Friday, October 6, 2017

The Halloween List: Killer Dolls! Annabelle: Creation and The Cult of Chucky

Annabelle: Creation (2017)

A serious step up from the first Annabelle, and a film that generally feels closer to the universe of The Conjuring. This is a prequel explaining the tragedy in a doll maker’s family that led to the creation of the eponymous toy, and why it was possessed. After the loss of their daughter, the family opens their house as an orphanage, and we follow Janice, a disabled girl who keeps finding clues that something is amiss in their house.

One of the biggest differences between the first and Creation is that so much more happens in this movie. Both the exploration of the house and creepy events fill much more of the film, giving the kids and their loyal nun attendant agency and investment. It also holds just enough back, such as the creepy well in the back of the property, which merely has to exist in the background of a few scenes and leave you waiting for something awful to come out of it.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Halloween List: The Transfiguration and A Dark Song

The Transfiguration (2017)

I was utterly unprepared for this movie. It was an amazing get for Netflix, which scooped the film up from Cannes and recently released it on its streaming service. It’s the sort of highly poignant thing we can’t get enough of in Horror.

Milo is many things. A high school student. A son whose mother died when he was young, and whose father is long gone. He’s a serial killer who has no idea what to do with his compulsions.

Most of all, Milo is a fan of vampires. He thinks he is one, and uses their sanguine lore to rationalize his impulses and how strange he feels. He doesn’t fit in anywhere; his older brother offers no empathy, and he can’t communicate with the gangs that dominate his block. Instead he hides in his room, watching Nosferatu and Lost Boys. His notebooks are full of diagrams and lists of lore, figuring out how different vampires worked, as he tries to figure out why he is the way he is.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Halloween List: Get Out and Gerald's Game

Get Out (2017)

Surely you’ve heard of Get Out by now. The movie about an African American dating a white girl, and going to visit her parents in their creepy gated community? Where black people have been disappearing, and later reappearing as meek  community members without any memory of their old identities?

If you didn’t know, it’s good.

I was unfair to Get Out at the cinema. I made the mistake of reading writer/director Jordan Peele’s artist’s statements about how this movie would subvert tropes like why protagonists never leave the house. Artist’s statements are dangerous, and the movie doesn’t give compelling reasons for its hero to not get the hell out of there.

But there’s no reason to get hung up on details like that unless you’re holding a grudge against a film’s creators, and Jordan Peele did a hell of a job on this movie. Even in the theater, with my petty biases, I was utterly won over by the end of the movie, which has one of the most satisfying series of reveals and knockdowns in Horror history. It keeps unfolding all its mysteries and gives people some necessary receipts.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Halloween List Returns

If you felt September was too quiet around the Bathroom Monologues, then good news! October is going to be noisy. We're watching scary movies.

Like last year, I'm going to wring every last drop out of October. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and one of the best parts is watching the best in Horror. I'll be coming in at least twice a week with fresh reviews of recent and classic films. Hitchcock and Spielberg? You bet. But also Netflix's latest offerings, indie hits, and my first taste of the Italian Giallo genre.

Here's a loose idea of the posting schedule. Let me know what you think.

OCTOBER 2 Get Out, Gerald’s Game
OCTOBER 4 The Transfiguration, A Dark Song
OCTOBER 6 Annabelle: Creation, Cult of Chucky
OCTOBER 9 Duel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Frenzy
OCTOBER 11 The Autopsy of Jane Doe, It Comes at Night
OCTOBER 13 Raw, The Void
OCTOBER 16 Devil’s Candy, Disappointments Room, Lake Mungo
OCTOBER 18 Final Destination, Death Note
OCTOBER 20 The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Bay of Blood, Blood and Black Lace
OCTOBER 23 Area 51, Dog Soldiers
OCTOBER 25 Sadako Vs. Kayako (The Ring Vs. The Grudge), Hell House LLC
OCTOBER 27 Creep 2, 1920
OCTOBER 30 Stranger Things Season 2

Naturally I'm ending the month with the return of my favorite Netflix show. But it all starts tomorrow with two of the best-reviewed scary flicks of the year: Get Out and Gerald's Game.

Join me. We're going to have some fun.
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