Over on our Facebook page we are picking one horror movie a day in the month of October. We'll tell you about it and why we love it. Here is the list so far:
Oct 1: Night of the Demons - 1988's Night of the Demons is 80's horror at its best. On Halloween night, in an old abandoned mansion (naturally) a couple of teenagers get together for some drinking, smoking, and fornicating. In other words... they are prepping for death. From the opening credits' animation to the monster make up, this survival horror meets punk exorcist is a great initiation into 31 nights of horror. The plot line, although predictable, holds up, and the music is fun. And the VHS cover art scared the crap out of us as kids. Ok, it still freaks us out. Angela's sending her invite tonight!
Oct 2: Return of the Living Dead - Our choice for tonight is ROTLD. This 1985 classic manages to balance comedy and horror well. I mean, c'mon, the name of the company that unleashes the zombie apocalypse is "Uneeda," Clu Gulager spends the whole movie whining, a Nazi war criminal is moonlighting as a mortician, and a crazy punk girl dances naked on a tombstone. Good times!
Like Night of the Demons, this one boasts a punk rock edge. Although this had led us to ask ourselves what the heck straight-laced Tina is doing hanging with that crowd. The movie holds up, especially considering its very nihilistic and sorta thematic ending, which makes an interesting statement about 80's excess and hubris.
Interestingly, it is written by John Russo, who co-penned and worked on the original Night of the Living Dead. Romero hated the direction Russo took, so the two split ways and Romero worked on Dawn of the Dead while Russo went 80's glam-tastic. We love them both! -M
Favorite Line: "Send more paramedics."- Zombie on the police radio.
Favorite Kill: Scuz's splitting headache... haha see what we did there???
Oct 3: Hocus Pocus - OK, so while it is not exactly a horror movie… today’s pick is the Halloween classic. That's right, even the Ghouls need a break from gore! Since Disney released the film in 1993, it has become a Halloween staple.
In the glory of my tween years, a few things happen for me when I first saw this movie. First, I decided that when I grew up I was going to find the house that Max lived in and move to Salem, MA. Second, I was also going to find the actor who played Max, Omri Katz, and marry him so we could live there together. And, finally, I was going to find any book I could get my hands on and learn about the real witches of Salem.
Skip ahead 23 years and only one of those things happened. Hints: I produce an entertainment site called Jersey Ghouls. And, says, I’m not married to Omri Katz. The good news is I get to relive the memories of that adorable, Halloween-obsessed younger me each time I sit down to watch this movie.
I can’t say enough about how great this movie is! For being what it is, a Disney released family friendly spooky movie, it totally works. The Sanderson sister’s costumes, the “kids save the day” plot, the acting, the special effects, the oblivious parents rocking Madonna cones, and of course, Billy Butcherson! He’s the perfect undead comic relief. It has what every good family movie needs, entertainment for the kids and adult themed jokes and innuendos that go right over the kids’ heads. So take a break tonight and treat yo'self to amok (amok, amok, amok). Aww come on you were singing it too!
Best Line: "I'm sorry, Emily. I had to wait 300 years for a virgin to light a candle." Binks
Best Kill: All of the Puritan children of 1693 Salem
Oct 4: Scream - In order to enjoy the brilliance of Scream, one must ignore the horrific sequels, TV spin-offs, and overuse of the Ghostface mask.
This 1996 homage to classic slasher flicks was penned by geek powerhouse Kevin Williamson of Dawson's Creek fame (It's cool, I'll give you a minute to sing "I Don't Wanna Wait" in your head). It was directed by horror legend Wes Craven.
Loosely based on the true story of The Gainesville Ripper, this extremely self-aware horror movie makes fun of the genre while also managing to whip up some legitimate scares. The movie boasts some wonderful horror character tropes: the promiscuous and sort of mean female bestie, the questionable and brooding boyfriend, the absent and pleasantly unaware parent, the funny friend, the lovable geek, the useless police officer.
