Scary Movie Challenge is going so well! You guys kick dick. How about some seven word reviews for these movies?
Slither (2006; dir. James Gunn) I can't believe it took me this long to watch Gunn's creature feature directorial debut. Patrick and I are on record as loving his sophomore flick, Super, and now I can be on record as loving this one, too. Set in a small town on the eve of a deer hunting festival, Slither is the story of a meteorite carrying an alien pod that infects a local man (Michael Rooker), turning him into a killer squid creature who zombifies the townsfolk, much to the chagrin of his wife (Elizabeth Banks) and the local sheriff (Nathan Fillion). In Slither, James Gunn combines two well-worn genres -- alien and zombie stories -- and squeezes new life out of both. Squeezes them until they burst in a slimy, gooey, bloody, wormy mess o'fun. When it was announced that Gunn would be writing and directing Marvel's upcoming adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy, it made me care about comic book movies again. Watch this movie and you'll see why. By which I mean, I want to see Rocket Raccoon fight the aliens from Slither. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some fan fiction to write.
By the way, I've been following the Scary Movie Challenge and have yet to see ANYONE tackle The Baby. Did none of you read my column? How can you say no to a grown man wearing a diaper?!
House on Haunted Hill (1959; dir. William Castle) I love haunted house films, and this is one of the best. Remember that this film, like most of Castle’s other horror films, featured a movie theater “gimmick” for its original run. As you watch it now, you will just have to imagine the gimmick. It was called “Emergo,” and consisted of an inflatable skeleton that EMERGED from a box above the screen and scooted on a wire over the audience’s heads and up to the projector booth.
According to John Waters, many naughty children tried to bean the skeleton with assorted candy, popcorn boxes, and soda cups to knock it off the wire. Tell you what — it is October — go to your neighborhood Halloween store, buy an inflatable skeleton, and recreate this priceless piece of ballyhoo in your own living room tonight! Make sure you have snacks to THROW.
Pulse (2001; dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa) This is one of the scariest films I have ever seen. I first saw it at one of the early Music Box Massacres. Almost ten years later, there are still images from this film that I cannot shake. This unique film fulfills all the requirements our own Doug outlined for what he looks for in a horror film in the recent (very recent) “What Do You Want from a Horror Movie?”
Beware the American remake. It sucks.
The Innkeepers (2011; dir: Ti West) I've never been much of a fan of haunted house films, but The Innkeepers is a top-notch entry into the haunted house sub-genre of horror. It's smart, funny and most importantly, scary. It's easily one of my favorite horror films of the last few years. I showed it to my wife months and she still thinks the ghost in The Innkeepers has taken up residence in our house. That's not a joke.
Lord of Illusions (1995; dir. Clive Barker) Clive Barker's third (final?) movie as a director is probably his least liked, but I'm still a big fan. Scott Bakula plays a private detective investigating an insurance fraud case and winds up getting drawn into the world of magic and supernatural cults. It's definitely imperfect, but it's a good mix of film noir and horror, offers several outstanding set pieces and a decent sense of pacing -- it opens strong, then does a slow burn on its way towards a full-on crazy climax. The most disappointing thing about the movie's failure to catch on is that now we'll never get more stories built around Bakula's Harry D'Amour -- something I would have welcomed.
Theatre of Blood (1973; dir. Douglas Hickox) I will never get tired of Vincent Price in his prime, and Theatre of Blood offers a chance to see him overact even more than usual. He's an actor believed to be dead who comes back to exact bloody revenge on his critics. The movie is overlong and repetitive, but super entertaining.
Edited to fix Patrick's mistake; thanks to F Head Shannon B. for the catch.