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Old 10-01-17, 10:56 PM   #114
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Re: The 13th Annual "October Horror Movie Challenge" (10/1 - 10/31) ***The List Threa

Brainee's 2017 DVDTalk Horror Movie Challenge List

Previous challenge totals:
2008: 100
2010: 100
2011: 53
2013: 54
2014: 36
2015: 56
2016: 106

Goal: 50
Total: 101.25 (list complete!)
First Time Views: 61

= first time viewing

Movies rated out of 5 stars (*****) based solely on my personal enjoyment.

October 1st

1. ☼ iZombie (2015): "Zombie Bro"; Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 514, 515.

October 3rd

2. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 516-519.

October 4th

3. Beyond the Gates (2016): Yay, I finally get time to watch my first horror movie of the month! I didn't enjoy this as much as I was expecting (the premise of the horror Jumanji with an 80's vibe sounded can't-miss). It took a while to get going, but even then the whole production felt shoddy and unengaging. Barbara Cramptom's holding up well though (now pushing 60 years old). **

4. Little Evil (2017): Early on, this seemed like a one-joke comedy that would quickly run out of steam. But the characters grew on me, and by the end I was quite enjoying it. Nothing groundbreaking, but a fun way to spend 90 minutes. ***

5. ☼ iZombie (2015): "Real Dead Housewife of Seattle"; Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 520, 521.

October 6th

6. The Bar (2017): Alex de la Iglesia consistently makes movies that entertain me (often in twisted and morbidly funny ways). Despite this being one of those movies with a small cast in a (mostly) single location, there were enough twists and developments to keep me engaged throughout. ***1/2

7. Death Note (2017): By far the weakest of the three adaptations of the manga that I've seen (the other two being the anime series and the pair of live-action Japanese movies in the late 2000s). Adam Wingard's 80s obsession seems forced, and the clever battle of wits between Light and L is reduced to chases, yelling, and Final Destination type gory deaths. I'm fine with a good re-imagining (deviating from the source material to make a good and distinct movie) ... but this just doesn't feel like a particularly good movie. *1/2

8. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 522-525.

October 7th

9. ☼ American Horror Story: Cult (2017): "11/9"; "Holes".

10. I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016): I really liked the look of this movie ... washed out and grainy giving the feel of 70s and 80s independent films (which did a great job at conveying a feel of coldness and desolation). At first it seemed like "Dexter: The Teen Years", but it turned out there was a bit more going on under the surface. Christopher Lloyd really gave a great performance. ****

11. Curse of the Faceless Man (1958): It always amazes me how anyone is ever slow enough to get caught by the monster in these old mummy movies. **1/2

12. Demon (2015): I knew going in not to expect much of a horror movie (and certainly no demons). I enjoyed it, but overrated by most critics (91% on RT). It's stage play origins are pretty evident. Very sad about the director (who committed suicide just as this was getting screened at festivals in 2015). ***

13.Antibirth (2016): I was on the fence whether to give this the or rating at Netflix ... until the gonzo last 10 minutes pushed me over the edge at made it a ***

14. Sun Choke (2015): A slow-burn non-linear art-house psychological thriller/drama/horror. This takes patience on the part of the viewer (and will not be to the liking of most mainstream horror fans) but ultimately I found it rewarding. And that's Barbara Crampton movie #2 for me so far this October ***

October 8th

15. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 526-529.

16. Alien: Covenant (2017): I don't think I buy the story events at the Engineer homeworld:
so David just shows up and kills them all?!?! And apparently this incredibly advanced civilization only has a single city.
So the plot doesn't bear much scrutiny. Still I was entertained for 2 hours. Michael Fassbender does a great job as usual. ***

17. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016): Never saw the first movie (it sounded dreadful). But Mike Flanagan's involvement and good reviews got me on board for this one. It didn't feel like I missed anything by not seeing the first movie (I'm guessing either the house or an older version of the teenage girl character are the linking points). Solid little ghost story, whose 60s setting works well and has a surprisingly downbeat ending. ***1/2

October 10th

18. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 530-534. One of these is a "double-number" (which they do when the daily airing is preempted to keep the numbering consistent). It's still 4 episodes (for one "movie" in the count). Like anyone is reading this and cares!

