Thursday October 30th on Hard Edge Radio was our annual Halloween edition of the show. In studio guests were Brian Thomas from Halloween, Sadie from Hip In Detroit and Terry from Bahamut. We spent the evening promoting two of the biggest Halloween bashes in Metro Detroit and threw in some killer tunes and familiar sounds of the season to add to the vibe. Hard Edge Radio airs live every Thursday night from 8-10pm EST on Tapdetroit.com.
So in the first installment I gave you gore-freekz (FREEEEKKKZZZ!!!!!) out there a nice spread of horror movies. In this installment I forgo the nice and instead throw a bucket of pig’s blood in your face. Yes, no more Chopping Mall or Thir13en Ghosts. No. Instead I am offering you some real freaky, dare I say freaky deaky movies to usher in your Halloween night.
October 16th: V/H/S. Last year on 12 Pack Tuesdays I gave “V/H/S” high praise for it’s originality and execution and I stand by every word. This movie had actual scares and great moments of “RUN, BITCH! YOU GONNA DIE!”. There is a sequel (V/H/S 2) that many are saying outclasses the original but unfortunately I haven’t seen it yet but you could rent both and make a night of it.
October 17th: Phantasm. The Tall Man? He lives in your night terrors. The ball? The Ball? THE BALL!?!!?? I always felt like “Phantasm” got the little brother treatment from horror fans. Although “Phantasm” came out only 1 year after “Halloween” (1979) and 1 year before “Friday the 13th”, people never quite loved “Phantasm” as much. I mean it’s a beautifully shot movie with very dark overtones that prey on childhood fears but folks never really get into it. It doesn’t help that all the sequels are terrible. But in Phantasm 2 a guy has a quadruple barrel shotgun!!!! Sweeeeet.
October 18th: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. With vampires being a hot commodity these days I had to throw at least 1 more vampire movie in here. “Dracula 2000”, “Chronos”, or “Near Dark” almost made it in but recently I revisited “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (a movie my mother banned me from watching as a child) and found it…interesting. I honestly can say you will never see anything like it ever again. Francis Ford Coppola did his best to keep the author’s original vision together all while painting with a surrealists paint brush. Honestly the movie is unreviewable (in a good way), kind of like the VHS tape in “The Ring”. You watch it, make a sad face, pass it on and make someone else watch it.
October 19th: Candyman. Finally they gave Tony Todd a starring role in a slasher movie!!! And he has the power of swarms of bee’s…a hook hand…and a fly ass floor length fur coat!!!! The bee thing was kind of weird…and he kind of had Freddy Krueger powers where he would hop into your dreams and then appear after you wake up. Sidenote: large,scary black man terrorizes a fragile white woman…very original racist Hollywood.
October 20th: John Carpenter’s The Thing. This movie taught me a valuable lesson. My father can be kind of a dick sometimes. He was more than happy to let me watch “John Carpenter’s The Thing” all while sitting in the background going “not too scary, right son?”. And of course not wanting to look like a huge pussy in front of my father I would steel my eyelids open as John Carpenter and the F/X team of Stan Winston and Rob Bottin poured years worth of nightmare fuel into my brain. Now in my 30’s I’m thankful my dad had me watch “The Thing” so young. It changed me, made me harder. It’s something akin to when gangs beat the living hell out of new members except it’s your family giving you giant mental scars.
October 21st: Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. This is another film that was on my mother’s now famous MY SON IS NOT ALLOWED TO WATCH list. My mom was actually a huge Clive Barker fan and admitted later that the book alone scared her and after she watched the movie decided that her son should never watch it. But being a deep down trauma hound I found my way to The Box and Pinhead and the Cenobites. Years later I found that there was a company selling replica puzzle boxes in the back of a Fangoria magazine and decided right then and there that some people tempt fate a little too fucking much.
October 22nd: Night of the Creeps & Slither. Oooooh shizzy, a 2-fer! “Night of the Creeps” was one of my absolute favorites for years. It had axe wielding maniacs, aliens, zombies, college kids, and some serious heavy petting. Mostly it centers on alien brain slugs that turn humans into slug spewing zombies that infest a small community. “Slither” is also a film that centers on alien slugs that infest a small community but with the added benefit of being made in 2006 and starring Elizabeth Banks, Nathan Fillion, and Michael Rooker. Before it’s release “Slither” got tagged as a ripoff of “Night of the Creeps” and David Cronenberg’s “Shivers” but I always saw it as a modern director (James Gunn) offering his take on the 70’s/80’s style B-movie horror show. You know, nobody ever gives Tarantino shit for ripping off the Asians.
