31 Days of Halloween: Days 1-15

31 Days of Halloween Horror Films with Sam on Betties N Brimstone blog
Sam returns with more Halloween reviews.

"31 Days of Halloween" has become a sort of tradition for me. My goal is simple; watch a horror movie every day starting on October 1st and finishing on Halloween itself. I don’t make a list beforehand, so most of my decisions are spur of the moment, at least until the last week. Then, I have a very specific list I go through. It all culminates with watching Hellraiser on the 31st, my all-time favorite horror movie. Below is a brief summary of those films I have watched already.

October 1: Monster Squad (1987)
A childhood favorite. A group of preteens come together to stop Dracula and the rest of the Universal Monsters from destroying the world. Just about the most "80's" movie I can think of, and it was one of the first “scary” movies I was able to sit through as a kid.

October 2: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
Literally the gay-est ANOES film in the series. I watched this one after seeing the documentary (Never Sleep Again), which details just how many gay undertones were put in this movie, and apparently made it through the censor board without them realizing. I hadn’t seen this movie in years and it’s actually pretty good and really took an interesting look at horror in general. This movie essentially told a story about struggling with sexuality (and homosexuality) and reversed the typical roles of the man rescuing the woman. This was something very ahead of its time.

October 3: Deathgasm (2015)
The most metal horror movie of all time. A misunderstood teen from New Zealand starts a black metal band that unknowingly unleashes Hell on Earth. This is a horror comedy with a huge emphasis on both. This movie has fantastic gore and special effects, all while being genuinely funny. Highly recommended.

October 4: Stage Fright (2014)
Think Glee the horror movie. Meat Loaf is in this movie, and he’s pretty good. Another horror comedy that was genuinely funny. I was expecting to be disappointed by this movie because, again, Glee the horror movie, but instead was treated to a very well done movie. Not many negative comments to be made about this movie. Check it out!

October 5: Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Wow, another horror comedy. I saw this movie when it first came out and fell in love immediately. This movie brought something very unique to the genre and should be seen by any horror fan. The premise is a documentary crew follows the next slasher icon who gives them a behind the scenes look at his method and all the work he does to establish this. Awesome!

October 6: Graveyard Shift (1990)
I have no idea. I bought this movie a while ago and just got around to watching it. It’s Stephen King, so that’s something? It’s hard to even explain with this movie is about other than to say there is a factory built on top of like a giant cave system that is the home of a giant bat creature that eats people in the factory? I don’t know if that’s even accurate but that’s about all I took from it. Cool effects at least? Largely forgettable though. Many better movies than this.

October 7: We Are Still Here (2015)
This movie appears to be a throwback to late 70's horror. It starts off like a traditional slow burner, but then it goes nuts. I love this movie, and this it has one of the most interesting and unique ghost designs in recent history. Just see this one - don’t look it up - just see it.

October 8: The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
This movie is brutal. This movie is uncomfortable. This movie is unsettling. It does everything a horror movie should do. Alexandre Aja is probably my favorite of the next generation horror directors. I would argue this movie is better than Wes Craven’s original. This is not for the faint of heart. Highly recommended!

October 9: The Final Girls (2015)
Horror Comedy again! This movie is like a love letter to 80's slashers. You can tell the movie director knows the genre well and really loves it. Much heavier on the comedy than horror (PG-13), but I think any horror fan will greatly appreciate and enjoy this movie.

October 10: Children of the Corn Genesis (2011)
Well, this was my first big misstep of the season. I LOVE Children of the Corn and I find myself wanting to watch the movie regularly. So, instead of watching something that I know I’ll enjoy, I went for this garbage movie. There is nothing redeeming about this movie. It feels like it was just some random story that they just tacked Children of the Corn on. Don’t ever watch this movie.

October 11: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: (1989)
I’m not really sure what to say about this one. For the 5th film in the ANOES series, it was strangely serious. This entry has a lot of really weird subtext concerning teen pregnancy and abortion. Probably my least favorite in the series, but Robert Englund is fantastic as always.

October 12: The Nightmare (2015)
A documentary about the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. This tells the story of different people from different walks of life from all over the world suffering from the same issue. To make matters worse, they all report being stalked by similar malevolent presences. Deeply unsettling.

October 13: Argento's Dracula 3D (2012) 
Well, this is a thing. So you may know Dario Argento as the legendary horror director from Italy with credits such as Suspira and Deep Red. Argento is known for having some of the most beautiful cinematography in horror cinema. His work is idolized and he earned his place in the annals of horror. That being said, this is..., I just..., well..., Dracula turns into a praying mantis. I can't get past this. Like yeah, that's a spoiler, and its not even a major part of the movie, but he turns into a giant praying mantis. I just can't. The movie doesn't have great special effects or anything, and the story is Dracula, but, again, GIANT PRAYING MANTIS. His daughter, Asia Argento, is a main character in this movie, as she is in most of his movies, and I do have a rather large crush on her, but even having her in the movie can't come close to saving it. Maybe it isn't fair to say that the movie needs saving, because it really isn't bad, but again, praying mantis. At what point did someone say, "You know what? Let's just have him turn into a praying mantis, but not just any praying mantis - a giant one." And even more bizarre, other people were like, "Yeah that's a great idea!" Eh, stay away from this one, as there are infinitely better Dracula films out there. 

October 14: Wrong Turn 5 (2012) 
So, at some point in my life, I saw the original Wrong Turn movie and thought, "meh this is decent at best."  Then I started collecting more and more horror films, and at some point I was able to pick up the 4th one for like a dollar, so being the collector I am, I wound up buying the rest. It seems like there is another entry in this "franchise" every time I look (not that anyone is asking for them).  The story is essentially just retold in each movie, mountain men killing teens, the teens die, mountain men live, the end. What shocked me with this one is that Douglas Bradley, Pinhead himself, stars in this movie. Douglas Bradley is an absolutely fantastic actor, and it's crazy how much he carries this film. The film itself is very hokey and cheesy, some cool kills and effects at times, but other than that, just a forgettable direct to dvd movie. Then you have Bradley, who just changes the tone of this film anytime he's in the scene. His presence is so commanding and authoritative that it seems out of place with all the goofiness of this film. Its worth watching just to see him, but other than that, its just the same movie we've seen time and time again.

October 15: Goosebumps (2015)
Just let me say this to start: I know I'm biased. Goosebumps was my entire childhood, and one of my most prized possessions is the original book series from when I was a little boy. We are talking 20+ years old, and most of them are in perfect condition due to me being obsessive and collecting at even that young of an age (all my money went to buying new Goosebumps). So to the movie. I love it, simple as that. It is genuinely funny, like laugh out loud in the theater funny. The story itself is very fun and it was great to see all the characters come alive. I HATE JACK BLACK, like with a passion, but in this movie he does a fantastic job. I can't say enough good things about this movie. The only complaint I can come up with is that I was a bit surprised by some of the monster choices, and even more so, some that we didn't see (How do we not see Carly Beth!?).  Other than that, which again I say is a minor gripe, this move is a blast. Take your kids to see it, take yourself to see it, just get there. I liked it so much I plan on going again. Also love how Slappy is setting up to be the new Crypt Keeper (so many puns) The 8 year old me and the 29 year old adult couldn't be happier.

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...I can honestly say that whenever I'm looking for a horror movie recommendation, I text my brother. Although we will occasionally disagree with our opinion on films (I disliked It Follows, but Sam loved it), he rarely steers me wrong. I look forward to seeing what days 16-31 will bring! Thanks Sam!

EDIT: You can now find Part 2 of Sam's 31 Days of Halloween here!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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