Thursday, October 25, 2012

Netflix This Movie! Vol. 14

It's your last chance for #ScaryMovieMonth recommendations. Don't miss out.

Erich: Session 9 (2001; dir. Brad Anderson) I'm sure everyone has their Scary Movie Month traditions. Mine is randomly watching horror movies I see on Netflix. I should really find a new tradition. Sometimes, however, it works out. Knowing nothing about Session 9, I assumed it was going to be another derivative insane asylum horror flick, with cheap gore and disposable characters. I was wrong. Not only is this story  (about a skeleton crew tasked with removing the asbestos from a haunted asylum) effective, holding the scares and revelations until the very end, but it's also a moving character drama. Tyrannosaur's Peter Mullan, in particular, is great as the troubled lead, pushing his men to finish the job, earn the bonus, and keep his company afloat — even if it kills them.

The Ugly (1997; dir. Scott Reynolds) My bonus pick of the week is this quirky serial killer study, made in New Zealand by (as the description reads) "several members of the Lord of the Rings creative team. In this surprisingly Hobbit-free tale, a media-savvy psychologist asks to interview a handsome killer, whose twisted history unfolds through a series of often unreliable, non-linear flashbacks. A bit rough around the edges, but in the best way.
JB: I am actually typing this in my sleep because I have not yet fully recovered from The Massacre.  The boys were saying on Sunday how much they liked Witchfinder General, and then Doug did his funny impression on Vincent Price. It got me to thinking, "Are there some really good Vincent Price flicks on the Netflix? Turns out, there are: Masque of the Red Death, Theatre of Blood (both shown at previous Massacres), The Comedy of Terrors, The Last Man on Earth, Tales of Terror, and the two Dr. Goldfoot movies.

What are you waiting for? Take the day off and stage your very own Price-a-Palooza today.
Mike: The Fog (1980; dir: John Carpenter) Because it's Scary Movie Month and it's John Carpenter. And it's not The Ward. That should be all the reasons you need to watch this.

Patrick: Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight (1994; dir. Ernest Dickerson) The '90s were horrible for horror. The genre tried to get "respectable," with filmmakers like Mike Nichols, Stephen Frears, Kenneth Branagh, Neil Jordan and Francis Ford Coppola all trying their hand at horror with wildly varying results. That's why Demon Knight -- the first movie released under the Tales from the Crypt banner -- is such a welcome surprise: it's a horror entry that's not afraid to revel in its B-movie roots. It has a good cast (including William Sadler, Billy Zane, CCH Pounder, Charles Fleischer and Dick Fucking Miller), excellent practical gore effects and is stylishly directed by Ernest Dickerson. It probably gets written off because of the whole Tales from the Crypt association, which is too bad. It's a ton of fun.

The Relic (1997; dir. Peter Hyams) Another strong effort from the '90s, still the worst decade for horror arguably since the release of Dracula in 1931. It's a good monster movie. It's set in Chicago. Penelope Ann Miller doesn't fuck it up too badly. It takes a while to get going and Peter Hyams (who served as his own DP) obscures things in darkness so much that it can be hard to make out what's on screen, but The Relic is a surprisingly good horror movie. The punchline at the end of Tom Sizemore's monologue is worth a watch all on its own.


  1. Jesus, Session 9 was giving me anxiety attacks when I was watching it. Really, really well done.

    Incidentally, the asylum they're using there, Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts, appears in Lovecraft and is considered the inspiration for Arkham Asylum in his stories, and therefore also the predecessor of Arkham Asylum in the Batman stories. So just think of the movie with a Mark Hamill Joker laugh echoing down those corridors.

    1. I read that they didn't have to do much set dressing to make the Session 9 asylum look like that, which is CRAZY!

      I appreciate Anderson's restraint, building up the tension and setting hooks with all the characters long before it all goes nuts. I still don't know that I love the ending, but I was shocked by some of the revelations, which is more than I can say for most modern horror movies.

  2. Thumbs up on Session 9. Same director made Vanishing on 7th Street. I think it wastes a great premise but I'd be interested in what you guys think of it.

    Also...gotta give Hymes a break for how dark The Relic is. It's CGI. Everything always has to be in the dark and/or pouring rain to hide the flaws.