List complete at 31.5 with 6 new to me. Goal was 31.
Interestingly there are only 2 movies that I've watched all 5 years, Nightmare on Elm Street and Suspiria. Makes sense as they are probably my 2 favorite horror movies, if not favorite movies period. I was surprised Halloween 78 didn't make that list, but apparantly last year I opted to watch the remake instead (in my defense I had just watched the original in September, but it's still a bummer). The other surprise in looking through the past is I have watched I Walked With a Zombie 4 out of the 5 years, just missing 2006 as I had not yet discovered it. It appears as though all others have been watched in 3 or less challenges. Interesting.
In for my 5th year. Keeping my usual goal of 31. October is just too busy of a month for me to hope for more.
(2010) - Blu-Ray **** (new to me)
What an awesome movie! Bought this one blind mostly based on the cool cover and that it was written/directed by Adam Green (loved Hatchet). It wasn't a disappointment. The writing and acting were great, and the characters were easy to connect with. From what I hear they didn't use much if any CGI, so I can't wait to watch the extras and find out what they went through making this one. Great stuff.
(1977) - Limited Edition DVD *****
I'm sure I will be repeating myself from past challenges. Suspiria is not so much a "movie" as it is a nightmare caught on film. The colors, the textures, the score. They all come together perfectly to create a mood that can't be described. I know it's not a movie for everyone, as is the case with most of Argento's work, but for me it just gets better and better every time I watch it.
3) Night of the Living Dead
(1968) - Millennium Edition DVD *****
I have been really weak on my Romero watching in the past challenges. I'm going to fix that this year. NotLD is an all time classic which defined a genre. Love it!
4) Dawn of the Dead (Theatrical Cut)
(1978) - Ultimate Edition DVD *****
Another zombie classic that helped shape all that have come since. I think my favorite part of Dawn is simply when the main characters have the run of the mall and are like kids in a candy shop. Who wouldn't want to do that for a couple days? Of course the zombies would kind of put a damper on that...
5) Day of the Dead
(1985) - Divimax DVD ****
Day is a very claustrophobic film. Much of the running time is focused on the conflicts between the civilian scientists and the military, who are forced to live and work together. It's interesting that this causes as much if not more tension than the zombies themselves. A very different film than Night and Dawn, Day is still great and deserves more praise than it usually receives.
6) Land of the Dead
(2005) - Unrated Director's Cut DVD ***1/2
Almost the polar opposite of Day, Land is certainly a different movie than the first three. It's obvious the budget was way higher, but with it came some studio tampering which keeps it from really feeling like a Romero movie through and through. That said, it really is a lot of fun. Too many people complain about the zombies getting too smart, but if you watch the first 3, you can see it's been an evolution. Heck, even in Night they were already using tools. I don't think it's a stretch at all.
7) Diary of the Dead
(2007) - Blu-Ray ***
One of the great things about Romero is that even though zombies are his thing, he is always able to take a different approach and make the genre seem fresh. The unfortunate part about Diary is that it came about on the heels of a few other very successful movies with the same "shaky cam" style. Had it blazed the trail, it would have probably been more successful. There was a bit too much discussion about why the camera man kept filming. Yes...in real life it would be stupid for him to keep filming everything, but for the movie's sake it was necessary, so the characters shouldn't have kept bringing it up again and again. It also seems to bog itself down a bit with the technology part of the plot. I realize that this is where some of Romero's social commentary lies in this one, but it trips the movie up a bit this time. I'm probably making it sounds like I didn't like the movie though, which is not the case at all. There are many great moments (I loved the scenes in the hospital and the amish farm), and it is great to see Romero head back to his low-budget full control roots. The "shaky cam" style also added a nice feeling of being there with the characters, and added a layer of suspense that would have been missing had it been made in a traditional style.
