Spooktober 2020

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to get spooky! And the timing could not be better. With all of the various stresses from the pandemic and from the wedding, I am in need of some cathartic horror. It’s going to feel good to watch horrible things happen to fictional people. And this year, I feel like I’ve set up a much stronger list. For last year’s Spooktober Marathon, I was pretty much watching whatever I could get my hands on. And that meant that I ended up watching a lot of crap. I’m doing a bit of that this year, but I’m also purposely seeking out certain movies that I’ve wanted to see for a while. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been watching a decent amount of horror films, but there are some I’ve held off on watching – I’ve been saving them for October. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the list I’ve put together so far. But, as always, the list has the potential to grow over the course of the month. The first few days of my tv/movie marathon are off to a good start. Here’s hoping things only continue to get better.

Getting ready to get spooky this year!

The Thing (1982): A classic and one of my favourites. I wanted to start the season off strong, and Mark was in the mood for a solid film choice as well. Mark doesn’t do as well with horror as I do – he’ll watch horror comedies, but won’t really touch the scary stuff. But over the years I’ve been able to slowly convince him to watch some of the classics (and some of my favourites). Not only did he agree to watch The Thing but he actually enjoyed it! Although he was disappointed with the ending (which I actually like). Personally, I love this movie because of the practical effects. The story is great, but I absolutely adore the puppetry. I’ve seen this movie multiple times already and I will never get tired of watching it.

The Thing (2011): I went into this thinking that it would be a remake or a reboot, but the film is actually set up as a prequel to the original. I really appreciated that this movie was trying to explain what happened at the Norwegian camp, but there were some elements of the plot that were really unnecessary. It also felt like there was too much exposition. By comparison, the original film jumped right in to the action and didn’t really waste time on background stories or character development. The main focus was the tension, the distrust, and the paranoia. That tension seemed a little watered down in the 2011 version. And although I will admit that the CG was probably decent at the time this was made, it was very hard to watch the lackluster CG effects after having just seen the spectacular use of practical effects in the original.

Party Central (2014): This Monsters U short film was so cute. It’s hard not to love anything from Pixar. I got a giggle out of the three humans in the film, and I absolutely adored the ending. This was just pure entertaining fluff.

When you just want to play a game, but you have to make dinner first.

Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash (2018): A tv event to celebrate one of the best Halloween movies of all time. There were performances, interviews with the cast and crew, as well as a fantastic costume contest. Not only was fun to watch, but it was really interesting to hear some of the stories from behind the scenes. I had no idea that Doug Jones actually had live moths in his mouth for one of the scenes! Hocus Pocus is probably the only movie that I watch every single Halloween, so to watch anything to do with this cult classic is a bonus.

Puppet History – The Grisly Journey of the Donner Party (2020): A friend recently got me hooked on this YouTube series from Watcher. This particular episode features a group of pioneers who take an unfortunate trip to California that ends in cannibalism. I love this series because it sheds some light on less known historical moments. It’s educational and entertaining. And every episode ends in a musical! This was the season finale, so I’m glad they did a spooky/gruesome story for October. I hope season 3 starts up soon!

Unfriended: Dark Web (2018): I watched the original Unfriended a couple of months ago, so I thought I would give this one a try. The original wasn’t the best horror movie I’ve ever seen, but it was decent and I enjoyed it. This sequel came out the same year as Searching and also presents the entire film from the point of view of a computer screen. This movie, however, isn’t quite as sophisticated in terms of its style and editing. And the plot, although intriguing at times, isn’t really as good as that of the original Unfriended film. It actually got kind of boring. And I found it odd that the original Unfriended was a supernatural horror film, whereas the sequel had absolutely nothing supernatural about it. The two films have absolutely nothing to do with one another other than the fact that the internet is involved.

