Horror movie top ten, October, 2017

Can it really be time for another one of these posts already? Where has the year gone? Sheesh.

Anyway, here it is:  my annual list of the top ten horror movies Steve and I watched during our October challenge. (Previous lists can be found here: 2014, 2015, 2016). All descriptions are from either Amazon or the IMDB. I do not own any of these images; posters are from all around the ‘net.

10) The Shallows, Howl (tie)

Yes, for the first time since I started compiling these lists, I wound up with a tie!

I’ll start with The Shallows.

Shallows

A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.

I debated including this film on the list because I’m not sure if it’s really a horror movie or a thriller.

(Side note: This was true of a lot of the movies we watched this year, actually. I’m starting to think Steve and I have watched every horror movie out there. We’re now having to expand the criteria for this challenge to include anything remotely scary or creepy in any way. I think sharks are frightening, so it counted.)

I feel as though it’s a fine line sometimes, between a sort-of-tame horror film and a really intense/bloody thriller, if you know what I mean?

Anyway, the IMDB lists this one as both, so…Aside from the climax, which I won’t spoil, I thought it was entertaining and I enjoyed watching it.

Howl

On a stormy night, passengers on the last train out of London begin to panic after coming to a sudden halt. They soon realize there’s something dangerous lurking in the forest, and it’s stalking the besieged train and picking them off one-by-one.

Howl was quite an entertaining movie, too, albeit completely different. Definitely a horror movie! This one is about people trapped on a train while…something prowls around outside, trying to get in and eat them. You can probably guess what that ‘something’ is just from the title and from looking at the poster, but…I won’t mention it here in case it’s considered a spoiler :). Just allow me to say I’m a fan of these particular creatures, so I may be a little biased here, but I thought this one was a lot of fun.

9) Clown

Clown

A loving father dons a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it’s cursed.

I know what you’re probably thinking. An evil clown suit? C’mon. I thought that, too, at first but I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very solid horror film, and I was impressed with the way it perfectly straddled the line between being scary and funny. I wouldn’t have minded if it was a straight-up horror comedy, TBH, but it wasn’t. The inherent humor in the clown-centered premise isn’t ignored, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and there were certainly laughs, but from the moment the dad, Kent, (played by Andy Powers), realizes he is stuck inside the suit and no matter what he does it will not come off, you start to get genuinely creeped out and anxious on his behalf. And of course from that point on, things only get worse for poor Kent…

8) 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane

After a car crash, a woman wakes up in a survivalist’s bunker. He claims to have saved her from an apocalyptic attack but, growing suspicious of his motives, she’ll have to escape to discover the truth in this heart-pounding new thriller from J.J. Abrams.

Another one I’d probably classify as a thriller, or maybe sci-fi, but once again, the IMDB lists horror as one of the genres so we’ll go with that :). Everyone in this did such a great job with their performances. A nail-biter through and through.

7) Cult of Chucky

Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica (Fiona Dourif) is wrongly convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new group therapy tool — a “Good Guy” doll — a string of grisly deaths plague the asylum and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.

I’ve enjoyed all of the Child’s Play franchise and this installment was no exception. It was very weird, but in a good, kinda mind-bending way that worked for me. There were just so many elements here that I enjoyed: seeing Nica, Andy, and Tiffany/Jennifer again, as well as the multiple Chucky dolls. Yeah, there were unanswered questions but overall, a fun movie.

6) The Devil’s Candy

Devil's Candy

Diehard metal-head and struggling artist Jesse (Ethan Embry) moves with his wife (Shiri Appleby) and daughter (Kiara Glasco) to a rural Texas town, unaware that the house they got for an unbelievable deal comes with a grisly history. Their dream home turns into a nightmare as disturbing demonic occurrences culminate with the appearance of Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince), the home’s former resident who’s destined to do the devil’s bidding.

Well, I love metal and I love horror so I guess it’s not all that surprising that I’d like a horror movie about metal fans–and which features metal music on the soundtrack.

This was a good, creepy haunted (sorta) house movie that easily held my interest, but what I really liked about it were the performances by all the actors (even though I totally did not recognize Ethan Embry until the credits rolled. I’m still not entirely convinced that was him. When did he morph into a completely different dude?) The relationship between Jesse and his daughter, in particular, felt realistic and sweet.