October 23rd: High Tension. For a country know for being effete, snobby assholes the French really come through for us in “High Tension”. The story of two college ladies who travel to one of the girl’s family homes in the country to study in peace and quiet turns into a display of powerviolence as a mass murderer methodically starts to murder large sections of the family tree. Go and Google the word ‘concrete saw’ and then imagine someone getting murdered with one. Yep, pretty gross.
October 24th: Antichrist. I am apologizing in advance for any of you who take this list to heart and sit down and watch “Antichrist”. It’s not that I don’t like the movie; it’s just that you can’t really say you enjoy it. Lars Von Trier has made a career out of making artful films that are gut-wrenchingly hard to watch. Willem Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg star as a husband and wife whose son, Nick, commits suicide in the beginning of the film. The wife starts to show signs of mental breakdown and Defoe decides, as a husband and a licensed psychotherapist, to take her up to the family cabin for some immersion therapy. What follows is indescribably vile and horrible.
October 25th: The Wishmaster. Ok. Since I made you watch “High Tension” and “Antichrist” I felt you needed a palette cleanser. Goofy. Too much CGI. “Hey was that Robert Englund”? Those are all appropriate reactions to “The Wishmaster”. One big loophole I noticed is that The Wishmaster never really waits for people to say “I wish”. People will be like “…yeah right. I’d like to see that happen” and then the fucking Wishmaster is all like “as you wish….grumble grumble grumble” and meanwhile I’m there like “THAT’S NOT A FUCKING WISH!!!!!”. If you are going to base your movie on an evil genie (oh sorry Djinn or whatever) that grants wishes then people should actually have to wish for things rather than suggest at the possibility of their happiness should an event occur in their favor.
October 26th: IT. I knew I was going to have to include at least one Stephen King TV miniseries. The one with Tim Curry playing an evil clown wins…every time. In fact just Tim Curry dressed up as an evil clown wins everything ever because no one is going to stand up to him. Pennywise the clown is fucking scary is what I’m saying. You don’t believe me? Fine. Random scenario: you’re walking down the street and you hear a voice coming up from the sewer grating upon inspection you see a clown standing down there who tells you “They all float down here” in a gruff voice. Do you…
- fill your pants with fear shits
- piss yourself
- Lie to everybody and say your not scared
October 27th: Return of the Living Dead. I look forward to a whole bunch of loving comments on this choice but “Return of the Living Dead” is just a fun movie. “Night of the Living Dead” is an amazing movie that we still see the effects of today. I mean shit most video games owe George Romero a huge royalty check over the fact that he basically invented the zombie archetype. The reason I chose this gem is that it took Romero’s work and put in the 80’s bedazzler. Punk rock, goofy characters, talking zombies, jokes and jokes and jokes and jokes.
October 28th: Evil Dead (2013). Alright angry townsfolk, put your pitchforks and torches away because I know this just pissed off thousands of self-proclaimed Deadites. Listen, I boycotted the viewing of this movie for quite some time (read: right up until Redbox started carrying it). I stood by my classic Raimi directed ED 1&2 but upon giving the 2013 Evil Dead a try this movie is fucking awesome. Fede Alvarez paid tribute to the Raimi originals while creating a new legend into the Evil Dead pantheon. The final 25 minutes of Evil Dead is a blood soaked hell-scape of nightmares.
October 29th: Child’s Play/Friday The 13th/Nightmare On Elm Street/Halloween. I know, I know it’s kind of a cheat to put 4 movies in one slot but these 4 movies are genre defining achievements. Child’s Play, when watched as an adult, is mildly unsettling. The animatronic doll they used has dead eyes that burn into your soul. Friday The 13th is kind of weak sauce but is a must watch. Nightmare on Elm Street is when Freddy was still scary and not a goofball one-liner machine. Halloween is the godfather. Michael Myers (or ghostShatner-face-man) is the Don Corleone of slashers…which makes Freddy the Michael Corleone and Jason the Sonny Corleone…and I guess Chucky is Fredo? Yeah, Chucky is a total Fredo.