8) Survival of the Dead
(2009) - Ultimate Undead Edition Blu-Ray ***1/2
Fun. People seem to spend so much time ripping this one apart that they don't seem to notice that Romero is just having fun with this one. I know I had fun watching it. Is it at the level of the original trilogy? Hell no, but I honestly don't think it's trying to be. I really enjoyed the characters. I loved how it tied into Diary, and I've heard a rumor that the next Dead movie may focus on another group of people that we met in that movie. Yes, there were a few parts that were groan worthy. The zombie girl riding the horse was a little lame. The family fued was a little overdone. The female soldier pleasuring herself right in front of everyone was pretty dumb. But there were a lot of great moments to balance out the bad, so what the heck. Zombie fishing? Awesome! Live zombie heads on posts? Awesome! Like I said...lots of fun to be had here, and it was obvious that Romero and his crew were having fun making it. That's what it's all about.
9) Cat People
(1942) - The Val Lewton Horror Collection DVD ***
A classic through and through. Atmosphere in spades. Gotta love it.
10) Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead
(1994) - Anchor Bay Collection DVD **1/2 (new to me)
Definitely the weakest Phantasm so far (I haven't seen 4 yet), but even bad Phantasm is pretty cool. Gotta love the balls, and the tall man is easily one of the scariest of the horror icons.
11) A Nightmare on Elm Street
(2010) - Blu-Ray ***1/2 (new to me)
I feared this remake more than any of the others up to this point, and I'm not usually "that guy". It just didn't seem possible to replace Robert Englund. Turns out...it isn't. Sure, the new guy did the best he could, and was affective in his own way. It seemed as though both the writing and acting were trying so very hard to not imitate Englund that they managed to lose "Freddy" in the process. There is just plain no reason why they didn't use Englund in this, and that alone would have helped make this a great movie. Besides that some of the CGI was pretty bad (the Freddy coming out of the wall scene...come on...we saw better in 1996's The Frighteners. The original was so much more effective). Freddy's make-up...I don't know about yet. Sometimes it looked really awesome, but sometimes it looked really bad. Not sure what was going on there. Was that partially CGI or something? My only other complaint was that as a fairly new parent, the molestation stuff made me way uncomfortable. Yea...that was the point, but I thought the way it handled in the original was better.
That said, there is a lot of great stuff here. The production values, the direction and especially the cinematography are all excellent. The scene in the classroom where the class disappears was downright awesome. The pharmacy scene was also a stand-out. Most of the dream imagery was really, really good and there were many nods to the original series. Most of the acting was pretty good...I especially liked the new Nancy and Quentin...both great actors. I also liked how they didn't stick to the original story much at all. They used the basics but ran their own way with it. That's how a remake should be done in my opinion.
12) A Nightmare on Elm Street
(1984) - Blu-Ray *****
Probably my all time favorite horror movie, if not favorite movie period. The sequels are fun, even the remake is pretty decent, but nothing can touch the original.
13) A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge
(1985) - Platinum Series DVD ***
Freddy's Revenge is a much better movie than it's given credit for. Yea, yea...I know...homoerotic blah blah blah. But get past that and there's a lot to enjoy here. The opening scene on the bus is one of the best scenes in the franchise. Freddy is still dark and menacing. The scene in Brady's room where Freddy literally tears out of Jessie is great too. Give it another chance with an open mind.
14) A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
(1987) - Platinum Series DVD ****
Even though this is the beginning of "cartoon" Freddy, this is still one of the best sequels. So many iconic scenes in this one, from the puppet, to the TV, to the "worm", and of course the return of Nancy.
15) A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
(1988) - Platinum Series DVD ***
Most of the scares are gone, and Freddy is more a comedian now than a monster, but there are still a lot of cool moments in this one.
16) A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
(1989) - Platinum Series DVD ***1/2
While Freddy is still more funny than scary here, the gothic scenery and backstory of Freddy's origins help elevate this one. I really like the cast of characters in this one too.
17) House on Haunted Hill
(1999) - DVD **1/2
Silly movie with bad acting, bad CGI, and bad writing, yet it is greatly entertaining. It doesn't hold a candle to the original, but I'll be damned if it's not a fun ride!
