Whelp, my challenge is done, but I think I made a pretty respectable showing. 3 more notches on the belt, and our industry Chewers should brace themselves for some laymen discussion of film-making techniques with...
Movie #19: Deep Red (1975)
This was (as far as I can remember) my first ever Argento flick, and it's easy to see where the love comes from. I lack the technical knowledge to do this justice, but I was blown away by stuff like the wide angles, how he framed shots through different objects, how he layered different elements, those moving track (?) shots where most film-makers would have just gone with a cut. It felt, for lack of a better term, like someone directing the ever-loving shit out of a movie. Basically the antithesis of the found footage "Point it here and wave it around a bunch!" style. And that soundtrack. I mentioned before that movie music often fades into the background for me, but this was just great, weird and oh so very 70's. There's just so much to love with the technical elements of this movie. Which is why it's so heartbreaking for me to say, but guys this movie was...it was boring. And I mean boring. This is undoubtedly the higher-caliber film, but in my mini-giallo duology A Bay of Blood was the clear winner in terms of entertainment value. The sheer artistry of it was enough to keep me moving forward, but I was 100% disengaged basically the entire time. Didn't care about the characters, the murders, the plot: it was all just such dull, dull white noise.
There are some flashes of great creepiness like the doll scene (I don't want to say more) and the eye in the closest, but overall it's all this fantastic craftsmanship in service of...nothing. You've got that amazing Goblin soundtrack pumping like the climax of the world's dopest heist film, but what you're watching is some doughy guy awkwardly shimmy down a column incredibly slowly. It was crushing, because even 90 minutes in when the doll moment happens (and again, that is an AMAZING moment) I was ready and willing to jump on board, but at 2+ hours this felt punishing. I also apparently got some kind of restored version with sections that switched to subtitled Italian, and it wasn't hard to see why these scenes got cut for the English release. No idea if this is the Director's preferred cut or what, but what little tension there may have been was completely undercut by the low-rent romcom shenanigans. I mean we literally go from a scene of the protagonist discovering the horribly scalded dead body of a woman, to him joking about it with his reporter gal pal. At the end of the day the craft is just too good not to give it an incredibly reserved thumbs up, but while I'm eager to check out more Argento I can't see myself revisiting this outside of individual scenes.
Movie #20: Trick 'r Treat (2007) [Rewatch]
My first rewatch of the year, I chose this one because I figured that based on the success of Tales of Halloween last year it would make for a good party opener. This turned out to be moot as thanks to a round of flu at the school my party was down to me and our dope IT guy, but we made the best of it. That said, my reaction to this was basically the same as the first time around: eh. Going in with the knowledge that all these people were fucked did help me get on the movie's wavelength a bit more, but on the flip-side losing the element of surprise really sapped a lot of the energy (dat werewolf innuendo, woof). There's some fun to be had (I actually enjoyed the Cox/Sam fight more this time around, and even warmed up to the pumpkin face reveal) but it's really just a whole lot of OK. Honesty the only genuinely unsettling bit was the scene on the school-bus before the kids all get zombified, that was weird and upsetting in a way I wish the movie had tapped into more. I appreciate the spirit and the effort, but much like Krampus it just didn't move the needle that much and while it was pleasant enough, it's definitely out of the rotation at this point, unlike my last movie:
Movie #21: Braindead/Dead Alive (1992)
I mentioned before that Robert Rodriquez's Planet Terror was the goriest movie by volume I'd ever seen. It is nothing. It is a drop of water in the ocean. Being slightly (OK, seriously) buzzed obviously helped, but by gawd this was a movie. If you haven't seen it, I don't want to say anything. If you have seen it, I don't need to say anything. OK, one thing: punching that zombie baby. I wasn't even planning to watch this but my buddy saw the cover and wanted to try it and thank Sam we did. 90 minutes of alternately laughing hysterically and gagging, and it was truly the perfect way to cap off the Halloween season. It's been more of a mixed bag than years past, so I was happy to go out with a big, big win, and I look forward to subjecting more people to this.
1. Creep (2014)
2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
3. Critters (1986)
4. Goodnight Mommy (2014)
5. Screamers (1995)
6. Moontrap (1989)
7. A Bay of Blood (1971)
8. Paranoiac (1963)
9. Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001)
10. Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
11. Spawn (1997)
12. Baskin (2015)
13. Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004)
14. Witchfinder General (1968)
15. Split Second (1992)
16. The Devil's Rejects (2005)
17. Castle Freak (1995)
18. Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)
19. Deep Red (1975)
20. Trick 'r Treat (2007) [Rewatch]
21. Braindead/Dead Alive (1992)