24 hours of monsters for Halloween 2011
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
Phone in sick, draw the curtains and enter the darkness with us...
In keeping with my proud tradition of appropriating excellent ideas from other websites for my own pseudo-intellectual machinations, I bring to you an exercise in stamina, of pop-cultural fortitude, as it were: programming for a twenty-four hour marathon of scary movies to fill up your Halloween. In an effort to not directly rip off my source material, instead of an annual article just about Halloween, I’m going to provide you, kind readers, with a quasi-monthly list of ways to waste a perfectly good day, cocooned in front of... well, whatever device you watch movies on.
8:00 AM - Psycho - 109 min
I figure it’s best to start the morning with a classic - by which I mean, something everyone has seen. You and your guests are likely to be groggy, stumbling in late, doing their morning routines or just eating breakfast. In screening Psycho first, no one really has to pay too close attention to it, contrary to Hitchcock’s intentions, of course; but I think fifty-odd years on, he can cut us a break. By the time Mrs. Bates is unmasked, everyone should be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, or at the very least, present.
9:45 AM - The Monster Squad - 82 min
This was a staple of my youth - a movie that said, “What if the Little Rascals ran into the classic Universal monsters?” and ran with the concept straight to 1987. The titular club is a pack of mostly middle to high school-aged horror fanatics who discover something sinister in their sleepy bedroom town and decide the only ones who can do anything about it are, of course, themselves.
What’s really great is how the kids talk. You remember being twelve? I do - it sucked, but at least I had a broad spate of profanity to draw from in frustration. It’s PG-13, but couldn’t get that lenient a rating today solely due to language, notwithstanding the violence and danger to (and by) children the movie displays. It’s been remastered and released in widescreen, but for a real retro-treat, try to find a full-frame copy and really dredge up those childhood memories.
11:15 AM - 15 min break
11:30 AM - Nosferatu (1922) - 94 min
A silent classic, embedded above is the complete film (public domain is awesome). Feel free to talk through it - it’s not like you’ll trample on anyone’s dialogue. Honestly, I’m shocked how many people haven’t seen the original Nosferatu. It’s something everyone knows, has heard of and has several stills of burned into their subconscious, but few modern film-goers, even horror fans, have taken the time to actually sit and watch it.
If you or the lion’s share of your guests have, in fact seen it, I suggest the 1979 remake by Werner Herzog, starring regulars Klaus Kinski and Bruno Ganz. It also features a young Isabelle Adjani as Lucy. There are two versions: the German release and the “International” edition, which is not dubbed, but was actually filmed in English. Essentially, they made the movie twice and subsequently, many scenes are shot and acted differently, depending on the language used.
Since the remake averages about ten minutes longer (the versions aren’t the same length), you can cut into lunch a few minutes or start the film a bit early, if you have to.
1:15 PM - 1 hour for lunch
2:15 PM - The Fly (1986) - 96 min
Squicky body horror should probably come after a meal rather than before, wouldn’t you agree? Here’s where the fun really starts - any late-comers who missed the appetizer can dive right into the meat with the next block of films. Mel Brooks wisely kept his name off this production, lest anyone assume it was a comedy or parody, for it is anything but.
This may be the finest example of mid-period Cronenberg: all the gory glee of his early films with the serious character work of later movies. Speaking of finest examples, Jeff Goldblum is never better than in this, his career-making role.
3:45 PM - 15 min break
4 PM - An American Werewolf in London - 97 min
Do you know how hard it is to find a good werewolf movie? It’s easy as hell to make a vampire flick - just slap some fangs on someone and bang, you got a vampire! Hell, you don’t even have to go that far any more, just tell the audience it’s a vampire and they’ll eat it right up. Werewolves, though? That takes time, money, talent and actual effort. You could probably count the number of good werewolf movies on one hand: The Howling, Dog Soldiers... The Howling...Dog Soldiers...
...and An American Werewolf in London! I guess you could count Brotherhood of the Wolf as a werewolf movie, assuming you ignore the twist and also consider 28 Days Later a zombie film (which I do). Still, it’s fortunate that at the end of the day, there’s always a genuinely good werewolf movie, brought to us by the guy who made Animal House and The Kentucky Fried Movie... wait, what?
