31 Days of Horror – October, 2012

To help celebrate the month of October and get in the Halloween spirit, Fat Guy Kevin Carr will be watching at least one horror movie a day. Changing things from how it was done in the past, Kevin will be posting the movie and his brief thoughts on it after viewing. Some films will be live-tweets, so check the hash tags for access to those.

Silver Bullet (1985)
I saw this movie originally when I was 14 years old, and I loved every minute of it. I was wildly into Stephen King at the time, and I found this to be one of the best adaptations of his stories, even though it was very different from his originally novelette. Sure, there are some corny 80s elements, like the cheesy synth soundtrack at times, but it’s all a part of the era in which it was filmed. It was intense and bloody, but not so graphic I wasn’t allowed to see it as a teenager. Even today, Silver Bullet continues to be one of my favorite werewolf movies. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Revenant (2012)
I watched this movie for review on DVD. It’s a bit of a diversion from your standard zombie movie, tapping into the original legends that spawned vampires. For the zany comedy angle of this film, there’s an interesting nod to what the reality of the undead would be like. It kind of falls apart near the end, but on the whole, the movie’s an interesting change from your humdrum zombie comedy. (3 out of 5 stars)

V/H/S (2012)
I’m not a fan of found footage movies at all, but I do appreciate this film’s stab at the genre. Rather than dragging a small story into a feature-length or playing a fake documentary angle, this movie delivers a cool anthology of horror movies. Better than most found footage movies and anthology films, the whole is definitely better than the sum of its parts. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Dark Shadows (2012)
I rewatched this in order to write an FSR drinking game and for review. While it looks fantastic, the movie never quite finds its footing. My opinion from seeing it in the theater hasn’t changed. Check out my original theatrical review here. (2 out of 5 stars)

Frankenweenie (2012)
I guess it was a Tim Burton sort of day for me. Check out my full theatrical review of this movie here. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
I had seen this movie years ago when I was assembling my horror film knowledge in high school. I liked the original Chainsaw, but this sequel left a lot to be desired. It has a great set-up, and it does some different things there. However, the weak third act deteriorates into just a lot of screaming with no real action of scares. (2 out of 5 stars)

Vincent (1982)
I had seen this short film years ago, and again last year at the 24-hour Horror Marathon, though that print was in German. After seeing Frankenweenie, I wanted to show my kids some of Tim Burtor’s earlier works. This is such a fantastic tribute to Vincent Price, and it really shows an early look at Burton’s style. I love animation, and the stop-motion presentation of this film was beautiful. (5 out of 5 stars)

Frankenweenie (1984)
Continuing with showing my kids the Tim Burton short films, we checked out this live-action short film, which acutally resulted in him being fired by Disney. After seeing the feature-length Frankenweenie, this is very neat to see to show how the two line up. However, the feature-length version is better constructed with better design. This is a cute footnote in Burton’s career, though, and cool to watch knowing the context of the mid-80s. (3 out of 5 stars)

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)
I had been curious about this film since I heard it was being made. I did like the sequels to [REC], so I was interested to see how this diversion stacked up. While it was clearly a lower-budget outing, there was enough differenc ein the story to keep me interested. It wasn’t just a sloppy zombie flick. Instead, this movie furthered things a bit more. And, best of all, it wasn’t found footage. (3 out of 5 stars)

The Burning (1981)
Watched this as part of the late-night live-tweet. It was a decent 80s slasher flick, though very derivative of Friday the 13th. Had all the elements you need, including gory deaths and nudity, but it does fall apart a bit in the middle. (2 out of 5 stars)

Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)
Tried to watch this movie with my son, and he fell asleep. Originally, I liked this movie when I saw it in the 80s. However, it just doesn’t quite hold up. It has some fun meta references, but it just gets a little too silly for its own good. Though that pizza crust gag still makes me laugh. (2 out of 5 stars)

House of Wax (1953)
Watched this film after getting my boys interested in Vincent Price with the Tim Burton short Vincnet. I always loved this movie for its creepy nature and clever plot. It’s a great movie, even without the 3D effect. The only problem is that watching it again just makes me more angry about the awful 2005 remake (which is a remake in name only). (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012)
Watched this for review on Blu-ray. It’s a lot of fun. Sure, it’s got the problems with direct-to-video movies, but on the whole it’s a nice little monster movie. It works as a period piece, and it’s nice to see it not being another teen angst Twilight kind of movie. (3 out of 5 stars)

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII (2012)
Used this as a patch for a missing film in my 31 Days of Horror. It’s a fun tradition for Simpsons fans, though this feature has lost some pizzazz over the years. There are some cute jokes on the Mayans and Obama in 2012, but it’s a softer version of a rather fantastic tradition. (2 out of 5 stars)

From a Whisper to a Scream (1987)
I watched this movie for two reasons: It was an anthology (which is the subject of an upcoming podcast) and because it had Vincent Price in it. Boy, was that a mistake. Price phoned in his lines at the end of his career. The writing was terrible, and the production value was worse. Boring and stupid. (1 out of 5 stars)

