#ScaryMovieADayMonth 2017 (Days 21-31)

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It’s over.  It’s over now, move over.  Tur-key’s turn now, it’s over.  October’s.  Shut.  Down. ……SORRY!

You don’t know about that.  R.I.P. Natina Reed.

BUT WAIT!  We’re not putting #ScaryMovieADayMonth 2017 to rest just yet.  We still got 11 to go over.

Day 21: Trilogy of Terror (1975)

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Like Tourist Trap, this movie was featured on “The 50 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen”; a documentary special released in 2014.  I watched that special (obviously) and I’m planning on watching all the movies I haven’t seen on there.  I went with this one first strictly for it’s short run-time.  I thought the first short of this anthology was alright and I already forgot what the second short was about.  The last one though… it was the memorable and fun to watch compared to the others.  There’s one “Oh shit, it’s about to go down.” moment that brought me way too much joy than it had any business  bringing.  Not only that; everything from the opening monologue to the final shot was entertaining to me which can’t be said about a lot of the dry, slow-moving horror produced before ’78.

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Day 22: Tales From The Crypt (1972)

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Another one.  Anthology horrors don’t necessarily need a connection between the tales but this one is better for having one.  After the tales are told, it’s revealed why they were told, which gives the movie a bit more purpose than the customary anthology horrors of that time.  While some of the acting isn’t the best and the images aren’t the scariest, the good terror was in the idea of what was happening more so than what’s seen on screen.  There were a couple of special effects that were impressive for a movie released in the early 70’s but none that would be as memorable if not for the story surrounding them and that’s what I like about these tales.  It’s the theme each tale had in common and the ending that I appreciated and liked just enough to make me want to watch the sequel.  So that’s what I did.

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Day 23: The Vault of Horror (1973)

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Nope.  This is not…. *sigh*.

In case you didn’t know, this movie is based on a comic book series published by EC Comics in the 50’s.  My favorite thing about this movie is an Easter egg.  I’m talking the smallest minor detail.  The comic book itself is seen sitting on the table in one scene and even the Tales From The Crypt book, which was also a comic published by EC Comics, is shamelessly plugged.  I love meta shit like that.  ……That was it.  The tales were fine but… meh.  The audio in these old movies are already not that great but this shit sounded horrendous.  I know not to expect much from these movies but that ending was trash.  I think I’m done with the 70’s for now. *hops back in time machine*

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Day 24: Tales From The Hood (1995)

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Clarence. Williams. III.  Great performance!  Now I know where The Game got that excerpt for “Da Shit” on his sophomore album Doctor’s Advocate.  (There I go again showing how much of a Hip-Hop savant I am.)  Anyway, there’s a tale featuring David Alan Grier on here about voodoo drawings and I swear I saw this as a kid on VHS.  Something tells me it might have been Wishmaster but I don’t know.  I must’ve seen this somewhere, it’s so familiar.  The scariest scene in the entire movie is basically a music video with gangsta ass music playing behind a bunch of graphic images of dead people and real lynchings.  It was disturbing.  The rest of it was as cringe worthy as Rodney King’s “Can we all get along?”, which was quoted in this movie.  While it’s not even close to being Spike Lee’s best effort, I enjoyed about half of this movie just fine.

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Got a little carried away with the anthology horrors.  As much as I like watching them, they’re not giving me that feeling I’m looking for.  I need to get back to the real movies to end #ScaryMovieADayMonth 2017 the right way.  It’s time to take it back to the master of horror, Stephen King.

Day 25: 1922 (2017)

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I didn’t plan it but this makes 4 Stephen King based movies for this year’s list.  Netflix is pumping them out!

Somehow, I didn’t get the feel I was hoping for with 1922 either.  The most horrifying stuff happens in the first half of the movie.  The rest wasn’t all that scary, I didn’t think.  However, in terms of storytelling, this was a damn good movie.  The story had me invested early on; focusing on every detail, clinging to every word,… I was relishing how dark the narrative was becoming.  If you’re looking for a great suspenseful drama with heavy southern accents,  this is a great one.  Just don’t expect to be blown away by the end.