This movie deserves more recognition for creating a final girl the neo-feminist, 90's grrrrrl power, Lilith Fair crowd (such as ourselves) deserved. Sure, she loses her virginity to her skeezy boyfriend who turns out to be a psychopathic killer. And yes, she does put an innocent guy away for the rape and murder of her mother. But hey, who hasn't been there once or twice am I right? But, in the final act, she pulls it together. Not only does she defeat the two bad guys, but she does it with style! She turns them against one another and completely demasculinizes and tortures them in the process. them and torture them a bit in the process. Neve Campbell earns her spot in Scream Queen history with her final line, "Not in my movie bitch." Not since Aliens has use of the word bitch spoken such volumes about the complications of feminism in horror.
So, if you are in the mood for some witty humor and a respectable amount of gore and tension, pop your corn, find your flip phone and voice changer, review Randy's rules for surviving a horror movie, and enjoy the show!
Oct 5: Child's Play 2 - This is one of the few times where I think the sequel surpassses the original.
Child's Play 2 picks right where part one left off. With his mother institutionalized for allegations of killer dolls, Andy Barclay is living in foster care. The "destroyed" Good Guy doll was cleaned up and remade in an effort to avoid any bad PR. Little do they know that the spirit of hilarious one-liner spewing serial killer Charles Lee Ray is still residing in the doll. Chucky tracks down Andy, still hoping to transfer his soul into Andy's body. Along the way he murders anyone that stands in his way.
The story of Child's play was loosley based on a real life cursed doll named Robert. The doll was said to be cured by a grieving mother who practed Santeria. Rumor has it that when Robert's owner dies, the doll is always nearby, some eyewitnesses have reported finding the doll's hands wrapped around the dead owner's neck.
Without a doubt, the final act in the Good Guy Factory is the best. To see Chucky meet his demise in such an ironically violent way, at the hands of the machine that made him, is a treat. First he loses his hand, then his legs, then he is melted AND THEN an air tube is shoved into him and he inflates until he explodes.
This movie, like many of its time, is all about the over the top kill. How gory can we get? How campy? And sometimes, how ridiculous? And in future
installments of the Child's Play franchise, the answer is: very!
The specail effects and stunt work hold up, but it is Brad Dourif's iconic turn as the voice (and personality) of Chucky that makes the villain so iconic.
Best kill: The factory worker who takes it in the eye while trying to fix the doll machine.
Best Line: "Ade due damballa! Give me the power; I beg of you!"
*Bonus Ghoulish Fact: Chucky's spell appears to be a mix of Haitian Creole and French, probably a nod to voodoo. However, it cannot be translated, so most linguists have deemed it nonsense.
Oct 6: The Babadook - This 2014 chiller is a more recent addition to the list. On the surface, the movie is about a woman and her young, troubled son battling a monster that may or may not be real. The two have suffered through the tragic death of the family patriarch, and, together, live a somewhat isolated life.
It is effectively creepy, with the son and the mother becoming increasingly less reliable throughout. The jump scares and the Babadook himself are memorable. However, what makes this movie really work for me, and landed it a spot on our list, is the underlying thematic relevance.
The Babadook is a metaphor for the mother's depression. As the terror the escalates for this broken family, so does the mom's sadness and erratic behavior.
The ending, though widely debated in the horror world beautifully captures the struggle with mental health. After all, in the end, we can't just get rid of the monster in the closet, under the bed, or even in our own head. Like the family in the movie, the best we can hope for is to learn to capture and contain our Babadook. Fun fact- Babadook is an anagram for "a bad book."
Best line: From the story of The Babadook: The more you deny me, The stronger I get. You start to change when I get in, The Babadook growing right under your skin."
Best kill: Samuel's innocence and childhood.
Oct 7: Stephen King's It - This made for TV miniseries aired on ABC on November 18th and 20th, 1990. Thanks to Tim curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, coulrophobia swept the nation. It knows what you fear. It is inside your head. It can find you anywhere. It wants you in its dead lights. It wants you afraid.