5) Possession

Possession

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

I’m sort of cheating with this one, I guess, because I’d seen it multiple times before, but…it’s one of my favorites and IMO doesn’t get enough attention, so I’m putting it on the list :). Also, this viewing was special because it was on the big screen, at the Alamo Drafthouse. To say I was surprised they decided to screen this is putting it mildly. I was even more surprised I’m not the only person who showed up!

I first stumbled upon this movie completely randomly. Steve and I were in a Tower records, I think (so yeah, you know it was a long time ago) and we came across this DVD…actually a two-pack with Mario Bava’s Shock. So we bought it on a whim.

Shock

I loved both movies, particularly Possession, but Steve didn’t care much for either one. So Possession became one of those movies (like Mulholland Drive, Brazil, or The Man Who Fell to Earth) that I’d watch whenever he was out of town, so as not to subject him to the weirdness. Ha, ha.

I’m not even sure what it is about this film that I like so much, other than that it’s just so hard to look away from. And it certainly isn’t predictable. A lot of it doesn’t make sense. It does remind me a little of Hellraiser, though, in some respects. If you watch it, you’ll probably see what I mean. Not that I recommend watching it. Please don’t blame me if you do!

4) Blair Witch (2016)

Blair Witch

After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his vanished sister Heather, James and a group of friends head to the forest believed to be inhabited by the Blair Witch.

Was this movie necessary? Nope. Was it surprisingly creepy and fun to watch? Yep.

I’m not generally a fan of hand-held/found footage movies and am hard-pressed to watch them…unless Eduardo Sanchez was somehow involved in their production. All of his movies are cool.

3) Victor Crowley

Victor Crowley

The latest installment in the very fun Hatchet franchise. Good, old-fashioned, old-school horror with loads of gore and humor mixed in. Felissa Rose cracked me up so much in this! And it was especially cool to see this movie in the theater, with director Adam Green in attendance.

2) The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Blackcoat's Daughter

Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

This was slow-paced and understated without being pretentious. Not too heavy on the gore (although there are a couple of sequences) but very heavy on the creepiness. And how impressive is Kiernan Shipka? She did a great job in this film. I knew while I was watching The Blackcoat’s Daughter that it would most likely make this list because I was enjoying it so much, and I knew for sure it’d make the list when I kept thinking about it the next day, too. If you like stuff like Rosemary’s Baby or The Lords of Salem–movies that really crank up that building sense of dread–you might dig this.

1) The Void

Void

Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.

It’s kind of funny to me that this wound up being my number one movie this year, for a couple of reasons. To begin with, it was the very first one we watched, on the last day of September. We decided to include it as a bonus movie on “day zero” because Steve had already seen it before, but I had only seen half. Because I’d fallen asleep the first time we watched it! Not because it was boring or anything; it was just really late at night. And I’d taken a Zirtec. And had a couple of beers.

We’d gone to see it as part of a double feature (with In The Mouth of Madness) at the Alamo Drafthouse and it was freezing cold in the theater, so between movies, Steve, being the sweet husband that he is, went out to the car to get me the travel blanket we carry around in there. Well, I snuggled down under that thing and…boom, out like a light by the second half of the movie. I felt really bad! But yeah, I made it up by watching it again and this time staying awake for the whole thing. Turns out I’d missed all the craziest/best parts. This was an insanely weird film that was right up my alley. If you like Cronenberg, Lovecraft, The Thing, and you know, stuff like that, you should give this a try; it’s really cool.


Honorable mentions this year go to:

Friday the 13th pt. 2

and

Hellraiser

I didn’t put them on the list because I’d seen them both multiple times before. Hellraiser is my fave, and I felt like I’d already used up that chip by including Possession ;).

Okay, so that’s it; another year down. The full list of movies we watched can be found on my husband’s blog. All links in this post are his. Hope y’all enjoyed your October!

XOXO,

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October, 2016 horror movie round-up

I’m a little later than usual with this, but here it is:  the annual list of top ten horror movies S and I watched together during the month of October. Thankfully, we had better luck picking good movies this year than last!