Sinister (2012)
Check out my full theatrical review of this movie here. (4 out of 5 stars)

Tales from the Crypt (1972)
I’ve seen this a couple times before, and it’s a somewhat low-key PG horror film from the 70s, but it’s fully in the spirit of the old EC Comics. (3 out of 5 stars)

Monster High: Ghouls Rule (2012)
This is a silly tween cartoon with a monster movie theme. It works if you’re a girl under the age of 12, kind of like a monster version of Bratz. I’m not the target market, but I’m sure they would love it. (2 out of 5 stars)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: Made almost 90 years ago, this is a strong silent film that ushered in Universal’s heyday of monster movies. Silly and corny by today’s standards, the production design and make-up are very impressive before filmmaking became less theatrical. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Invisible Man (1933)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: One of my personal favorite Universal monster movies, this adaptation of H.G. Wells’ brilliant novel is exceptionally done, whether taken in context of its day or not. It’s a daring use of an actor (Claude Rains) to not show him until the very end. The effects are very impressive for 1933, and it shows the monster residing in a man’s mind rather than as an external force. (5 out of 5 stars)

Dracula (1931)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: This is the movie that started Universal’s monster movie craze, and it’s one of the greats. It still has remnants of slow-moving silent films to it, but it’s use of cinematography and development of atmosphere is amazing. Plus, Bela Lugosi was phenomenal creating the legendary role. (4 out of 5 stars)

Frankenstein (1931)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: As a follow-up to Dracula, you couldn’t do better. Just as Dracula galvanized Lugosi as a horror movie star, Frankenstein did the same for Boris Karloff. This is the start of a series that actually held up better with the sequels. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Wolf Man (1941)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: As tragic and beautiful as Frankenstein was, this took a different look at a tormented character. One of the great werewolf movies which helped launch Lon Chaney Jr. into the Universal monster craze, this movie is still compelling today. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Mummy (1932)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: Another fantastic and iconic role by Boris Karloff, this version of The Mummy is more about the character than the monster. It’s one of the more cerebral Universal monster movies and features real development of the monster himself, rather than just becoming a lumbering oaf. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: Fun in 3D or 2D, Creature from the Black Lagoon represents the resurgence of the Universal monster movie. It’s silly and rather loud at times, but it fits in well with the 50s thrills. Plus, Julia Adams was a real hottie back then. (3 out of 5 stars)

Carrie (1976)
I’m a huge Stephen King fan, and even though this movie exists almost embarrassingly in the 70s, it’s still a fantastic adaptation of King’s work. Tragic and brutal, Carrie is, in my opinion, and untouchable classic. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Young Frankenstein (1974)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: I’m a huge Mel Brooks fan, and this is my absolute favorite movie from him. Made with true love for the old black-and-white Universal monster movies, Young Frankenstein is hilarious, touching and brilliant. (5 out of 5 stars)

Mad Monster Party? (1967)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: I had only heard of this film a few months ago when it got a new DVD release. As much as I love Rankin-Bass animation, this was too long and dripped of the 60s. It definitely has its moments, but on the whole, it’s a bit of a mess. (2 out of 5 stars)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: I remember seeing this movie as a kid, and it was much scarier then. But it’s still funny now. Helping to revive the failing Universal Monsters franchise, this is as much their movie as it is Bud Abbott’s and Lou Costello’s. It’s a great little tribute film, featuring Bela Lugosi in only his second outing as Count Dracula. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Monster Squad (1987)
Part of our family’s Monsterthon: Even though I grew up in the 80s, I didn’t see this movie until a few years ago. It was great to share with my kids, paying homage to some great movie monsters. It’s a real tween boy movie, and it beats the pants off of The Goonies any day. (4 out of 5 stars)

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
I didn’t like this movie when I first saw it two years ago, and I dislike it now for the same reasons. While the first and third installments were solid, this was derivative with deliberately stupid characters I had zero sympathy for. This was a misfire in the series that could otherwise be very creepy and fun. (1 out of 5 stars)

Trilogy of Terror (1975)
Catching up on some anthology horror movies, I finally took a chance on this flick. I think I had avoided it because it was a TV movie, but it’s not a bad little thriller. It’s an interesting choice to use Karen Black in each segment, and while the first two installments were just okay, the final one is pretty powerful and clear as to why it has become an iconic cult favorite. (3 out of 5 stars)

Prometheus (2012)

Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Revenge of the Creature (1955)

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

White Zombie (1933)

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

The Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Kill List (2011)

Possession (1981)

Videodrome (1983)

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

The Last Circus (2011)

Werewolves on Wheels (1971)

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Silent Hill (2006)

The Vault of Horror (1973)

Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012)

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012)

The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)

Daughters of Satan (1972)

Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)

Dràcula (1931)

Werewolf of London (1935)

Halloween (1978)

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