In 1960, in the town of Derry, Maine, children have gone missing or are found dead. Fear and grief bring together seven kids together to form the “Losers Club”. The club is haunted by Pennywise in a form that scares them the most. They plan to kill It and after doing so, they promise to return if It ever comes back. 30 years later, It returns and now as adults, they must make good on their word and end It once and for all.
This movie scared me for years. I was not afraid of clowns, I was afraid of Pennywise. I could not go into a bathroom without checking the drain in the sink or the tub. And you could not pay me to walk over a storm drain on the street. I could not even look at one for fear of seeing that bright, white face looking back at me. I had to remind myself that the guy under the makeup is an actor. It’s Wadsworth from Clue! Pennywise is not real. Derry is not real. I tried to read the book when I was 13. In the beginning of the book, there is a gruesome scene where Pennywise uses his razor sharp teeth to rip a hole in a man’s armpit. I promptly put the book down and refused to even touch it. I made my mother return it to the library for me. Somewhere in my late 20’s, I
tried and succeeded in finishing the book and was amazed at how different the movie was. But when you think about, the movie was made for TV. They could only get away with so much. For all of its flaws, again, I have to praise Tim Curry. Without the graphic violence featured in the book and a mediocre script, the movie did its job scaring the crap out of everyone. Curry’s performance was frightening. When he goes from happy made up clown to having yellow eyes and a mouth full of sharp teeth… ugh. Nightmare fuel at its best!
Best line: I am the eater of worlds and of children. And you are next.
Honorable mention: Beep Beep, Richie!
Best kill: Stan’s suicide to avoid the horror that waits.
P.S. I am not a fan of movie re-makes, but when I heard that It was getting a new movie in 2017, I was elated. A two part movie (hopefully R rated) will give it so much more freedom to use the source material to its fullest potential. I am ready to be scared all over again.
Oct 8: Creepshow - So I'm going to warn you ahead of time, my pure and undying love for horror anthologies, director George Romero, and screenwriter Stephen King leaves me blind to any imperfections this movie might have. Well, almost blind- I'm looking at you certain writer who may not have any business acting.
The 1982 film is a darkly comic homage to old horror comics like The Vault of Horror and The Witching Hour from EC and DC comics. Sandwiched between a sadistic revenge story there are five short tales. Like the comics they are based on, almost all of the characters in these stories are deplorable. Interestingly, and, I'm convinced not coincidentally, Romero and King snuck in some great social commentary in the midst of all of the mayhem.
The only kind and pure characters in the story are lower class, somewhat simple folks. They, like the less innocent characters, die horrific deaths that are due almost entirely to greed. Meanwhile, the rest of the characters in the film are deplorable and very wealthy narcissists. They treat the world as a macabre playground, and don't think twice about robbing, scheming, cheating, and killing in the name of their vanity and wealth. Not only does this under-appreciated thematic tone give us freedom go get dirty and root for death and destruction guilt free, but it provides a depth and interesting thematic exploration of the excess and self-indulgence of the early 80's.
As far as horror goes, it's pure joy, Creepshow still holds up and delivers. Purposefully campy and suspenseful, all of the stories leave you rooting for the monsters (human or otherwise). So have some twisted fun while you enjoy Creepshow.
Best line: "Oh I can hold my breath for a long, long time."
Fun fact: This is the only film George Romero has directed that he did not also write.
Best kill: Nathan's Father's Day cake topper.
Oct 9: The Blair Witch Project - https://www.facebook.com/JerseyGhouls/ We went live on Facebook for today's pick. Go watch our first attempt to be cool on camera!
What do you think of our list so far? Head over to our page and check it out! What movies would make your list? Give us a like, follow us and comment with your favorite horror movie. Will it make our list? Check back daily for our 31 Nights of Horror to find out!