature is, and doing everything they can just to stay alive.  Some of the special effects look pretty bad in comparison to today's CGI (though, they also look better than a lot of bad CGI), but it's the performances of the actors that really drive this suspenseful thriller.  If you've seen The Thing before, check out the video below.  But if you've not seen the movie before, skip this video for now...you don't want to ruin the film for yourself.  Even though this is not a scene-for-scene recreation, it is still close enough to contain major spoilers for the movie:

30 Days of Night.  These are not your dreamy, romantic vampires that have somehow invaded teen romance media.  These aren't even your charming, cultured Dracula-esque vampires.  These are the creepy, disturbing vampires that hunt without mercy.  Part of what makes this film so scary is that the characters must survive for 30 days (of night) without access to food or resources, and must remain almost completely quiet - unlike most horror movies where they "just have to survive the night."

Rocky Horror Picture Show.  This one isn't scary at all.  In fact, there are more scenes of whores than there are of horrors.  But, it is pretty funny and has catchy songs that get stuck in your head.  The main reason this one is on the list is because it has become a cult phenomenon, and it is almost impossible to go out on Halloween and not see at least one person dressed like one of the characters.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and there are plenty of other movies that I would recommend for this week (Gojira, Devil's Rejects, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween {the original, and Rob Zombie's remake}, Alien, Aliens).  But, those are the films that immediately come to mind when I think about what movies to watch leading up to Halloween.  I will post reviews for the ones that I am able to watch this week.  But even without reviews, I highly recommend them!

Be sure to check back soon for the next review in this last week of Halloween movie month.


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