October 11th

19. Raw (2016): For me, perhaps a victim of too much hype. Still, taken for what it is, this is a well-made slow-burn cannibal drama. And who knew veterinary students were such wild partiers? ***1/2

20. Under the Shadow (2016): This easily wins my "best of the night" award (and up there for best of the month). It would've been compelling as a straight drama (about a mother and daughter trying to survive in war-torn 80s Tehran). But adding to that the horror of the djinn mythology takes it to another level. ****1/2

21. A Dark Song (2016): Another really good one. Doesn't take the easy route and go for gore and cheap shocks. Instead gradually amps up the intensity and gives a real emotional core to the story. ****

22. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 535-538.

October 12th

23. Don't Kill It (2016): A fun movie that I might've passed over if not seeing some positive reviews and remembering liking a couple of director Mike Mendez's other movies (like Gravedancers and The Convent). The concept of how the demon always hops bodies after being killed lends to some cool set-pieces, and Dolph Lundgren is fun (and looking fit at nearly 60 years old). ***1/2

24. Shelley (2016): Well-made, acted, and looks great (set in a desolate Dutch forest). Just ... is it too much to ask for a movie to actually go anywhere? Ultimately vague and unsatisfying for me. **

25. Island of the Doomed (1967): You could do a lot worse for a killer plant movie (see The Navy vs the Night Monsters). Stupid characters abound, and there's disappointingly little killer plant action. Still, there are some fairly gory images for its time and the last 15 minutes or so is really good. **1/2

Friday the 13th

26. ☼ iZombie (2015): "Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues"; "Love & Basketball"

27. Friday the 13th (1980): I couldn't resist Friday the 13th falling in October to watch a few of these. These early movies in the series are very nostalgic for me. I was in middle school when they came out, and were the Holy Grail of super scary horror movies that kids my age were trying to see. ***1/2

28. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981): This made more of an impression on the young me than the first. Probably a combination of the faster pace, flashier kills, debut of killer Jason ... and the nudity certainly helped ****

29. Friday the 13th Part III (1982): One of my least favorite movies in the series. The 3D is intrusive, the content (for gore and sex) is rather tame, and it sags quite badly in the middle. Oddly enough, this was the only movie in the series that I actually saw in theaters (in original 3D!). The last third (once we finally get to Jason killing all the idiotic young people) is pretty good though. **1/2

30. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984): This is a definite improvement, with a fun cast (check out Crispen Glover's dance moves!), beautiful girls who get naked for the camera, and some pretty intense moments. Corey Feldman's Tommy proves to be one of the smartest characters ever in a Friday the 13th movie:
when Jason is knocked out and appears to be dead, does he slowly walk away giving Jason time to recover? Hell no! He stabs him over and over and over and over and makes sure that's the end of the damn movie (and he survived it). Of course ... we won't talk about how much of a dumb ass Tommy was in future movies.

31. Mindwarp (1992): I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into here, but I quite liked this movie. Always fun to see Bruce Campbell (who plays it very straight) and Angus Scrimm gets to show a lot more personality than he does in Phantasm movies. For a while I wasn't sure why this was considered horror (as opposed to just sci-fi). But then we got the "underground" segment of the movie. Coming off of some Friday the 13th movies, it was a jolt to see all the gore and nastiness (while the 90s weren't the greatest for horror, at least movies could get away with being much more extreme than they were in the 80s). ***1/2

32. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 539-542.

