Thursday, September 7, 2017

Reserved Seating: Adam and Rob's First Time Watches for Scary Movie Month

by Rob DiCristino and Adam Riske
We each picked 10 movies we plan to visit next month for the first time. What are yours?

Adam’s Picks

1) Abby

Adam: I enjoy the small amount of Blaxploitation horror that I’ve seen (Sugar Hill, Tales from the Hood) and I’ve heard for years that Abby is something to behold, albeit a shameless rip-off of The Exorcist. In any event, sounds fun.

Rob: A Blaxploitation Exorcist sounds amazing. It also has a great poster.

2) Dead Ringers

Adam: This is one of the few David Cronenberg movies I’ve yet to see. I bought the Scream Factory Blu-ray recently, so I’m out of excuses. I like Jeremy Irons, so I’m excited to see two of him and how can I resist a movie that I found out scarred Adam Thas?

Rob: I haven’t seen this one either, but now that you’ve mentioned Jeremy Irons, I’ll be reading the rest of this column in his voice.
3) Land of the Dead

Adam: It feels right to watch a George A. Romero movie this month and I somehow missed watching Land of the Dead in its initial release despite seeing the following two Dead movies - Diary and Survival. I know Land is not (among most) his finest hour, but I’m interested to see him working this concept within a major studio.

Rob: I really wrote off the whole second Dead trilogy when it came out, so I need to look at it with more sympathetic eyes.

4) Lord of Illusions

Adam: Surprisingly, to me, I’ve always gotten Clive Barker’s brand of horror (I like how S&M and gothic everything gets under my skin) but never got around to seeing Lord of Illusions. I bought the Scream Factory Blu-ray, so the time feels right this October. I know Patrick is a fan of this movie. It has a terrific trailer, too.

Rob: Barker is my kind of freak. I haven’t seen this one, though. Let me know.

5) The Night Flier/Graveyard Shift

Adam: Like you, I’m trying to catch up on Stephen King I’ve missed. The Night Flier is a movie that was put back on my radar because of an early Shock Waves episode where the interview was with the film’s director, Mark Pavia. I picked up the movie and it’s been on my shelf ever since waiting for a SMM viewing. Graveyard Shift is the last King movie on my Paramount 4-Pack that I’ve yet to see and it has Andrew Divoff in it, so I mean, c’mon!

Rob: I’d never heard of The Night Flyer. Miguel Ferrer? Interested.

6) The Others
Adam: I’ve seen large chunks of The Others (that was a gross description, sorry) in college but never sat down to watch the whole thing. This has been on my list of movies I should finally watch for years. It’s like my Mirrors. I worry I’ll get nothing out of The Others at this point, though, since I know the twist and I’ve listened to Patrick and Doug’s great podcast on the film.

Rob: Finally, one I’ve seen! The Others is really great. I’m going to double it with Stoker next time I watch it.

7) Paperhouse

Adam: This is one of the DVDs I picked up at MonsterMania, Rob! JB has sung this film’s praises for a long time and that piqued my interest to see it. Also, it will be nice to see Glenne Headly (RIP) again and I want to see another Bernard Rose film to pair up with Candyman, which Patrick and I will be podcasting in October.

Rob: Remember when we met Alison Lohman and it was completely fine?

Adam: I will never forget how ordinary that experience was.

8) The Phantom of the Opera (1989)

Adam: There’s a lot of reasons I picked this movie. I’m on a big Robert Englund kick right now (especially after Flashback Weekend), I need more Jill Schoelen in my life, this take is directed by Free Willy 2/Rapid Fire/Halloween 4’s Dwight H. Little and I’m so much of a fan of this story that I even like the 2004 version with Gerard Butler as the Phantom. This is another one of those movies where I was too young to see it when it was in theaters, but it has always stuck in my mind as a movie I had to eventually see.

Rob: Don’t forget that Dwight H. Little also directed Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, which is a real movie that exists.

9) Salem’s Lot

Adam: Another King I have yet to see and it will be nice to visit (and re-visit) some Tobe Hooper in October as well. The vampire is practically iconic and I know Heather is a huge fan, which makes me eager to check this movie out. I have been putting it off because of the runtime, but no more excuses.

Rob: I haven’t seen this since I was a kid. I keep picking it up at Best Buy and then putting it down again. Maybe I’ll pick it up for good this October!

10) Wrong Turn

Adam: I’ve wanted to see Wrong Turn since it was released, but I was dating someone who wasn’t into horror at the time so I missed it and then forgot about it until about a year ago when I found the DVD for sale at Best Buy real cheap. At the very least, I get to see Eliza Dushku for an hour and a half and that’s like fresh air for my eyeballs.

Rob: The Dushku Rule in full effect.

Rob’s Picks

Author’s note: I am still a giant horror noob. This will be an issue every Scary Movie Month. I am doing my best.

