Spooktober 2020: The Sequel

During the early years of my Spooktober Marathon, I’d really only watch what I could find on tv, or I’d buy a bunch of inexpensive DVDs. Over the past few years, however, I’ve had a bit more choice in what I watch each October, thanks to things like streaming services. And ever since Mark and I moved in together, it’s become more important for me to be able to choose what goes on my to-watch list. I can watch just about any type of horror film, and the older I get and the more experience I have with horror films, the more I find I am able to watch the kinds of movies that used to terrify me. For example, I used to have a hard time with ghosts, but lately I’ve been watching lots of movies that feature spectral entities. But Mark, on the other hand, can’t watch some of the kinds of horror films that I like to watch. And that’s okay. But if I want to have a date night with him, or put on a movie or a show while we have dinner together, I can’t just pick a super scary movie to watch. That’s why I always do my best to incorporate horror comedies and family friendly films into my watch list. Although I have a lot of fun watching horror movies by myself while I knit or do crafts, it’s also nice to put on a silly horror comedy and snuggle up with Mark and the cats on the couch.

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…

The VelociPastor (2018): Well, my movie marathon just wouldn’t be complete without a “bad movie” on the list. And thankfully, this was actually a really enjoyable low budget flick. After a trip to China, a pastor gains the ability to transform into a dinosaur. He teams with a hooker/med student to fight evil and to hunt down the people responsible for the deaths of his parents. Along the way, they fight ninjas. The story is absurd and hilarious. Some of the camera work and editing is actually pretty decent at times, but that is offset by odd lighting choices and bad acting. And, of course, the low-budget practical effects are perfect for this film, right down to the cheesy, misshapen dinosaur suit.

The Lighthouse (2019): This strange, art film has been on my to-watch list for some time but I decided to save it for my Spooktober marathon. It was worth it. Although it’s not a scary horror film, it is unsettling. Although, at times it feels almost Lovecraftian. The bulk of the horror comes in the form of the decent into madness of the lighthouse keepers. Because of this, it is hard to tell what is actually real and what is simply taking place in the minds of the characters. Peppered throughout the madness, paranoia, and distrust, is plenty of supernatural and sexual imagery. Since it’s filmed in black and white, the use of light and shadow are fantastic. I found this especially significant given that a lighthouse is at the center of all the action. And the foghorn, something that is supposed to help ships stay safe, begins to sound menacing by the end of the film. Everything was so well thought out and put together.

DuckTales: The Trickening! (2020): Although Mark has actively been watching the new DuckTales, I’ve really only seen a handful of episodes. But when I heard that Doug Jones was going to be in this year’s Halloween episode, I knew I had to see it. The episode was cute and funny, and full of Halloween goodness. What I appreciated the most about it was the references to classic horror films. I would love to see a fill breakdown of this episode in case there was anything I missed or didn’t notice anything. And, of course, Doug Jones’ performance was delightful.

Me and Mark at last year’s Heroes and Villains. I sure am going to miss Halloween parties this year 🙁

An American Werewolf in London (1981): Another classic that I have seen before but Mark hasn’t. He decided that he wanted to give this one a try and, since it’s not a particularly scary film, I figured he’d be able to handle it. The story isn’t what makes this classic a memorable one. It’s the phenomenal special effects makeup from Rick Baker. And that’s the main reason why I wanted to re-watch this one. It’s hard not to be impressed by the practical effects in this film. Although the werewolf itself is impressive, the decaying body of Jack is my favourite part.

An American Werewolf in Paris (1997): Mark was interested in watching this one with me too, but he bailed about 20 minutes in. He didn’t tap out because it was too scary or gory; he found it hard to sit through this movie because it was so bad. I, as some of my other blog posts will prove, do not let something like that stand in my way. I sat through this awful movie and watched it all the way to the end. It has all the worst hallmarks of a film from the late 1990s/early 2000s in terms of the music, cinematography, editing, etc. Add to that the weak plot, not so great acting, and the fact that the werewolves were mostly CG. It was kind of painful to watch. In terms of the appearances of the werewolves, I feel the same way about these movies as with The Thing and its remake – although the CG might have looked decent at the time, it pales in comparison to the practical effects used in the original.