October 14th

33. The Mummy (2017): In retrospect, it's kind of sad to see all the studio throw so much into kicking off this "Dark Universe" knowing what was supposed to be the flagship movie bombed spectacularly. Can't feel too bad for them though ... shouldn't you have at least one successful movie before going too far in planning this giant shared universe? **1/2

34. Nympha (2007): I've seen two of the director's HPL adaptations (The Shunned Room and The Colour out of Space) so I knew what I was getting into here (micro budget horror from a guy whose ambition outpaced his abilities). **

35. The Night of a Thousand Cats (1972): Since MST3K got resurrected, this movie is screaming (meowing?) out for them to feature it! What blows my mind is that apparently there's a version of this movie that's 30 minutes longer than what I saw. I just can't conceive of 30 minutes of footage that's even more irrelevant than what's already in there. *

36. The Severed Arm (1973): I liked the set-up, but this really dragged once we got to what should've been the most exciting parts of the movie (the stalking and murder scenes). **

37. It Comes at Night (2017): Pretty much delivered on what I thought it would be. While I can see why some didn't like it (it's essentially a horror movie with no monsters), I found it very effective, tense, and grim. The shorter running time ensures that it doesn't outstay it's welcome. ****1/2

38. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985): I know this has hate due to the lack of Jason. But I like this entry ... it has a goofy charm to it. Plus, I love that an actress named Debisue Voorhees has a spectacular nude scene (before getting murdered by "Jason"). ***1/2

39. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986): Hard to believe, but this is the first time Jason actually encounters campers at Crystal Lake. This movie isn't quite so heartless as The Burning and have the little tykes be murdered (though they tease it). ***

40. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988): When it's Jason versus Carrie, you know the series is running out of ideas. The MPAA really had a hard-on for destroying horror in the late 80s, and this movie in the series probably suffers more than any other (workprint of original kills can be seen on YouTube). Watching all of these in a row, the violence has become gradually tamer as the series progresses through the 80s. At this point, it's so bad you'd almost think you're watching the edited-for-tv versions. Pretty much every single death scene has a jarring edit and a quick cutaway. What's really sad is that it seems that it's impossible to even put back together a "director's cut" of these movies since the original footage is either missing or in bad shape. ***

October 15th

41. ☼ iZombie (2015): "Max Wager", “Abra Cadaver”

42. The Undying Monster (1942): Solid mystery/horror whose strong scientific forensic angle makes it stand out from other horror movies of its time. ***1/2

43. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989): But mostly Jason takes a boat, some rundown docks ... and then you get 15 minutes of Jason actually taking Manhattan. **

44. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993): The "Final Friday", they say? We've heard that one before. Where did they pull this "only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees" stuff from so late in the series? Wonder if the filmmakers say The Hidden, since this is pretty much that movie (except nowhere near as good). A positive ... finally we have a "director's cut" that managed to salvage all the original gory killings (and that tent murder is probably the goriest of the entire series). ***

45. Jason X (2001): No continuity with the last movie, but like anyone really cares. This got crapped on my critics and fans alike, but I kind of liked it (in a dumb fun way). ***1/2

46. The Blob (1988): On the short list of horror remakes that manages to surpass the original. I guess slashers must've been the type of horror on the MPAA's shit list in the 80s, since it's startling how much gruesome stuff they could show in this (while the Friday the 13th series couldn't show squat for gore). The shots of people dissolving inside the Blob gave me the willies (not to mention showing the graphic death of a little boy). ****1/2

47. Hotel Fear (1977): Except for one murder scene, this isn't even a horror movie at all. But it is quite a good movie, with great atmosphere set in a decaying hotel in war-torn Italy as a girl tries to cope with her mother's death surrounded by shady characters. ****

October 16th

48. ☼ iZombie (2015): "The Hurt Stalker", Cape Town"

49. Tales of Halloween (2015): At 10 segments in 95 minutes, there isn't time for anything to overstay its welcome. A mixed bag, and a lot heavier on goofiness than I was hoping for, but a decent view. ***

50. XX (2017): I liked this more than the mixed reviews had me expecting. For me, the first story ("The Box") is the standout though its ambiguity isn't going to suit all tastes. That's probably the reason viewer response is so mixed ... the tone varies so much from story to story (from arthouse horror/drama to goofy black comedy to gory monster story to fairly predictable straight-forward horror about the antichrist). ***

51. The Babysitter (2017): This was a lot of fun that does a good job of mixing coming-of-age comedy with slasher horror (while never really losing the tone). ****

52. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 543-546.

