Spooktacular Week 1: Summoning Up Some Chills and Thrills

img_7934Every October I look forward to watching as many movies as possible: scary movies, spooky movies, halloween movies…  Anything that is seasonally appropriate. I used to be restricted to what I could buy cheap on DVD or what was on AMC Fear Fest (although the films were edited to be less intense than an R-rating). But now the movies I crave at this time of year are far more accessible through things like streaming services and much easier to find.  And although I do have some longer work days throughout this month, I am not working 2 jobs like I was last year so I actually have time to watch all of these spooky movies! I got so excited by this years movie plans that I got a head start on my month-long marathon during the last few days of September.  I am ready for one frightfully spooktacular month of movies!

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3: Based on the iconic film franchise, this show is entertaining horror comedy.  Like the previous seasons, the plot is absurd, the comedy is silly, and the gore is over the top.  This was a fun way to start off my month-long marathon and I certainly wouldn’t mind if there are more seasons in the future.  In fact, the ending of season 3 leaves things pretty open for a season 4.  I think one of the things I love most about this show is the use of practical effects and prosthetics for the gore and horror.

Toxic Shark: A typical SyFy bad shark movie complete with bad acting, a ridiculous premise, and an absurd shark threat.  This particular shark is, you guessed it, toxic and can spray some sort of acid out of the top of its head.  Oh, and it’s bite causes arsenic poisoning, inexplicably causing some of the characters to turn into zombies. The most horrific part of this “bad movie” is watching a dude-bro struggling to get out of a shirt that’s too tight. Although many beach-goers die in horrible ways, this is just barely a horror film. This movie is all fluff, no substance, and not nearly enough shark.

Brightburn: The premise for this was really interesting: what would happen if an alien like Superman had decided to use their powers for evil, rather than for good?  The story was well paced, and there was some wonderful foreshadowing that had me thinking up theories for how certain horrific events would take place.  It was creepy and scary, but not so scary that it was unwatchable.  The gory special effects were spectacularly well done and I was really fond of the thematic use of the colour red throughout the film.  I would definitely watch this again.

A Haunted House and A Haunted House 2: Given that these were Wayans horror comedies, I was expecting something more along the lines of the Scary Movie franchise.  Unfortunately, these two films fell flat for me.  There were a few funny moments here and there, but I found that both movies seemed to drag on a little too long.  Also, I’m not really a fan of found footage and home-movie style films as they tend to make me motion sick.  Luckily, I didn’t get sick watching them, but there were a few moments I found a little tough to watch.

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse: This was more of a teen comedy than a horror movie as the main focus was the raunchy humour.  I don’t normally enjoy these kinds of teen comedies, but the addition of a zombie apocalypse definitely worked for me.  I ended up enjoying this movie much more than I thought I would, and this is something that I feel I might actually watch again.  I also appreciated that although the female lead was just as sexualized as the other women in the film, she was not presented solely as a love interest and she was actually a fairly strong female lead.

Van Helsing Season 1: This has been on my Netflix list for ages and I finally decided that now was the time to watch.  Although the premise sounded interesting, for some reason I had low expectations going into this one.  My expectations were wrong because I absolutely love the show so far.  With all the paranoia and distrust between the character, it is inevitable that there are twists and turns in the plot.  Although some of those twists were fairly obvious thanks to some foreshadowing and plain guesswork, there were still some spectacular moments when those twists were revealed. I also really appreciate that this show has a diverse cast and strong female characters.

Return of the Living Dead: This cheesy 80s horror comedy was absolutely ridiculous.  It was silly, yet entertaining.  Overall, I enjoyed the special effects in this movie, but there were some rough patches.  The puppetry was phenomenal, especially that of the zombie torso that the other characters interrogate, but the other zombies are clearly people in makeup and costumes. The severely decomposed zombie from the tank was phenomenal, and that is one of the best zombies I have ever seen.  But the freshly dead zombie of the film, by comparison, is simply painted yellow (I have no idea why).

Something Wicked This Way Comes: My least spooky pick of the week.  Based on a Ray Bradbury story, this is more of a children’s film and focuses on the relationship between a boy and his father.  It is lighter fare compared to the other films that I have been watching, and it is not at all scary, but it is oozing with fantasy and dark magic.  I went into this movie knowing nothing about it and I ended up really enjoying it.  I would absolutely watch this again and I think this is something that would be fun to watch with children.

Spooky Read of the Week: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty: I have watched the movie The Exorcist numerous times, so I figured it was about time I read the book. I was impressed by how closely the movie follows the book, but obviously there were moments in the novel that were expanded or had much more background information.  I enjoyed the fact that there is more of a battle between science and religion compared to the movie.  And at the end, even though it is obvious a demon is behind these events, there is more room for doubt about what actually happened.

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