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My Halloween 2020 Movie Marathon: Week 5 (10/18–10/24)
I finally watched The Addams Family, Rebecca, 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.
#63: The Addams Family (1991)
When an evil doctor finds out Uncle Fester has been missing for 25 years, he introduces a fake Fester in an attempt to get the Addams family’s money. Wednesday has some doubts about the new uncle Fester, but the fake uncle adapts very well to the strange family.
Never really grew up with these folks. We were a Munsters household. So this just didn’t awaken anything for me!
#64: Natural Born Killers (1994)
Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.
This movie is absolutely bonkers. I feel like this is one that would benefit from a theater screening. Its bold, brash, hypnotic, dynamic energy would really pounce. I might seek out a screening if one ever comes around to me. I feel like I would like it more then.
#65: Monsters University (2013)
A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends.
You just can’t top the unbridled creativity of the first film, but this one is a hoot regardless. We are complete suckers for these characters and it was so much fun watching this with my girlfriend, who just adores these movies. I wish there were more.
#66: King Kong (1933)
A film crew discovers the “eighth wonder of the world,” a giant prehistoric ape, and brings him back to New York, where he wreaks havoc.
I have always loved Kong. I don’t know why, but even from a really young age I loved this silly monkey. His story, his love, his passion — they have always resonated with me, even before I could articulate why.
The surprising thing is: I’ve never actually seen this one all the way through. A million clips, many behind the scenes and retrospectives, all other major film versions, and I’ve read more than my fair share about the film. Kong touched me before I had ever seen his debut feature from beginning to end.
And of course, it kicks.
It’s a little touch and go for while, and characteristically for a 1930s film does not hold up in its racial and gender politics.
But the effects truly hold up closing in on 100 years later, the music is buoyant, the crowd scenes are spectacular, and its story and themes are timeless.
This movie makes me legitimately care about a giant monkey. That’s really something.
Sort of cheating taking over the top spot on the ranked marathon list as I knew I was going to love it. But because it is technically a first time watch, I think it’s fair.
#67: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Believe it or not, I’ve never actually seen the stage musical and despite graduating with a degree in theater, knew next to nothing about this one. It’s one of those essential reads/watches/listens that I just missed. Which is odd, because I love Sondheim.
My guess is that this is like the Wikipedia synopsis of the full musical. It clips along at a decent pace, but that makes it feel rushed. I’m sure there are more Sondheim goodies and nuggets in the whole thing.
That being said, I enjoyed it! I’m just concerned that once I see the whole thing full fleshed out that I won’t care too much for the film version.
#68: Blade (1998)
When Blade’s mother was bitten by a vampire during pregnancy, she did not know that she gave her son a special gift while dying — all the good vampire attributes in combination with the best human skills. Blade and his mentor battle an evil vampire rebel who plans to take over the outdated vampire council, capture Blade and resurrect a voracious blood god.
This movie is totally off-the-wall. And I see why it has gained its cult status, especially after 20 years of Disney superheroes and the faux edge present in things like Deadpool and to some extent Joker.
Is it great? No. But it’s wacky and fun and what else would you expect it to be?
#69: Memories of Murder (2003)
1986 Gyunggi Province. The body of a young woman is found brutally raped and murdered. Two months later, a series of rapes and murders commences under similar circumstances. And in a country that had never known such crimes, the dark whispers about a serial murderer grow louder. A special task force is set up in the area, with two local detectives Park Doo-Man and Jo Young-Goo joined by a detective from Seoul who requested to be assigned to the case.
Think of any emotion. I mean it. Anything you could possibly feel mentally, physically, spiritually.
Director Bong Joon-ho takes you there in this one. And it was so great to experience this on the big screen. Check this one out.
#70: Wounds (2019)
Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar.
Did I tolerate this a lot more than I should have simply because I think of Armie Hammer the same way that John Oliver thinks of Adam Driver?
#71: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)
Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status.
Horny vampires are not and will never be my thing, but I always love and appreciate Spike Lee’s work.
#72: Rebecca (1940)
Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously several years earlier. The young wife must come to grips with the terrible secret of her handsome, cold husband, Max De Winter.
The camera work is stunning, the performances striking, the story suspenseful…
But man, it is way too long. Could easily be a swift 90 minutes. Instead, we constantly couldn’t believe how much time was left.
#73: Frenzy (1972)
After a serial killer strangles several women with a necktie, London police identify a suspect — but he’s the wrong man.
I thought I would love this movie. Instead, I gave it one star on Letterboxd.
Let me explain.
A good chunk of my one star ratings aren’t full of disdain. It’s just like “Yes, that is a movie I’ve seen.” Nothing particularly fun in any way and usually just plain boring. Sometimes I almost feel more contempt for my one and a half stars because there were some elements about it I liked and I had to sit through the slog to tolerate those.
I have no idea what could possibly be considered special about this film. I could not even begin to explain why it has its reputation and I can’t believe it’s Hitchcock. I wonder if it wasn’t his film if we would even remember it.
I’m not even upset, I just don’t care.
#74: The Guilty (2018)
Police officer Asger Holm, demoted to desk work as an alarm dispatcher, answers a call from a panicked woman who claims to have been kidnapped. Confined to the police station and with the phone as his only tool, Asger races against time to get help and find her.
This setup cannot be an easy thing to pull off, but they manage to make nothing but a string of phone calls interesting. Reminds me a lot of 2014’s Locke but with even less to work with. A very solid job considering the restraints.
#75: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Seth Gecko and his younger brother Richard are on the run after a bloody bank robbery in Texas. They escape across the border into Mexico and will be home-free the next morning, when they pay off the local kingpin. They just have to survive ‘from dusk till dawn’ at the rendezvous point, which turns out to be a Hell of a strip joint.
This is a ton of fun because of course it is! Tarantino and Rodriguez. I’m a huge QT fan and look forward to doing a deep dive into Rodriguez’s work.
#76: Rebecca (2020)
After a whirlwind romance with a wealthy widower, a naïve bride moves to his family estate but can’t escape the haunting shadow of his late wife.
Definitely lacking personality compared to the Hitchcock. And completely without suspense. Is that just because I knew what was going to happen this time?
But I would also watch Lily James and Armie Hammer build IKEA furniture, so whatever.
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 5: Films Watched: 14, Minutes Watched: 1,571 (26.2 hours) Most Watched Decade: 2010s (4 films) Favorite Film: King King (1933), Worst Film: Frenzy (1972)
Stats for Marathon: Films Watched: 76, Minutes Watched: 7,295 (121.6 hours) Most Watched Decade: 2010s (17 films) Favorite Film: King King (1933), Worst Film: Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
What’s Coming Up Next Week? Cape Fear, The Exorcist, and much more.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.