October 17th

53. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 547-550.

October 18th

54. ☼ iZombie (2016): "Method Head", "Fifty Shades of Grey Matter"

55. The House That Screamed (1970): Very atmospheric proto-slasher that is very stylish in the murder scenes. While I can appreciate a horror movie with a small body count (Psycho only had 2 killings), this movie frustrated me by having most of the deaths occur completely off camera. While this is certainly worth seeing by horror fans, I think it's been generally overrated as a masterpiece. ***

56. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971): An enormously entertaining movie that I've seen many times. I know I've seen the sequel before, but it seems all memories I have of Dr. Phibes movies comes from the first one. I'll have to check out the followup soon. BTW, did I miss the explanation of who Vulnavia was? I thought she might've been revealed as some sort of clockwork robot at the end, but that wasn't it. *****

October 19th

57. Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972): Ah yes, now I remember the Egyptian setting of the second movie. Not up to the level of the first but still fun. And it's a good variation to have Phibes square off against a supernatural enemy (competing over who gets to use the Rivers of Life) instead of just redoing the revenge story. Not sure why Peter Cushing even bothered being in this, since its a throw away role. ****

58. Return of the Fly (1959): Price had a low opinion of this movie and it's easy to see why. Taken on its own, this isn't a bad low-budget sci-fi/horror B movie for its time. But a big comedown from the first Fly movie, which was an A level movie that had some challenging and disturbing material for its time. It's kind of adorable how the fly monster has to hold onto his head when running (presumably to prevent it from falling off). ***

59. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 551-554.

October 20th

59.5. ☼ iZombie (2016): "Physician, Heal Thy Selfie"

61. The Marble Faun (1977): A 3-part Italian tv mini-series that I had never heard of (if anyone is curious the whole thing can be found on youtube). Maybe this could've been a good compact 90 minute feature. But at nearly 3 hours, there just isn't enough material to keep it from dragging. And after all that running time, they still couldn't have any kind of decent ending The Nathaniel Hawthorne novel this is based on sounded like more of a romance. While this had some romance elements, it took the approach of a gothic ghost story. **1/2

62. Seeding of a Ghost (1983): From the title I thought I may have seen this before. But nothing looked familiar at all, so I'll chalk it up as a first time viewing. For flat-out entertainment, this is one of the better Hong Kong horror movies that I've seen (and certainly isn't shy about going heavy with the nudity and gore). ****

63. The Mutilator (1984): Compared to this, the Friday the 13th movies look Academy Award quality. What a shock writer/producer/director Buddy Cooper never made another movie (that was sarcasm ... not a shock at all since he clearly sucks at all three roles). One thing the movie has going for it are extremely explicit gory murders (how the hell did all those Friday the 13th movies lose good footage of what was cut but this zero budget turkey didn't). Although ... I can see how for some horror fans this is so bad that it could start to become unintentionally hilarious (much like Pieces, but this is nowhere near as entertaining as that movie). *

October 21st

64. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 555-556; ☼ iZombie (2016): "The Whopper".

65-66. Nightmare High (2016): Decent Korean horror series (that I watched on Netflix) about a new teacher who starts making Faustian bargains with students (which always seem to go disastrously wrong for them). The anthology format and short episode running times make this go by quick, even if tends to be cliche, cheap-looking, and has kind of a weak ending. ***

67. An Evening of Edgar Allen Poe (1970): I could listen to Vincent Price read Edgar Allen Poe all night. ***1/2

68. The Devil's Candy (2015): A decently made and fast-paced enough watch. Though all the critical raves (92% at RT) had me expecting something a bit more. ***1/2

69. The Eyes of My Mother (2016): This isn't a movie for those looking for conventional horror thrills. But as an art-house horror movie, I found it very effective: atmospheric, disturbing, moving, and sad. ****

70. Gerald's Game (2017): The novel wasn't one of my favorites from King (though to be fair I only read it once when it first came out, and it wasn't the kind of thing I was expecting from King). This may be a rare case of the movie being better than the book. ****

October 22nd

71. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 557-558; ☼ iZombie (2016): "Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind".

