Tag Archive for Halloween

SHOCKtober 2012 – Day 2: Let the Right One In (2008)

Let the Right One In is the heartwarming tale about a vampire that teaches a young boy how to deal with bullies.

Okay, not really. But it totally is.

In my experience, there are two major types of horror movies. On one side you have the films that are aiming directly at you. They jump and they scare. They throw things as the camera or they toss the camera into things. People are stabbed and gashed and eaten. Blood spurts in slow motion. Then on the other side there are films that tell you a story, slowing revealing details and most of the time they are trying to lure you in to believing that everything is fine or that maybe the little bits of evil you are seeing are justifiable. And then they pull the rug out and show you the monster standing next to you.

This is the point where I say that you should probably stop reading if you are averse to spoilers, because I am about to spoil the shit out of this movie.

“Forewarned is forearmed.” -Peter Vincent

Oskar is just your average kid being beat up by bullies. Chances are you either were that kid, knew that kid, or you used to beat up that kid. He’s a little sad, and a little pathetic. Eli is a strange little girl who likes to hang out at the playground in the middle of the night and has the windows in her apartment boarded up. They meet, they talk, Oskar shows her his Rubik’s Cube (and that’s not a euphemism), and she tells him he needs to hit back when the bullies pick on him.

Oh, and Eli lives with a dude who isn’t her father, who we see killing a random guy on the street and stringing him up to drain him of blood. She might be a little odd, but he’s totally a secret serial killer or something. Only, it’s her who is upset that he didn’t get the blood.

Anyway, she remains being creepy, but she’s nice to Oskar, and we like Oskar, we root for Oskar, we want him to kick some bully ass! And then she kills a guy. But Oskar is totally becoming a stronger better person, so we’ll overlook that little transgression.

Bit by bit we, the audience, gets pulled along… her protector guy gets caught, pours acid on himself and then leaps out a hospital window after she drinks his blood. But, you know, Oskar! He hits the bully with a stick and he’s started working out to get muscles and confidence. Go Oskar! Eli accidentally turns a woman into a vampire, but she explodes in flames when a nurse opens the window to let the sun in… but before that the woman is attacked by a whole mess of cats in a scene right out of Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers (written directly for the scream screen!). Anyway, Oskar finally finds out that she’s a vampire, they dance to music and then he takes a peek at her naked body while she’s getting changed.

Time out a second here… You see, I saw the remake, Let Me In, first. And it pretty much cloned the original almost shot for shot. Except for this scene, which is not in the remake at all. I’m not a perv, because my wife was totally in the room, but I had to watch that scene twice because I wasn’t sure what I saw. Earlier, in both versions, there is this scene where the vampire girl and the normal boy are hanging out in his bed and he asks her to go steady and she says, “I’m not a little girl”, which I totally took to mean “I’m a vampire” or “I’m a monster” but in this, the original… did I just get Crying Gamed? Is Eli actually a little boy who had his junk cut off? What the hell is going on here? And now I’m recalling the scene where Eli is puking after eating the candy, and she asks if he likes her and he says yeah and she asks “Would you like me if I was a boy?” and he says “Sure.” I totally just got Crying Gamed!

I just Googled it, the movie and the book. Mind. Blown. That’ll teach me to watch remakes!

Anyway… so Eli kills another guy, and this time Oskar watches. Eli leaves, like, for good. Then the bullies trick Oskar into coming back to the fitness program and they are in the process of possibly drowning him when Eli shows up and kills everyone. Cut to train, Oskar looks out the window, we hear a tapping and Oskar smiles. He taps out a reply on the large trunk that accompanies him.

So, back to where I started… two types of horror films, one where the monster leaps right out and one where the monster sneaks up on you. Let the Right One In is definitely the latter, and while I’d classify the movie as a horror film I wouldn’t call it a scary film. It’s practically a romance. Although, knowing what I know now, maybe it’s a bromance.

Peace out… I’m off to write some scorpion/frog slash-fic.

Be sure to keep an eye on Final Girl and the rest of SHOCKtober.

UPDATE: Check out other participants – Final Girl, Life Between Frames, Blog @ Rotten Cotton, Money and a Half, Thrill Me!

SHOCKtober 2012 – Day 1: Sunshine (2007)

I first saw Sunshine in 2008 after the DVD released in the United States. I really wanted to see it in the theater, but never quite found the opportunity to do it. I mean, it was a no brainer, right? I think the conversation should have gone something like this:

Marketing: From the director of 28 Days Later…
Me: Oh?
Marketing: …starring the guy from 28 Days Later…
Me: Sold.
Marketing: …comes Sunshine, a movie about
Me: Yeah, you can stop now. I’m in.
Marketing: You don’t want to know what it’s about?
Me: No, just tell me when I can see it.