Chambers (2019): This tv show is a very slow burn, and not at all what I was expecting. It was more drama/mystery than the horror/thriller I was anticipating based on the description. And although it starts out as a kind of ghost story, it eventually morphs into more of a tale of cults and demonic possession. I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it in the beginning, but by episode 3 it won me over. The story is interesting and there is a generous amount of BIPOC representation in this show. That representation also served to create some interesting divisions and character dynamics in order to show the contrast between Sasha and Becky’s lives. The details in this show were well thought out, and I appreciated how the ending both tied up all loose ends while leaving things open for more potential action.

Luckily, I don’t get nightmares nightmares during my Spooktober Marathon. Well, maybe a few weird dreams…

The Doll (2016): This movie was decent, but also kind of mediocre at times. The scares, gore, and special effects were all just okay. The story itself was actually pretty interesting, and I appreciated that there was a bit of a twist in at the end. I think what I enjoyed most about this was seeing common tropes of possessed doll, creepy little girl, and exorcism from an Indonesian perspective. I think my main complaint is that Laras seems to have such a rich backstory, and yet it was just kind of shoehorned in to the rest of the film. I would have loved to have seen a bit more of a story arc for her (especially since she comes back in the sequels).

The Doll 2 (2017): This is probably the best out of the three Doll films. Not only is the story much stronger, but the gore and special effects makeup are better as well. The scares are still fairly tame though. Although the side plot involving Laras and the loss of her daughter helps to tie this film into the first one, and it carries on the theme of mother daughter relationships in the film, that particular story really isn’t necessary to the overall plot. It felt superfluous and really didn’t add a whole lot to Laras’ character development. However, it’s not like there’s a whole lot of character development in the Doll films to begin with. This film, at least, was the only one of the three that didn’t bore me.

Sabrina (2018): I actually ended up watching this film before either of the other Doll films, not realizing that it was the third installment of the series (guess I should have actually read the Netflix description rather than just picking this one based on the promotional image). There was nothing really special about this film. It felt like there were too many elements at play so the story felt cluttered. And many of those elements were overly familiar horror tropes that I have seen many times before. There was nothing new or unique about anything in this film to set it apart from other films, other than the fact that I was seeing them from an Indonesian perspective as opposed to a western one. All of this meant that the scares were generic and not that scary. I got bored watching this one.

I get LOTS of knitting done during the month of October.

The Adams Family (2019): I have really been looking forward to this one. This is one of those remakes/reboots that I find worked really well as an animated film. Because of the nature of the characters and the story, you can do even crazier things with animation than you can with live action. And I really liked the animation style of this film. Morticia was my favourite because of the way she glided through every scene, and each of the tendrils on her dress moved on its own. And the story itself was cute and funny, and the actors did a good job with their characters. I would love to watch this again. I really enjoyed it.

Vampires Vs. The Bronx (2020): Although this film has all of the classic elements of a vampire movie and a kids vs. monsters movie, everything was presented in such a creative way that it never felt old or boring. And there is plenty BIPOC representation. I also got a kick out of the little details throughout the film. For example, the company Murnau Properties is named after the director of Nosferatu and features Vlad the Impaler on the logo. But the part that I appreciated the most was the fact that the presence of the vampires is a metaphor for the gentrification of neighbourhood. All of the vampires are rich, white (so white, that the residents of the Bronx ask them if they’re lost), and the stores they plan on building look and sound overly pretentious. This is a fantastic film that makes you think and makes you laugh.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990): Although I’ve seen the first film a couple of times, this was my first time watching the sequel. Although I had heard that this one was a little raunchier, I was still unprepared for how much mature humour was in what I thought was a kids film. And, as a Star Trek fan, I was unprepared for seeing Robert Picardo with so much hair. There’s really not much of a plot but, honestly, this isn’t exactly the kind of film you watch for the story. I came into this wanting to watch evil gremlins wreak havoc on innocent people, and that’s exactly what I got. Of course, I loved the fact that this film was filled with practical effects and puppetry. That is the main reason why I enjoy watching films like this.

The cats are used to my spooky shenanigans by now, but they’re still unimpressed.

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