Brainee's 2014 DVDTalk Horror Movie Challenge List
First Time Views
= first time viewing
1. ☼ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(1931): Could I have really not seen this before? It drew a blank ... and I think I would've remembered scenes like Ivy's striptease. Then again, if I saw this movie on tv as a kid it was probably the heavily censored version. You've gotta love pre-code Hollywood! Beside the unusually graphic (for its time) content and March's Oscar-winning performance, I was really struck by the technical style. Some movies from the early 30's are very static - almost like a play with a camera in the room. But here, there was a lot of effective framing shots, dissolves, and edits.
(1981): Breaking in my Criterion Blu-Ray
Early "body horror" is my favorite era of Cronenberg.
3. ☼ Deadly Blessing
(1981): Another one that I'm not sure how I missed. Especially given all the "names" involved on both sides of the camera. It's certainly an odd little movie. It reminded me of those rural horror early 70's made-for-tv movies ... but with some boobs and slasher-y moments. I liked that I didn't really know what was going on until right at the end. Which was for the best, since the "mystery" struck me as being pretty silly.
4. ☼ The Sacrament
(2013): Ti West's slow-burn horror isn't for everyone, but I've enjoyed all of his movies (well, at least since House of the Devil
). I rate this just a notch under House and Innkeepers because there were no surprises ... this is pretty much exactly the Jonestown Massacre story.
5. ☼ Proxy
(2013): Misleading in that this didn't seem at all a horror movie to me. More of a depressing melodrama. I guess I can appreciate the low-budget ambition, but I didn't care for it much. Overlong, a bit dull, and not really skilled enough to make me emotionally involved.
6. ☼ Hide and Seek
(2013): No, not the Robert De Niro movie. This is a recent Korean horror/thriller. Nothing fancy or terribly original. Just a tense, exciting, well-done movie.
(1932): Rewatched to get in the mood for American Horror Story: Freak Show
. The circus performers have trouble reading their lines (hell, I can barely understand Hans and Frieda), but there's something captivating about this movie. With political correctness and CGI effects, we'll never see its like again.
8. ☼ The Visitor
(1979): What ... the ... hell?!?! Like Ed Wood movies, this isn't just a run-of-the-mill crappy movie since the filmmakers just seem so damned earnest in what they're doing. Like they really thought they were making a great movie or something. Amazingly, unlike Wood who only got the truly desperate or clueless to appear in his movies, somehow these guys got people like Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters, and John Huston to participate. Plus a young looking early-career Lance Henriksen (who was never one to say no to crap at any stage in his career).
9. ☼ American Horror Story: Freak Show
(2014): "Monsters Among Us"; Death Note
10. ☼ Death Note
(2006): "Confrontation", "Dealings"; The Strain
(2014): "The Master"
(1979): Finally getting around to breaking in my Blu Ray Alien set. It's still surprising how long into the movie it takes before the Alien is actually on the loose. Went with the theatrical cut. The deleted scenes are cool, but I prefer the original way the movie was put together. Though I do prefer that alternative edit of the "rain room" murder, with the blood dripping down.
12. ☼ Death Note
(2006): "Pursuit", "Tactics", "Unraveling", "Overcast"
13. ☼ Death Note
(2006): "Glare", "Encounter", "Doubt", "Assault"
(1986): And for this one, I prefer the extended director's cut. Doesn't really tinker with the stuff that was perfect the first time around. Just fleshes things out a bit. This is one of those movies that just zooms by when watching, no matter how many times I've seen it.
15. ☼ Twixt
(2011): While not as terrible as I feared it would be (it was fairly short and kept my attention), still a pretty flawed work. I guess you could say at least Coppola is trying to say something about the artistic process, rather than just churn out some formula movie. But it's kind of sad that Coppola's take on the artistic process winds up with such a silly and amateurish result. Normally this kind of ending pisses me off,
, but it was telegraphed pretty blatantly throughout.
16. ☼ Rigor Mortis
(2013): Strange mix of gloomy Asian ghost story, hopping vampires, and kung-fu fantasy. I didn't realize it until looking it up after watching, but the star appeared in the original hopping vampire movie Mr. Vampire
(and a slew of other Hong Kong horror action movies). Unlike those earlier movies, this one plays it extremely seriously (and there really isn't that much hopping by the vampire). The ending is a head-trip too.
17. ☼ Death Note
(2006): "Love", "Confession"; The Walking Dead
(2014): "No Sanctuary"
18. ☼ Doctor Who
(2014): "The Caretaker", "Kill the Moon" Wildcard #1
(1972): I've seen this before, but forgot a lot of the details. Surprisingly low on the camp you'd expect from the blaxploitation genre (outside of the over-the-top gay couple at the start and the funky soundtrack). Some of the vampire attacks are pretty creepy. Quite a bit of stupidity on both sides of the battle. The worst of which being the cop who's chasing Blacula and his (still-alive) human hostage. And the idiot shoots the girl (followed by a very deserved ass-kicking and murder by Blacula)!
