I was right, Markus saved the scary movies for the end of this month. This week, I saw quite possibly one of the best movies I've ever seen and some of the scariest. It was definitely a week of ups and downs, but still exciting nonetheless.
1. The House on Haunted Hill (1959)
When I was in high school, I went to see the remake of this movie. I don't know what I was thinking, I must've been mad. I think it was because some of the popular girls asked me to go with them and I wanted to look cool. The stupid things we do to impress people. So, I distinctly remember going, watching the opening and freaking out. I was horrified. The remake took place in an insane asylum and was scary as heck. I was so freaked out that I pretended that my mom called me to come home and left 20 minutes into the movie. I just couldn't handle it.
When Markus told me he put this movie on the list, I was terrified to watch it because of the remake. The star of the original version is Vincent Price, who is quite amazing. Thankfully this 1959 classic was a lot less frightening than the remake, and actually quite good. The sets were really beautiful, the acting was fantastic and I loved the vintage feel of it. I screamed at a lot of the jump scares of a creepy old hag, but there were also a lot of laughs at some of the cheap special effects. My favorite bit was the walking skeleton. I mean how many times do you see that?
There are so many reasons why I love Psycho. It's such an iconic movie and it's impossible to be oblivious to the ending. Going into this movie, I literally knew everything there was to know. I knew all the major plot points, I knew the twist, but it did not stop me from loving it. Alfred Hitchcock was a fantastic filmmaker. I love many of his other films like North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief. It's no wonder that he's known as one of the best filmmakers in Hollywood history.
Psycho is my favorite film we've watched so far. It wasn't what I was expecting and I think that made me love it even more. This film is beautiful and well made. The sets and costumes are so iconic of the 60s. All the actors in this film were superb, and really made me feel for their characters. The lack of distinction between good and bad among the protagonists delivers a fantastic humanizing effect that makes you sympathize with all of them. Anthony Perkins, who plays Norman Bates, surprised me the most. Who knew that behind the innocent face of Norman Bates lay one of the greatest "monsters" in cinema history? It was the last thing I expected and made the film even more amazing. I expected to be bored and hate the film, but the complete opposite happened. Psycho is probably one of my favorite films of all time.
3. Jaws (1975)
As I stated before, when we watched The Creature from the Black Lagoon, I have a huge fear of water. That being said I never thought that I would have something in common with Chief Brody, the main protagonist of Jaws. His water phobia, exactly like mine, stems from a traumatic childhood experience of almost drowning. As the years have gone by, I've gotten over it, but I still don't like large bodies of water. They freak me out. I thought watching the girl swim in the lagoon was bad, but this was much worse.
Everyone knows the deep, menacing notes of the Jaws theme. It practically evokes images of a bloody shark attack, and being attacked by a shark is another one of my biggest fears. So as soon as the first two notes of this theme sounded, I lost it. I really didn't enjoy this movie as much as I thought I would, and I think it just had a lot to do with my phobias. Also the pacing was slow, and I couldn't understand 80% of what Quinn, the boat captain, was saying. Maybe it's just me, but this just didn't float my boat.
4. Monster Squad (1987)
I've never heard of this movie before, and I'm kinda sad I never watched it as a kid. It's a mix of The Goonies and all the classic Universal Monster Films. I'm surprised at how much these 80s movies got away with. The Witches had some terrifying makeup, but this movie had actual monsters being killed, and the kids did the killing. I guess that's why it's a cult classic.
There's a lot to like about this movie. It had everything that you could ask for in an 80s movie: an interesting, kid-friendly plot, a rag tag group of misfits that cause a lot of trouble, an awesome montage that doesn't make much sense and a sweet rap theme song. It reminded me of my childhood, when adventure could happen right in your own neighborhood. It was like stepping into a time machine and reliving the good ol' days.
5. Alien (1979)
This freaking movie. Of all the movies we've watched so far, this iconic sci-fi horror was the scariest. I spent half of the movie screaming, even when nothing scary was happening. Just knowing that something horrible could happen put my nerves on end. I kept screaming even when people were just running onto screen. Not cool, Alien. Not cool at all.
This was my first taste of the Alien franchise. This is another movie where it is impossible to avoid knowing plot points. I've never seen any of the movies in this quadrilogy, and my limited knowledge all came from popular culture. Despite this, it still managed to scare the heck out of me. This summer I watched Prometheus and even though, it's not an official prequel, it was the perfect set-up for Alien. There were so many connections, and I could finally see the consequences of people's actions in Prometheus. I think Alien was a great scary movie. I don't ever want to watch it again, and it's not my favorite movie, but it gets the job done. Markus best described it when he said, "It's basically a haunted house in space." He's absolutely correct, and Alien was terrifying.
6. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
As I've said before, I'm a fan of many of Tim Burton's films and I love Sleepy Hollow. I do feel like this film is Tim Burton at his best. There's enough macabre and gore, but the story is also tightly written and keeps you guessing til the end. Often, I've re-watched this film over the years and even though I know the story and how it ends, it always sucks me in. I always stop whatever I'm doing and watch it in it's entirety. Not many films do that for me.
The look of the film is amazing and is to be expected of Tim Burton. No matter how horrible the story or plot line, you can be guaranteed the movie will look completely stylized and eerie. The acting in this film is also great. I forgot how awesome Johnny Depp is in this movie. Lately, he's been cast in some mediocre movies, but in Sleepy Hollow he's so fantastic. He's uptight, pragmatic, romantic, and silly. I'm glad I was able to talk Markus into putting this on the list, because after Alien, I needed a bit of Johnny Depp in my life.
7. Trick 'r Treat (2008)
I didn't expect to like this movie at all, but I did. I'd never even heard about it before this month, and knew nothing about it. Markus explained that it's basically an anthology of creepy Halloween stories. The film takes place on Halloween night in a small American town, where we follow 4 different plot lines. I thought they would be cute little tongue in cheek stories, nothing too scary or gory. I was wrong.
This movie was surprisingly suspenseful and quite bloody. Markus and I also thought the stories would be told in succession, but all the stories were told at once, intertwining into one another. I think this was a great way to make it feel like a movie and not a bunch of self-contained short stories. Also, the stories were very interesting and unpredictable. Every single story had a bit of a twist and didn't end exactly the way you would think. It was great finally watching a movie that I couldn't predict.
Introduction, Week 1, Week 2, Week 4, Week 5, Hotties of Creepy Cinema