10) Ouija: Origin of Evil

ouija-origin-of-evil

I thought there was a lot to like in this sequel to Ouija, particularly Lulu Wilson’s impressive performance as nine-year-old Doris Zander. All of the acting was pretty good, actually. I like Henry Thomas a lot, but that’s admittedly mainly because I saw him at a convention once and he seemed super nice and down-to-earth.

So anyway, even though parts of this movie were a bit confusing, there were enough cool elements to make me like it overall. For example, the Ouija board moving by itself…sorry, but that is just creepy. And the mystery surrounding what once went on in the Zanders’ basement…Ugh! This would probably be a good one to watch at a slumber party.

9) Hush

This is about a deaf writer who is terrorized in her home by a masked maniac — and who decides to fight back for all she’s worth.

The MC’s deafness brings a unique twist to a familiar set-up, and the story definitely kept my interest the whole way through. My only complaint about the movie is how dark it was. I mean that literally:  the villain cuts the power early on in the story, and the rest of the film plays out in deep shadow. This made it hard to follow the action at times. We turned out the lights and fiddled with the brightness on the TV, but it didn’t really help. Still a good movie, though.

8) The Boy

boy

After watching the trailer for this, I was so excited to see it! I guess I was hooked by the promise of a good creepy house/creepy doll story.

Well, in the end it wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, but I did enjoy it. I thought the setting was atmospheric and well done. The story was interesting, but it left me with questions and I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending. I won’t spoil it but suffice it to say it, um…didn’t go where I thought it would. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, particularly since I’m not sure if what I’d anticipated would have worked any better. Basically, I’m just not sure what I wanted from this movie, which is not the filmmakers’ fault. Ha.

7) The Conjuring 2

conjuring-2

For the most part, I liked the first Conjuring movie. This was better, though.

Even though the real case it’s based on seems to have been pretty thoroughly debunked, it still makes for an interesting premise for a horror movie. There were a lot of creepy moments.

My favorite element of the film, though, was the relationship between Lorraine and Ed Warren. It seems to happen so rarely that I’m always thrilled when married couples are portrayed in popular media as actually being in love and, you know, happy together. This couple even work together! Okay, they work together investigating demon possessions and whatnot, but still. They are cute.

I actually think the Warrens’ cases would make for a good TV show. Kinda like the X-Files (my favorite show of all time) but possibly even better, because the two leads would be allowed to smooch and stuff :). I don’t watch TV, but I’d be tempted to watch something like that, if someone made it.

6) Jaws

I saw Jaws as a kid and remember being terrified by it. Then I rented it as an adult and was bored stiff. I was so bored, in fact, that I didn’t even finish watching it! So I was kind of dreading watching it a third time. But this time I didn’t think it was boring at all. I actually thought it was really, really good. And I was surprised by just how gory and scary a lot of it was. Audiences in the seventies must have been freaking out when this was first released. I can see why it was such a big hit.

5) Jessabelle

I loved how straightforward this was. Maybe I’m just getting old and jaded, but I’m pretty tired of every movie trying to have a big twist to it, and/or an ambiguous ending. I know it works sometimes (trust me, I like a confusing, ambiguous movie as much as the next person), but…I’ve gotten to the point where I appreciate it so much when a movie just straight up tells me a good story without feeling as though it’s relying too heavily on gimmicks. This one had a good story. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

4) The Hallow

hallow

Ditto this one. Another good, solid story, featuring real monsters. “Real” in the sense that they were actual elements in the story, not just figments (or potential figments) of people’s imaginations. Monsters are a plus in my book.

3) It Follows

it-follows

I’d heard a lot about this one, both good and bad. Overall, I liked it. It kept my interest throughout, and made me wonder just what the heck was going on. There were some genuinely creepy moments, and I’m not going to lie:  when I woke up in the middle of the night after watching it, I momentarily worried I might encounter a scary naked person on my way to the bathroom :(. (Luckily I did not.)

2) Phantasm: Ravager

Okay, I’ll confess, I love me some Phantasm. So I’m a little biased on this one.

