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Horror > 24 Hours of Halloween, Goat-style

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Posted this to Facebook a few days ago, never got round to posting it here...

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24 Hours of Halloween, Goat-style
by Robert Beveridge on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 1:28am

The Onion AV Club article with Edgar Wright [] got me thinking about the 24 hours I'd program. And thus, with about 20 minutes left over to show trailers in between the movies, fifteen horror films in twenty-four hours. Bring a seat cushion.

6PM: Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968, 96 min.)
Yes, anyone who would come to something like this has seen it. And seen it remade, rifftrax'ed, and (if you were truly unlucky) colorized. But so what? Two generations of horror fans ALL discovered horror movies thanks to George A. Romero's classic--the movie that occasioned the formation of the MPAA. (Submitted for re-rating some years later, it would earn a measly PG.)

7:37PM: Scanners (David Cronenberg, 1981, 103 min.)
There are a lot of films running through this festival with iconic scenes, but I don't think I've ever seen another one actually get made into an animated GIF that people used as a LiveJournal icon. May I present to you the infamous exploding head scene? Scanners is cheesy, low budget, and beyond brilliant. It also made American superstars out of Cronenberg and Michael Ironside.

9:21PM: Profondo Rosso (Dario Argento, 1975, 126 min.)
I don't believe the original cut of this vastly important film has ever been shown theatrically in America. The version we DID get was an incoherent 89-minute horror that did more than anything to ensure no Argento movie until 1990's Two Evil Eyes would get a wide theatrical release in America. The original cut, released on DVD by Anchor Bay in 1997, shows just how profoundly good the film is. Also: one of the five most memorable horror film main title themes in history. No, it's not a traditional horror film. You'll see a lot of that as we go along...

11:28PM: Deadgirl (Marcel Sarmiento, 2008, 101 min.)
The first of (only! surprising for me) two direct-to-DVD releases, and one of the two films on the list competing for "most disturbing subject matter". The recent zombie movie craze has led to some awesome retooling of the canon in a large number of flicks, but this one is the kind of thing that makes you want to scrub your brain with bleach after seeing it. It's also a wonderful, wonderful coming-of-age film that is as likely to make you cry as vomit.

1:10AM: Saint Ange (Pascal Laugier, 2004, 98 min.)
Pascal Laugier became a very well-known name after his controversial (but very intelligent) torture-porn shocker Martyrs, but horrorheads in the know discovered him after he made this supremely creepy haunted-orphanage flick four years earlier. I can't tell you a damn thing about it, because everything about this movie is a spoiler, but it's one of the most atmospheric non-Asian horror films to come down the pike in... well, a long time. Also features the long-awaited return to horror of Catriona MacColl, whose last horror flick before this was Lucio Fulci's 1982 masterpiece The Beyond.

2:50AM: The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973, 106 min.)
The longest extant cut of The Wicker Man is still twenty minutes shorter than the director's cut, but, as one of my friends is wont to say, the other 20 minutes is mixed into the M1 somewhere, and we're not likely to ever see it. Still, the 106-minute cut, only available on a single VHS edition until recently, is a powerful thing indeed. Christianity (in the form of Edward Woodward) meets pagan sexuality (in the form of Christopher Lee), and my, do the sparks fly. Literally. Also, there's a missing-girl storyline in there somewhere...

4:37AM: The Walking Dead (Michael Curtiz, 1936, 66 min.)
As large as Boris Karloff's body of work was, it's inevitable that a bunch of his movies are now obscure. How this has been so neglected in the past seventy years, however, escapes me. Directed by Michael Curtiz, who five years later would win Oscars for Casablanca, and starring the great Karloff as a pianist framed for murder, executed, and raised again by a mad scientist. Wonderful stuff.

5:44AM: Sheitan (Kim Chapiron, 2006, 94 min.)
I have long held forth that the more publicity a French horror film gets in America, the crappier it actually is. (Ils seems to be the sole exception to date.) So when you're looking for French horror, find the stuff no one (but me) tells you about. Case in point: Sheitan, a phenomenal little thriller with one of the best twist endings in recent memory (one that, unlike that in Haute Tension, actually works!) and some amazing casting decisions. This is Vincent Cassel's best performance since La Haine, and no one saw it.

7:19AM: Baby Blues (Lars Jacobson and Amardeep Kaleka, 2008, 85 min.)
We come to the second direct-to-DVD movie, a fantastic little slasher flick that very few people are even aware exists. Trust me, you've never seem postpartum depression like this. A really ugly, really effective little movie.

