Happy October: The Horror Movie Work Week (#1)

“Ok, I’m not sure it will be possible for me to find the time to watch a horror movie everyday this month, let alone write about them, but I’m a gonna try.”

That was what I foolishly wrote last Tuesday morning, October 2nd, as I nursed one hell of a hangover and conceived the idea for this column. Well, it’s Thursday now and I’m here to tell you there is absolutely NO POSSIBLE WAY I will be able to watch a movie a day for an entire week, let alone month. Not with the schedule I keep, no sir. Instead I believe a happy median is perhaps three horror movies a week for each of the four weeks of the month. Yeah, saying it out loud on the page now that sounds a lot more… sane. And though I’ve never really let sanity be my guide when it comes to time these days I’m all about strategy, and this seems like the sanest one. So, here’s yet another weekly column I’ll be doing, this one for the duration of my favorite month of the year.

So, where was I? Oh yes, we begin with one of the best. We begin with The Convent!

I’ve seen this film many, many times and it must be said that I just cannot say enough good things about it. It’s not just that The Convent is funny as all hell. It’s not just that it’s a classic set-up (college kids break into a supposedly haunted local legend and awake something evil that then goes on to kill and terrify them) and it’s not just that it’s one of the most original, stylized approaches to low-budget horror that I’ve ever seen. The Convent is actually also chock full o’ GREAT PERFORMANCES, most of which are run right through with nuance that adds new things to it almost every time I watch it. And there are so many classic lines here, the film is just such a treat to watch. Add in cameos by Bill Mosley and Coolio (yes, Coolio!) and the perfect casting of Adrienne Barbeau as the local survivor of the legend that haunts the convent and you’ve got one hell of a great movie!

 

Next up is early 2011’s Silent House.

I must say, after hearing this film was one, uncut 88 minute long shot I was intrigued as all hell. I missed it in the theatre, but I finally got to it on my que and settled in on Wednesday night to give it a whirl. The whole film I was absolutely blown away by two things: Elizabeth Olsen’s acting (who also wow’d me in Martha Marcy May Marlene) and the camera work, especially based on the idea that it was one long shot. HOWEVER the following two things about the film really bothered me: the ending, which is NOT GOOD and the fact that upon finishing the film I did some reading about it and found that Silent House was not actually one continuous 88 minute shot but rather a film shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and thus done in 15 minute chunks (revealed shortly after the film’s release by Olsen). Now, these two things bugged me, but they still cannot take away from the incredibly powerful performace Olsen gives and realistically 15 minute chunks are still quite impressive for this type of filmmaking. The plot revolves around Olsen’s character trapped in an old family summer home, unable to get out and stalked by an unknown intruder(s). Believe me when I tell you that this is TOTALLY worth your time if you dig horror movies. You will feel the fear that Olsen generates on screen and you will feel it rather intensely.

Next was the theatrical premeire of the new horror anthology V/H/S.

imge courtesy of moviesblog.com

This is one of the most terrifying, f*cked-up flicks I’ve seen in a loooong time. Let’s put it this way – we’ve all heard about horror movies so intense that supposedly people pass out during the screening. Well, I’ve never seen that happen – not until last Friday, Oct. 6th at Santa Monica’s Nuart theatre  where, yes that’s right my friends, about thirty minutes into V/H/S someone on the other side of the room from us tried to get up and get out of their seats – catalyzed either by the insanely disturbing climax of the first sequence of the film or the herky-jerky camcorder technique that makes this flick all that much more powerful and affecting (or both) – and fell to the floor. The flick didn’t stop though, and once some nearby folks helped said ‘victim’ out into the lobby things settled back down.

And that’s when V/H/S got really disturbing.

Truthfully parts of V/H/S – most notably the opening segment of the wrap around and Ti West’s segment – deal with the kind of real-life terror that I usually don’t really like to vacation within, but when something is done this damn well I have to recognize it for the accomplishment it is. The main thing that had gotten me in that seat Friday night was anticipation for Ti West’s contribution to the film, as ever since 2005’s The Roost I’ve been a fan. West’s 2009 fiom House of the Devil is still one of my favorite horror films of all time and although his segment of V/H/S unnerved me and even made me a little sick, that’s what I was there for and believe me when I tell you HE DID IT EXTREMELY WELL, as he always does. The rest of the segements were great as well; very visceral, throbbing horror that left some marks on my psyche (again, note the fact that someone actually passed out during it!).

I don’t want to give away too much but the basic set-up of the film is a group of low-rent criminals get set up with a gig to break into a house and steal a video cassette. Once in the house they find a treasure trove of VHS tapes and as they begin to go through them they basically find a series of videos that show some incredibly messed up stuff. And that’s all I want to say, other than if you’re looking for a really good terror movie, seek this out on VOD or in selected theatres NOW!!!


 

Alright, next week three more Horror Movies for week two of October.

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

3 Responses to Happy October: The Horror Movie Work Week (#1)
  1. Tadanori Reply

    Dude I’m 19 and I’ve seen so many disturbing moeivs, including  Men Behind the Sun, Salo:120 Days of Sodom, Guinea Pig: Flower of flesh and blood, Ilsa She wolf of the SS, I spit on your grave, Henry Portrait of a serial Killer, August Underground Mordum, and even the shockumenteries Traces of death which is all real footage. And btw my cannibal holocaust is the completely intact version with the banned 6 seconds of the last road to hell sequanece. Oh yeah and in a glass cage is another one

  2. [...] film realm with four installments of his “Horror Movie Work Week.” Find them here: Week 1, W... joup.co/the-horror-movie-work-week-bonus-international-film-2-shutter-2004-thai
  3. [...] films (at least) a week and tell you, my erstwhile readers, about them. For a link to last week go here,... joup.co/horror-movie-work-week-2

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