However, somewhere between knowing that I was going to see this film and when it stopped showing in local theaters, I didn’t manage to find any other people who also wanted to go see it, and since going to the movies alone isn’t something I normally do (though I am not opposed to it) and so, I didn’t. Not until about a year later.

But that’s neither here nor there, nor on the surface of the sun. The basic plot is this: for some reason, which I don’t recall even after rewatching it, the Sun is going out and the world is going to freeze, but there is a plan – to fire a giant bomb into the Sun and reignite it. I looked up some stuff on wikipedia and saw there was apparently some back story about a Q-ball or something causing the Sun to expend energy faster than it should. Anyway, there was a previous mission which after passing into the dead zone – where they can communicate back to Earth because of the radiation interference of the Sun – it didn’t appear to complete its mission. So now we are on mission two, the final mission, because it took everything the Earth had to make these two bombs. And they fly toward the Sun, and they approach Mercury, and discover the first ship, hanging in orbit around the Sun.

Of course, they decide to investigate…

I think what I love most about this movie is that there is a lot of science in it, but a bunch of it is junk science – science that makes sense in its pieces and parts but not in the manner in which the movie lumps them together. And it’s got that whole race to save humanity element. But another strong element is that I think, at least emotionally and in some ways stylistically, it parallels another movie that I love: The Black Hole.

You got ships sitting on the brink of oblivion and men who have lost their sanity and an ending that leaves open a lot to interpretation because it goes for art rather than solid facts.

When I saw it then and now as I watched it again, I know this is supposed to be a horror film, but it doesn’t scare me at all until the boogeyman shows up. Until that point, the movie is just science, logic and hard but inevitable choices clouded with a little bit of human curiosity and compassion. Seriously, until the sun scarred former captain arrives and starts stomping around the ship killing people in the last act of the film all of the horror is based on preying on the primal fears of uncertainty and helplessness in the face of nature and science we don’t fully understand – which doesn’t scare me.

I also think the movie tried to do something it didn’t succeed at. It’s a brilliant idea, to tell a scary story that normally relies on shadows and darkness but do it in full light. And if this movie had done that, it would have been awesome, but when the captain shows up the first thing he does is kill the computer and turn off the lights. We are plunged back into darkness, the very familiar darkness. It also doesn’t help that Danny Boyle went with an artistic style when showing us the captain and his skewed perspective of his environment. He’s a shaky blur rather than a solid figure, and it robs him of some of the terror he might have caused. If they’d kept the lights on, gave us a clear view of the captain and had him speaking logically and passionately about how the mission had to be stopped while relentlessly hunting the crew – perhaps using things he’d learned in the last seven years trapped on his identical ship.

And yet, despite that, I do still love the movie. It helps, I guess, that the final act is so short. Once it’s over, we spend a beautiful moment with Cillian Murphy, experiencing the strangeness of the uncertain warpings of time and reality that occur in the heart of the Sun, standing before a wall of fire for an eternity even though from the outside he probably vanished in a flash of fire nearly instantaneously.

The sacrifice is made. The Sun reignited. The Earth is saved. Humanity lives on. And Sunshine ends.

Be sure to keep an eye on Final Girl and the rest of SHOCKtober.

UPDATE: Check out other participants – Final Girl, Life Between Frames, Blog @ Rotten Cotton, Money and a Half, Into the Mirror

SHOCKtober 2012: Prelude

So, there is this blog I read, Final Girl, that is all about horror films, and for the month of October she is doing a thing she calls SHOCKtober, which is basically a movie a day. The idea is to spur discussion and thought about horror films and I intend to participate. For the next 31 days, assuming I can get access to every movie through my collection, Netflix, Amazon, Redbox, and… more nefarious means, I will be posting something each day relating to the movie in question. Many of them will probably be reviews, but perhaps not all of them. We’ll have to see what each movie inspires.

In any event, I hope it is an enjoyable ride.

In the meantime, go check out Stacie Ponder’s Final Girl blog. Read back through the archives, there are quite a few gems in there well worth reading.

UPDATE: Adding links to this post.

