Spook Series 2014: A Terrifying Trio (#1-3)

spook series 1-3

HAPPY OCTOBER, BOYS AND GHOULS!!! I don’t know about you guys, but I can tell you that I am ready and rarin’ to kick off a month jam-packed with scary movies. Over here at Silver Screen Serenade, I like to refer to this horror-watching binge as Spook Series, an endeavor I began last year by watching 79 movies. Yep, you read that right—79. It was…a task. Haha. But an awesome task! I probably won’t get anywhere near that number this year, but to ensure I review the best of the best, I wrote out a list and had you guys vote on what I should watch (see here). The films with the most votes will be my top priority, and I will gradually work my way down. We’ll see how far I can get before the month ends! But enough talk—let’s DO this! Here are your top three Spook Series films:

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

dawn of the dead 2004

Synopsis: “A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.” –www.imdb.com

Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: Personally, I think zombies have never been more terrifying than they are in this film. Because these guys are fast. Like, Olympic sprinter fast. They’re a far cry from the plodding zombies of classics like Night of the Living Dead, but that’s not at all a bad thing. I’ve never seen the original Dawn of the Dead (though I will be watching it for this series), but the general consensus seems to be that this is a very worthy remake. We follow a group of people holed up in a mall while the undead gather outside. It’s a tense, claustrophobic situation, but the survivors toughen up and deal with it as best as they can. We may not get to know the survivors very well, but they’re easy to root for—even snarky Steve (because who doesn’t root for any character played by Ty Burrell). And when they finally decide to brave the zombie horde, it’s pretty awesome. Overall, this film is a bloody, action-packed delight with just enough humor to make it fun. It was a great way to start off Spook Series. 🙂

My Grade: A-

The Birds (1963)

the birds

Synopsis: “A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.” –www.imdb.com

Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: Finally I can add another Hitchcock film to my resume! While The Birds isn’t quite the caliber of the other Hitchcock films I’ve seen, it’s still pretty darn great. Going into it, I wondered, “Okay, how scary can plain old birds really be?” The answer: en masse, pretty darn scary. It’s a testament to Hitchcock’s skills as a storyteller that he can make the ordinary into the extraordinarily creepy. But it’s because so many of these scenes are masterfully shot. I can think of one scene in particular: Melanie (Tippi Hedren) sits down on a bench in front of a playground. One by one, sinister-looking crows land on the playground behind her. In about a minute, five or six of them have gathered there. Melanie suddenly becomes aware of the activity behind her, turns…and the whole playground is covered in crows. The sudden surge in the number of crows is as much a shock to us as it is to poor Melanie. That’s clever filming. There are plenty of moments like this, not to mention the surprisingly unnerving bird attacks. With Hitchcock’s masterful influence, strong performances across the board, and an intriguing story with a deliciously eerie ending, it’s no surprise that The Birds has earned a respected spot among classic horrors.

My Grade: A-

American Psycho (2000)

american psycho

Synopsis: “A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies.” –www.imdb.com

Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: I have a confession to make about American Psycho: I get it…but I don’t get it. Y’know? Let me try to explain. There is no denying that it’s a fascinating film with a powerhouse performance from Christian Bale, whom I am convinced can play literally anyone. There are some great, truly twisted moments in this film that you will never forget once you see them. And the pitch black humor in this is pretty perfect. However, Patrick (Bale) is a character so strange and devoid of humanity that, for me, it’s hard to connect with the film as a whole. In fact, the only character that we can kind of feel for is his sweet-natured secretary, Jean (Chloë Sevigny)—all the other characters are either painfully phony or complete jackasses. Plus, the ending confuses me. Maybe an American Psycho expert could explain what’s supposed to have happened? I would hash it out on here, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it! Anyway, for Bale’s performance and for several weird, chilling moments, I’d say American Psycho is worth a view—you just may not care to watch it again.

My Grade: B

So how about it—are any of these films on your October watch list? What do you think of them? I have a feeling I might get some backlash for that last review…please don’t hurt me. Lol. I’ll be bringing more Spook Series reviews your way soon, but tomorrow I’m going to try something…different. We’ll see how it goes. Until then, have a delightfully spooky day! 🙂

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38 thoughts on “Spook Series 2014: A Terrifying Trio (#1-3)

  1. Nice job! Dawn of the Dead is a great remake, and we can thank it for the 200,000 zombies films of the past decade.

    Eerily enough a group of crows is called a “bloodbath of crows.”

    I believe everything murder-related was in Bateman’s head. At least, that’s the case with me, I think…

    • Yeahhhh it’s too bad it inspired so many films that aren’t as good…but if that’s the price we have to pay, I guess it’s cool.

      Hmm. I thought it was a “murder of crows.” But I also thought it was a “blessing of unicorns,” but come to think of it, I believe it’s a “fartbubble.”

      OH GOD, BRIAN, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???

  2. Three very worthy entries!!! Nice! And you know, as much as I do like Bale and do appreciate American Psycho as a character study, I find it a tad overrated myself. 😀

    I think for me it’s time to go back and watch this recent edition of Dawn of the Dead. Time to start scheming for Throwback Thursday, methinks!!! (and I’ve just now literally realized while typing this that tomorrow is a Thursday lol)

    • THANK YOU. Sometimes I feel like the only person who doesn’t get American Psycho. Nice to know we’re of the same mind there, amigo.

