Thursday, October 17, 2019

Reserved Seating: Scary Movie Month Check-in

by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino
The review duo who loves October.

Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.

Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
Adam: This week, Rob and I are going to have an “Everything Scary Movie Month” edition and discuss movies we’ve been watching and Halloween season happenings we have going this month. Be sure to leave yours in the comments and join in on the fun.

Rob, to start out, have you watched any of the five new-to-you movies you set aside for October? You go first before I dive into my list!

Rob: The only one I’ve watched so far is Excision, which I really loved. AnnaLynne McCord is incredible as Pauline, a high school outcast whose sexual awakening is ignited by thoughts of blood, gore, and death. Determined to save her sister Grace (Ariel Winter) from cystic fibrosis and become the dignified social butterfly that her mother (Traci Lords) wants her to be, Pauline sets out on a journey of (literal) self-discovery that features some of the darkest comedy I’ve seen in a long time. The social satire is spot on (John Waters even cameos as a priest), and the dream/hallucination sequences (orgies of sexual violence in which the frumpy Pauline transforms into a regal goddess) are gorgeous. Excision definitely isn’t for everyone, but those with the right kind of eyes will have a great time with it.
Adam: Sounds interesting. I saw the movie Trash Fire (same director and star) a few years ago and it left an impression on me. It was terrifying, especially AnnaLynne McCord’s performance. I’ve seen three of my five “need-to-see” movies so far this month: Kwaidan, Warlock, and Just Before Dawn. It took me a little while to get into Kwaidan, but once I realized it’s more about otherworldly imagery and methodical pacing than E.C. Comics twists, I enjoyed it quite a bit. This is one I see myself revisiting now that I have the proper context for it. Warlock was right up my alley. I enjoyed the hell out of that movie. It’s just my brand of goofy horror and Richard E. Grant and Lori Singer are great together as the film’s pair of heroes. Just Before Dawn was really impressive. I admired how quiet, scaled back and atmospheric it was. It’s matter-of-fact quality makes the movie feel more realistic. Have you had any memorable rewatches this month where you liked a movie more than you used to?
Rob: I showed my son Gremlins for the first time this week, so that’s probably my favorite rewatch so far. He also got to see E.T. The Extra Terrestrial at our beloved Mahoning Drive-In this past weekend, so that was pretty special. He’s still only four, so I’m trying to find stuff that will match his maturity level and attention span. E.T. and Gizmo seemed to fit that bill. Other rewatches include The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Silent Hill, both of which I picked up on Blu-ray this month.

My second favorite first-time viewing so far is probably One Cut of the Dead. Is it strange that all of last year’s festival hype kind of put me off this one? I sort of resigned myself to the fact that it would never live up to its reputation, so I shouldn’t even bother with it. I’m happy to have been proven wrong. While its narrative structure makes the twists almost impossible to enjoy on first viewing, One Cut of the Dead is a wonderfully fun and creative peek into the making of (actually, the making of the making of) a zombie movie. My only gripe is the second act, which -- while totally necessary to set up all the jokes that come later -- really drags. All is forgiven by the end, though. I was literally standing up in my living room and cheering the movie on for the last five minutes or so. There’s nothing like a movie that trusts its audience. I really dug it.
Another stand-out for me was Uninvited, the 1988 Greydon Clark thriller featuring George Kennedy and Clu Gulager. Essentially an Alien knockoff set on a cruise ship, Uninvited pits a group of Spring Breaking hotties against a killer mutant cat. My friend sent me the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray after we saw the movie featured on RedLetterMedia’s Best of the Worst, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s one of those bad movies that has just enough charm to be watchable. Eagle-eyed viewers will spot a somber George Kennedy hovering near the bar in most scenes. Something tells me that wasn’t scripted. There’s also a truly bizarre Clu Gulager performance that is better seen than discussed. It’s something else.

What have been some of your favorite new viewings? Everyone seems to be watching The Furies (I liked it!). Have you watched it yet?