  1. Sunshine (2007)
  2. Let the Right One In (2008)
  3. The Haunting of Julia (1977)
  4. Audition (1999)
  5. Nosferatu (1922) / (1979)
  6. Slither (2006)
  7. Cat People (1942)
  8. Tenebre (1982)
  9. Dead Alive (1992)
  10. Possession (1981)
  11. Pulse (2001)
  12. Shivers (1975)
  13. Left Bank (2008)
  14. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)
  15. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4 (1988)
  16. Hour of the Wolf (1968)
  17. The Tenant (1976)
  18. Santa Sangre (1989)
  19. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
  20. And Soon the Darkness (1970)
  21. Battle Royale (2000)
  22. Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)
  23. The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
  24. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
  25. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  26. Triangle (2009)
  27. Calvaire (2004)
  28. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
  29. The Horde (2009)
  30. Planet of the Vampires (1965)
  31. Martyrs (2008)

This Halloween, the dead will walk…

I’m going to go ahead on record and say that this will be, in my opinion, the greatest television show ever.

Ev. Ver.

The Living Dead

In time for the Halloween season, I picked up a collection of zombie short stories called The Living Dead.

One thing I have learned over the years running into zombie fans on the internet and out in the world is that everyone has their favorites.  Some like the slow Romero zombies (my personal favorite), others like the fast running Dawn of the Dead remake style, while still others prefer the hoodoo voodoo zombies, and there are many more flavors.  This collection of short stories pretty much covers them all.  From the cursed living who return from the dead to the mindless drones and even to actors playing extras in Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead at the mall.

Because of this wide range of coverage, I can’t say I loved every story.  In fact, I’d probably say I only loved maybe a third of them, possibly less.  Some of them I could barely trudge my way through, so alien were the concepts of zombies envisioned by their authors (hence the reason why it took me well over a month to read the whole thing).  But, it did make me realize how wide the idea of “zombies” can run, and that perhaps the ideas I’ve been nurturing are not as common as I thought they were.

When I closed the cover of this tome, I was relieved to finally be done what, in part at least, had been a chore to get through.  But I was also satisfied, and really, what more can you ask of a book than that?

October`s End

Halloween.

It is my favorite holiday, and it marks the end of my favorite month.  Tomorrow is November.  Tonight, I’ve got people coming over to the house, where we will hide in the basement watching scary movies.

This October has been a roller coaster for me.  My birthday, Halloween, and all the usual stuff has been good, but I also became unemployed, which sucked.  Tomorrow is November.  Thirty days of possible unemployment, and thirty days of participating in the NaNoWriMo.  The bad and the good.

Tonight is Halloween.  Tomorrow is November.

The Monsters at My Door

October is over, my favorite month. And one helluva month it has been.

Last night was our first Halloween in our new home, an actual house in an actual neighborhood. See, when you live in apartments, especially ghetto apartments like I lived in, Halloween is scary for all the wrong reasons. You should be scared of the vampires and werewolves and other creatures of the night, you shouldn’t be scared of getting mugged or shot when you stumble across a drug deal. So, we decorated the house. A grave out front with a wheelbarrow full of bones, blood on the windows, a body hanging in the front bedroom window as a single bare light bulb swung behind it, and more… it was a hoot. And people seemed to really like it. Kids liked the scare, and parents stood in the street taking pictures.

The only downside was… well… we live in a fairly small neighborhood, and while we did get visitors from other neighborhoods, we really didn’t get that many Trick-or-treaters. So now we have this gigantic bowl of candy just daring me to eat it… bad candy, bad bad candy.

I was fairly happy with our visitors last night though… plenty of home made costumes, and not very many fairies and sports figures.

Sadly, though, staying at home means I didn’t go to the North River Tavern for their Halloween night… well, since I now know that kids stop coming around about 8pm, next year that’ll be when we close up the house and go out.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween.

Happy Halloween!

To each and every one of you…

I hope something scares the living shit out you.

Everyone should have it done to them now and then, it helps you keep perspective…

^

Enjoy.

All Hallows Eve.

Last night was Halloween. One of my favorite nights of the year, even though I partake of it too little.

I’m happy to say that Cobb County didn’t try this year to celebrate Halloween on the 26th or some nonsense to avoid work and school conflicts. I’m also happy I wasn’t innundated with warnings about rapists and murderers about. I wasn’t told to make sure the kids start trick or treating at noon and are done before sundown.

People seemed a bit more relaxed this year. Well, except that perhaps they were looking at Halloween as an escape from terrorist threats, anthrax scares, and all the real world bring-me-downs that we have seen since September 11th.

I headed out this year to a local Taco Mac. The best Taco Mac around in my opinion. Built in an old Steak & Ale building it looks totally different from all the strip mall steel and glass crap many of the others are made of. It’s homey. Smokey. More a bar than a restaurant. And I went with my fiancee and a few friends. We talked and drank. I think my friends were bored, or just had too much else going on to relax.

