2 Days of Halloween!

In honor of THE HOLIDAY tomorrow, I have decided to nominate The Exorcist (1973) as our 2nd Day of Halloween film.  Why, you ask?  It is delightfully spooky, terrifyingly irreverent, and to those of us believers, could possibly happen.  Gasp!  Sure, it pretty much ruined any career Linda Blair may have had, but I’m sure she’s still garnering royalties.  What makes The Exorcist so amazing is the real feel of the entire film.  The camera angles and acting techniques make us seem as if we’re watching a documentary, not a horror film.  And oh my goodness, the special effects are so believable, especially for a classic film from the 70s!

If you live under a rock and have not seen or heard of the film, The Exorcist is one of the top-rated horror films of all time.  It is about a teenage girl who begins acting strangely.  After trying everything else, her mother begins to suspect her daughter is possessed by a strange entity, so she calls on the help of two priests.  The film starts slowly, but starts to really build after the priests get involved.  The film also spawned some sequels, none of which are as good as the original, but they’re worth a viewing for spooks’ sake.

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3 Days of Halloween

It’s getting closer, guys!

“Do you like scary movies?”  I do!  Scream (1996) is the scary movie for all fans of the genre.  It is a movie ABOUT horror movies.  Can it get any better?  It’s a spoof that isn’t quite a spoof, since while yes there is comedy, it still obeys the laws of the genre.  The film follows Sidney Prescott and her friends as their town is ravaged by killers and taunted by “The Scream”.  It’s a classic slasher flick imbedded in 90s pop culture.  You have to admire Sidney’s strong character, as well as the twisted motive of the real killer(s).  As good as the plot is (and I don’t care who you are, it’s good), I most enjoy the mini film lesson the movie provides.  Plus its cast is great as well!  Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Courteney Cox, Rose McGowan, David Arquette, and Matthew Lillard.  Oh my!

Allegiant: Not the Way to End a Trilogy

allegiant

I am a huge fan of Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy.  The first two books were devoured as quickly as any Harry Potter novel I’ve ever read (that means really quickly, basically only stopping to eat or use the bathroom).  I enjoyed the ease of the prose, as well as the fantastic images and characters that the writer painted.  There was enough loss to make it realistic, but plenty heart and warmth to keep you reading and hope for the best.  I’ve eagerly awaited the final novel in the trilogy, Allegiant, and bought it the day it came out.  To my displeasure, I was not nearly as captivated as with the others.  The words did not flow as well, due in large part to the introduction of dual narrators.  While Roth captured Tris with ease and precision, she lacks the finesse to narrate from two different characters’ perspectives.  I am not downplaying her talent.  She is a fabulous author and creates a beautifully desciptive landscape of places and characters.  I just couldn’t get behind her latest work.  I wonder if she didn’t rush it a little for her fans and editors.  While I cannot begin to describe the irritation I feel for George RR Martin’s slow writing pace, there is something to be said for taking one’s time.

Other than the split narrative that through off the pace and ease of the writing, there were a few other things that made the novel feel disconnected.  For one, it takes place almost entirely outside of Chicago, the setting of the first two.  The name of the book refers to a revolutionary group that the characters barely deal with.  The conflict feels hastily tied up in a way that negates the premise of the entire book.  A main death comes out of nowhere and serves no real purpose, except to try to elicit emotion from the reader.  That emotion is hard to feel, though, due to the narrator’s lack of emotional depth.  I don’t want to say it was a waste of my time…but it kind of feels that way.  I do not share with Allegiant the respect and enthusiasm I feel for Divergent and Insurgent.  It just was not the right way to end a beloved trilogy.

4 Days of Halloween

The Ring (2002) is one of the many American remakes of Japanese horror films.  Starring Naomi Watts, the film is about a cursed video that brings death in 7 days to whomever watches it.  After Watts’ heroine, Rachel, and her son both see the video, and then begin to experience strange dreams and other effects, Rachel becomes bound and determined to get to the bottom of the legend, and end the cycle of the curse.  Everything about this movie is creepy as hell.  The bizarro video itself is so strange and disgusting in equal parts that it sets the mood for the rest of the film.  If you watch the video closely, you’ll notice themes and images from it pop up throughout the movie.  The entire setting is eerie as well, from bleek rainy days, to isolated dilapidated farm houses. The scariest part of the movie is the villain: Samara, whose stringy black hair and jerky movements seem the epitome of evil.

The best part is that the cursed film is still a video.  That makes it so much weirder and cool than if it were a DVD, don’t you think?

5 Days of Halloween

I’m popping them all out today to get caught up!  I’m sure my Facebook is blowing up….oops.

Signs (2002) is one of the few movies that gives me the chills every time I watch it.  M. Night Shyamalan is known for his super creepy directing.  He builds up the tension and intrigue slowly but surely and (usually) ends with a great payout.  In this case, the film follows Rev. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson, before becoming the hated anti-Semite) and his family in a farm town in Pennsylvania.  We know that he no longer believes in God, that something has shaken his faith, but we do not find out until later in the film.  Strange things are happening all over the country–birds are falling out the sky, crop circles are appearing in fields, and Rev. Hess realizes he and his family are being watched.  As the film builds, we of course realize that aliens are the culprit behind all of the strangeness, but no one knows whether they are on Earth for good or evil (I bet you can guess which, because who wants to watch a movie about happy aliens that pick flowers and chase butterflies?)  What I love about the screenplay is that every tiny little detail that is displayed to us has a purpose, because in this film everything happens for a reason.

Also starring Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin, and Rory Culkin.

6 Days of Halloween

The Little Vampire is an adorable family comedy-horror film based on the book series by the same name. The premise is basically a watered down version of Let the Right One In, only with a platonic relationship instead of a budding romance.  The film stars Jonathon Lipnicki of Stuart Little fame as Tony Thompson, an American child in Scotland who feels completely out of place.  Early on he meets Rudolph, a child vampire who quickly becomes his friend.  Their friendship is put to the test by Rudolph’s protective and suspicious family, the vampire hunter who knows the family is in the neighborhood, and Tony’s disbelieving family.

The film is heartwarming and funny and not the least bit scary to a grown-up, but I can see where some children could get the heeby-jeebies.  Because I’m the queen of 7 Degrees, I also enjoy connecting Rudolph’s sister Anna (played by Anna Popplewell) to The Chronicles of Narnia and Reign.

7 Days of Halloween

This is a little late, but it has been a busy weekend for both of us.  On with the review!

Sleepy Hollow (1999), is another personal favorite.  Yes I know, readers, it is another Burton film.  I told you, I have a bit of an obsession.  I refuse to seek help for it, so deal.  Starring Burton’s golden boy, Johnny Depp, Sleepy Hollow is a retelling of the classic tale by the American author Washington Irving.  It captures the creepy vibe of the fable with ease, and then some.  In this version, Depp plays Constable Ichabod Crane, a man with newfangled ideas about solving crimes, human nature, etc.  He has been sent to the town of Sleepy Hollow, where three people have been decapitated, and no suspect has been found.  He meets several strange characters, including Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel, his love interest, and her mother Lady Van Tassel (played by Miranda Richardson).  Michael Gambon (ALBUS DUMBLEDORE) also makes an appearance as Mr. Van Tassel.  And we have Burton’s other favorite son, Christopher Walkin, as the Hessian/Headless Horseman.

This film is more creepy than scary, but like all other American children, I grew up with the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, so it is a treat to see it on the big screen, however altered it may be from the original telling.  If you like this version, check out the more modern Sleepy Hollow television series on Fox!