A lot of my friends took the “31 horror movies in October” challenge. Binging on horror flicks all month sounds like total bliss to me, but with a work trip to New York at the end of October and me being behind on my scripts, there was just no way I could’ve pulled it off. Still, I wanted to make sure that I spent some of the Halloween season sitting around and ingesting loads of horror, so I decided to watch as many as I possibly could and justify it all with this meandering blogpost that would go largely unread.
My first mission, priority one, was to watch one film from every decade since the relative birth of horror cinema. By most accounts the first real “feature-length” horror film is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari filmed in 1919, released in 1920 (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Starring John Barrymore came out a few months later and so is recognized only as the first American horror film), but as far back as the late 19th century there were films that featured macabre elements and many short films were dedicated to adapting famous horror literature. So I split the difference and chose 1900 as my year, meaning the minimum mission requirement was to get 12 horror movies under my belt, way more doable than 31. After that mission was complete I just kept watching horror films at random until it was time to cobble together this post.
My process for deciding what I watched was pretty haphazard. For the most part whatever the first thing that Netflix recommended based on the algorithm data I’ve built there over the years was what got played. The earliest decades had to be googled. I ended up getting gleefully stuck on the silent horror films and watched more of them than my exercise warranted. Something about those first, quiet monsters really spoke to me. They are so theatrical and minimal and the actors really gave their all to them.
I had only one other rule about what I would or would not watch. If I’d seen the movie in the last ten years then I had to find something else. If it had been longer than ten years, it was fair game for reevaluation.
So there you go. Here’s my best attempt at seeing as many horror movies as I possible could this October. As with all the bullshit that makes it onto my journal page, this whole post is more for me than it is for you, I obsesses on stuff like this. I can only hope someone out there will dig it too.
The films are listed in the order in which I saw them, NOT from “best” to “worst”.
CLICK HERE FOR THE KICKSTARTER PAGE
So, you know I never KICKSTART bomb. This is only the second time I’ve supported a project AND asked for your support as well. But like the last time, I think this project is incredibly important and very cool. I’ve seen a rough cut of it, and I’m behind it 100%.
MONEY FOR NOTHING: INSIDE THE FEDERAL RESERVE is a revealing, ambitious documentary film and act of balanced journalism that chronicles the last 100 years of Federal Reserve history, details the Fed’s central role in the 2008 financial meltdown, and asks whether today’s Fed policies are sowing the seeds of an even larger crisis.
Sadly, Dark Knight Rises doesn’t have anything even remotely this cool looking in it.
I am shocked at how bad DARK KNIGHT RISES is.
To me Nolan, even at his best (THE PRESTIGE, MEMENTO), has never been more than a mildly interesting filmmaker. He’s ambitious in the least absorbing of ways. He’s way too pretentious to really play off the important pulp he seems to be reaching for. He habitually overcomplicates things. And yet I found DARK KNIGHT RETURNS to be pretty engaging. It certainly had many faults (some of them ideological) and it undeniably benefitted immensely from Heath Ledger’s performance. Still, it was enough to encourage me to go see RISES on the big screen.
And that’s how I found myself sitting through a three-hour exorcise in bloated, clumsy and sometimes surprisingly amateurish filmmaking. With every passing scene my initial curiosity turned to a finely honed hatred. Read more
“The war in and around Uganda has served as the setting for a number of films in recent years… [yet] Dysart’s meticulous research and the unique spin he puts on the character make it stand out from the crowd…”
I may have finished Unknown Soldier two years ago, but the love keeps coming. Now The Independent Film Channel (through columnist Rick Marshall) says, “This series about a pacifist who discovers his dark side during the war in Uganda isn’t pretty, but it could make a great, gritty movie.”
Check out the full write up.
Thanks to my friend, my brother from another mother and my collaborator, the Italian Stallion, Alberto Ponticelli, for bringing this article to my attention.
White Sun of the Desert (1969) is one of the most popular Russian films of all time and is ritually watched by cosmonauts before space launches.
The Ostern, or “Eastern” – not to be confused with the Red Western (Eastern European films that took place in the American West) – was the Soviet and Eastern Bloc riff on the Western film genre. They were made from the late 50′s and on into the 80′s, with the high-water mark being hit in the 70′s. The adventure, action and comedy took place on the steppes and in the Asian parts of the Soviet Union and tended to chronicle the Russian Revolution and the Civil War that followed it. Read more