5:45 PM - The Exorcist - 122 min
This is one of my favorite movies, not just horror, but overall. Outside of the original Star Wars pictures, I’ve probably seen this more times than any other movie, and Star Wars had a ten-year head start. I’ve picked apart and studied this film from every angle, read three books on its making, own two copies, saw the re-release in the theatre and have every music cue memorized (there aren’t many).
Every now and then, even though I know she’s not there, I think Regan may be standing in the doorway when I get up in the night and move about my home. When I delivered pizza til four in the morning, sometimes I had to make sure she wasn’t in the back-seat before I’d get in my car. I’ve been watching this movie for twenty-two years and you know what?
The book is better.
7:45 PM - 15 min break
8 PM - Audition - 115 min
The definition of a slow burn, Audition goes nowhere for close to an hour, but oh, when it does! I’ve only seen this once, but I bought a copy based on that single viewing. This movie ought to be a public service announcement for honesty at the beginning of a relationship. The trailer blows the best scare in the picture, so view at your own risk if you haven’t already seen the flick, but if you have, you know the one I’m talking about.
WATCH ON YOUTUBE: http://youtu.be/yhsrsWcEspc
10 PM - 1 hour for dinner
11 PM - Let the Right One In - 115 min
There’s a problem with this movie. Well, it’s not so much a problem with the movie as it is with the disc. See, when this came out in theatres, it had an excellent set of subtitles attached to it that adequately translated some of the subtler aspects of the Swedish dialogue. Later, when the DVD was released, the subtitles included had been rewritten into what appeared to be English for Dummies. Make sure that whatever copy you watch says “Subtitles: English (Theatrical)” on the lower left-hand corner of the back cover.
You’ll be glad you did.
1 AM - Nightbreed - 102 min
Clive Barker wanted this to be the Star Wars of monster flicks so badly, and it is... if Star Wars was an under-funded B-movie plagued by indifferent executives producing a film with ineffective actors in front of the camera and an over-eager director behind it. While the movie itself is only so good, the excellent intentions can be plainly seen in the production and monster designs.
David Cronenberg shows up for one of his occasional acting roles, but a big part of me wishes he and director Barker would have switched places. Before destroying his throat with twenty years of cigar smoke, Clive Barker had a smooth, almost James Bond-ian voice and would have been an excellent Decker, freeing up Cronenberg to make the landmark picture Nightbreed wished is could have been.
3:30 AM - 15 min break
3:45 AM - Demon Knight - 92 min
Now that the evening’s winding down, so will be people’s ability to digest quality. Tales from the Crypt presents: Demon Knight is a fun romp with recognizable character actors through a bottle movie stocked with blood, guts, gags, scenery-chewing and snappy dialogue, all with that patented EC Comics sharp wit. Ever since I caught this in the theatre back in 1995, I’ve had the pleasure of regularly making callbacks to it through such personal memes as, “If it feels good, do it,” and “Big fucking deal; I got haemorrhoids!”
5:30 AM - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (d. Kenneth Branagh) - 123 min
At this point, assuming anyone’s left awake, it’s safe to end on something most horror fans have seen and whose quality is debatable. I mean, why put an awesome movie on last if everyone’s going to be passed out by the time it starts? Still and all, it’s as good a choice as any to round out a complete day of monster movies (and if you don’t think the villains of Psycho and Audition are monsters, you need a re-education in what a monster is).
If you think enough people can power through the full twenty-four hours, pick a better movie to go out on. I can suggest Night of the Living Dead (original or remake), The Ring (remake), The Thing (1982), The Descent, or if you want to go out on a laugh, Shaun of the Dead.
Stay tuned in the future for more marathon programming, including:
December 24: 24 Hours of Joy
February 14: 24 Hours of Love
March 17: 24 Hours of Inebriation
April 1: 24 Hours of Crap
April 8: 24 Hours of Faith
May 9: 24 Hours of Sex
May 28: 24 Hours of War
June 17: 24 Hours of Parenting
July 4: 24 Hours of Royalty
September 3: 24 Hours of Work
October 19: 24 Hours of Art*
December 31: 24 Hours After the End*
*dates subject to change
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