Thursday, October 1, 2009

My horror movie lineup

Every October, my Netflix queue is dedicated almost exclusively to horror movies. This is, of course, to help get into the Halloween mood; but it's also to help me catch up on a part of my personal film history education that had been severely lacking. I didn't watch many horror films growing up.

Being born in 1980, I was too young to catch that wave of originality with the early '80s teen slasher flicks. I didn't have cable for most of my childhood, so I wasn't able to sneak a peek at illicit movies behind my parents' backs. By the time I was old enough to start renting horror films, the genre had been diluted by inferior sequels and knock-offs, and I developed the assumption that the entire genre was unworthy of serious consideration.

Boy, did I miss out! Because once you reach a certain age, these movies lose the ability to actually scare you. Sure, they can still be enjoyable - tense and squirm-inducing. But I'm past the age where I'll wake up in the middle of the night from a horror movie-influenced nightmare. Now that I'm older and I understand and respect the genre, I want a movie to be so scary that it keeps me up at nights. Children are the only ones who truly get scared that way by a movie.

At any rate, I now take advantage of the month of October to get caught up on all the classic horror movies I missed when I was a kid, and to stay a little bit on top of some of the better current ones. I also, of course, like to rewatch some favorites. And Helen and I like to introduce each other to movies the other hasn't seen. We have a lot we're trying to squeeze in this year. Here's what's on tap, in no particular order:

Alien and Aliens - Helen hasn't seen these yet, and it's been a long time since I have. I don't think we're going to go past the second one, though.

They Live

Westworld and Logan's Run - I'm not sure how "horror" these are, but they're movies I've been curious to see and they seem dark enough to fit the season.

Let the Right One In - Looking forward to this one; it was a critical sensation last year.

Child's Play - Despite the fact that Chucky has saturated pop culture, I've never seen this.

28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later - I didn't care for Days when I first saw it in 2003, and I skipped Weeks. Helen wants to see them, and I'm willing enough to give them another chance.

Soylent Green - Again, I'm not sure if this is horror so much as sci fi. This movie has been so influential on pop culture, I'm sure it will feel like I've seen it already.

Little Otik - This comes recommended from a friend. I know little about it, which is a rare experience. How exciting!

Midnight Meat Train - This comes highly recommended from highly trusted friends. Looking forward to it.

The Thing

Amityville Horror

Planet Terror - I haven't seen this since the theater; Helen hasn't seen it at all, and she's into zombies.

The Signal - I've heard good things about this little indie.

The Mist - The day Frank Darabont stops adapting Stephen King material is the day cinema loses something special.

The Woods - Another trusted friend recommendation.

The Fog

Teeth - A concept that I simply cannot allow to go unwatched.

Cat People/Curse of the Cat People - An old school horror film that comes recommended by Martin Scorsese, who I'll go ahead and consider a trustworthy source.

Feel free to leave recommendations in the comments. As you can see, my slate is already pretty full for this year -- I only get one month! -- but the worst-case scenario is I'll drop it down my Netflix list and then drag it back up next October.

Happy Halloween-month, everybody!


  1. If The Mist is the movie I'm thinking of, it totally blew chunks.

    I've never seen Alien or Aliens, though, so if you were to show it at some sort of gathering which I was attending, I wouldn't complain.

  2. "Children are the only ones who truly get scared that way by a movie." - Uh...yeah...only children...ah hem.

    "Teeth" - I have a feeling I'm going to pass on that one. Sounds like it may be too gross for me.

    "Child's Play" - Not that great, if I remember correctly.

    I watched so many horror movies when I was younger, they're all blending together. So now I can start from scratch :o)

  3. They Live is a great movie. For one reason, there is a long fight scene which was homage'd on South Park's Jimmy vs. Timmy. It's a great and underrated scene, mostly because it succeeds in it's effect. At first, it's tense, then it's ridiculous, and then, finally it's uncomfortable.

    If you are going to watch The Mist, make sure it's the one that is the director's cut. They're the same movie, only Frank shot it originally for Black and White.

    I really don't know what you didn't like about 28 days. 28 Weeks, on the other hand... That's a bad movie.

    I think you'll really enjoy Let the Right One In.

    I am probably the only person who didn't like Teeth. Not that I have a problem with castration, I'm for it in some cases. Working with the public and frequenting bars does that to someone, but it just kind of felt, I don't know, forced. Like I was supposed to like it, and you know I rebel against it.

    To counterpoint Soylent Green, I reccomend the song, Eating People by King Missile.

    Midnight Meat Train is one of the best Barker adaptations around. Some poor special effects detract it from being hailed as the true heir to Hellraiser in the Barker Universe...

    The Val Lewton boxset is entirely great. Ghost Ship and I walked with a Zombie are great movies. The Cat People is probably his best. Since I know you are into film documentaries, the last disc is the Seventh Stranger and a doc about Val Lewton, both are great watches.

    I also applaud your inclusion of classic sci-fi in there. Though Logan's Run is the future of socialized medicine and seems more timely than appropriate.

    Anyways, watched a great horror movie, that was very early Cronenberg-esque. It's called deadgirl. It was vile and repulsive, but it was probably the most original zombie movie I've seen in years. I think there's enough angsty youth for you to get into it. I am posting my list tonight... Feel free to add some insight into it. Mine is going for drive-in double features. Anyways, hope all is well and happy hauntings!


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