1. The Nightmare on Elm Street Series

Rob: My heavy lifting this SMM will be finally tackling some slasher sequels, starting with Nightmare. I’ve only seen the original, the remake, and Freddy vs. Jason. I HAVE seen Never Sleep Again twice, though. Go figure. Anyway, after conquering the Friday the 13th series last month (and the Hellraiser series last year), I’m feeling confident about knocking out a few of these per night.

Adam: I’m excited for you to see so many entries in this series for the first time. It’s my favorite slasher series and you have some good ones in store (e.g. Dream Warriors, New Nightmare). Never Sleep Again is a good primer for better appreciating the sequels. Should I bother watching Hellraiser III and IV? I like the first two.

Rob: Part III is campy and fun, so you might enjoy the ‘90s aesthetic. You can leave the rest.

2. The Halloween Series

Rob: I know! Shut up! I’m a bit further ahead on this one, though. I’ve seen Parts One, Two, Four, and Rob Zombie’s two films (I don’t care what anyone says - his Halloween 2 is super weird and cool). Watching all these slashers is fun, but not having distinct childhood memories to go with them really robs them of context. So why do it at all? Maybe I’m trying to catch up with the nostalgia and warmth that permeates so heavily among the film fans I talk to most often. I want to be part of that, but I know deep down that I never really will. I just missed it. I mean, the only Friday movie I’d definitely watch again is Jason X, so my opinions on this topic are pretty much garbage.
Adam: I’m excited you’re visiting this series too! Halloween III is a must. I plan on revisiting a whole bunch of these this October as well, especially H20, which I haven’t seen since the ‘90s. And you are 100% correct about Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, which is a powerful (that opening in the hospital is gangbusters) and sad movie. I always read it as a movie about the collapse of Laurie Strode and it works great in that regard.

3. Creepshow, Cujo, and Pet Sematary

Rob: With the impending release of IT, we all know it’s going to be a Stephen King-heavy SMM. I’m decently-versed in King on film, but this is as good a time as any for me to knock out these three fan favorites.

Adam: I was late in the game on Cujo, too (just watched it for the first time during Junesploitation). Creepshow is by far my favorite of that bunch and I’ll always have a soft spot for Pet Sematary because it was a movie I saw at sleepovers growing up. It’s always freaked me out.

4. Let the Right One In and The Devil’s Backbone

Rob: I’m seriously deficient on foreign language horror, and these are two of the most acclaimed.

Adam: Let the Right One In is great. JB and Patrick did a show on it and JB’s analysis made me love the movie even more. I can’t remember if I’ve seen The Devil’s Backbone.

5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Rob: More homework, this time to check out Fredric March’s Oscar-winning performance from the 1931 classic.

Adam: I’d like to revisit this one. I remember liking it, but I watched it DVR’d off TCM and I think I was distracted putting up Halloween decorations or something as I was watching it.

6. Inland Empire

Rob: The only David Lynch film I’ve yet to see, due largely to the fact that it’s extremely difficult to find legally in the US. I promised myself I’d do the legwork to finally hunt it down this SMM.

Adam: I saw it once in a theater. It’s demanding. It also has a scary Laura Dern shot where she is running at the camera. I never knew someone I think is so fine could scare me for all-time.

7. House on Haunted Hill
Rob: William Castle is one of those filmmakers I know primarily as a subject in film textbooks. I need to rectify that, and this feels like a good place to start. The truth is that this applies to Vincent Price, too. I’ve seen maybe three of his movies. #MovieShame

Adam: I always want to like William Castle movies more than I do. House on Haunted Hill is one of the best ones I’ve seen, though. Which three Vincent Price movies have you seen? I love that guy. It doesn’t feel like October unless I’ve seen a couple of his movies.

Rob: I’ve seen The Fly, The Last Man on Earth, and one of the Corman movies. Masque of the Red Death, maybe? I can’t remember. I’m awful.

Adam: I love The Last Man on Earth! You really need to check out Tales of Terror, too.

8. The Funhouse

Rob: I almost watched this over the weekend, but I wasn’t really in the right headspace for it. Actually, I hardly ever binge an actor/director/whathaveyou’s filmography after their death. For whatever reason, I don’t process grief that way. I just shove it down deep into my soul, where it churns and boils, infecting everything for the rest of my life. Anyway, I’ve decided to save The Funhouse for SMM.

Adam: I bought the Blu-ray at Flashback, so I’m ready to rewatch The Funhouse too. I owe it another look.

9. Society

Rob: You know how you buy a new car and suddenly notice that car everywhere? I heard about Society randomly on a podcast last year (probably in reference to the then-upcoming Blu-ray release), and now it’s popping up in conversations all over the place. I’ve always heard it described as “Conenbergian comedy” and one of the most biting social satires in recent memory. No idea if that’s accurate, but I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Adam: I’ve never seen this one but am curious. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

10. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Rob: I’ve been warned AGAINST watching this by so many people (because of its content, not because of its quality) that this feels like the right way to end my list. Plus, Guardians of the Galaxy has definitely kicked off a Michael Rooker renaissance (a Rookassance? I’m not as good at this as Riske is), which is all the more reason to check out one of his defining performances.

