Friday, October 5, 2018

The Halloween List: Mandy & Slice & Summer of '84

We started off October with A Quiet Place and Hereditary, two of the biggest Horror hits of the year. Today I'd like to talk about three of the smaller indie hits that barely got "Limited" theatrical releases. Instead they got their buzz on VOD, a space I'm overjoyed to see become a garden for off-beat Horror. Just because Netflix and SyFy don't want you doesn't mean you're doomed.

Mandy (2018)

Mandy is an exquisite train wreck. It is a movie that takes forever to do anything, then soaks the screen in torrents of gore. Just when you feel like you’re wasting your time, it provides a shot or a quote or a devastating smile that leaves you flailing. When my friends and I finished the movie, we were in shock not because of the chainsaw fight or the skull crushing, but because of the devastatingly silly final image.

Mandy is a retro Grindhouse movie, layered in effects to mimic the feel of trippy, ultraviolent revenge movies of the 70s. There’s a little Evil Dead, and a little Hellraiser-- actually there’s a lot of Hellraiser; the demonic biker gang look like they’re from Pinhead’s high school class. The fig leaf of a plot is that Nicholas Cage plays a lumberjack with a Metal-head girlfriend. The local cult leader decides he likes that girlfriend, and summons his cult and a local gang of demons to abduct her. Cage must go on a journey for gory revenge without ever once wiping his face.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Halloween List: A Quiet Place, Emelie, and Hereditary

I'm kicking off The Halloween List this year with one of my favorite hidden gems, and two of the biggest Horror movies of 2018. 2018 has been so long that it's easy to forget A Quiet Place even came out back in April, right?

All three of these films attack the family in very different ways. A Quiet Place is about family surviving in a country that's destroyed; Emelie is about a family that thinks it's safe until they hire the wrong babysitter; and Hereditary is about a family haunting itself. Each is powerful, but which kind of conflict is the most effective on you?

A Quiet Place (2018)

I have been waiting a damned long time for A Quiet Place. Horror has a troubling history of relegating disabled characters to the roles of villains. I wrote about that phenomenon for Fireside Magazine last year. You can take solace in the well-meaning portrayals of Wait Until Dark and Silver Bullet, but those are moves with abled actors cripping it up, and screenplays that pander. They could never get beneath the surface.

Millicent Simmonds is a deaf actor, and she’s the emotional core of this movie. She plays Regan, the oldest child in one of the few families to survive an invasion of monsters. The monsters hunt on sound; they can hear a toy space ship from miles away, and be there in seconds. Regan has saved the family, because since they all know ASL, they know how to communicate and live without speaking. They walk into town to scavenge on paths of sand to quiet their footsteps. They have adapted.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Halloween List for 2018

Happy October, everyone! This is my favorite month of the year. The leaves are turning, the air is fresh, and pop culture is overrun by spooky things. Today I'm hanging a ghost named Gus on my front door, and revealing this year's Halloween List.

The Halloween List is my annual blogathon reviewing scary movies. The rule is that every movie has to be a first-time viewing for me. I spend most of the year saving these films up. Each year is packed with interesting scary movies between Hollywood, domestic indies, and international film, but I'll also try to cover some things from Horror's past, like Kwaidan and the original Haunting. It all kicks off on Wednesday with some titles you probably recognize.

Wednesday, October 3: A Quiet Place & Emelie & Hereditary

Friday, October 5: Mandy & Slice & Summer of '84

Monday, October 8: The Meg & Pyewacket & Hold the Dark

Wednesday the 10th: Thelma & Annihilation & The Endless

Friday the 12th: A break from movies for two special miniseries: Ghoul & Erased

Monday the 15th: Unfriended: Dark Web & Office & Calibre

Wednesday the 17th: The Lobster & The Killing of the Sacred Deer

Friday the 19th: The Evil Eye & What Have You Done to Solange? & Tragedy Girls

Monday the 22nd: Upgrade & Suicide Club & Short Night of Glass Dolls

Tuesday the 23d: Blumhouse's brand new Halloween (2018)

Wednesday the 24th: Prom Night

Thursday the 25th: My Friend Dahmer & Suicide Club

Friday the 26th:  Kwaidan & The Haunting

Monday the 29th: Veronica & Veronica, the strange case of two movies from the same year with the same title and nothing in common.

October 31st, Halloween itself: The Mummy (1932), The Mummy (1959), The Mummy (1999), and The Mummy (2017). A special four-part feature on all four iterations of the classic Mummy franchise.

What looks good to you? What are you watching this October?

Click here for Day One, with A Quiet Place, Emelie, and Hereditary!
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