Horror, which over the years of history has turned from a legitimate source of entertainment into a cheap thrill in the public eye, is a genre I love. In terms of film, I love it for two distinct reasons separating any experience I get from a horror movie – If it’s not a good movie, I get honestly a great sense of cynicism tearing it apart from how it does not work, looking inside and figuring out how it represents the horror culture in the end to what always looks like its final grave. But then, when you find a real diamond in the rough, a real gem, something legitimately scary. Then you’re going to get somewhere with finding out how it makes your hair stand, your skin crawl, then you’re going to watch reactions after finding out and discover to your joy… the trick still works.
For the next 31 days, I will be giving a day by day review of select horror films in all of the spectrum, from slasher to “Gates of Hell”, from Poe to Barker, from Whale to West, from 1919 to 2014…
This is the 31 Nights of Halloween.
This is basically going to be a continuation of a program I’ve decided to make an occasional thing, but that I have already entertained in a previous post.
So, let’s say this Friday, you have nothing to do by one circumstance or another. You just got off work and are too tired to party, or your ride is down, or whatever and so you’re just trying to make it a chill night at the house without killing the spirit. Or how about we can say you’re having a party and just want something up as background imagery or background noise or what have you. Or whatever circumstance you have for deciding you want a movie playing on Halloween and then realizing ideally a movie is two hours and the night will still be young…
I’ve made it a constant practice to have double feature screenings at my place for my friends and usually anyone they invite that I don’t have beef with (I am an easily angered person and an even easier soul in begrudging, so there’s that). The idea is usually that not only would it happen to be fun, but that people would be introduced to films they otherwise wouldn’t know. And hence it’s in my best interest, in the furthering of cinema as a culture, that anybody go ahead and try this with themselves or, preferably, with friends.
This post is to ideally just serve as a template or suggestion for any other people who might want to go ahead and try their own showcase of films for the season of the witch. Here, I’ll be suggesting four particular double features for y’all and can easily suggest you change them up on your own or even make them up. Fit your own style. I’m just posting my own.
I only follow two simple rules (which are completely arbitrary and you don’t have to follow my shit)…
1 – THEME IS MANDATORY Just because I like having everything so connected.
2 – CANNOT BE TWO FILMS IN THE SAME FRANCHISE – I like to mix them up that way. Likewise, I try to avoid making it two films by the same director.
Let’s get rambling.
I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT GIALLO – Halloween (1978/dir. John Carpenter/USA) and Suspiria (1977/dir. Dario Argento/Italy)
Giallo is one of the major Italian film movements that have made a huge presence in horror cinema, even today, and slasher films especially are indebted to it. Halloween and Suspiria (the latter of which is constantly mistaken as giallo) are after the fact of the movement that inform themselves of much of the stylistic makeup of giallo – saturated colors, psycho killer moments, a drive to solve what’s going on, synthesizer ditties and so on and so forth.
UNDER THE ROOF OF MADNESS – House (1977/dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi/Japan) and Evil Dead II (1987/dir. Sam Raimi/USA)
Maybe you or the people in your company aren’t so keen on being scared so much as you’d just like to go the opposite spectrum of human reaction and just have a laugh. Well, that laugh’s gotta add something to the being of horror cinema and it kind of does. What makes House and Evil Dead II perfect horror comedies is how they add to the madness of the moment, how the situations and the scenarios are inherently comedic, but the suffering going on shocks the audience just as much. And then the line is blurred and that’s where the real fun stuff begins.
GODS AND LIARS – Faust (1926/dir. F.W. Murnau/Germany) and The Wicker Man (1973/dir. Robin Hardy/UK)
Well time to go down and into the religious spectrum of horror… The fear of God or what is against God. Which honestly neither film really cares for and I really don’t either but that’s besides the point. Faust and The Wicker Man however do have a religious element that adds either more to the cosmic nature of the situation in the case of Faust or how the cultural clash occurs between the leads in The Wicker Man and how either ends up rides on how that element is treated by the end of the film. The Wicker Man‘s ending has me more gleefully grinning to be honest, but nothing can at all beat Faust‘s opening.
WELCOME TO HELL (aka SEE? THE 80s WEREN’T THAT FUCKING BAD) – Hellraiser (1987/dir. Clive Barker/UK) and The Beyond (1981/dir. Lucio Fulci/Italy)
Ok, I’m not normally a fan of the 80s, but there are some real gems of fablesque storytelling or mystery treatments within their horror films, assuming you can sift through most of the Jason Voorhees knockoffs. These two in particular touch upon a similar fear of a hell-like dimension being opened inexplicably and leaking into the real world, with the possibility that the characters have doomed us all. There’s a real terror in not knowing what’s going until it’s too late and real guilt in what might be invoked worldwide unless proper action is taken.
Well, there we have it. Like I said, watch ’em however you want, this way or that. Happy Watching.