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Day 26: Creep 2 (2017)

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Could you think of a sequel that’s better than the first movie?  There are some out there but they’re few and far between.  ADD CREEP 2 TO THE LIST!  Mark Duplass is BRILLIANT!  I thought he was great in the first movie but he knocked this one out of the park from the opening scene to the very end.  I’m officially a fan of this series and yes, a third will apparently be made which makes this an actual series.  I can not wait to see what this crazy bastard does next.

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I had one problem with this movie, just one.  As a person who has no problem suspending disbelief, I had a tough time believing anyone in the real world would act the way a certain character did in her situation.  Her reactions to some things were a bit muted.  Even though it’s explained – and for that, I’m willing to let it slide – I still feel there could’ve been a way to make it feel a little more realistic.  Although at this point, I’m just nitpicking.  I’m sorry.  That’s what happens when you watch hundreds of horror movies and you know how they work.  Good thing I also know when to throw minor criticisms out the window and recognize when a movie is greater than that one minuscule flaw.  I really had a blast watching this movie and that’s all that matters.

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Day 27: Blair Witch (2016)

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SHIT.  GOT.  REAL.

You’d think after watching hundreds of scary movies, it gets easier to sit through them.  I mean… it kinda does but if there’s something that still frightens me to my core, it’s the memory I have of watching The Blair Witch Project.  I was 8 or 9 years old and the way I felt watching that movie was completely justifiable for anyone at the time but especially for a kid.

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Halfway through this movie, I felt it.  My stomach got queasy and my throat was dry but I didn’t wanna sip water in fear that I might choke if I was startled while drinking.  My 9 year-old feelings came back one by one with every familiar image.  The callbacks to the original had me on edge and the events in this film were scary as shit.  Perfect combination of keeping the essence of the Blair Witch lore and introducing new ideas and information about the Black Hill Forest.  I almost went back to watch a few scenes again to piece things together carefully to better understand what I just watched and I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I had had enough.  I was shook.

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Day 28: Yoga Hosers (2016)

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This is the most Canadian movie I’ve ever seen.  It’s not even a Canadian production.  Apparently, Kevin Smith’s intention was to make three Canada-centric horror comedies that all connect in some way.  Yoga Hosers is the second installment of what Smith calls his “True North Trilogy”.  Wish I knew that before I watched this spin-off of the first installment, a movie called Tusk.  (Fuck it, I’m watching that next.  It’s Kevin Smith, man.)  Anyway, this movie isn’t scary at all.  It probably shouldn’t be on this list but it’s too late now.

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Starring Kevin Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith and Johnny Depp’s daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, who start the movie with a rap rock jam session (Of course, the director’s a huge Run DMC fan.), I was curious to see how a movie like this could work.  ……You’re damn right Silent Bob made it work.  Despite its ridiculous premise, Yoga Hosers is dripping with butt jokes and jammed up that very ass with Canadian caricaturization, nerdy nods and comic book references; that signature campy style we’ve come to expect and want from Kevin Smith movies.  His techniques still charm my geek shorts off.  We got Smith and Depp themselves in supporting roles, cameos from iconic people, tons of Batman references and Easter eggs, (More than I caught with my own eye, I’m sure.) and… come to think of it…this is the most “Kevin Smith” movie I’ve ever seen.

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Day 29: Tusk (2014)

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Nobody creates a cinematic universe quite like Kevin Smith, holy crap.  I had no idea how different this movie was gonna be from Yoga Hosers.  Now that I’ve seen them both, when I think about how these movies work in order, it’s pretty fucking brilliant.  Tusk begins as a comedy and slowly gets darker and more fucked up as it continues.  There’s still humor throughout the movie but it’s done in moderation which doesn’t take away from the sick, crazy story being told.  Props to this cast for carrying this movie and somehow keeping it up in the next movie as different characters, with the exception of a few main characters who get more screen time and more of a center focus in Yoga Hosers.  A trilogy of three completely different types movies within the same universe?  This is not the first time Kevin Smith has executed this.  However, it’s taken a step further this time.  Genius.  Can’t wait for the third installment, Moose Jaws.

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Day 30: Happy Death Day (2017)

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A girl wakes up on her birthday. That night, she’s murdered. She wakes up the next morning, it was a dream. Or was it?