18) Mother of Tears
(2007) - Unrated DVD **** (new to me)
I'll admit it, I was afraid to watch Mother of Tears. I have a terrible love for Suspiria. Inferno never did measure up to it for me, but I still enjoy parts of it quite a bit. From what I had heard about MoT, I thought it would be a disgrace to the "trilogy", therefore I had been putting it off and putting it off since it first came out. After finally breaking down and watching it, I am amazed how much better it was than I had feared. It doesn't hold up to Suspiria (though not much does), but it's every bit as enjoyable as Inferno to me, and maybe more so even. I do wish Argento had stuck with a bit more of the color/texture signature that the others had, and yes there were a few other places that could have been better (I wasn't big on the disappearing trick, the giggling teen witches, or the ghost of mom stuff), but there was plenty of good to balance it out. And it had Argentos return to having an evil monkey...how can you not love that?
19) Uzumaki (Spiral)
(2000) - DVD **1/2
Such a wonderfully weird and messed-up movie. I really can't put this one into words...you just have to watch it.
20) The Ring
(2002) - DVD ****
The Ring is quite possibly the only example of a remake that I enjoy more than the original, especially when it comes to remakes of Asian horror films. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoy Ringu, but for some reason I find this remake more enjoyable and more frightening. Maybe it's because I saw this one first, but even after revisiting it now years later, I still stick by this opinion. Either way, this is one heck of a great horror movie. Great story, great acting, and truly scary. Love it.
21) The Ring Two
(2005) - Unrated DVD **1/2
While still a decent movie, unfortunately this is a big step down from the first. The biggest problem is that other than a couple key scenes, it just wasn't scary. There was some nice atmosphere, acting, and directing, but they just didn't pull together the way The Ring did. Two scenes stand out in my mind though, the bathroom at the fair was quite good, and the tree appearing in the house was pretty cool. It's just too bad that they couldn't capture the magic of the first one again. And dare I even mention CGI deer...the deer in Tommy Boy was more effective...
22) Ju-on: The Grudge
(2002) - DVD ****1/2
The first time I saw Ju-on, before the countless remakes, spoofs, and rip-offs, I'd have to say it was the scariest movie I had ever seen. Now seeing it for the second time it didn't have quite the same affect on me, but it was still pretty amazing and creepy. The terror has been diminished a bit since it's style has been imitated so many times, but the original is still by far the best. It's one of the few movies that can still put me on edge.
Tonights viewing led to an interesting story afterwards. Right after the movie we headed for bed. I was just coming out of the bathroom when my wife, who was in our bedroom already, said "what's that noise"? I thought it was just the cat, but then it started again. It was a loud, metallic scratching noise coming from the corner of our room. Now under normal circumstances this would have been mostly annoying, but right after watching Ju-on...yea...slightly unsettling. Upon further investigation it seemed to have been coming from the gutter outside, so I gathered my courage (and the big-ass maglite) and went to take a look. I never did find anything, and the noise didn't come back after that, so I'm guessing it was just a squirrel or mouse playing around in the gutter, but who knows. All I know is that I don't usually get that nervous, and my wife really doesn't get rattled easily, but that sure did it for both of us! I spent the next hour plus laying wide awake in bed listening to every little noise in the house. That's definitely the most creeped out I've been in a while! Quite exhilarating!
23) Jason X
(2001) - Platinum Series DVD ***
Jason X is pure fun. It is so over the top and full of fan service that you can't help but love it. Sure, there's some absolutely horrible writing and acting, and the plot is pretty silly, but come on...it's Jason in space! Some of the franchise's best kills are in this one, including the wicked awesome face freeze, the screw, and of course the sleeping bags. Not a "great" movie, but a definite guilty pleasure.