      Ooooh Dawn of the Dead would be an excellent throwback choice–especially this month! Doooo ittttt! 🙂

      • I mean I get it and all. I just don’t think it’s quite as incredible as it is lauded. 😉

        Dawn of the Dead might be on the list, indeed. I can’t decide when though. I’m all over the place right now, I’m having a hard time even keeping up with my own blog. . . .lawlz

        • Dude, I’m right there with you. I just started this deal where I work a lot of 10-hour days, and I’m like must…keep up…blog…and then I usually proceed to go to bed. Hahaha. We’ll both manage…somehow. :/

        • It makes me a little sad sometimes b/c of all the content I know I’m missing !!! haha. But now is the time when movies start getting really good. (Or at least, better than they have been.) So time to get excited!

    • Oooh don’t tell Mutant you haven’t seen that! She’ll track you down and make you! Lol. It’s a decent film, but it isn’t my fave. I will say though that the lead guy is pretty awesome.

    • I was pleasantly surprised by how creepy The Birds was. I thought it would be kind of hokey, but it works really well! Although you’re right–there is something inherently eerie about birds…

  3. “Dawn of the Dead” turned me off to zombies for the longest time, lol. They terrified me! I love supernatural creatures, but after that movie, I never wanted to watch anything with zombies. It’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want to start watching “The Walking Dead.” But for some reason, “The Walking Dead” helped me get over my zombie fear LOL!

    And I’ll watch anything Hitchcock. “The Birds” is such a great film and I would hate if plans to remake it went through. “Psycho” and “Rear Window” are my favorite Hitchcock films. It’s interesting with “American Psycho” cause it draws elements from “Psycho.” But I personally prefer the real Norman Bates.

    • Hahaha I could see how DotD might keep you away from zombies for awhile! Since they’re so fast, I think they’re pretty much the scariest zombies ever. I’m glad The Walking Dead helped bring you back to zombies! They’re a little overdone at this point, but I kind of love them. 🙂

      Agreed on Hitchcock. I need to see more of his stuff–including Rear Window! I am an awful person for not having watched that yet, but it’s on my list! And yes. Norman Bates > Patrick Bateman. Any day. 😀

  4. Excellent work here lady!

    Hmmmm, told Eric I would finish (I started it a few times, couldn’t get into it) reading American Psycho so that I could understand exactly what happened at the end, but I do love the movie. I don’t identify with Bale, I just think the whole film came together very well.

    I am a huge fan of the Dawn of the Dead remake. I might have seen the original when I was younger, but I am not sure. Might have to give it a watch at some stage.

    I am so Hitchcocked out it isn’t even funny.

    • Thanks, Zoe! You’ll definitely have to let me know what you think if you end up finishing American Psycho. I would looooove to know if the book made things more clear in the end. The movie is undoubtedly well-crafted–just doesn’t suit me. You should definitely watch the original Dawn of the Dead! I watched it not too long ago and I really liked it! Not as good as the remake, in my opinion, but still well worth a watch. Aww you poor thing. I hope Hitchcock isn’t completely ruined for you now! Lol.

  5. I haven’t seen The Birds in like 10 years at least. So I have no comments because I don’t remember much from it but Dawn of the Dead is almost ritual (before I started doing these horror marathons.. haha!). Its one of the best zombie movies I’ve seen (along with 28 Days Later). I really love American Psycho but its not one I go back to often though. I do hope to one day read the novel its based on…apparently its really messed up.
    Awesome stuff 🙂 I’m still pretty amazed at that 79 in one month. I’m just trying to beat my last year’s 15 or 18 (or something) so I have like about 30 this month. Haha! But my main feature already takes up like 12 slots..

    • Ooooh you should definitely rewatch The Birds! Great film. Haha I love that Dawn of the Dead is a ritual movie for you! I’m with you–along with 28 Days Later, it’s one of the best. Funny you should bring up American Psycho the book–Zoe and I have been talking about that! She said she’s tried, but can’t really get into it…If you give it a try, you’ll have to let me know if you’re able to finish!

      Well, to be fair, I did start watching Halloween movies in August to make it to that 79…but it was still a task. Lol. Hey 30 is a big deal! I don’t think I’m gonna make it to that many this year! I can’t wait to see all your stuff!!! Hope to get all caught up soon! 🙂

  6. Well, you already know I LOVE the Dawn of the Dead remake (which is unusual for me & remakes – especially a remake of an all-time favorite film of mine!). Glad you enjoyed it. The Birds is a classic. American Psycho, however, I really didn’t like at all. Great reviews! 🙂

    • Yeah I love that Dawn of the Dead is one of those rare remakes that is just as awesome (and, in my opinion, even a little bit better) than the original. If only all remakes could measure up. :/ I like American Psycho okay…but I don’t love it. I guess you could say I appreciate it more than I like it. Thanks, Mutant! 🙂

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