Look, I’ll save you the Google search. It wasn’t a dream.  The poor girl relives the same day every day and dies every night.  It’s Groundhogs Day: The Horror Version.  The college girl horror version. There was a moment toward the end that took the movie from alright to “oh shit, that’s crazy”.  That lasted for a minute and five seconds.  It got corny fast. They almost redeemed it all with just two words, but by the end, it just converted to a good kind of corny.  A “Ok, that wasn’t all that bad. I had fun.” kinda corny. I guess the term is “cheesy”.  Whatever.  It was an eventful 95 minutes.

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Day 31: Halloween (1978)

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Come on.  I couldn’t NOT watch the original Halloween on Halloween after this:

If you haven’t already seen this CLASSIC, you’re not about this horror life.  I mean, I can respect that.  After all, not everyone is a loony horror enthusiast who watches scary movies for fun on the date the movie takes place in.  You definitely should cuz it’s better that way but you don’t hav- … I say that to say, … what is there to say about this iconic film?  John Carpenter.  Jamie Lee Curtis.  William Shatner face mold mask guy with a knife.  What else you need?

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Bonus #ScaryMovieADayMonth related stuff

Nothing.  I haven’t watched Stranger Things Season 2 yet.

Welp, Happy Halloween!

*stays home sipping hot cocoa, calmly*

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#ScaryMovieADayMonth 2017 (Days 11-20)

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Chew right through that mystery gristle, my guy!  That voracious appetite for horror will only get stronger as Halloween stealthily approaches.  You gotta be well fed by the 31st, that’s how you know deep down in your dark soul you did everything you could to put on for the greatest holiday ever.  Go on, now.  Eat.  EAT!!!!!

Day 11: The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

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Film-making is an art.  Independent filmmakers make artsy films.  “Borrow the slow pace, carry the low budget…” If my math is correct, that’s double the artys-fartsy.  As we know, art is subjective.  Every piece ain’t for everybody.  This movie certainly is not for everybody.

I watched this with my cousin and he didn’t wait for it to end to look at me and say, “This movie is lame.”  While I couldn’t disagree, his opinion couldn’t sway me into agreeing.  This movie is slow, it’s in black-and-white and it’s a borderline snoozefest.  To someone looking to be entertained, this movie can be painfully boring.  However, art shouldn’t be judged just on its entertainment value, it’s deeper than that.  Some of the images in this film are still in my head a week later, whether it was a sick and twisted scene or simply beautiful cinematography.  For a movie with only a $250,000 budget, there are some great shots made more impressive by the fact that it’s director Nicolas Pesce’s debut.  Not to mention, he wrote and edited it as well.  I respect filmmakers too much to call this movie wack or trash just because it didn’t move fast or make me jump.

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Day 12: Gerald’s Game (2017)

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Few hours later, I got the complete opposite side of the coin with Gerald’s Game.  Having not read Stephen King’s novel and not knowing what to expect at all, I decided to give this a watch simply because it was new and as Netflix Originals are usually promoted, it was featured on the app’s main page.

Wow!  This is a movie.  I don’t mean the type you say that about when you leave the theater after a summer blockbuster.  I mean, this is an amazingly written, emotional movie.  It’s so dialogue driven in the best way.  It’s cerebral, it’s emotional, it’s….. just exceptionally well done. I didn’t care to check what critics are saying; I know this movie is good and you should see it.  All you have to do is open the app and press play.  God bless Netflix.

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Day 13: Friday The 13th (1980)

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Come on.  You knew it was coming, right?  A 13th day that happens to fall on a Friday in October… I’d be crazy to turn on a horror movie that’s not Friday The 13th.  This is why I’m here; to celebrate horror the right way.  Who am I to fuck tradition up?

No need to recap.  We know what this is.  It started a phenomenon and it’s one of the main reasons I’ll look at you crazy if you make it a thing to stay at an old cabin in the woods.  For fuck’s sake, get an Airbnb.  Love yourself.

