Thursday, November 05, 2009

October Wrap-Up pt. 1.

For various reasons, I've been unable to keep up with blogging the October Challenge. I got hung up about two thirds of the way through. Here's an effort to get caught up.

The total number of horror movies I saw this year was 32. Of those, 29 of them were movies I had never seen before. Here's the list of what I saw (I've listed first-time viewings in red):

October 2:

The Baby's Room

Comments here:

October 3:

To Let
The Curse of Frankenstein


October 5:



October 7:

What Have They Done to Solange?

October 8:

Who Can Kill a Child?

October 11:

The Vault of Horror
Tales from the Crypt


October 12:

MOH: Deer Woman

October 13:


October 14:

MOH: Valerie on the Stairs

October 15:

Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans
The Uninvited (2003)

October 17:

Evil Dead Trap
The Beyond


October 19:


October 20:

MOH: Sounds Like

October 21:

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

October 23:

Thirst (2009)

October 24:

Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)

October 26:

The Blame

October 28:

Bob Burns Hollywood Halloween
Red Eye (2005, Korean film not to be confused with the Wes Craven film of the same name)

October 29

MOH: The Black Cat

October 30:

A Real Friend

October 31:

A Christmas Tale
The Spectre
The Ring Virus

Here are some general comments about the films from the second half of the month (I'll be splitting this in two to accommodate the tags):

Hatchet (2006, directed by Adam Green). This kind of sucked. A lot. I knew this was going to be one of THOSE movies when Robert Englund gets killed off in the first five minutes. Tony Todd is in it too. But the filmmakers obviously didn't want to pay for any extended work from either of them. Oh, and Kane Hodder is here, too, but since I don't like the Friday the 13th movies in the first place, I didn't really give a flying fuck.

October 20:

MOH: Sounds Like (2006, directed by Brad Anderson). Very much a variant on X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, and pretty much assembled from stock horror elements, but the addition of a director who hasn't used television as an excuse to leave behind his own cinematic intelligence makes this into one the series best episodes.

October 21:

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003, directed by Masaaki Tezuka) was a surprise, because, for the most part, the Millennium series Godzilla movies have kind of sucked. This one was really fun, though. The initial sequence, with some fighter planes encountering Mothra, was really cool, and the monster mayhem in the back half is really satisfying.

October 23:

Thirst (2009, directed by Chan-wook Park) is a box full of wonders, but it's all over the place in terms of tone. This isn't a criticism, per se, so much as it's a description, because this film is endlessly fascinating. This is a weird conflation of the vampire film with film noir--it's what you'd get if you crossed Dracula with The Postman Always Rings Twice--but that's a really facile description. This is one of those horror movies where the tropes of the horror film aren't necessarily used to scare the audience--though this has some amazingly horrifying scenes--so much as they're used to dissect the film's characters. Kang-ho Song is now officially my favorite actor in the world right now, and he's wonderful in this, but he's arguably upstaged by Ok-vin Kim's femme fatale, who could give Barbara Stanwyck some pointers. The final ten minutes of the film are existential comedy at its finest, and it's last shot is a magnificent visual pun.

I'll have a LOT more to say about this one once I get my hands on the DVD. Thirst hits DVD on November 17th.

October 24:

Blood: The Last Vampire (2009, Chris Nahon) remakes a well-known anime, and you can see the influence all over this thing. The story follows a vampire working for a shadow agency, tasked with exterminating demons, all the while looking for the arch-demon who killed her father and mentor. The film contrives to dress its heroine in a schoolgirl outfit, in spite of there being no dress code at the high school where it sends her undercover. For the most part, this is pretty much crap, with lots of motion (the fights were choreographed by Hong Kong director Corey Yuen), and no suspense or any kind of investment in characters. The performances are uniformly awful.

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