October 31

Happy Halloween, haunters!

We began with a teaser, and we go out the same way…

To be completely honest, I thought James Wan’s 2004 debut, Saw was a turgid piece of shit. A semi-interesting central premise rendered incoherent by bad staging and awful performances.

That said, in 9 years, I can hope that Wan would grow and learn as a director.

All reports say that he has and that 2013’s The Conjuring is a legitimately terrifying movie.

Wan has gathered a terrific cast- Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston (blink and you miss him in the teaser trailer)- but it is Lili Taylor whose presence adds an extra level to the brilliantly edited teaser trailer above.

It is a terrific teaser too- self-contained, doesn’t need to give us anymore plot than the snippet of scenes we get.

The last beat gives me goosebumps. And what better day of the year to celebrate a shiver?

October 30

I am a big fan of Jim Mickle and Jim Damici’s previous collaboration, Stake Land, and this looks like it is even more up my alley.

Gothic horror, small town secrets, family traditions.

I know I am looking very forward to We Are What We Are, a remake of a 2010 Mexican film that has gender-flipped several of the roles, and move it from urban Mexico to the rural US.

Damici and Mickle seem to specialize in a rural New York/Pennsylvania setting that is somewhat unique to films- certainly to horror- and have brought in a great cast- Michael Parks, Damici, Kelly McGillis, Bill Sage, and Julia Garner.

Jim Mickle is high on my “to watch” list, and is the most represented director in this year’s Trailers other than Brit Ben Wheatley.

October 29

We are zeroing in now.

And this is a scary one.

Sorry about the trailer quality.

It is always unsettling for me to remember that despite his public persona, David Caruso has been a very good actor from time to time. This is one of those times- the fact that he is sharing the screen with Peter Mullan, Paul Gullifoyle, Josh Lucas and Brendan Sexton III…

Session 9, 2001.

Spooky. The flick was shot on location at Danvers Asylum by Brad Anderson, co-written by Anderson and Steven Gevedon (who also co-stars). Session 9 was Anderson’s first horror/thriller, having done 3 comedic or romantic features previously. He has sence go on to make the nightmarish The Machinist, the haunting Transsiberian, apocalyptic Vanishing on 7th Street and serial killer thriller The Call.

Perhaps the sea-change Session 9 offered Anderson did him good?

October 28

We are entering into the final stretch, the night of the long shadows is just around the corner…

I’ve been catching up on TV’s Supernatural lately. I had been pretty unimpressed with the pilot and a subsequent episode or two, but I found Liz Shannon Miller’s skip-it-watch-it guide. The rest of her site, “Liz Tells Frank” is worth checking out as well for TV (and video games/movies) geek-culture coolness.

Anyhow, thanks to the skip-it-watch it, I gave Supernatural (or the truncated version I am watching) a second chance, and it is good diversional TV. These two brothers hunt demons (and, dare we say, the supernatural) in the foosteps of their shitty dad.

Of course, what if their dad was lying? What if he was crazy? What if there were no demons?

2001’s Frailty was the directorial debut of character actor Bill Paxton. It’s a tight, creepy little movie with some great performances (Paxton, Powers Boothe, Luke Askew, and McConaughey are all great, and so are the two children who are the real leads) and the movie just works.

It also feels, in retrospect, like a blueprint for TV’s Winchester brothers, or at least a “what-if?” kind of genesis for their more acceptable (Demons=evil, thusly ok to kill!) mission. After all, the movie is just a tragic little thriller about an insane man and the mark he left on his two sons…

Or is it? Paxton keeps the movie pretty ambiguous until the very end.

The trailer certainly establishes the sort of grim, bleak southern gothic feel while also letting us know (if we are attentive) that maybe something… just isn’t right with the narrative Powers Boothe is getting from this stranger.

I know a few horror buffs who skipped this one because A) McConaughey was just entering his over-exposure period, and B) some thought the title marked the movie as typical slasher-fare, with a killer targeting women (I guess extrapolating from the title a reference to Willy Shakespeare’s “Frailty, thy name is woman” from Hamlet?)

Their loss.

October 26

Ooops ! Was kind of busy running around doing Halloween prep yesterday and forgot to post a trailer!

There have been a number of UK horror films in the last few years that have touched on social anxieties, the socio-economic divide, and class warfare.

So here is a pretty gruesome trailer with Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly vs. youth gone wild!

October 25

Unpopular opinions.

We all have them.

For example, I feel very strongly that Mad Max is a vastly superior movie to The Road Warrior.

I think that the best work of The Rolling Stones is better than the best work of The Beatles (though I think the lesser efforts from the Fab 4 are superior to the lesser tunes from The Stones).

And I’ve never understood why Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining shows up on so many Top Ten Horror Movies of All Time lists.

Well, all that said, that is a pretty fucking great trailer. And it is NOT a bad movie. In fact, it is quite excellent.

But top ten?

My theory is that The Shining and The Exorcist are constants because if you take 100 horror fans and ask them all to list their top ten, you’ve got the Classicist who puts down a bunch of Universal, Hammer and RKO pics- and then lists maybe The Exorcist or The Shining, to show that they don’t just watch oldies.

The 70s grindhouse aficionado will list Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Last House on the Left, maybe an early Argento or Romero, and one of these two…

The Gorehounds will, the monster-lover, the Vampire fetishist, the – and so on.

The Shining has a certain cachet, like The Exorcist in that they were made by name directors, with reputable actors, and have a kind of image as being a respectable horror movie- not cheap trash. This is also probably why The Silence of the Lambs shows up a lot. A terrific movie- yes. A horror movie? Sure, it can horrify. But a top ten horror movie? Brothers and sisters, you aren’t watching a wide enough variety.

Because I would probably have 2 different lists- my 10 favorites, and the 10 most influential/important horror movies- but that last one is me as an armchair historian, an amateur buff.

What about you? What are 10 of your favorites? Or the ones you respect the most (combine!)? Or even the 10 you think are “The Best” objectively, even if you don’t care for them?

October 24

Under a shroud of fog…

June Lockhart! She’s done in that guy! And apparently the constables in 1946’s She-Wolf of London carried guns! So is this a time travel movie?

Actually- and this is without research, I have a suspicion that poor June might not BE a true lycanthrope- maybe she’s crazy and dreams she is a wolf? 1946- horror had changed a bit, and furry faces and claws were expensive…

October 23

Released in 1979 as “Zombie 2” (as Romero’s Dawn of the Dead had been released in Europe as Zombie), Lucio Fulci’s Zombie has a pretty goofy trailer.

Notice how none of the actors have lines in the trailer? I’m willing to bet it was done to keep audiences from figuring out it was foreign.

October 22

You can run but you can’t hide is, I think, the point of this trailer?

It is hard to say, as the trailer doesn’t make a lot of coherent sense. But then, since the movie in question is Dario Argento’s Suspiria