72. The Bad Batch (2016): Rotten Tomatoes summaries captures my feelings on this:
The Bad Batch has its moments, but it's too thinly written and self-indulgent to justify its length or compensate for its slow narrative drift.
Just a real chore to get through. *1/2

73. ☼ American Horror Story: Cult (2017): "Mid-Western Assassin"; "Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag".

74. Beetlejuice (1988): Great fun that I don't tire of watching, and full of so many familiar faces. I remember how I stayed away from this when it first came out, since Michael Keaton seemed unbearably obnoxious in the ads. It wasn't until home video (VHS, baby!) that I discovered this, and found that the Beetlejuice character was wisely limited in screen time. *****

75. The Lure (2015): Fun and offbeat twist on The Little Mermaid. While not the home run that it could've been, there's plenty here to keep your eyes and ears entertained for 90 minutes. ***1/2

76. The Loved Ones (2009): Only in looking up the imdb credits did I see this is the same director as The Devil's Candy (which I just saw a couple of days ago). Torture horror is not my thing (which probably explains why I haven't seen this earlier). But this is one of the more watchable entries in that sub-genre, thanks to a colorful palette, sense of humor, and quick running time. ***1/2

October 23rd

77. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 559-560; ☼ The Walking Dead (2017): "Mercy".

78. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 561-564.

October 24th

79. 1922 (2017): OK, I guess. It didn't help that I had read the story so recently (and the movie was so faithful that I could see every plot point coming). It also didn't help that Thomas Jane's acting style was to mumble so that it felt like I missed every other word he said ... which was unfortunately since he was the star and narrator **1/2

80. ☼ American Horror Story: Cult (2017): "Winter of Our Discontent"; Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 565-566.

October 25th

81. Frankenstein (1931): Sometimes you have to grade these early talkies on a curve, since it's clear the industry is still trying to figure out how to work with sound. I've heard this movie described as "creaky", which is fair (as a modern viewer, it's hard to get used to movies with no music). Even so, many iconic scenes and lines still make this essential viewing. Fritz's dropping of the normal brain (and swapping in the abnormal one) makes me . Young Frankenstein's parody of the scene isn't that much different than the real thing! ****1/2

82. Bride of Frankenstein (1935): Even though it's only been 4 years, the film-making style takes a huge leap forward. This is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. I know the comedy isn't to everyone's taste, but I'm fine with it since Whale's campy approach was a daring one (interesting note in the Blu Ray booklet how Whale, wary of making the same movie as the first Frankenstein, went about to make the sequel an entertaining "hoot"). Minnie is admittedly grating, but her comic relief is mostly done after the first 15 minutes or so. But Thesiger's Dr. Pretorius is wonderful throughout ... it's a character and performance that seems decades ahead of its time. Despite the silliness, this movie packs a powerful emotional punch. The Monster's "We belong dead" with a tear running down his face as he pulls the lever to kill himself, the Bride, and Pretorius never fails to choke me up. *****

83. Phantom of the Paradise (1974): I was having a bad day, and needed another all-time favorite to pick me up (for the most part, horror's not a good "feel-good" genre). I love most of DePalma's classic "thriller" period (1972-1984). So many great movies and wonderful moments. Despite the heavy Hitchcock influence, he creates his own style. Jessica Harper is just radiant in this (and her singing voice is just stunning). And Paul Williams, while an obvious choice to write the music, is such an idiosyncratic casting choice for the villain Swan but he makes it work. I liked hearing an a featurette that Williams considers "Old Souls" to be one of the very best songs he ever wrote (I agree). *****

84. ☼ iZombie (2016): "He Blinded Me ... With Science", "Pour Some Sugar, Zombie".

