Before my wife and I were married, and certainly before there were children, we came to the startling conclusion that we both loved Halloween and horror movies. So, for the month of October, we began to combine the two.
It became a tradition to watch one horror movie every night of October, with the last two nights of the month reserved, of course, for “Halloween” and “Halloween II.” Not the Rob Zombie “re-imaginings” but the original John Carpenter and Deborah Hill classics. Sure, there were times when we watched slasher movies or creature features we had already seen, but we always tried to watch as many new ones as possible.
Our young children make it a little more difficult now, since there are two of them and only two TVs, but we still manage to work in some scares now and then. Certainly, cable television helps, with the Chiller channel showing weekly themed movies and the “Masters of Horror” series marathon. The SyFy Channel has also been running horror movies for several weeks and, of course, AMC has its Fear Fest, showing many of the original “Friday the 13th” movies and other horror tales.
Below are some of the “newer” fright flicks we were able to take in this scary season.
“Paranormal Activity” – Not exactly a new release, it already has a sequel ready to go, but this spooky ghost story was the talk of the independent movie world in 2009 due to its extremely low budget of $15,000 and high revenue of more than $100 million. In fact, I wrote an article comparing it to other low-budget horror movies that had found similar success. At any rate, my wife and I finally got to watch and found it suitably spooky, but felt the buzz from last year may have built our expectations too high. This was similar to the time each of us, separately because we didn’t know each other yet, watched another indie horror movie with great word of mouth success called “The Blair Witch Project.” Neither of us hated it, but “Witch” didn’t frighten us much either, except for the end. “Paranormal Activity” was better, but I still think it benefited from a great marketing campaign. At any rate, its producers should be wary of also living up to another problem with “Blair Witch.” The sequel was not well received at all, and I expect the same will happen with “Paranormal Activity 2.”
“The Crazies” – This was more like it. A remake of the 1973 film of the same name written and directed by George Romero (“Night of the Living Dead” and various other zombie movies), this one stars Timothy Olyphant as a small town sheriff. When a plane carrying a military biological weapon crashes and unleashes the weapons’ contents, townspeople go “crazy” and begin attacking those that are still normal. The military comes in and tries to quarantine the town. The sheriff and his pregnant wife, his deputy and a friend must then avoid maniacal citizens as well as soldiers who are shooting anything on sight. Well acted and written, the movie keeps things moving along and has plenty of scares and some gore. It was scary enough I had to accompany my wife when she went outside after it was over.
“The Collector” – More of a thriller than a standard horror movie, it is well worth watching. When a thief breaks into a house believing the family has gone on vacation, he finds they have actually become the victims of a serial killer who sets sadistic traps throughout the house. This killer’s method of operation is to select one member of the selected family to survive and use as bait for the next family, while killing everyone else. The thief, who is only stealing in an attempt to save his girlfriend and child from loan sharks, tries to locate the family’s young daughter while also trying to avoid detection by the killer. There’s no secret as to what’s going on and who’s doing it, but the scenes of thief and leather-masked killer prowling the large house just feet away from each other without knowing it, with the thief realizing what awaits him if caught, will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
We have a couple of weeks left and would gladly take suggestions if anyone has any as to what should be viewed next.