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Day 14: They Look Like People (2015)

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I have no problem with low budget films.  This movie though….. this shit had damn near no budget.  I’ve seen iPhone clips with better quality than this.  Holy shit.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m above watching stuff like this because I’m not.  At all.  I just couldn’t get jiggy with this shit.  If a major studio were to make a movie like this with more, it would be perfectly fine.  Props to the makers though.  A lack of resources shouldn’t stop you from making what you want.

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Day 15: The Possession (2012)

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October 15th marked the 36th anniversary of one of my favorite horror movies of all time, The Evil Dead.  Since I already watched it for #ScaryMovieADayMonth a few years back, I decided to go with a different Sam Raimi flick to commemorate him in some fashion.  Maybe it was the fact that The Possession wasn’t Evil Dead at all that kept me from enjoying myself but I just wanted it to be over after like an hour.  The ending got pretty intense but not as intense as the voicemails my pillow was leaving me.  It was callin’, bruh.  The movie wasn’t horrendous, I don’t think.  It’s just …. I had more fun pretending the events in this movie were leading to Jeffrey Dean Morgan becoming Negan in The Walking Dead.  I’m assuming that having a possessed daughter will fundamentally change you as a person.

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Day 16: Little Evil (2017)

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Sometimes you gotta throw on some silly horror comedy to cleanse your palate.  Even though I didn’t laugh out loud over 1.5 times or at all for that matter, it was mindless fun.  There’s some Edgar Wright-influenced transitions sprinkled in there, that’s always fun.  So is realizing Evangeline Lilly ages like wine, which happens whenever she’s on the screen.  Overall, it was entertaining enough for me to not feel like I wasted my time.  Give it a shot if you’re bored and/or familiar with The Omen.

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Day 17: The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

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I forgot where but I heard from somewhere this was a good found footage so I went for it.  I understood that it’s a good movie that happens to be found footage but it turned out to be a decent film that is better because it executes the style really well.  Scenes never linger enough to slow down the pace of the movie.  The editing and camera angles keep you interested in the story that would otherwise be standard horror storytelling.  Regardless, the documentation of an elderly woman battling Alzheimer’s doesn’t need much else to make one feel uneasy and this movie expounds the danger of a forgetful and unpredictable person and more.

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Day 18: XX (2017)

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I really enjoy anthology horror films.  It’s like binge watching a short series.  If one short sucks, OH WELL!  I didn’t waste 2 hours of my life watching a shitty movie.  Luckily, none of the four shorts on here were terrible.  There are always standouts in these types of movies but none are deal breakers.  If you want adult Goosebumps vibes, pick up an anthology horror.  Maybe start with this one.  You will enjoy at least one of these tales.

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Day 19: Train to Busan (2016)

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Ever wonder what a zombie virus spreading in a moving train in South Korea looks like? Look no goddamn further!  I found this on a “Top Horror Movies to Watch on Netflix” list and I was transfixed by the concept of such merciless pandemonium.  What can you do in that situation?  I had to see how fucked the situation was for myself.

This movie is emotionally exhausting.  One minute, I’m rooting for a group of people.  The next, I’m wishing death on some asshole.  The very next, I’m mourning and then furious…and then laughing…and then shocked, and then…. IT’S NON-STOP!  Balls to the motherfucking wall!  The reason is that this movie somehow makes you care about the characters at an impressive rate.  I was very much invested in and worried for these characters evading stampedes of rabid, flesh-eating Koreans in no time.  Despite having some B-movie quality special effects, Train to Busan is extremely well-paced and immensely entertaining.

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Day 20: Tourist Trap (1979)

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If Stephen King praised it, I appraise it.  Curiosity takes over me.  What about Tourist Trap made this master of horror speak highly of it?  I pressed play, ready to be slightly more critical than usual.  Twenty minutes in, I acknowledged the creepiness but nothing stood out besides the music, only because it was sampled on “Guilty Conscience” by Eminem Ft. Dr. Dre from The Slim Shady LP.  (Ignore my spectacular Hip-Hop IQ, that’s irrelevant right now.)

