Wednesday, 19 October 2016

My Films For Halloween

 
I do like to get my Halloween freak on. It's pretty much the only thing I celebrate (no birthdays, no Christmas, no Easter, no olympics). One of the things I do is watch horror films in the days leading up to Halloween. These are the ones I've picked this year. What will you be watching?

I've yet to choose my Halloween book, but with my heaving shelves I'm spoilt for choice. Maybe the 1979 novelisation of Alien by Alan Dean Foster, or a re-read of The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971).






Updates (22nd October). So far I have watched:

The Falling: not a great choice, since it wasn't really horror, just a drama about neurotic schoolgirls. I kept expecting horror to kick in, but despite playing with horror tropes (witchcraft, madness, discipline, ghosts) they were all pretty weakly portrayed, before being cast aside as ornament. I'd heard of it from Rolling Stone's 10 Best Horror Movies of 2015. That's the problem - it set up incorrect expectations. If I had just expected drama I'd have been fine.

Goodnight Mommy: a great horror film, clever and restrained and well acted and worthy of wider attention ... but I had to stop watching before the end. That's not like me, but I was unable to continue, having already covered my eyes for part of it. It's possibly the first time that has happened to me in a horror film! Still, if you want to see something horrible without it being overly gratuitous (so the opposite end of the spectrum from Hostel) then I would recommend this. Especially if you're tougher than me!

Update (27th October). Last night watched The Visit. It was well acted (especially by the Nana actress) and entertaining. I think that's the key difference from Goodnight Mommy. I'd say Goodnight Mommy is the better film artistically, but it isn't pleasurable to watch; The Visit entertains and makes you jump a lot more, but also has less lasting impact because it opts for a typical Hollywood happy ending. It often seems to be a difference between European films (Goodnight Mommy is Austrian) which can be bleak and unsettling in a way that feels all too real; and US films, which often resolve the status quo and have a "happy" ending via stabbing and skull-crushing anyone who dares to interfere with family life. At which point there can be smiles and comedy rapping. Don't let that sound too negative or put you off: The Visit did exactly what I wanted and had some great scenes. Even the derivative ones were well done, with good use of sound, and I thoroughly recommend watching The Visit; this is something I can't do with Goodnight Mommy despite how powerful the latter is. Oh, I'd read that The Visit has a twist, but I suspected it 22 minutes into the film, and spent the rest of the time wondering what the real twist would be: nope, I had guessed correctly. To be fair, that's not a fault of the film, which works well: it's probably down to the fact that I'm a writer, so always ask why each details of a book or film has been placed there, and try to unravel the implications. Yeah, sucks to be me, when I can't just enjoy something without analysing it! The Visit gets a thumbs up.

Update (6th November). I've now seen all the films.

What We Do In The Shadows: very funny, I laughed out loud - a lot! I'm a huge fan of Flight Of The Conchords anyway.

Spring: lovely photography, and a nice slow-brew menace to it, but which resolved into a love film more than a horror film. I have no problem with that, though maybe the final bits went on a teeny bit too long. Still, I enjoyed this and would recommend it.

And that's my Halloween films over and done with!

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