31 October 2013

October 31st - HALLOWEEN

Halloween!  The big day!  I took the day off from work -- I figure this is pretty much the equivalent to a religious holiday for me, so why not -- and relaxed at home to watch a horror movie.  Because it was raining, I also figured I'd go grab some glowsticks from the store to stick in the pumpkins, figuring candles wouldn't last.  That quest was surprisingly frustrating.  On Halloween day itself, stores were busy ripping down all vestiges of the holiday -- dumping unpurchased masks and candles and candies in discount bins -- and replacing them with accursed Christmas decorations.  Target came through, their dollar shelves still overflowing with glow-necklaces that I could use.

Monster Cereal Week 6: All of 'Em!
Starting Halloween morning off right with a nutritious mix of all known food dyes.
In the end, it was strangely flavorless.  Like they canceled each other out.

Evil Dead (2013) directed by Fede Alvarez
Satisfying.  I was a little afraid that last year's excellent Cabin in the Woods would make this a little redundant to watch.  Why would we need a serious cabin in the woods story after Cabin stripped the idea down to its bones and rebuilt it as something wonderful?  My worry was misplaced.  The Evil Dead remake is in the best tradition of gritty '80s horror movies, except elevated by better effects and photography.

Storywise, there's not a heckuva lot to chew on.  Mia is taken to a cabin in the woods by her friends so they can help her kick a drug habit.  One of the friends reads some passages from the Necronomicon and things start happening.  There's some stuff about her brother abandoning her and their mother dying in an asylum, but it wasn't too terribly important.  I did like the idea that the friends were at the cabin for a more serious reason that the typical "let's party!" thing.  Mia going through withdrawal gave them some excellent opportunities to turn her into a Cassandra when she tries to warn everyone about the evil in the woods.  In the end, though, things are very simple: a great evil is trying to establish itself in the world and only these kids can stop it.

Stopping that evil takes a lot.  A lot.  People lose pieces of their face, limbs are hacked or pulled off, they get nails shot into them, hands are split, heads are blown up with shotguns... this is a frickin' tour de force of practical effects.  It drops the mic and walks away from all of the other horror movies these days using shitty CGI blood.  I hope the success of this remake spurs on more of this type of thing.

Watched: DVD from Sony.

Tales from the Crypt 6.03: "Whirlpool" (1994) directed by Mick Garris
After Jack and Casey arrived for the night's festivities -- beer in the fridge, candy in the bowl, ready to rock -- we popped in a Tales.  This episode is Crypt's version of Groundhog Day (which was released the year before this aired) that takes place at the Crypt offices in the 1950s.  It was surprisingly funny.  Instead of exactly the same thing happening every day that Rita Rudner repeats, this universe is a little crueler.  No matter what she does, she ends up with a dead boss and a posse of cops blowing her away.  It gets especially ridiculous after this happens when she doesn't even leave her apartment.  Very funny.

Return of the Living Dead III (1993) directed by Brian Yuzna
Somehow, I managed to convince the gang to watch this movie, one of my secret favorite zombie flicks.  Jack had never see it, so it seemed like a plan.  I think it's a ton of fun.  In the tradition of Yuzna's Society, it gets increasingly bizarre and goofy as the movie goes on.

Of course, my main attraction to the film is the beautiful Julie, played by Mindy Clarke.  She's absolutely one of my all-time favorite zombie characters.  In the movie, her unwise friskiness on her boyfriend's motorcycle causes a crash that breaks her neck.  Her boyfriend's dad happens to be experimenting with the 2-4-5 trioxin chemical from the original Return at a nearby military compound, and the boyfriend uses that to bring her back to life.  Julie then begins to slowly lose control of herself as her brain starts to die and zombify.

Julie discovers that only pain can temporarily make her forget the hunger that drives her to munch on the living.  She begins shoving wire and glass into her flesh in an effort to stave off that hunger.  In the process, she creates a stunning figure of herself (as in the poster above).  Clarke's portrayal, though, really sells things.  She's confused and in enormous physical pain and very emotionally hurt that her boyfriend put her into such a terrible predicament.  It is impossible to take your eyes off of her when she's onscreen.  Yes, yes I do have a zombie crush.

Other zombies in the movie are nearly as fun.  There's Santos with his spine extending two feet over his body.  There's the melted zombie from a trioxin barrel -- like Tarman in the original -- who has to rip his skull from one side of his face because the skin is fused to his shoulder.  My favorite, after Julie, is definitely poor Riverman.  Formerly a hobo who helps Julie and her boyfriend in the sewers, he gets zombified and bolted into a military exoskeleton.  He's pretty much a crazed zombie terminator.  Even gorily blowing away his limbs cannot stop him.

I love this movie, no matter what anyone says!

Watched: uncut DVD from Cinema Club.

Jones Halloween flavors return.
Red Licorice was the best.  Blood Orange wasn't bad.
Carmel Apple tastes like watered-down battery acid.  Candy Corn gave me diabeetus.

Halloween (1978) directed by John Carpenter
For the 15th year in a row, I watched Halloween on Halloween.  This year, for the first time ever, I chose the surround mix of the soundtrack instead of the original mono.  I always tend to go with an original sound mix -- as it was back when the movie was in theaters -- when watching a movie.  I think later-day surround mixes often sound fake and silly.  Plus, they aren't usually created by the people who made the film in the first place, so I tend to think of it as the audio equivalent of colorization.  Yuck.

But, this year I gave it a shot on the brand new 35th Anniversary blu-ray.  It was interesting.  The surround mix highlighted lots of different sounds that are usually muddled with all of the other sounds going on.  In particular, they shoved Mike's Vader-esque breathing into the center channel at a louder than normal volume.  I found it kind of neat, actually, as it emphasized the idea of we as the audience watching this through his eyes.  On the negative, a lot of the dialogue sounded more obviously done in ADR than ever before.  When the three girls are walking home from school, it sounds like nothing other than the three of them speaking a little too loud into a mic somewhere.

Outside of the audio, one thing I noticed for the first time -- and there's always something, even though I have this movie nearly memorized -- was at the end after Loomis shot Mike.  After he peeks over the balcony and sees Mike has gone missing, Loomis looks around.  But, he doesn't look around at the surrounding neighborhood below, hoping to catch a glimpse of a fleeing Michael.  Nope, he looks upwards, at the sky.  Very cool.  This evil is bigger that just a man in a mask.  It's out "there," in the very fabric of the Universe.  There's nothing we can really do to ever stop it permanently.  But, like Loomis, we have to fight anyway.

Watched: 35th Anniversary blu-ray from Anchor Bay.

Though it was raining continuously during trick-or-treating time and coats covered up their costumes, the kids didn't care at all.  "This is the best Halloween ever!" exclaimed one of my daughters as we ducked between the raindrops to get more candy.  Kids are awesome that way.

Ain't no rain gonna stop the quest for candy on Halloween night.
It was a good Six Weeks of Halloween.  I went nuts with the TV shows this year, only watching 38 movies but 51 episodes.  My favorite new movie of the year was Maniac, followed closely by American Mary.  I got to go to a cool convention.  I ate some Monster Cereal and carved pumpkins.  I jumped in a pile of leaves with the girls.  It was a good Six Weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad Halloween went well for you. Mine was satisfying as well. It's nice to wrap up the season up on a positive note. Happy Halloween, Rex. See you next year!