Forty-five minutes in, my mind was blown.  I realized the hot brunette is none other than Tanya Roberts aka Midge Pinciotti from That 70’s Show.  (Don’t scoff at me, I went in blind and I’d never seen her in her 20’s.)  By the way, why are there hot chicks skinny dipping and sexual content in a rated PG movie?  The 70’s were different, man.  Wtf?  Anyway, by the end, I was pleased with this movie.  The score, the still shot of the dark woods with blue backlight, the closing moments… everything felt classically spooky.  I don’t know how big this movie was in ’79 or ever, but it was, at least to me, filled with moments as memorable as those in some of the classics of that time.  Hey Stephen King, I get it.

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Man, oh man.  Twenty already.  Come to think of it, the majority of those 20 have been releases in the last 5 years.  That’s trash.  There’s waaaay more I need to explore, especially movies that predate my existence.  At this rate, I’ll become a horror film expert.  A human en-psycho-pedia, if you will.  Yeah….. I’m ready.

Annyeonghi Gyeseyo. (안녕히 계세요)  *sets time machine made in Korea to the 70’s and grabs bell bottom jeans *

#ScaryMovieADayMonth 2017 (Days 1-10)

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Chucky, if you don’t get cho ass outta here, man… YOU KNOW WTF GOIN’ ON!  #ScaryMovieADayMonth is here!  Let’s waste no time.

Day 1: IT (1990)

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No need to write about this again. Read my thoughts here: Stephen King’s IT Retrospective

Day 2: IT (2017)

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Don’t feel like reading a full length post about a dancing clown stalking kids?  I’ll squeeze you into some OshKosh B’Gosh while you’re asleep and send his ass to your house.  Click the goddamn link.

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You don’t want those problems.

Day 3: Get Out (2017)

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Remember how you felt when you watched “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?” as a kid?  Yup.  I got that vibe watching this uncomfortable ass shit.  My LORD! this was a racial tension convention.  Predictability ruins movies, especially ones that spend all its time building up to an inevitable clusterfuck but Get Out is so original and brilliant, I don’t care.  Jordan Peele keeps it fresh enough to keep you invested and curious.  As far as the actors go, you can never go wrong casting LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya is outstanding!  This was already a fact but after Get Out, it’s super facts.  He keeps coming with it.  Incredible actor!  This movie is good enough to buy AFTER you already watched it.

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Day 4: Cult Of Chucky (2017)

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Chucky movies will always be enjoyable to an extent because we love Chucky and we can’t get enough of him.  He’s hilarious and his one-liners are classic.  That’s sort of my only problem with Cult of Chucky.  I wanted more Chucky!  His scenes were worth the watch alone, I just wanted more.  That’s it.  He’s what keeps us wanting more of these movies more than anything.  However, this franchise is starting to get some of the charm it had in the original trilogy.  Child’s Play fanatics might want to stick around for the credits, hint hint.

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Day 5: Life (2017)

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Is it just me or this movie is hard to hear for the first 20 minutes?  I had to rewind like 80 times to catch dialogue.  Either my audio was off or my ears were shot from the Paramore show the night before.  Once I threw the captions on, it was smooth sailing from there.  I really enjoyed it.  Being stranded anywhere is frightening.  Being stranded in outer space is fucking hopeless and it’s thrilling to watch.  The panic is 10 times worse and the stakes are far more drastic.  This movie is reminiscent of a little classic from the 70’s you may know of.

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Day 6: It Follows (2016)

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So….I didn’t take notes.  I thought maybe I would make sense of it over time but here I am not knowing what the fuck it all meant.  I caught on to the “what” really early on, I just never got the “why”.  The final scene only confused me more.  With that said, I don’t think I would enjoy it the same if I wasn’t confused.  To me, that’s what makes It Follows worth watching.  One of the best things about watching movies is the talk about it as soon as it ends.  Not everyone will appreciate this movie but everyone will feel the need to have a discussion after.  It’s one of those.

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Day 7: Lights Out (2016)

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Lights Out had its moments.

  • Decent jump scares: Check.
  • Protagonist that looks like Avril Lavigne: Check.
  • Laughable moments: Check.
  • Two actresses that can pass as mother and daughter in real life: Check.
  • Underwhelming feeling when the credits rolled: Check.

It was meh.  Can’t really expect a short film that went viral on the internet to impress anyone when it’s made into a full length feature film.  Even if it’s not, it will seem like a money grab.

