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My Halloween 2020 Movie Marathon: Week 6 (10/25–10/31)
I finally watched The Exorcist, Hereditary, 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.
#77: Cape Fear (1962)
Sam Bowden witnesses a rape committed by Max Cady and testifies against him. When released after 8 years in prison, Cady begins stalking Bowden and his family but is always clever enough not to violate the law.
I double check that my front door is locked at night because of Robert Mitchum. He terrified me in The Night of the Hunter and clearly did the same here.
#78: Cape Fear (1991)
Sam Bowden is a small-town corporate attorney. Max Cady is a tattooed, cigar-smoking, bible-quoting, psychotic rapist. What do they have in common? Fourteen years ago, Sam was a public defender assigned to Max Cady’s rape trial, and he made a serious error: he hid a document from his illiterate client that could have gotten him acquitted. Now, the cagey, bibliophile Cady has been released, and he intends to teach Sam Bowden and his family a thing or two about loss.
I definitely prefer the original. I think this gets caught up in some 1990s cheese occasionally. But you can never go wrong with a Scorsese-De Niro pairing.
#79: His Name Was Arthur Leigh Allen (2008)
This documentary delves into the life of chief suspect Arthur Leigh Allen with interviews from those who knew him, interviewed him, or briefly met him. By the end of this 41½-minute feature, you may find the quandary of the Zodiac’s identity is still frustratingly present.
Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac killer. Sorry not sorry.
#80: It Comes At Night (2017)
Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.
I spent this entire movie asking myself whether or not I had watched this movie before.
In the last ten minutes I decided that I had.
What does that say about the movie?
#81: What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Vampire housemates try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a newly turned hipster some of the perks of being undead.
Not exactly my favorite and not usually my sense of humor, but you can’t deny how sharp it is.
#82: Nine Dead (2010)
Communication is the key to the survival for nine strangers who have been kidnapped by a masked gunman and told that one of them will die every ten minutes until they discover how they are all connected. Who of the nine lives and who dies?
This film is not good, let me get that out of the way.
But for some reason, I just like it. The acting is poor, the writing is cringe, and its politics are iffy at best. But it’s one of those I would watch as a kid and still think of from time to time.
It’s honestly hot garbage and gets worse and worse as it goes on.
#83: Lady in the Water (2006)
Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.
The overwhelming issue with this one is that it tips so much of its hand so early on. It thinks it’s taking you on a wild journey, but just think about it a little and you’ll figure it out.
#84: Cruising (1980)
A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York’s S/M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society.
A Pacino-Friedkin matchup already lets you know it will be a solid picture. A hidden gem for sure, this one has sort of fallen out of public consciousness, which is a shame. Check this one out.
#85: Toy Story in Terror! (2014)
What starts out as a fun road trip for the Toy Story gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate in this Toy Story of Terror.
Having fun with this just reminded me of how much I hate Toy Story 4. Don’t get me started…
#86: Haunted Lighthouse (2003)
The film tells the story of two ghost children who are cursed to remain forever on a Cape Cod beach and in a 19th-century era lighthouse. After 100 years, they meet two children visiting the beach and take them to the lighthouse, hoping to turn them into ghosts like them.
I mean…it’s a theme park attraction. What do you expect?
My girfriend and I both grew up with this one at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, so it was fun to revisit. And it’s embarrassing how fun it is to enact your own 4D effects.
Can you believe I’ve only seen three Joe Dante films and this is one of them?
#87: Hereditary (2018)
When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.
I was disappointed with Director Ari Aster’s 2019 film Midsommar and I can’t say I liked this one as much as I thought I would, but I will give him one thing:
He knows how to do “messed up” better than most.
#88: Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983)
A night at the movies turns into a nightmare when Michael and his date are attacked by a hoard of bloody-thirsty zombies.
My first time watching this all the way through. Obviously it’s dope.
#89: Saw (2004)
Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged, sadistic serial killer abducts the morally wayward. Once captured, they must face impossible choices in a horrific game of survival. The victims must fight to win their lives back, or die trying…
It’s surprisingly strong, but some early 00s cheese really weighs it down.
Going to watch the sequels sometime. I’m really interested in the progression of the franchise, I’ve heard it’s insane.
#90: Saw II (2005)
When a new murder victim is discovered with all the signs of Jigsaw’s hand, Detective Eric Matthews begins a full investigation and apprehends Jigsaw with little effort. But for Jigsaw, getting caught is just another part of his plan. Eight more of his victims are already fighting for their lives and now it’s time for Matthews to join the game.
