It’s kind of hard to believe, but…IT’S OFFICIALLY OCTOBER!!! And if you’ve been around this humble little blog for a while, then you probably know what comes next: it’s time for Spook Series, y’all. 😀 This is something I’ve done every year since I started blogging, and I always have a blast. The goal is to watch and review as many Halloween/horror movies as I can. My first year, I reviewed 79 of them, believe it or not (find the proof here), and last year I managed to squeeze in 18 (which you can read about here). Now let’s see what damage can be done this year! Many thanks to all of you who voted in this year’s Spook Series poll. Your help in picking the best of the best to watch this year was very much appreciated. So…shall we jump right in? Here are the top three most popular votes for Spook Series 2015:
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Synopsis: “A vampire tells his epic life story: love, betrayal, loneliness, and hunger.” –www.imdb.com
Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: I had a feeling this one would accumulate a lot of votes. Really, it’s no surprise that Interview with the Vampire is the top choice because it’s a great film. What’s always surprising to me is the cast. Looking at the kind of roles Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt choose now, how weird is it to look back and see them as a couple of brooding bloodsuckers? Well, okay, so Cruise’s sinister, charismatic Lestat isn’t really brooding at all. That applies much more to Pitt’s moody Louis, who shares his woeful tale with a rapt reporter (Christian Slater). It’s a pretty epic story with a rich atmosphere, starting in 18th-century New Orleans and eventually crossing over to Europe. Also, can we talk about how fantastic little bitty Kirsten Dunst is in this? As child vampire Claudia, she becomes a daughter figure to Louis and Lestat, complicating their already complicated relationship. It’s a fascinating adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel, exploring vampires in a way that really no film before had. Is it a bit too long? Probably. Could some of the casting be called into question? Maybe (although I don’t personally have a problem with it). That aside, I think this one is one of the best vampire movies out there and a great way to start the Halloween season.
My Grade: A-
The Others (2001)
Synopsis: “A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.” –www.imdb.com
Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: It’s weird—on paper, The Others should totally be my thing. It’s set in a big, creepy house in the 1940s shrouded in constant, necessary darkness due to the extreme photosensivity of two children who see and hear ghosts. Sounds awesome, right? And, yes, some parts of it are. Like the casting of Nicole Kidman as Grace, the micromanaging matriarch of the household, who is as firm a Christian as she is a non-believer in all things supernatural. There are some pretty solid scares in the film and a much-praised twist to boot. Despite all that, I still just find it…lacking. Does anyone else feel this way? Like, it checks all the right boxes, yet I find myself thinking I should like it much more than I actually do. Perhaps because it moves at a fairly slow pace. Or maybe because you don’t see many of the spooky entities lurking about—you just hear noises. I’m not sure. Whatever the case, The Others is, sadly, not my favorite. But, hey, you could do far worse as far as ghost movies go, and I’d still say it’s worth checking out at least once.
My Grade: B
Day of the Dead (1985)
Synopsis: “A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.” –www.imdb.com
Why It’s Terrifically Terrifying: After watching and fully enjoying the original Dawn of the Dead for last year’s Spook Series (see that here), I was excited to see the next George A. Romero endeavor. However, it is with much regret that I say this is probably my least favorite of the Romero movies I’ve seen. Oooh scratch that. Have any of you seen Diary of the Dead (which I mention here)? THAT is the worst Romero I’ve ever seen. But this comes in second. There are a few problems, I think. Like that so many of the characters are complete and utter a-holes. Sarah (Lori Cardille) is a tough, admirable heroine, but she’s surrounded by jerks with guns, and that isn’t very fair. The film is also set in an underground military facility where all these jerks are safe and sound for a good chunk of the movie. Frankly, I spent a lot of time just waiting to see the zombies and then waiting for those zombies to gobble up the people who annoyed me. Spoiler alert: you have to wait a while. Fortunately, there is a bright and shining star in this movie: Bub the zombie (Sherman Howard). Bub is something of a lab rat in here, but he plays a pivotal role toward the end that is just amazing. If anything, this movie is worth it for Bub. Overall, Day of the Dead isn’t Romero’s best, but even his second worst (in my opinion) is pretty okay.
My Grade: B-
Yaaaayyyy! The first batch of Spook Series films have been reviewed! I had a good time with these for the most part, but there are actually some around the corner that I think I might enjoy even more…but we shall see. Much more spookiness to come this month! Keep an eye out, boys and ghouls! 🙂