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Day 8: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

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Falling asleep mid-movie always sucks.  It takes you out of it.  Even when it’s not the movie’s fault, it’s hard to enjoy the rest later.  It was a long weekend, I couldn’t keep it together, I was done.  I remember thinking, “I like where this is going” right before I passed out.  I still liked where it was going when I picked it back up, but not as much.  By the end, I was a little disappointed overall but I still don’t know if it was the movie or the nap.  I’ll blame the nap because I love crime mystery drama shit so….whatever.  The point is… autopsies are interesting.  Whether or not the ending is good, everything before that is good enough. Great, even.  Don’t watch movies when you’re sleepy.

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Day 9: Raw (2016)

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The title alone tells you it’s about to get weird.  Why is it called Raw?  Well, here’s the synopsis I pulled from IMDB; “When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.”  Before I read that, I found out this is a French-Belgian film so I was ready for weird.  Foreign films tend to push boundaries moviegoers in America don’t even believe exist for them to be pushed.  Watch movies produced in other countries, you’ll see what I mean.  It’s just different. I can’t begin to explain what I saw because it’s too weird to briefly explain.  I’ll just leave it at…it’s just different.

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Day 10: Clown (2014)

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We all like a good comeback.  When something that appears to be unsalvageable redeems itself before it’s too late, it’s given more credit than it originally would have had if it wasn’t a disaster at all.  Clown managed to entertain me after some hilariously ridiculous moments early in the movie had me convinced I couldn’t get jiggy with this shit.  Great shots, great makeup, one character had one of the greatest slips in movie history.  She busted her ASS, you can tell it was real.  Not the best movie at all, not even close, but I had fun.

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Days 1-10, over.  See y’all in like a week.

*lights self on fire and leg drops tub full of dynamite*

Stephen King’s IT Retrospective

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HIYA GEORGIE!

On September 8th, 2017,  The Losers’ Club and Pennywise hit theaters for the first time.  Although it’s only been less than a month since then, it feels far behind us enough – especially in these fast times we live – to look back at already.  (Anything after two weeks is a lifetime in the age of information.)  Naturally, comparisons were, are and will be made to the original TV mini-series that aired on ABC in 1990 because while not technically a movie, it’s the only other visual based on Stephen King’s novel.  After all, Hollywood refuses to make anything original anymore so what fun would it be if we didn’t make connections while we’re forced to watch different versions of already existing intellectual property?  There’s basically no other choice.  Basically.  HOWEVER! …It’s ok.  It’s perfectly fine this time because IT was, for the most part, remade for the better and it was glorious.

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As a horror lover who has never read the novel and completely missed out on the mini-series all the way until AFTER the 2017 movie trailer was released, I had no idea what IT was about, really.  The combination of Pennywise’s pop culture relevance and the quality of Stephen King’s bibliography and their film adaptations suggested that I probably should have watched this already.  Unfortunately, those things were also exactly what created expectations for me.  As much as I hate to say that there was a presumed threshold of quality I felt this mini-series needed to meet for me to justify its impact, I certainly could not deny the underwhelming sour taste of lackluster I was left with once it was over.

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The first half of this two-parter was perfectly fine.  A shapeshifter that exploits the phobias of a group of children, mainly in the form of a creepy clown, is such a great concept because young kids are susceptible to being consumed by their fears.  That’s exactly what we got in part one.  I thought, “This is perfect pacing.  First half’s to become familiar with the characters, second half’s for straight clown terror.”  I was excited to start part two immediately and was let down just that fast.  Then I was let down again, and again, and……..”OH MY GOD! THAT ENDING WAS EGREGIOUS!”, I thought to myself.  Wasn’t this supposed to be a classic?

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The only thing classic here was Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise.  He is unrecognizable in that makeup and even through all his goofy actions, the character is genuinely scary.  Curry made me understand why so many people fear clowns on a deeper level after a lifetime of just chalking it up to their seemingly predatory appearance.  I could only imagine what watching this as a child can do to your psyche.  Sorry y’all went through that, 80’s babies.  Clowns are officially no longer allowed 50 yards from me.

