by Anthony King
If I had gotten into a horrific accident – say, with a circular saw – and ended up losing one entire hand and four fingers of the other hand I could use that singular remaining digit to count how many times I've slept out of doors. To be perfectly honest, I don't know if I've ever slept somewhere that wasn't enclosed by four walls and a roof. But for the sake of this introductory paragraph, let's say I've been “camping” once in my entire life. I love nature. I love animals. I love the wind blowing through the few remaining follicles left on my noggin. I also love mattresses, closed windows, electricity, and warm, feather-filled comforters. So when a movie – a horror movie, no less – takes place in the wilderness, the “wild” of which I'm speaking in of itself instantly becomes the villain. I am not, nor will I ever be, someone that prefers wide open spaces to concrete and tall buildings and honking horns. I feel safer walking the streets of Chicago or New York at 2am than I do sitting on a lawn chair by a secluded lake in Oklahoma at 2pm.
“I know a place nobody knows about.”
“Because they don't know about it.”
“Listen, honey. The only backpacking you've done has been in bed.”
And a half dozen utterances of,
“Are you sure?”
This is a take it or leave it type of slasher that I wouldn't recommend giving your 85 minutes to unless you consider yourself one of those “completists” I hear about so often. Highlights from The Forest include stabbing sounds that I'm positive were just the aforementioned 14-year-olds thrusting rusty kitchen knives into thick jello and dense, dry bales of hay; a song written just for the film called “The Dark Side of the Forest” sung by David Somerville that made me want to jam a screwdriver into my ears; fight choreography with weapons including knives, long tree saws, pitchforks, bicycles, and table saws that pales in comparison to that of something you'd see in a middle school production of Seussical; and the oddest choice of music during said fight scene that sounded like rejected music from commercials advertising pong machines.
1. Diet. Don't watch horror movies in September. This saved me from burning out before we reached month's end. This same concept applies to my planned November watching experience (more on that next week). I will also apply this (somehow) to Junesploitation next year.
2. Nightmares. If your child(ren) insist on watching scary movies with you, plan on several restless nights. In the past, Eben (9) has done really well with horror movies. Granted we've gone a little easy with The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Night of the Living Dead, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, but the kid practically begged this year. Frankenstein ('31) was a hit, as were the others, but Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is the one that stuck and is still causing nightmares. Oops.
3. Schedule. Due to countless fuck-ups in my younger days, I am a meticulous list-maker and scheduler. I love Junesploitation because each day we have a theme. I know a few people on Twitter did the same thing for Scary Movie Month. While I didn't do that for every day this month, I did plan mini marathons each weekend. “You Suck!” (vampires), “Under the Sea” (aquatic horror), and “Child Development: What Went Wrong?” (killers who had awful childhoods) are examples of some of the good minis I did. “Good Morning Baltimore!” (movies filmed in the land of John Waters) is an example of a bad mini I did. The schedule helped me stay on task, and I didn't spend time browsing my shelves or watchlists on numerous streaming services.
I hope you all had a great Scary Movie Month. Now it's time for Sadvember!