8:45AM: Red (Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee, 2008, 93 min.)
(WARNING: trailer contains major spoilers for the film)
Another "not really a horror" flick, but let's face it, no one else has managed to do a Jack Ketchum novel right yet. McKee hits yet another one out of the park with Red, a quiet story about a guy (Brian Cox) who will go to unreasonable lengths to get revenge for the killing of his dog by four braindead redneck kids.

10:20AM: Begotten (E. Elias Merhige, 1991, 78 min.)
Everyone's getting sleepy now, and Red didn't help much, so we're bringing out the REALLY weird shit. If you've never seen Begotten, the first film from Shadow of the Vampire director Elias Merhige, you will either really, really love it, or really, really hate it. Filmed entirely in overexposed super-8, so that you have to watch it repeatedly to even understand what's going on half the time. It's basically a creation myth put on film. A friend of mine loves to say that Eraserhead is the closest thing to a nightmare ever transferred to celluloid. That's because he's never seen Begotten.

11:39AM: Guinea Pig 3: Mermaid in a Manhole (Hideshi Hino, 1988, 63 min.)
(warning: trailer is WAY NSFW)
the Guinea Pig series originally started off as simulated snuff films (the second movie in the series is the most infamous mock-snuff film in history), but eventually series mastermind Hideshi Hino decided it was time to start telling stories. This was the first story-based GP film, and it manages, as no GP film after it ever quite did, to balance the (very funny) storyline with the cutting-edge gore effects the series was known for. This is the movie the word "brutal" was coined to describe.

12:43PM: Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981, 127 min.)
Andrzej Zulawski, a Czech filmmaker, was well-known in Eastern Europe for his historical epics, but relatively unknown in the west... until he moved to France, set up shop, immediately recruited two of the biggest movie stars in Europe (Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani), and made this psychological grotesquerie of a film that is, quite simply, indescribable. You thought Cronenberg had issues when he made The Brood? You ain't seen nothin' yet, and I say this as someone who has held for thirty years that The Brood is Cronenberg's magnum opus. Make no mistake: this. movie. will. fuck. you. up.

2:51PM: Session 9 (Brad Anderson, 2001, 100 min.)
Everything about this movie--with the exception of one memorable, unintentionally hilarious, scene--is pure gold. Brad Anderson has since made a couple of other fantastic movies (El Maquinista and Transsiberian) and is now one of the house directors for the hit TV series Fringe. The cast includes such notables as David Caruso, Peter Mullan (also a much-lauded director), and Larry Fessenden. The soundtrack was produced by Climax Golden Twins during their brief, but effective, creepy-ambient phase. And the set... well, it's not a set. That really is an abandoned--and supposedly really cursed--asylum (that was finally successfully demolished in, if memory serves, 2004). One of the best haunted house movies ever made.

4:32PM: The Return of the Living Dead (Dan O'Bannon, 1985, 91 min.)
Quite simply one of the greatest movies ever made. O'Bannon, who'd done time with directors as disparate as John Carpenter and Ridley Scott (he wrote the script for Alien), struck out on his own as a director only twice in his career. This was the first time, and to say he was successful would be understating the case; the movie played in some theaters near me longer than Dances with Wolves. Was the first movie to really retool the zombie canon since Night of the Living Dead (though there is some debate on whether fast zombies were first introduced here or in Zombi 3, released in Italy at almost the exact same time).

message 2: by Phillip (last edited Nov 01, 2011 12:16PM) (new)

Phillip | 10503 comments nice list of films, can't agree with you on SESSION 9, nor your hyperbole on RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD - but what the hell, who cares if people disagree??? - there are a few here i haven't seen, i'll look for them .... POSSESSION sounds most intriguing.

jeeze, how many films are called RED anyway? - i know of four now.

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) jeeze, how many films are called RED anyway? - i know of four now.

Too many. But AFAIK, only one of them has Brian Cox, and Brian Cox is a one-stop shop for making any movie better than it by rights ought to be.

Possession is just wrong. Most of Zulawski's films that I've seen are (to my knowledge, Possession is the only one of them that's ever been available in America, which is a crime, but he has a tendency to focus on Czech history; distribs can't sell obscure ancient history unless Eisenstein directed it, I guess), but I think he was sitting there reading over the script saying "how do I make this the wrongest movie I've ever made?". The only real comparison I came come up with, in that regard, is Viy, but with a lot more psychological brutality and a good deal more gore.

Not to mention Isabelle Adjani's heart-rending breakdown in a metro station:

People think it's easy to act crazy...

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