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Curry’s awesomeness alone isn’t enough to captivate the audience for more than 3 hours though.  Neither can the fun mini-game we all play of pointing out familiar faces when we watch old stuff.  “Oh, it’s Annette O’Toole, a.k.a. Lana Lang from Superman III.”…”LOL what are you doing here, dad from Sister, Sister?” … “Wait, is that…?  Holy crap, that’s Seth Green!  He’s so young there!”  The unexpected use of the N-word made for some heavy drama but that wasn’t gonna cut it either.

Not-So-Fun Fact: Did you know that John Ritter, who played Ben and Jonathan Brandis, who played Young Bill, both died in 2003?  Eerie.  Brandis through suicide by hanging.  So sad.

Do you see the problem here?  I’d rather talk about the things surrounding IT than the mini-series itself.  There’s also a lot to laugh at while you watch but most of it is unintentionally funny, almost to the point of making you want to create a drinking game for it.  Out of the second part’s 90-minute runtime, only about 10 were enjoyable.  The parts where the original airing took commercial breaks weren’t even edited in the home release.  A lot of IT just flat-out sucks, unfortunately.  It made all the sense in the world why so many were excited this year about the theatrical release of a remake.

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Every trailer I saw for the new IT was convincing.  The formulaic approach of overusing the cliché jump scare and other repeated tactics made familiar in high-budget horror movies was apparent in each one.  Yet, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case because while not completely sold on Bill Skarsgård’s version of Pennywise, I sensed this film would be solid at best compared to the previous one.  How could it not be?  I found myself at an early screening with a friend 3 days before the release date and no more that 5 minutes into it, the tone was set.  The opening scene was gruesome!  The scene after that was a “Try Not To Look Away Challenge” for animal lovers.  In just the first 10 minutes, I was flabbergasted by how far the limits were pushed in a movie starring a bunch of child actors.

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For how graphic the images were and continued to be throughout the entire film, the comic relief and performances connecting them were just as potent.  The cast was nothing short of fantastic, the majority of them too young to apply for a learner permit in most states.  Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things fame managed to play a different character in what many people worried to be just a mirror image of his role in the Netflix Original series.  His portrayal of Ritchie acting as more of an inappropriate joke dispenser than Seth Green’s version of the character in the mini-series begged to differ from that notion.  He brought a freshness to the role and his energy bounced right off the other characters perfectly.  The chemistry was there and it felt like they were regular kids you can identify with, which helped me relax and let my guard down enough to be startled by a majority of the scary moments the movie had to offer.

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This movie is dark!  Not for kids at all.  While the 90’s version included language and images not suitable for children, this version is strictly geared toward an adult audience even with its comparatively covert horror tropes. There’s no doubt about which one was more frightening and it all comes down to Pennywise.  In not necessarily a better depiction, Bill Skarsgård’s version is without a doubt the more emotionally scarring of the two.  While Tim Curry’s Pennywise evokes nervous laughter with typical goofy clown mannerisms and underlying creepiness, Skarsgård’s eliminates any uncertainty about the intentions of a stalking clown with a sinister smile that instantly assures “It” is not to be trusted.  New Pennywise is spine-chilling.

One scene in particular was so disquieting, my eyebrows shot up, my mouth fell open and my face would not relax until the next scene.  There’s something to be said about a horror villain that still finds its way in a 26-year-old horror fanatic’s mind, causing neck-snapping glimpses over the shoulder while walking the dog late at night long after the movie is over.  Call me irrational for half-expecting to see a clown standing still, staring at me from across the street; the image of Pennywise’s face flashed before me continuously to the point of unreasonable slight paranoia.

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With such a short period between my first viewing of the 1990 TV mini-series and the 2017 film’s theatrical release, I personally, almost involuntarily favor the latest adaption of Stephen King’s IT.  Critically acclaimed remakes are uncommon, rare even, placing this ubiquitously positively reviewed flick in a special class.  Chock-full of comic relief, effective scares, impressive performances across the board and an abundance of 80’s references and easter eggs, this awesome revision of the coming-of-age story is a delight, especially, but not exclusively to viewers already familiar.  A much needed upgrade from the antiquated visuals once believed to be definitive insures horror fans, including Stephen King, the IT re-imagining we deserve.