Horror Movie Work Week #2

In an effort to celebrate my favorite season (even if it is 90 degrees as I type this here in LA) I’ve devised this column wherein I will watch three horror films (at least) a week and tell you, my erstwhile readers, about them. For a link to last week go here, otherwise take a step forward and enter the haunted house of cinema…

This week we start out with quite the stinker. Over the last year I’ve come to the conclusion that when I don’t like something I’m not going to rip it apart, so this’ll be short. Suffice it to say when I first saw that Pascal Laugier had a new film I was intrigued despite the fact that the film’s name, The Tall Man, seemed an unfortunate bastardization of the handle of one of horror’s most iconic big bads.

The real Tall Man. Image courtesy of brutalashell.com

The faux tall man stands behind one of my least favorite actresses. Image courtesy of wikipedia.org

Title aside I gave the film a chance because Laugier’s Martyrs is one of the most deeply affecting films I’ve seen in years. I don’t know that I’ll ever watch it again, but it is a powerhouse and if you’ve not seen it I strongly suggest you brace yourself with a few stiff drinks and about a half a dozen daffy duck cartoons and then watch it. The Tall Man on the other hand I suggest you… trying to keep it nice… trying to keep it nice… let’s just say don’t waste your time, how’s that?

Like a CBS movie starring Tyne Daley in 1987. Really.

So after that debacle I had to cleanse the ol’ palette with something tried and true. I ran through the list of certified classics in my head and landed on Night of the Living Dead. I own both sequels and watch them regularly (yes, I know there are technically more than two sequels, but I refuse to recognize them) but Night… I haven’t seen in ages. It’s something that I guess I just take for granted. Then I got to thinking about it the other day and I realized that although I know several of the key scenes in NOTLD by heart, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the whole film before.

How can this be? I thought. I quickly made a vow to run out and buy the film before the end of the week, watch it and find out if I was mistaken. I wasn’t and I am ashamed to say that before last night I’d never seen the entire film before.

Booo.

So I watched it and I loved it. I have NO explanation nor excuse for my negligence. All I can say is that so surrounded by people who had seen it and movies that had riffed it and music that had sampled it I had absorbed the film through some kind of social osmosis. I mean, I knew the “They’re coming to get you Barbara.” I knew the trowel murder scene, I knew the end, but I didn’t know a lot of the in between. Sure the characters are a little hyperbolic but the mood is, for the time, insanely dark and disturbing and taken with the original Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, NOTLD is the foundation of one of the greatest horror trilogies I know.

Last for the week is Texas Chainsaw Massacre Two. It had always floored me that twelve years after making the unbelievably disturbing masterpiece that is the original TCM, Tobe Hooper returned with a sequel that pretty much plays like a comedy.

image courtesy of tshirtgroove.com

Ok, granted this would be a really bloody, messed up comedy, but a comedy nonetheless when following that first film. The first TCM is what I’d call cinema. The sequel is a strange segue into that lovely 80’s slasher genre, complete with rock n roll soundtrack* (hell, it even takes place largely in a radio station), punk 80’s frat boy douche bags and a female heroine that screams more than the folks in Alucarda – and if you’ve ever seen that particular gem you know that’s saying something!

It’d been at least 15 years since I’d first and last viewed TCM2 – my old friend Two’s apartment in the late 90’s seemed a beacon for either part 2 or part 4 showing up on cable. In the intervening time I’d always remembered how insane this flick was but after finally re-watching this one I have to say my memory had thoroughly underestimated the absolute insanity of it. I mean we’ve got it all here folks – the saw dance, hardshell peppercorns, Bill Mosley’s Chop Top singing and dancing with corpses and just generally being insane. Grandpa and his hammer, Jim Siedow’s Drayton Sawyer and  of course the craziest Dennis Hopper role besides Frank Booth in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Oh, and check out this movie poster:

Ring a bell? No? Here, let me help:

Now if that isn’t proof of the good-times and tongue-in-cheek nature of the flick, I don’t know what is. Still seems weird following such a dire film as the original, but hey, no one can say that isn’t TCM2 just a rip-roaring good time!!!

Alright, next week, more HORROR!!!

…………

* Lot’s of Concrete Blonde. Weird…

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.

One Response to Horror Movie Work Week #2
  1. [...] realm with four installments of his “Horror Movie Work Week.” Find them here: Week 1, Week 2... joup.co/the-horror-movie-work-week-bonus-international-film-2-shutter-2004-thai

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