With just one day until All Hallows Eve is upon us you may find your self with no plans for what to do. Well, that may just leave you with what I think is the best plan of all. On a cold autumn evening, the last one of October, why not curl up with some nibbles, drinks and some loved ones (or one special loved one) and put on a DVD?
Here are my picks for the best DVDs for Halloween.
All the DVDs are Halloween related and available to buy or rent.
One for the Family: The Simpson’s Tree House of Horror
Twenty years ago Bart and Lisa sat in their tree house on Halloween and recounted horror stories to each other whilst a terrified Homer listened in. As a result a new tradition was born. Every year the Simpson family come over all horror, the writers push their imagination to the limits and the viewers cackle at the spoofs and in jokes. A great family watch that just pips 'Hocus Pocus', if not just for Homer channeling Jack Torrence in 'The Shinning'.
One for the Classic Lovers: Halloween
The word classic gets used a bit too much I feel but, Halloween is exactly that. It reshaped the horror genre and bore the teen slasher phenomenon. It also made a star out of Jamie Lee Curtis and raised her horror status to icon. Who knew a Bill Shatner mask could be so frightening?
One for the Modern Retro Fans: House of a 1000 Corpses
Rob Zombie’s film, about the murderous redneck Firefly family and the mythical Dr. Satan, oozes 70s horror out of every orifice, a kind of Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets The Hills Have Eyes on speed. There are a lot of the things to like about Zombie’s first stab at horror not to mention references by the bucket load.
One for the Ladies: Ginger Snaps
So, it’s Halloween and you want to impress a young lady with a quiet night in. She doesn’t really know much about horror and leaves herself in your capable hands. You’ve chilled the drinks and popped the corn now what the hell are you going to watch? Well, first things first, steer clear of I Spit on Your Grave. If there is one horror film not appropriate for an early date that’s it. Instead, dig out Ginger Snaps. It’s cool and funny and she will relate to the subject matter, which is as good a metaphor for female puberty as Carrie ever was.
One for the Bad Movie Lovers: Night of the Demons
Directed by Kevin Tenney, starring Linnea Quigley and with a cheesy plot about a party in a morgue with naked women, sex and booze, oh, and it’s from the 80s. A good, bad movie at it’s best.
One for the Cult Fans: Donnie Darko
If one film has defined the cult film scene in recent years it’s Donnie Darko. A dark, brooding film with strange dreams, dead teens, a giant macabre rabbit and some time travel it clever to say the least and anyone who hasn’t seen it, must do at least once.
So, there we have it. Have a great Halloween and enjoy yourselves.
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Monday, 25 October 2010
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Friday, 15 October 2010
In my last post I outlined a competition between
Europe and The US comparing their horror output for 2008/09.
Then we took a look at the best The USA had to offer us and in truth if you wade through the rubbish, the remake and the sequels there were many a good film to be found.
In this post we will take a look at
Europe's finest during this period.
I have grown to become a big fan of European horror recently. I'm not sure at what point this new love grew but, it definitely has blossomed within me.
A lot of excellent horror came out of
Europe in 2007 and the pressure must remain on the continent to keep it up and they certainly seem to have done that so far.
Excellent films spewed forth from right across the continent with an incredible diversity.
Del Toro pushed all the right buttons again as he helmed Spanish ghost story 'The Orphanage' and had us jumping and weeping like nobody else could whilst
did what it does best with the sometimes brutal Martyrs. France
Without doubt though the stand out film came from an unlikely source in
’s ‘Let the Right One In’. A dark, macabre coming-of-age tale of two teenage vampires that was as far from ‘Twilight’ as it could possibly step within the same genre. Sweden
And, that is where European horror’s strength lies, with the gloomy, sombre edge that doesn’t need to be sugar coated. It doesn’t need a optimistic finale where “all’s well that ends well” like many (though not all) American productions. There are rarely test audiences and focus groups to switch the conclusion.
There too lies the weakness. Some of
Europe’s out point not only toes the line of what is acceptable but marches straight over and tramples all in its way with little to rein them in. So, whilst the best things to come out of Europe and undoubtedly excellent, the worst can often plumb the depths.
However, is it better than all that comes from the other side of the
Atlantic? I’ll give my verdict in my next post.
Monday, 11 October 2010
Monday, 4 October 2010
I recently wrote a blog post in response to the question Are Horror Fans Too Biased Towards Directors? Well, it certainly seems that M. Night Shyalaman can turn a horror fan off a film quicker than most. So, it seemed like a strange decision to plaster his name over the trailers and posters for ‘Devil’. Rumours were that fans booed and mocked when his name popped up in the teaser at cinemas stateside.
This time, however, Shyalaman is not directing, nor is he writing. He is producing an idea “from the mind of M. Night Shyalaman” according to the trailer and the result is pretty damn good.
In actuality ‘Devil’ is written by Brain Nelson, who also wrote 30 Days of Night and the excellent Hard Candy, and directed by John Erick Dowdle who directed Quarantine, the remake/rip off of Spanish film Rec. What we get is something fresh, something different.
Shyalaman’s idea, that has become the premise of the film, is genius in its simplicity. Five people are trapped in a lift, one of them maybe the Devil himself.
In fact, it’s the simplicity of the film that makes it enjoyable through out. Over the past few years the US market has been saturated with torture porn or bad CGI but ‘Devil’ moves away from such cheap tricks and returns to the most powerful weapon in a film’s arsenal, its audience.
So dependant on the mind of the viewer is ‘Devil’ that, some of the film’s most tense moments come when there is nothing happening on screen at all. Each killing that takes place inside the elevator is done as the power fails, that means no lights and no CCTV. However, when there is no picture, there is still sound. Heavy breathing, scrabbling fingers, breaking glass, each sound sets you on edge, your hair on end and your imagination into overdrive.
The film is smooth and clever enough for you to leave the cinema happy with what you saw. You will keep guessing until the reveal as to whom is Satan and at some point you will believe it could be any of them. I certainly didn't see the twist coming until about 10 seconds before it did.
All in all the film is good. I would certainly recommend that people see it. It's not a classic of the genre but its certainly enjoyable and proves that M. Night Shyalaman is an excellent concept man even if he doesn't always have the skills to pull it off as a director.