Adam: I haven’t. I’ve been kind of intentionally avoiding 2019 releases this month to focus more on movies from mostly the ‘60s, ‘80s and early ‘00s. I’m in a rut with new movies right now (Dumbo (2019) is in my top 10), so my gut impulse is to take a break for a while. I haven’t even seen Joker. I’ve had a good run with new-to-me movies this month. I saw and enjoyed The Changeling, Friday the 13th Part 2, Hellraiser: Bloodline, Christmas Evil, House of Usher and Cat People (1982). I also really liked revisiting Broken Lizard’s Club Dread, Death Proof, House of 1000 Corpses, Splice, Bad Moon, The Blob (1988), and my annual viewings of Hocus Pocus and Bubba Ho-Tep.

For the rest of the month I’d like to see The Horror of Party Beach, My Boyfriend’s Back, The Hunger, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Riding the Bullet, Night Tide, and Salem’s Lot - all being first time viewings. I also want to rewatch Suspiria (2018), Don’t Breathe, Misery, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream 1 & 2. I’m also looking forward to going to some of the Music Box of Horrors marathon next weekend, where I’m hoping to see Alligator and The Fly II for the first time, plus a long-overdue rewatch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then there’s Scary Movie Night at the Bromley’s which is always a great unofficial capper to the month.
Do you have any movies planned out to watch by the end of the month? What have you been snacking on? This is prime Fruit Roll-Up/Orange Vanilla Coke Zero/Green Apple & Caramel Chocolate season for me. Oh and I got a couple of kickass candles from Yankee Candle Company. The trouble is one of them is Christmas related and I definitely listened to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album yesterday when I worked from home. I’m the worst.

Rob: I’m saving Suspiria (2018) for Halloween night. I tried the fall-themed Oreos (I think they were called Maple Something?) and wasn’t too impressed. Orange Vanilla Coke sounds awesome, though. Need to get me some of that. My son picked out some spooky skull lights and candles, so the mood is set at home. As for candy, I tend to be pretty boring (I still don’t think humanity has topped the Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cup), but I saw a recipe online for a Maple Bourbon Old-Fashioned, so I’m going to try that. I also want to try that Maker’s Mark/IBC Root Beer concoction that JB wrote about last week. Looks like I’m heading to the state store.

Anyway, I threw that whole “each week dedicated to one decade” idea out right away (deep down, I knew I would), but I’m still planning on hitting the other four on my original list (The Tenant, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Cronos, and The Orphanage). Honestly, though, I’m having a lot of success so far just plowing through my Shudder queue. Some notable movies still on there include The Changeling, Deep Red, Hell Night, Spring, Ganja & Hess, Prevenge, The House by the Cemetery, and Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II, a movie I try and fail to watch every single Scary Movie Month. The Mahoning Drive-In is doing a Halloween party on the 25th featuring Halloween I, II, IV, and V. I may go for the second night (I would like to rewatch the Thorne Trilogy this year) just to see the decorations and events they have planned.

Anything else of note so far this Scary Movie Month?

Adam: I tried the Gomez’s Green Chile Omelette at IHOP last weekend. They have a special menu as a promotional tie-in for The Addams Family animated movie. It was good. I thought it would be more fun, but after I ordered it I just felt like a big loser. Everyone else at the IHOP was having “normal” food and here I am forcing an experience. #ThisIsTheFaceOfDepression

Rob: I’d eat a Gomez’s Green Chile Omelette with you anytime, bud. Join us next week for more Scary Movie Month updates. Until next time…

Adam: These seats are reserved.


  1. This has me more excited for one cut of the dead.

    2 Octobers ago I ran through Friday 13th franchise. Last year was Halloween. This October is nightmare on elm street and far as entertainment go I would put them in that order from best to worst.

    On my new to me list: suspiria, midsommar, Veronica, satanic panic, Anna and the apocalypse, Texas chainsaw massacre (2003), Creep 2, In the tall grass, under the shadow, Silence... I dont think I'll manage all of them.

    And a rewatch of Overlord is in order

  2. Finally bought a an arrow boy of One Cut of the Dead. I'll get it after Oct. But I'm looking forward to it. I think I am going to have to Add Univited to SMM. Maybe with a triple of Sleepwalkers and Cat people 82. Thanks for article. I always enjoy reading you two talk about movies. It's wonderful.