I’ve been waiting for this fifth installment in the series for what feels like forever and even though it ultimately didn’t make much sense, I still liked it. Cause hello…it’s Phantasm. And at this point, why would I expect the franchise to suddenly start making sense? It never has before. Which is part of what makes it so awesome. (Told you I don’t mind being confused).

1) The Witch

witch

I debated whether or not to include this one because it isn’t new to me (I’d seen it before, when it first came out). But I couldn’t think of anything else that deserved the number one spot on the list. I think this is a really great horror movie. It was especially cool that this time around, we saw it at an outdoor screening. The host had mentioned having a live black goat in attendance, which I was excited about, but it ultimately didn’t happen. Oh, well. Still a fun night. Now S tells me the director, Robert Eggers, is re-making Nosferatu. That is exciting to me, too. Possibly moreso than getting to see a live goat.

 


Now for the “honorable mentions.” These movies didn’t make the list, only because I had seen them before, but they are all really good:

Return of the Living Dead

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Jennifer’s Body

I also want to give a little shout out to Unfriended because I thought the way the story was told was really interesting. I don’t know that I’ll ever watch it again, but I can respect what the filmmakers did with their premise (a group of friends begin receiving messages online from a dead schoolmate). And it was good that they kept it so short, since I don’t know that the gimmick would have worked in a much longer movie.

Hellions was another movie I liked a lot, but there wasn’t enough room for it on the list. Watching this gave me a claustrophobic feeling, like I was stuck in someone’s nightmare. And that little kid’s voice constantly asking, “Dora? Can you hear me?” Yikes.

Okay, that’s it. The full list of movies we watched can be found on my husband’s blog. All links in this post are his. Happy Halloween (almost a month late)!

-Elizabeth

October, 2015 horror movie round-up

Last year I wrote up a top ten list of the best horror movies S and I watched during our annual horror movie challenge. I’d planned to do that again this year but…unfortunately, this time around we didn’t watch too many that I enjoyed very much :(.

There were a few highlights, though:

8) The Butterfly Room

This story was pretty different and interesting, but I think what made watching it especially fun was seeing so many horror icons together in one movie:  Barbara Steele, Heather Langenkamp, P.J. Soles, Adrienne King, Ray Wise, etc.

7) Someone’s Watching Me!

This was made for TV (and is perhaps more of a thriller than a horror movie), but it’s interesting and worth a watch, particularly if you’re a John Carpenter fan; this is one of his earliest films.

6) Dolly Dearest

I remember always seeing the box art for this movie at the video store, but I’d never actually seen the film itself. It’s basically a Child’s Play rip-off, but it was entertaining (a lot more so than some of the other stuff we watched during the month) and I really appreciated that. Plus, it has Lt. Yar from “Star Trek TNG” in it!

5) Tusk

Kevin Smith’s body-horror movie about a man with a dark secret involving a walrus. The story line was pretty twisted, but I enjoyed all the humor in it.

4) Exists

A found-footage movie about Bigfoot! Made near where I live! I was really excited to see this, as I have really enjoyed every movie by Eduardo Sanchez that I’ve ever seen. It didn’t disappoint. And Sanchez may officially now be one of my favorite directors.

3) Crimson Peak

I have a thing for haunted house/ghost stories (even though they are all pretty similar) and this is probably one of the best I’ve seen. The visuals are just gorgeous. Plus, I was sick as a dog (not contagious) when we went to see it and it took my mind off my misery for a while. I was truly grateful!

2) We Are Still Here

“In the cold, wintry fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years – and demands a sacrifice.” Another haunted house movie. Stylistically, this reminded me a bit of House of the Devil, another movie I liked a lot. This was just straight-up old-fashioned horror (with great, gory makeup effects) and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

1) Last Shift

This was the second-to-last movie we watched during the month and by this point, I was pretty tired and losing hope. But this perked me up again. It is the story of a rookie cop covering the last shift in an empty police station (i.e. having the worst night at work EVER) and it is genuinely creepy in many places.

Last but not least…we also always try to include at least a few perennial favorites in the mix, too, to ensure that we see at least some stuff we know we’ll like. This year we re-watched: Re-Animator, Suspiria, The Amityville Horror, and Ghostbusters. And they were all still awesome :).