Adam: I watched this once a few years ago and it’s very good, but I will never watch it again. I recommend finding something like Hocus Pocus to watch immediately afterwards or your day will be entirely miserable after watching Henry.

Rob: Maybe Ernest Scared Stupid? I bet that holds up.

Adam: It’s a perfect movie.


  1. Adam, I'm looking forward to thoughts on Graveyard Shift. It awful but kinda good awful, if that makes sense. I think you might love Wrong Turn. It also has Emmanuelle Chriqui to look at if you're totally bored with the movie.

  2. Oh man youre going to like Lord of Illusions!

  3. I've been meaning to watch Wrong Turn forever simply because I want to watch Joe Lynch's Wrong Turn 2. Maybe this SMM will be the one....

  4. Rob, I've also been searching for a way to watch Inland Empire but haven't been successful. If you find a way to see it please let us know! I need to watch it as well as Wild at Heart and The Straight Story to become a complete Lynchian.


    2. Thanks for volunteering to buy this for me, Chaybee!

    3. Chaybee you also have to buy these guys David Lynch coffee or they may fall asleep during Inland Empire

    4. Thanks, Chaybee! I looked on Amazon earlier but all of the copies were international. Still haven't shelled out the money for a region-free player.

    5. @Rob - haha! Well, I mean, it's available.

      @Adam - Easy - I absolutely LOVE IE and will defend it forever. A LOT going on with Lynch's progression in exploration of his style in that film. I think I mentioned before, when I bought the DVD I watched it 6 times in six days. By the last watch I was moved to tears.

      @Chris No problem man! I've had a region free player for many years and it's one of the best investments I've ever made (and it was pretty inexpensive). Check out 220-electronics. They have great deals and customer service. I think they are headquartered in Chicago.

    6. I was missing out on all the American Blu-ray goodness because region free players are so expensive (at least over here). Solved the problem by buying an American BD player next to my European PS4 ($50 from eBay plus a €15 adapter for the power cord). Having two players takes a little extra room but on the other hand, I saved hundreds compared to getting a region free player. Just something to consider.

  5. Wow Rob you've missed a lot of great stuff are you not the biggest horror fan or just never got around to them

    1. I've also become a recent horror fan - devouring horror films for about the last 4 years. It's hard to feel left out but at the same time there's just so much great horror that I can always find something I haven't seen that I want to watch.

    2. @Jeff I'm in the same boat. It's like I discovering a pot of gold under the bed, when fishing underneath for a dropped loonie.

  6. Just rewatched the first three Phantasm movies in preparation for watching the last two which I've never seen, so I'll finish that up in October.

    I'll probably watch Human Beasts because the power of Stephanie Crawford compels me.

    I need some Hooper so I'll go with Eaten Alive (or possibly Toolbox Murders).

  7. No matter how many films you see, there always seems to be more to get to.

    A couple of my planned first-time watches are in the lists: THE FUNHOUSE and CREEPSHOW. Other planned new watches are HELLRAISER II, BEYOND THE GATES, THE FOG (1980), and TRAIN TO BUSAN. I also intend to watch some of the vampire films being featured Sunday nights on Turner Classic Movies in October. All of these should keep me busy.

    It takes a long time for the plot of SOCIETY to get moving along. While I thought that the ending was entertaining and gross enough to reward my patience, SOCIETY is not a film I would seek out for another viewing. In any case, it is definitely worth a watch for those interested in 1980s body horror.

  8. Ten films I've never seen that I want to watch for SMM:
    Jeepers Creepers
    Dog Soldiers
    Demon Knight
    Phantasm 3, 4, 5
    Dead Ringers
    Land of the Dead
    Jason X

  9. I love Dead Ringers, its slow and weird and unsettling. I'm hoping to check out some long overdue horror sequels this year. Halloween 2 & 3, Nightmare 3: Dream Warriors, and Devils Rejects are the big three. I also need to catch up with some classics (never seen Bride of Frankenstein in its entirety...) For new horror day I need to catch up with We Are Still Here. Long live scary movie month!

  10. I think Dead Ringers might be my favourite Cronenberg (although I have seen maybe 1/3 of his movies). The terror in this movie, I feel, isn't the thing that people most frequently refer to (instruments, etc.). Hope you enjoy it.

    I think I liked Hellraiser: Bloodline (4) more than Hell on Earth (3), which didn't have quite the same seriousness, as Rob pointed out. Inferno (5) is alright too. It's main weakness is the Cenobites were shoehorned in, but the rest of the story was interesting.

    I'm not sure what I plan to watch, but I have a bunch of odd stuff around. I might invest in a series, either Final Destination or Phantasm,

    1. I think you should jump into the much love Lake Placid series, I just learned today that there is 5 movies in the franchise... 5! Ending with the classic, Lake Placid vs Anaconda.

      No but for real I've been meaning to burn through the Phantasm series. Fan's seemed to really like Ravager.

  11. Society is so messed up and has stuck with me since I saw it back in early 90's at a hotel where they had cable and my parents gave us pre teen clowns our own room. Thank you for the recommendations guys.