Hello, I want to play a game…

The Boy (2016): Although I had a good time watching this movie, it was very heavy handed with the foreshadowing. There wasn’t a whole lot in the plot that was surprising. I will admit, however, that I was pretty impressed with the twist. As I thought back to everything that had been leading up to that moment, I realized that there had actually been plenty of hints dropped along the way that I hadn’t even really noticed as much as the more obvious ones. I also loved the more stylistic elements of the film. There were some moments of fantastic editing, and the doll was perfectly unsettling to look at. And I’m really impressed with how some of the actors were able to give decent performances with nothing but a lifeless doll to talk to. It helped give the illusion of life to that creepy little inanimate object.

Truth or Dare (2017): A few weeks ago I watched Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare. This tv movie came out a year earlier and is definitely not as good. The plot is fairly weak compared to the Blumhouse film, and the editing and cinematography aren’t all that great. To give you an idea of the caliber of the acting in the tv movie, the lead actress was in the Sharknado movies. Now, compared to some of the garbage horror films I watched last year for my movie marathon, this one isn’t all that bad. It’s not the worst horror film I’ve ever seen, but it is very far from being the best.

The Babysitter (2017): I tried watching this a couple of years ago but gave up about 15 to 20 minutes in. I don’t usually give up on movies – as last years Spooktober lineup proves, I’m willing to sit through some pretty bad movies. But this just wasn’t my cup of tea, and I just couldn’t get into it. A friend of mine recently told me that as long as I could make it to the horror parts of the film, I’d enjoy it. So, this year I tried again. It still bored me. There’s too much exposition in the beginning and I felt like it took way too long for the story to really get going, even when the horror aspect came into play. And even when the gore and horror started showing up, I just couldn’t get into it. I like horror comedies, but this one just didn’t do it for me. Overall, I found it a little lackluster, which is especially disappointing because some of my friends have been raving about how much they like it.

“Eye” have really been looking forward to Spooktober this year.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020): Although I wasn’t a fan of the first film, I felt compelled to watch the sequel in order to appease my inner completionist. Although it’ll never make my horror comedy top ten, it was at least better than the first one. Not only was the horror and gore a little more dialed up, but I found the comedy was more enjoyable. I think the reason why I liked the comedic elements better in this film was because they were building off of the jokes in the first film and taking the humour a little farther. Plus, the scene with the song Apache by The Sugarhill Gang was the funniest scene out of both movies. That scene was also really well choreographed and edited. The ending of the film, however, was a bit of a letdown. I’m kind of glad I’ve seen the Babysitter movies now, but I’ll likely never watch them again.

Monster House (2006): I remember wanting to see this when it came out, but for some reason I never did. I’m glad I finally got to cross this one off the list. Although I’m not a fan of the overall animation style, I love the amount of detail put into this film. The little details in the house are especially fantastic. And most importantly, this movie had a really cute story with a little bit of grown-up humour thrown in as well. The characters were all well cast, and I loved seeing some big names in the cast list. Add to all this the fact that the action takes place on October 30th and 31st, and it makes for a great Halloween movie for both kids and adults.

Warrior Nun, Season 1 (2020): I love badass nuns in tv and movies, so I thought I was going to enjoy this one a lot. But I decided to get this one out of the way early on in my spooky marathon because some friends of mine had told me that they didn’t think it was a particularly good show. Their main complaint was that there was too much exposition. After having seen this show for myself, I completely agree. The first five episodes were almost painful to get through and I wondered more than a few times if I should just abandon this one. However, I tend to be pretty lenient about new shows because I know that sometimes it takes a few episodes for shows to really get going. For me, Warrior Nun only really started to get interesting around episode 6. Some of the plot elements were a little predictable, but I did enjoy the twist around Adriel. And I didn’t like the use of internal monologue for Ava. Not only did I find that it really wasn’t all that well integrated into the rest of the story, but it was fairly inconsistent. Sometimes, it stood out for all the wrong reasons. But there are some decent characters in this show, and I fell in love with Sister Beatrice fairly early on. After having gotten through the whole thing and seen the season finale, I’ll probably check out season 2 when it comes to Netflix.

See you next week…

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