(1960) - 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray *****
I am smack in the middle of working my way through Hitchcock's entire body of work chronologically, but I just couldn't help cheating on this one by jumping ahead a couple decades. Between the release of this beautifully restored Blu-Ray, and it being horror month, who could blame me? All I can really say about this masterpiece is it's an amazing film on an amazing disc. Kudos to the team responsible for giving us this in high definition. I can't wait for more Hitchcock to hit Blu!
none - well, at least it was a good start! Probably won't be able to get back on track for 31, but we'll see.
25) I Walked with a Zombie
(1943) - The Val Lewton Horror Collection DVD ***1/2
I absolutely love the atmosphere in this film. The use of shadows and sound are both wonderful. The trip through the fields to the voodoo ritual is one heck of a scene. Great stuff!
26) Evil Dead II
(1987) - The Book of the Dead Divimax DVD ***
Good cheesy fun. I much prefer the original, and am more familiar with that one, but this one is always good for a few laughs. I always seem to forget that this one ends leading right into Army of Darkness. Long live Ash.
(1931) - The Legacy Collection DVD ***1/2
It wouldn't be Halloween season without Dracula. In my opinion, no one played the Count like Bela Lugosi. Classic all the way.
28) The House of the Devil
(2009) - Blu-Ray **** (new to me)
After all of the praise I have read about this one in the past month, I was afraid it wouldn't be able to live up to it. It did. I adored how they made the movie feel like it was straight out of the '80s. If I hadn't known it was new, I would have never believed it. Great, slow burn build-up. The first kill was awesome! My only complaint was that once stuff started hitting the fan, it was too easy for Samantha to get away initially, and I'm not sure how I felt about the ending (trying to stay spoiler free here). That said, there was a ton to love here. Great stuff, and highly recommended!
29) Halloween III: Season of the Witch
(1982) - DVD **1/2
The people responsible for naming this movie should be kicked in the nuts. OK...I kind of get where they wanted to go with the Halloween franchise, being a completely new story each installment. Too bad that was already ruined by having Halloween 2 be a direct sequel. The precedence was set for Halloween to equal Michael Myers. Strike one. Then there is the whole "Season of the Witch" thing. Really? Did I miss where there was a witch anywhere in this movie? This had to have been some sort of horrible mistake because no one in their right mind could have thought THIS movie should have THIS name. The saddest part is, it really is a decent little movie! Had it been called "Silver Shamrock" or heck, even "Death Mask", I bet it would be much more highly regarded than as "The Night He DIDN'T Come Home". So stupid.
(1978) - Blu-Ray *****
The original and still the best. To me, this movie is everything wonderful about this season rolled into one. This IS halloween!
30.25) Scared Shrekless
(2010) - DVR *** (new to me)
A very fun little holiday special featuring some of my favorite animated characters. It's always fun being able to share something like this with my 2 year old. I hope this hits DVD next year.
30.5) It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
(1966) - DVD *****
Much like the original Halloween, it just wouldn't be this time of year without the Great Pumpkin! This year's viewing wasn't quite as special as it usually is due to the fact that my daughter has taken to watching it all year long, but I don't have a problem with that.
31.5) Trick 'R Treat
(2007) - Blu-Ray *****
Saw this for the first time last year and fell instantly in love. This year it took the coveted Halloween night slot. There is so much to love about this movie, especially how all the stories intertwine. The mood of the season is captured so perfectly and lovingly. I hope they decide to make more of these, as I heard was the plan, and I hope they manage to live up to this.
I ended up beating my goal by 1/2 "movie" due to the inclusion of 2 half hour TV specials. I like how that worked this year, even though Great Pumpkin now counts as 3/4 less than it used to. It makes sense.
Unfortunately I only managed to watch 6 that were new to me, but all of them had a lot to love. Frozen and House of the Devil were both huge highlights, and a couple of the best blind buys I've done in a while. Mother of Tears surprised me with how good it was. I'm still not completely sure how I feel about the NoES remake, but I really enjoyed parts of it. As for the old favorites, it was really nice having the Romero-fest early on and visiting with my favorite zombies again. Great year overall, but like usual I wish I could have done more!
Thanks again Chad for doing all that you do to run this great challenge!