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My Halloween 2020 Movie Marathon: Week 3 (10/4–10/10)
I finally watched The Shining, House of 1000 Corpses, and many more.
This is my diary for my 2020 Halloween Horror Movie Marathon. It will be a six week long journey where I squeeze in movies anytime I can. I want to spend this time watching movies I feel like, as a self-proclaimed horror movie buff, I should have seen by now — like Frankenstein, The Shining, Hereditary, and many others. I am calling the marathon “Season of the Witch” after Halloween III, the only film in that franchise I have missed. This is a time for me to fill in the gaps in my horror knowledge. I will keep my thoughts on each film brief as there will be quite a few per week. Thank you for joining me on this spooky, seasonal journey.
#33: Blow Out (1981)
Jack Terry is a master sound recordist who works on grade-B horror movies. Late one evening, he is recording sounds for use in his movies when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him when the media become involved, and he begins to unravel the pieces of a nefarious conspiracy.
I don’t know what I thought this would be, but it wasn’t that. More active thriller and less suspenseful noir, I suppose. It gets really intense at the end, but until that point, it found the pacing off. Am I allowed to just not like it? Take my cinephile membership away.
Also, no one creeps me out more than John Lithgow.
#34: The Babysitter (2017)
When Cole stays up past his bedtime, he discovers that his hot babysitter is part of a Satanic cult that will stop at nothing to keep him quiet.
Just as surprisingly-not-bad as everyone said! A really solid modern day B-movie, which Netflix is not in short supply of.
#35: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of serial killers end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.
I cannot believe how much fun I had with this! I usually hate too much over-the-top gore, but I think this film perfectly walks the line between homage and parody and pulls it all off. Wow!
#36: Tusk (2014)
When his best friend and podcast co-host goes missing in the backwoods of Canada, a young guy joins forces with his friend’s girlfriend to search for him.
I truly cannot tell if this movie is self aware or if it is genuinely terrible. Either way, I thought it was funny. But do not be mistaken, I was laughing at it, not with it.
#37: Walrus Yes: The Making of Tusk (2019)
5 years ago Kevin Smith tried to end his career with the movie Tusk. Enjoy this documentary on the making of Tusk ‘Walrus Yes’.
I suppose I slightly prefer this making of documentary over the actual film, but that’s probably because what I like about Kevin Smith’s career is Smith himself, and not usually his actual work. Even then, he can be a bit much in this. We all know the guy can talk, but boy does he say a lot of nothing in this.
Can you believe my favorite Kevin Smith film is still Jersey Girl?
#38: The Shining (1980)
Jack Torrance accepts a caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel, where he, along with his wife Wendy and their son Danny, must live isolated from the rest of the world for the winter. But they aren’t prepared for the madness that lurks within.
What is there to say that hasn’t been said about The Shining? It’s so iconic, I knew so much about it going in. And I feel like it’s one you have to watch a million times before you truly appreciate. So on a first watch, I’m obviously impressed, and look forward to watching it again!
#39: Calibre (2018)
Two lifelong friends head up to an isolated Scottish Highlands village for a weekend hunting trip that descends into a never-ending nightmare as they attempt to cover up a horrific hunting accident.
Full of some really sharp, unexpected twists and turns, this indie British thriller definitely deserves a wider audience. You will never be able to predict what happens next, that’s for sure.
#40: Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
In Florida, parents can hire Wrinkles the Clown to scare their misbehaving children.
This documentary is a huge letdown and even at 75 minutes, a total waste of time. It doesn’t do anything a simple Google/YouTube search couldn’t do, except probably make the subject matter less interesting.
#41: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
President Lincoln’s mother is killed by a supernatural creature, which fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers.
This is the best bad movie I’ve seen in awhile! It really is a lot of fun.
#42: A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
A new family moves into the house on Elm Street, and before long, the kids are again having nightmares about deceased child murderer Freddy Krueger. This time, Freddy attempts to possess a teenage boy to cause havoc in the real world, and can only be overcome if the boy’s sweetheart can master her fear.
I never planned on watching the Elm Street sequels for this marathon. Especially after I wasn’t too pleased by the first one. But I just couldn’t get the idea of trying the next one out of my mind, so here we are.
My biggest complaint with the first film was that I found the rules of the dream world very confusing. Turns out I’m not the only one. Google confirmed this. But this film helped me understand that the rules are “Whatever we want them to be to make this scarier or more interesting” and sometimes it’s enough, sometimes it’s not. It works here.
And the metaphor is great.
#43: Hubie Halloween (2020)
Hubie Dubois who, despite his devotion to his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts (and its legendary Halloween celebration), is a figure of mockery for kids and adults alike. But this year, something really is going bump in the night, and it’s up to Hubie to save Halloween.
At this point, Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison crew are just trying to see what stupidity they can get away with…
#44: Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020)
Three gutsy kids from a rapidly gentrifying Bronx neighborhood stumble upon a sinister plot to suck all the life from their beloved community.
A throwback film full of just enough modernity to keep it fresh, but it suffers from too much style over not enough substance — almost typical for the “group of young misfits who ride their bikes around their neighborhood protecting it from something none of the adults believe in until the last 10 minutes” sub-genre.
#45: Joy Ride (2001)
Three young people on a road trip from Colorado to New Jersey talk to a trucker on their CB radio, then must escape when he turns out to be a psychotic killer.
Exactly what you would expect! Nothing spectacular, but totally fun.
They gave Star Wars to the guy that wrote this movie.
#46: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Dr. Daniel Challis and Ellie Grimbridge stumble onto a gruesome murder scheme made by the Silver Shamrock mask company. The company’s owner, Conal Cochran, wants to return Halloween to its darker roots using his masks — and his unspeakable scheme would unleash death and destruction across the country.
Can you believe I named my whole marathon after one of the more lackluster ones in the whole damn thing? Just my luck.
#47: Hellraiser (1987)
An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover while the demonic cenobites are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.
Normally, I would discount this as over the top, disgusting bile.
However, I watched it on Shudder, which comes complete with the Joe Bob Briggs interludes. And he did what he does best, make schlock feel like fine art and worthy of respect.
If you are interested in following along with my marathon in real time or if you are interested in seeing my rankings of the films so far, you can follow my list on Letterboxd:
Stats for Week 3: Films Watched: 15, Minutes Watched: 1,456 (24.25 hours) Most Watched Decade: 2010s (6 films) Favorite Film: House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Worst Film: Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
Stats for Marathon: Films Watched: 47, Minutes Watched: 4,381 (73 hours) Most Watched Decade: 2010s (10 films) Favorite Film: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Worst Film: Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
What’s Coming Up Next Week? Scooby-Doo, Hitchcock, and more.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.