Filled with mostly classics, this week brought out the nostalgic night terrors.
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17 Vamps, Cops, Kids and a Bear, oh my!
Vampire Circus (1972)
This Hammer film is more nudity than nightmares. Even with some classic gore and Darth Vader himself David Prowse as the Strongman, it’s mostly forgettable. It suffers from too many characters, and has a familiar narrative. The best moment of supposed fright was glowing eyes in the forest that end up being little mirrors on someones boots. Hilarious.
Dead Heat (1988)
I hadn’t seen this one since those late 80’s cable days. I remember being a a relatives hose and watching this zombie-criminal-Dr. Frankenstien-esque comedy and really enjoying it though not remembering why. Rewatching it is without a doubt because of the script by Terry Black, brother to Shane Black of Leathal Weapon fame. This two is a buddy cop film, except one of them is un-dead as they try to solve the mystery of who killed him. It’s super fun and has some great practical effects.
Moster Squad (1987)
Speaking of Shane Black, this one co-scripted by him and directed by Fred Dekker who made another horror comedy classic the previous year in Night of the Creeps. This pushed as a Goonies meets the Universal Monsters still holds up despite the 80’s-ness of it. The Creature make up is still amazing as is most of the work by legend Stan Winston and his monster making crew. Filled with classic lines and a heartfelt ending this remains one of the greats of the genre.
Murder Party (2007)
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier of Blue Ruin and Green Room fame, this goofy yet gory film has a true foot in the absurd as art students compete for a grant by killing a stranger. You can see what later would become a staple in Saulnier’s films as it subverts expectations in clever and sometimes funny ways. It feels like it goes on a bit long and the leaps in logic keep it from being truly classic.
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Only a rare few have ever captured the magic of Alfred Hitchcock, and this thriller by Robert Zemeckis does just that. With impressive performances by Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford this is a perfect blend of creepy neighbor and something spooky in the house. The camera work is incredible with a taught script by Agent Coulson himself actor Clark Gregg. I had hoped Zemeckis was headed more in this direction than the motion-capture animation route he ended up on. But this it still a great one to revisit for a terrifying night.
I missed this in theaters, but the follow-up to last year’s Hereditary finds director Ari Aster still looking to take a common fear, this time a break-up and adding elements of true horror. Even though you are ahead of the characters as far as this creepy commune goes, it does little to prepare you for the intense imagery that is displayed. Aster is already a master of the camera and set design, and while he dwells on the uncomfortable nature of relationships he didn’t quite nail the landing much like his previous film. However that still takes nothing away from the fact that intend to see everything he directs in the future.
Master of Horror Wes Craven with almost a dozen classic horror flicks under his belt, reinvented the slasher genre in this game changing classic. I still love the snappy dialogue and horror references by writer Kevin Williamson and the opening scene along with the climax is still as impressive as ever. I just flat out love this film.