October 26th

85. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 567-570.

October 27th

86. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 571-572; ☼ iZombie (2016): "Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be".

87. Personal Shopper (2016): One of those odd movies that intentionally jumps around so much in tone (art-house character study, ghost story, and murder thriller) that I imagine many people won't like it. Not to mention having a title that doesn't exactly grab you (though I never even knew there was such a job as "personal shopper" before this movie). And I know lead actress Kristen Stewart's deadpan acting style rubs some people the wrong way. All that said, I liked the movie for what it was. While there could've been a really good straight-forward ghost story or thriller made here, I appreciate that writer/director Olivier Assayas delivered something unique that crosses genres. ***1/2

88. Messiah of Evil (1973): This is my second viewing of this. The first was about 12 years ago as part of one of those 50-pack DVD sets. Despite the awful picture quality, the movie grabbed me then and I'm happy to have a chance to see this movie in Blu Ray quality again. ****

89. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981): Prior experience with writer/director Walerian Borowcyzk had me expecting art-house porn. To my surprise, this was an all-out horror movie. And it was a rather effective one at one. The score and direction gave this a nightmarish intensity, that after the opening 20 minutes never let up. But right at the beginning there was an extremely effective and disturbing scene of Mr. Hyde chasing and bludgeoning a young girl that really set the tone. At one point I feared this would degenerate into a variation of Borowcyzk's The Beast (with Hyde raping everyone, man and woman alike, with his foot-long penis), but fortunately things didn't continue in that direction. ***1/2

October 28th

90. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 573-574; ☼ iZombie (2016): "Dead Beat".

91. ☼ Stranger Things 2 (2017): "Madmax", "Trick or Treat, Freak"

92. ☼ Stranger Things 2 (2017): "The Pollywog", "Will the Wise"

93. Cult of Chucky (2017): OK entry in the series, but I didn't think it was a stand out or anything. That mental institution looked huge from the outside, but apparently only 4 people work there with about half a dozen patients. **1/2

94. Honeymoon (2015): Not as nasty and gory as I thought this would be. Which was a good thing ... a movie that's nothing but torture-porn gore isn't what I want to watch. There was a nifty little twist at the end that I thought the movie didn't make enough of:
so the husband actually paid Jorge to kill his wife ... too bad there wasn't any kind of character development or buildup with Pablo.

95. Byleth: The Demon of Incest (1972): The title grabbed me ... the movie, not so much. It has the elements: lots of nudity, an atmospheric setting, intriguing plot threads about an incestuous love triangle, a serial killer on the loose, and potentially a summoned demon. It just never seemed to gel for me, and by the end I was left wondering "Is that it?" **

October 29th

96. ☼ iZombie (2016): "Salivation Army"; ☼ Stranger Things 2 (2017): "Dig Dug"

97. ☼ Stranger Things 2 (2017): "The Spy", "The Lost Sister"

98. ☼ Stranger Things 2 (2017): "The Mind Flayer", "The Gate"

99. The Love Witch (2016): I guess I'm on a completely different wavelength than all the critics (this got 95%, 93 out of 98, at RT). If I wasn't watching this for the challenge I'd have bailed before the halfway point. Which is a shame because this sounded right up my alley (a throwback to the colorful erotic supernatural horror movies of the 70s). It's pretty to look at, but damn was this a chore to watch (and way overlong at 120 minutes). And what the hell is the point of getting casting a lead actress who won't even get naked? *

October 30th

100. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 575-576; ☼ The Walking Dead (2017): "The Damned"


101.25. Dark Shadows (1968): Episodes 577-581.
My Movies
October Horror Challenges: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Summer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenges:2009, 2016, 2017

Last edited by brainee; 11-02-17 at 08:23 PM.
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