Friday, October 18, 2013
Netflix This Movie! Vol. 47
Watch these and enter them as part of the Scary Movie Challenge! Let's get over 1,000 this week!
The Wolf Man (1941, dir. George Waggner) Boy, do I feel dumb. I've probably seen The Wolf Man a dozen times and it took until this recent viewing for me to really emotionally connect with it. I was really affected by the tragedy of the story this time around. It's weird. Why hasn't this happened before? Is it misdirection because of how silly Larry Talbot's (Lon Chaney Jr.) wooing of Gwen is at the beginning? Is it me paying more attention to the iconography around the movie (the makeup, the music, production design etc.) and not the story? I think what it was is that I just re-watched Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman at the Massacre the other day and they mentioned that John Talbot (Claude Rains) died of grief over his son Larry's death. So I was focused on the father-son story when I re-watched The Wolf Man. It's so beautifully sad -- they really cared about one another. The Wolf Man has slowly been vaulting its way up the list of my favorite Universal Horror movies, and upon this re-watch I think it's now my favorite (the previous title holder was The Invisible Man). Have you ever had that happen? Where a completely different movie (like a sequel in this case) enhances your estimation of another movie?
Nightmares In Red, White, and Blue (2009, dir. Andrew Monument) Based on an extensively researched book, this is a very well done documentary about the many aspects of the American horror film, from its origins in the silent era to the glut of independent horror in the 1970s and right up to now. Quite a bit of time is spent with directors John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Roger Corman, and George Romero explaining the social and political climates that led to the creation of very different kinds of horror movies over the years. It's thoughtful and well done, with what seems to be about two hundred movies chronologically represented in clip form throughout. By the time the final credits roll, you'll want to watch every horror movie ever made (if you didn't already).
Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010, dir. Eli Craig) How about a mid-month respite from your heretofore steady diet of beheadings, eye-gougings, ritual cannibalism, killer dolls, killer monkeys, and killer squid? I first saw Tucker and Dale two years ago, loved it, and I have loved it even more with each successive viewing. (I am watching it again right now as I type this; I can type and watch TV.) Like successful horror anthologies, you can count the number of successful horror comedies on one hand -- this is one of them. I don't think I have laughed harder in the last five years than I did during the scene describing a merry mix-up involving a bees' nest and a chainsaw. This film also showed me the full range of Alan Tudyk, who I had previously known only as the pirate guy in Dodgeball. Consider this one a palate cleanser before going back to your second course of bloodletting, ritual sacrifice, disembowelment, paper cuts, impalement, and tears shed over spilled milk.
John Dies at the End (2012, dir. Don Coscarelli) Not everything about John Dies at the End works, but Don Coscarelli movies are so interesting and unique to him -- his movies could only be made by him -- that it's well worth a look this Scary Movie Month. The film is as trippy as any of the Phantasm films, only it's much, much funnier. The stuff that's good about the movie plays like gangbusters, and it's not afraid to double down on its weirdness and get completely crazy in the third act. You're not going to see another horror movie like it this year. Or any year, for that matter.