Not as thrilling and already too shocking for me, we will see if I continue to try these…
#91: The Skeleton Dance (1929)
As we hear the chimes at midnight and bats flutter from a belfry; as a hound howls at the full moon and black cats brawl on the tombstones; Through the gloom, white skeletons pass, Running and leaping in their shrouds!
A fun short!
#92: Vincent (1982)
Young Vincent Malloy dreams of being just like Vincent Price and loses himself in macabre daydreams that annoy his mother.
Another fun short! I really liked this one.
#93: The Scooby-Doo Project (1999)
Scooby-Doo and the gang decide to record one of their mysteries. This time, they’re going out into the woods to investigate a haunting there. The ghost is going to be a bad guy in a mask, right? Wrong. So. Very. Wrong.
A Mystery Gang parody of The Blair Witch Project? Surprisingly laugh-out-loud funny!
#94: The David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special (2017)
Set in a small suburban town on All Hallows’ Eve, the special centers on David Pumpkins and his skeleton sidekicks who show a young boy and his sister the true meaning of Halloween, answering none of their questions along the way.
You know what…I was super into it. This might become a new Halloween tradition for me. I already watch the sketch every year. I love David S. Pumpkins, sue me.
#95: The Exorcist (1973)
12-year-old Regan MacNeil begins to adapt an explicit new personality as strange events befall the local area of Georgetown. Her mother becomes torn between science and superstition in a desperate bid to save her daughter, and ultimately turns to her last hope: Father Damien Karras, a troubled priest who is struggling with his own faith.
Saw the Extended Director’s Cut which runs 2 hours and 40 minutes — almost nothing needs to be that long.
I know I want everything to be 90 minutes, and in this case it would diminish some of the most purposeful pacing, but I think overall this could benefit from being way shorter.
She was terrifying.
And I’ve liked every Friedkin film I’ve seen so far.
#96: Saw (2003)
Saw is an Australian nine-and-a-half-minute short subject horror film that was later expanded to a full feature film. The story is about David, an orderly at a hospital, who tells his horrific story of being kidnapped and forced to play a vile game of survival.
This being the original short film and only 10 minutes long really gives it the opportunity to be nonstop creepy from start to finish.
#97: The Merry Skeleton (1898)
A skeleton dances joyously, often collapsing into a heap of bones and quickly putting itself back together.
I realized that if I watched one more thing past what I had planned for Halloween, my marathon would reach 100.
So I watched this. And it was dope.
#98: Come Play (2020)
A lonely young boy feels different from everyone else. Desperate for a friend, he seeks solace and refuge in his ever-present cell phone and tablet. When a mysterious creature uses the boy’s devices against him to break into our world, his parents must fight to save their son from the monster beyond the screen.
Clearly terrible. But it has Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr., so…
#99: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
The apparently comatose Michael Myers is being transferred from one hospital to another, but he wakes up when the ambulance crew talk about his surviving niece, Jamie. After slaughtering his attendants, Myers sets out to find his one living relative who is, fortunately, being cared for by a kind and resourceful foster sister named Rachel. Meanwhile, the ever-cautious Dr. Loomis remains on the killer’s path.
This one is a little hit or miss. I’m leaning towards liking it more often than not — Joe Bob Briggs always makes me appreciate crap more than I should.
And the ending is perfect.
#100: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Presumed dead after a shoot-out with the Haddonfield police, Michael Myers is secretly nursed back to health — and returns a year later to kill again and once more targets his young niece, Jamie. Jamie is now recovering in the local children’s hospital after attacking her stepmother and losing her voice. Her mental link with her evil uncle may be the key to uprooting her family tree.
After 100 movies, the marathon came to a close on Halloween night.
If you are interested in seeing my rankings of all of the films, you can follow my list on Letterboxd:
Stats for Week 6: Films Watched: 24, Minutes Watched: 1,640 (27.3 hours) Most Watched Decade: (tie) 2000s and 2010s (6 films) Favorite Film: Cruising (1980), Worst Film: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Stats for Marathon: Films Watched: 100, Minutes Watched: 8,935 (148.9 hours) Most Watched Decade: 2010s (23 films) Favorite Film: King King (1933), Worst Film: Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
Recurring actors include: Ray Milland, Riley Keough, Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Shelley Duvall, Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Al Pacino, Juliette Lewis, Tom Hanks, Vincent Prince, and more!
Recurring directors include: Alfred Hitchcock, William Friedkin, Tim Burton, and more!
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.