22 October 2010

Fright Fest: The Final Frontier

I freely admit, I am horrible with sub-dividing larger categories. On the other hand, I can't seem to stop trying. Ask me my favorite movie and I immediately want to divide the category. How can anyone pick just one? It's hard enough picking my favorite horror movie (as evident by this list). When I start separating, there are always a few left over that I can't decide where they fall. What the heck am I supposed to do then? Make a miscellaneous category I guess.

"Night of the Comet" - After a comet passes the Earth disintegrating the population or turning them into zombies; it's up to a pair of Valley girls to stay alive and stay away from the scientists who want to discover why they're alive.

Oh man, this movie is both horrible and amazing. It's super 80s in all the best ways, but the tension in the film is real. I read a lot of reviews about this movie that made it sound like the filmmaker was purposefully making  a mock-horror movie or farce. I don't think that's the case. I think it was meant to be serious, it kind of is, and not a big joke. It's hard to tell with movies from this time period though. I mean, someone though Leprechaun was going to be a good scary movie. Instead, it's hilarious. Now, they're aware and make comedies.

"Black Circle Boys" - The new kid in school (Scott Bairstow) meets the wild Black Circle Boys lead by Eric Mabius. They're into the occult and drugs and all the other things outsiders in films are supposed to like. Soon, Bairstow realizes he's in over his head but, will the Boys let him walk away?

Disclaimer #1: I rented this movie solely because Eric Mabius was in it and I heart him. Then, he kept popping up in movies and TV and I didn't know what to do with myself. This was the crazy goth rocker I loved in this movie! What the frak is he doing on "Ugly Betty". Anyway, Disclaimer #2: Donnie Wahlberg is in it and he will not annoy you. When did he start to think he was the next Marky Mark? Oh yea...

I love these kinds of movies where teens get sucked into a life of the occult and devil worship. It's hilarious and I wonder where these kids went to school. Probably the same places that have huge school dances that cost thousands of dollars and big house parties with kegs and a bar but no parents or police. Maybe they break out into song or spontaneously choreographed dance number. I'm pretty sure these places only exist in movies and the Lifetime channel.

"The Witches" - Nicolas Roeg ("The Man Who Fell to Earth"- rent it. Seriously) directs this adaptation of Roald Dahl's book. When a young boy goes on vacation with his grandmother, they never thought they would be sharing their hotel with a witches convention. To make matters worse, the Grand Witch (Anjelica Huston- divine) and her cronies hate children and want to turn them all into mice.

I saw this movie when it came out and fell in love. There's something about Dahl and his work that speaks to both children and adults. Perhaps it's that he doesn't talk down to children or white wash events. His books are often scary but they always end with a high moral center. Therefore, this movie is great for people my age who grew up with this movie to watch it again, those with kids, and even adults who have never seen it before. It is a bit dated, but eventually you won't even notice.

"Plan 9 From Outer Space" - Ed Wood, Jr follows up "Glen or Glenda" [side note: I saw it on PBS once and had no idea what I stumbled upon. It was wonderful!] with this tale about a group of aliens who have burned through plans 1-8 of Earth takeover. That just leaves plan 9: turn humans into zombies and vampires.

Okay, so maybe this is the "worst movie of all time" or maybe it's genius. I can't decide. I saw this after I saw Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" so maybe I'm biased. You have to admire a man who kept pushing at his dream no matter how little he had or how hard they pushed him down. This is no award winner but it's not as bad as some may have you believe. I love it.

"Return of the Living Dead III" - When Julie is killed, her boyfriend Curt takes her body to his father's military lab and brings her back to life. Now the love birds are on the run from the military and a biker gang. How will their undead love survive?!

Melinda Clarke ("The Vampire Diaries", "The OC") is Julie and I totally forgot that fact until I looked this movie up for this list. How funny! She gets all goth/punk pierced chick about half way through. I love seeing how people got their start. "Living Dead 3" is my favorite sequel to the original. It's hilarious and kind of forgets it's a zombie horror movie. Instead it plays like a love story with gore. Is there any better kind?

"Jaws" - If you haven't seen this movie you should hit yourself in the face. A giant great white shark shows up off the coast of New England and begins to eat people. Bill Butler's cinematography and John Williams score are high points in an already amazing film.

I debated putting this movie on the list. I don't consider it a horror movie but everyone else seems to. I understand that when it came out it scared the bejeezus

"The House of Usher" - I love Edgar Allan Poe. Who doesn't that ever considered themselves an outsider? Adapted from one of my favorite stories. When Philip arrives at Usher Manor to propose to Madeline, he discovers she is deathly ill and her brother not far behind her. Philip attempts to wait it out, until the Usher curse begins to lose control.

Vincent Price is amazing (was there any doubt) as the eldest Usher, as is Myrna Fahey as his sister. I just love seeing him so young. Mark Damon (Philip) went on to act in several other horror films, but made a real name for himself as a producer with such works as "Das Boot", "Monster", and "The Lost Boys".

"Ghost Hunters" (TV) - By day, the founders of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) are Roto Rooter plumbers but by night, they investigate claims of hauntings all across the Northeast and now the country. Available on DVD and on Syfy Wednesdays.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you will enjoy this show about paranormal investigators. I also believe it to be the best reality based ghost show on TV today. The cast is personable and professional. It seems I've been talking about this show a lot recently. Several of my friends don't watch it because they either believe it will be scary (it certainly can be) or they think it a joke. The most important distinction between this show and it's copy cats is that they set out first to debunk, then to prove. It's always a bit sad when they have to tell a home owner that their house isn't haunted, they just need new plumbing or foundation. On the other hand, when they capture actual evidence of a haunting it's enough to give you goosebumps. Anytime they're at a lighthouse, you are sure to be in for a treat. At one location, a chair moved across the room on its own. At one of the they investigate, a shadow figure materializes out of the floor, runs towards camera, then disappears. I can't even go into what happens at the legendary Stanley Hotel (made famous in "The Shining"). Just trust me and watch it.

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