20. ☼ Scream Blacula Scream
(1973): Solid sequel. Adds a new wrinkle to the story by introducing voodoo elements. And the final confrontation between the heroes and Blacula's vampire minions is very exciting (with pounding tribal drums). The police wised up this time and actually brought stakes into the battle.
21. ☼ Death Note
(2006): "Friend", "Wager", "Decision", "Execution"
22. ☼ The Dead 2: India
(2013): Well-made zombie movie. Though it's pretty much the exact same movie as the Ford Brothers' earlier The Dead
. Just taking place in India instead of Africa. And the use of so many non-actors results in some painfully unconvincing performances. One thing I do know ... if there's a zombie apocalypse, India seems like one of the worst places in the world to be.
23. ☼ Afflicted
(2013): Good little movie. Chronicle
sums it up pretty well. I liked that the leads actors seemed like regular likeable guys. Too many other producers would've ruined it (or at least lessened it) by casting pretty boy frat-house assholes.
24. ☼ Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
(1970): I vaguely remember that I might have seen this before. But I remember nothing about the movie (and while watching it this time, it all seemed new), so I'm counting it as a 1st time view
Woah ... that was a head-trip (albeit a very beautiful one). Having watching the much more recent Amer
in a previous challenge, certain similarities between the two struck me. They both use the framework of a horror movie to symbolically explore the sexual awakening of a young woman (but where Amer
riffs on giallos/slashers, Valerie
is a vampire story). Retroactively (after reading more about the movie), I'm a little weirded out by the fact the actress playing Valerie (who was quite beautiful, and had a number of nude scenes) was only 13 at the time of filming
Don't come after me, Chris Hansen!
(1955): Criterion-rot paranoia had me want to check this Blu Ray of mine. Despite it's legendary status as a landmark horror movie, I was surprised on rewatching at how very little horror content there actually was. I'd be curious to hear how well this movie works for first-time viewers. It's one of those movies that has been ripped off so many times that the things that were new back then now may come across of cliche (even though this movie did them first).
26. ☼ American Horror Story: Freak Show
(2006): "Massacres and Matinees"; Death Note
(2006): "Allies", "Matsuda"
(1992): This was my first time watching the assembly cut (from the Blu Ray collection). And it might've been my first time watching this movie since its theatrical run (yeah ... I liked it that much back then
). It's easier to handle knowing the awful story setup to get Ripley alone on the prison planet. There are still too many bald, dirty, sweaty white guys running around that I absolutely can't tell apart. I suppose on its own its not a bad movie. It's just way below the level of the first two Alien movies. But to be fair, aren't most sci-fi horror movies in the same boat?
28. ☼ Doctor Who
(2014): "Mummy on the Orient Express", "Flatline" Wildcard #2
29. ☼ The Den
(2013): While not the most original thing in the world, I though it was pretty good for the first two thirds or so. Then it kind of fell apart for me, when it stopped taking place during internet chats and was staged like a standard slasher (but still ludicrously clinging to the found-footage style). Much the same way the Halle Berry movie, The Call
, lost its way when it stopped being about a 911 call.
30. ☼ +1
(2013): Netflix counted it as a horror so I will too (even though I would say it's a sci-fi thriller). Imagine a cross between Project X
(the teen party movie, not the Matthew Broderick monkey movie) and Timecrimes
, and you pretty much have this movie. It was ok, though unsurprisingly doesn't go deep into the philosophical issues that the movie's situation brings up.
31. ☼ The Conspiracy
(2012): I knew
it!!! This movie confirms I was right all along!
32. ☼ Banshee Chapter
(2013): Refreshingly not
a found footage movie. But annoyingly the director shot it as if it was (lots of shaky cam). I like the central idea (admittedly I'm a sucker for Lovecraftian stories), though I wish they delved into it a little more.
33. ☼ The Walking Dead
(2014): "Strangers", "Four Walls and a Roof"
34. Terror Train
(1980): This doesn't just have the "psycho killer on a train" hook, but throws in "mayhem at a masquerade party" as well. It's fun to see a super young David Copperfield. I remember watching his tv specials as a kid. Nowadays, it seems he owns some "Fantasy Island" type retreat in the Bahamas. It sounds like a bargain at $40,000/day!
35. ☼ The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears
(2013): I had seen their previous Amer
(and really liked it), so I knew what to expect coming in. The visuals and sounds were captivating. I'd like to see these filmmakers extend themselves and try something with a story next time, though.
36. The Howling
(1981): Fun fact that I just noticed on this rewatch ... Eddie the psycho werewolf was the screen debut of Robert Picardo (best known as The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager). Didn't recognize him at all, but his name jumped out at me during the credits. I own the Blu Ray and have seen this a number of times so obviously I'm a fan. Though I still don't care for the ending. The plotting is good ... but what seems like it should be a powerhouse emotional climax is undercut by cheap jokes. Not to mention one of the silliest looking werewolves I've ever seen.