Thursday, October 9, 2008

Halloween Horror Movie Run Up... Quarentine vs [REC]

Once upon a time, the couple of weeks around Halloween always delivered a feast of horror pictures.

Then the genre went into a slump -- the bust portion of a regular boom-and-bust cycle -- and die hard fans like me had to pick our way through mountains of direct-to-video/DVD junk in hopes of finding a gem or two.

That's not to say that everything that opened in theaters was top of the line: Far from it. But the experience of seeing a scary movie in the dark with a bunch of psyched up horror fans made up for a lot of mediocrity.

This year, however, is looking good: The animated omnibus film Fear(s) of the Dark on October 22, Saw V and the Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In on the 24th, The Haunting of Molly Hartley and the couples-on-the-run thriller Splinter on the 31st.

And it all kicks off this weekend, October 10, with Quarentine, the US remake of Spanish filmmakers Jaume (Darkness) Balaguero and Paco Plaza's 2007 [REC].

[REC] is a lean mean little movie, an uncompromising cross between Diary of the Dead and The Blair Witch Project. I'll be seeing Quarentine tomorrow, and I'll post reviews of both films.

I plan to go all out for Halloween!


achyfakey said...

I am trying to figure out my horror movie schedule right now. I think I am down for seeing Blood Feast and Two Thousand Maniacs on Turner Classic Movies (!) on Halloween, but I would have to stay up kind of late to do it (and I am on the west coast).

Instead, earlier, they are showing The Shuttered Room, so that seems more likely with my sleep schedule. I could follow it up with my Burnt Offerings DVD for an Oliver Reed horror two-shot!

It all kinda hinges on what FXM will be showing (which will probably be Aliens or something). Man, IFC really dropped the ball this year. The Beast Within is all they got! Sundance too with only Spider (hey at least it's Cronenberg) and Right at Your Door... but neither one is what I call "horror".

Then that weekend, my favorite classic movie house (Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, Calif) will be showing the original Phantom of the Opera (gee, the remakes pale in comparison), with an exceptionally complete print accompanied by live organ on their Mighty WurliTzer. They do it every year and it's killer, so to speak. Hope to see you there (visit them at please!)...

It would be fun to have one movie we could all be watching at the same time and posting about in an Internet chat while it's on.

Anyone got any TV suggestions that I have overlooked... I prefer my horror uncut, thank you very much, so AMC is right out...

J said...

Oh I loved Rec. It had the sort of visceral horror that just leapt off the screen. I truly believe that films so uncompromising (as you say) are the reason why horror films are so sturdy. And that's another reason why these uninspired, dishonest PG-13 dreck are a blight on the genre and the fans who defend them.

J said...

Oh and sorry to hear about you leaving TVG. I might not have agreed with you much on the more mainstream films, but you were always a kindred spirit when it came to the genres you've raved about.

I remember reading your books on Argento when I did my thesis on Fulci and was always impressed on how studied and relevant you made the genre seem.

missflickchick said...

Good to find another [REC] fan... I've been keeping an eye on Jaume Balaguero since Los sin nombres (1999), which I thought was a serious creep out

And thank you for lending your voice to my campaign against PG-13 "horror."

It's not that a top-notch horror filmmaker can't make a thoroughly bone-chilling film within the parameters of a PG-13 rating. Look at Eyes Without a Face: You hardly see a thing and it's the stuff of nightmares nonetheless.

It's that most mainstream horror filmmakers are just average guys (and gals) looking to line up the next job, and if they're charged delivering a PG-13 horror film they'll play it safe at every turn.

And damn, is that boring.