One by one they left. The band came on the stage, Tommy Gun, and with the end of their first song, the last friend left. My fiancee and I stayed. The band was good. Bordering on great. We drank. We sang. We danced. Ahhh… relaxation.

After the first set was done, we too headed out. We got home and decided to take a stroll out in the full moon light. The night air was brisk, and we wandered the streets, empty of trick-or-treaters in our apartment complex, and talked. We laughed. We smiled. Ahhh… relaxation.

The worries melted away last night, and once my friends were gone and the music began to play, up until I drifted off to sleep during the final credits of The Amityville Horror with thoughts of bleeding walls and demons in the basement drifting through my head, it was a great night.

I love Halloween.

26 October 1999

Oy vey!
Sometimes you just can’t win. I’ve been fighting with my webspace provider. They said I had too much stuff, so I paid for more space, they still haven’t updated the server security files so I can’t use the extra space. I had to take a bunch of pictures off line just so I can do regular updates… but I digress.
Now on to the .plan… Halloween… Halloween and stupid parents.
In a town near where I live they town council, PTA, and others are getting together to vote… nothing important, just voting if Halloween should be celebrated, in other words Trick-or-Treating, on Saturday since the real Halloween is on Sunday.
What a bunch of stupid garbage to be wasting time voting on. What’s next?? Voting to hold the 4th of July on the 6th because the 4th is on a Wednesday?? Voting to move New Year’s Eve to December 29th because it’s a Friday, not a Sunday, and that way people can get drunk and party and not worry about missing work??
It’s a holiday. Holidays are on a certain day of the year for a reason, and they should stay there.
It hasn’t always been this way. When I was a child, it could be Sunday night, pitch black, raining, and cold, and my parents would still let us dress up and go out into the dark with our bags to fill with candy. Why can’t parents today be reasonable? Their parents let them go out, so why can’t their kids go out?
Let me dispell a myth or two about the world that causes alot of parents to be bad parents:
1. There are no more psychos, murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and the like then there were when you were growing up. It only looks that way because the story about that kid who gets picked up in a van and never comes home again in Podunk, Idaho used to stay in Podunk, Idaho, or only came to the rest of the world as an Urban Legend, only now, thanks to the wonders of Cable TV and stuff like the Internet, you get to see the local news casts and read local news when you don’t even live there. In fact, in all honesty, the world is probably a little bit safer these days (with the exception of areas that have gang problems) then when you were growing up. Its okay to let your kid ride off on a bike without training wheels and not wearing his helmet, kneepads, elbowpads, and bulletproof vest with some of the other neighborhood kids, because in all likelihood, he’s going to come home just fine. There is being protective of your kid, and then there is the point where YOU become the psycho.
2. You don’t HAVE to be a two income household. There are many families that get by on one income. Being a parent brings with it a certain amount of sacrifice. Not just what you would give to save your child, but what you will give to have your child. Get a station wagon and give up the Lexus, or just go so far as to own one car instead of two. Shop in bulk. Get Levi’s instead of those Versace orginal denim pants. Clip coupons. Eat out less. One of you see them off to school, and one of you be home when they come back (take turns or one of you do both). If you find that you really do NEED a second income, find something you can do from home. My mother sorted coupons for a company when they came back redeemed, somtimes she worked at the office, but when needed, she brought home a box of coupons and sorted them at home (and even used them for discipline, “You stop hitting your brother or you’ll have to help sort coupons!”). Have that one less working person means that you can actually spend time with your child. And if you do that, the chances that they get a shotgun and some pipe bombs and go blow up their school will go way way WAY down. Guaranteed.
In this country people have a tendancy to blame everything but themselves for their mistakes. If you don’t own your mistakes, they will own you. TV, movies, books, music… these things have never caused a kid to do anything violent or stupid, only 2 things have ever cause a kid to be stupid… a) he’s a kid and its how kids learn, make mistakes, take responsibility, and learn from them, or b) bad parenting. But bad parenting is something that is a personal demon. It belongs to one person, and no one likes to admit they were wrong (entire bookstore sections, and a dozen TV shows are based on people avoiding problems). People in a large group, especially the media and society as a whole, never want to point a finger at the parents and say, “You didn’t play with your kids, so they killed 20 people.” People in large groups are easily swayed. For some reason, a group of the smartest people on the planet will still listen and probably accept as true what the most stupid person among them has to say.
Parents… and Parents-to-be… wake up… wake up and raise your children. Good parents… bad parents… any parents are better than no parents at all.
…and Halloween is on October 31st. Deal with it.