Hope you enjoyed your Halloween!

Elizabeth

The Top Ten Best Horror Movies I Watched in October 2014

Every October, S and I watch a different horror movie every night of the month. Afterward, he posts cool art and trailers from each film over on his blog. All the links in this post are his.

I think this October Movie Month was one of our most enjoyable yet! We had a really good “mix” of titles to choose from — some older, some newer, some stuff we’d never seen before, and a few favorites. Plus we sampled from a variety of sub-genres, which is always cool. I decided to list the ones I liked most, so I won’t forget them. Here’s my top ten countdown.

10) Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Fun. And I kind of want that “Fueled by Frijoles” t-shirt.

9) Slither

I’d seen this before but it was still fun and hilarious and great the second time around. “Baby, what happened to your face?” “It’s just a bee sting.”

8) Night of the Creeps

Somehow, I’d never seen this before! Great, especially when watched back to back with Slither, for a fun nasty-slugs-from-space double feature.

7) Jug Face

This is one of those movies I know I’ll never forget. I found it to be unique and more disturbing than scary — although not quite disturbing enough to make my list of Movies I Wish I Could Unsee (post coming soon).

6) We Are What We Are (2013)

Wacky religious cannibals! I have not yet seen the Spanish film this is based on, but now I’m intrigued.

5) The Returned

I’ve been pretty sick of zombies for many years now, so I really appreciated this movie’s different take on them! It’ll make you think.

4) Eyes Without A Face

This film is from 1960 and is in black and white. It’s also in French and has subtitles. I had never even heard of this classic until recently. I really loved some of the imagery, though — weird and grotesque and beautiful all at the same time. And the surgery scene was more graphic than I’d anticipated, considering how old the movie is.

3) Nurse

Just campy, gory fun. Reminded me of something I would’ve watched back when I was younger and living with my roommates. For some reason me and the girls always got a big kick out of watching crazy “erotic thrillers” like this. Although maybe I shouldn’t admit that-?

2) Only Lovers Left Alive

I can’t quite put my finger on what I liked so much about this movie, but I really, really loved it. It was different for a vampire film.

1) Maniac (2012)

Hands down my favorite movie of the month! I love art films and I love horror films and this is an almost perfect blend of each. I’d worried the “shot-from-the-killer’s-POV” device would get annoying but it never did. And instead of overshadowing the story, I think it really enhanced it. The movie winds up being artsy but still sick and gory and seedy the way a slasher film oughtta be. Awesome.

On Halloween night, we also watched The Devil’s Rejects (my pick) and Phantasm (S’s pick). I didn’t include those on the list, though, because they’re both sort of perennial favorites of mine and therefore go without saying…I know a lot of people dislike TDR, and I can see how it’s not for everybody, but IMO it’s a horror masterpiece. I love Rob Zombie!!

PS — Here’s how my Halloween pizza turned out last week:

IMG_2751

He was almost too cute to eat! But eat him we did :).

Have a great weekend!

Elizabeth

Movie Day

For months, S and I have been busy with something-or-other on the weekends. Back in July and August we were wrapped up with packing and moving. Since then, we’ve traveled for concerts and races and other events. So it’s kind of funny that the first weekend I decided to write about, we had zero plans. We spent a lot of time just sitting around reading and working on little projects, relishing the downtime.

I love going out to the movies, but even that seemed like too much effort this weekend. So Saturday we had what we call a “movie day,” where instead of going out to see a matinee at a theater, we just get sodas and candy from the convenience store, pop microwave popcorn, turn out all the lights and watch something here at home in the middle of the afternoon. S bought the sodas and some Halloween-y junk food (Candy Corn M & Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins), popped the corn, and we watched Horns, which for some reason is already available to stream even though it isn’t out in theaters yet (I don’t think). S and I have both read the novel this movie is based on (I LOVE Joe Hill!!)and both thought it was depressing. The movie is depressing, too, but it was well-made and a decent adaptation of the book. I thought Daniel Radcliffe did a good job in his role.

This movie was part of a thing we’ve done the past six years or so, where we watch a horror movie every day in October; I’ll write more about that later, though.

Elizabeth