October 30th: Trick’r’Treat. If you haven’t guessed it by now I am a sucker for the anthology movie. “Trick’r’Treat” sets itself apart nicely by being a horror movie about Halloween. Not just a scary movie about scary things but a movie that centers on the holiday itself. Even in “Halloween”, the holiday is more of a backdrop then a plot device. Now all that being said the movie is top notch at all levels and the plot of each short is a far cry away from the next. Bonus Feature: Anna Paquin looking sexy!!!
This is it folks. The day has arrived. Halloween. H-Day. H20. Samhain. Now at the outset of this list I fully intended to find the ultimate Halloween day movie. I scoured my private collection of DVD’s. I went into my mom’s basement and rifled through my massive VHS collection (I worked at a video store that had zero security sooooo yeah I own a shitload of VHS). I poured through pages of internet forums and other lists of the best horror has to offer and found…no movie can encapsulate Halloween on it’s own. It’s sad but true (note to self I now owe Metallica $1.75). So in light of this revelation stay tuned for…
October is my favorite month. The food industry starts pumping pumpkin flavorings into everything they can. The fact most of my clothes are black is no longer a sweaty issue. And my love of horror movies becomes not a societal woe but an advantage. I easily spent most weekends of my youth riding my bike up to the video store and renting VHS copies of movies I should not have watched. So to help out you folks who don’t love horror films year round or “have a life” I figured I’d help out with a list of 31 movies, 1 a day, for this month. Now you have to realize a large amount of my personal favorites are 80’s and 90’s era horror. I know there are tons of new or at least newer horror films that may blow some of my picks out of the water but this isn’t some 31 BEST GORE-TASTIC BLOODFESTS TO ANNIHILATE YOUR SENSES!!!!!! list, this is simply 31 movies I enjoy and think you would also.
October 1st: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. The 1st installment of Blair Witch is easily one of the greatest achievements in marketing history. A film was shot for what amounts to almost zero dollars and then they spent dump trucks of cash on marketing. The result? They made two hundred and forty-eight million worldwide and the film is an ongoing cultural pop culture touchstone. The sequel? Crap. Amazing early 2000’s crap. Everything that made the 1st film unique and captivating was thrown away for cheap thrills and a goth-electro industrial soundtrack. All that being said I fucking love this movie and how bad it is.
October 2nd: The Gate. The Gate isn’t that scary…at least not to an adult but as a kid this movie creeped me out bad. Like extra nightlights bad. Like “secretly dragging my pee soaked bed sheets downstairs because I was too scared to dangle my feet over the edge of my bed because of monsters” scared.
October 3rd: Creepshow 2. It was tough trying to decide which Creepshow to pick but this own stars a friend of mines uncle. Not joking. Don Harvey. Look it up. I played basketball with him once at the family picnic. Nice guy. Didn’t try to rob my family’s general store even once.
October 4th: Rawhead Rex. One of Clive Barker’s unsung masterpieces. A Pagan god is unearthed after the ancient burial stone holding him underground is moved. He then ingratiates himself with the locals in his own fashion which the townspeople take offense to as the Pagan god says hello by ripping out throats and devouring peoples entrails. Sidenote: when I say Pagan god I mean an 8-foot tall hell beast of sheer terror.
October 5th:Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Instead of starting with the far superior early films of the franchise I chose one of the most ridiculous. SPOILER: Freddy turns into a murder-baby.
October 6th: Alien. This movie is still terrifying no matter how many times I watch it. It’s a classic.
October 7th: The Descent. In the same vein as Alien, The Descent is one of the scariest films about spelunking ever made. Of course, there isn’t a lot of films in the “spooky spelunking” category. One thing I will note is the absolute razor edge of tension that “The Descent” balances on. From 20 minutes in you start to feel that knot in your stomach as you know things are only getting worse for the cast.
October 8th: Chopping Mall. Oh the 80’s, a mall employs new “high tech” robot security guards that patrol the mall at night. During a lightning storm the main computer control is damaged and the usually peaceful ‘bots turn into Killbots (actually the original title). This also happens to be on a night when a group of employees stay after hours to have a bone-zone session in the furniture store. So you know what happens next…stab, stab, tazer, kill, “you guys we have TO GET OUT OF HEREEEEE!!!!!”, “Jimmy, NOOOOOOOOO!!!!”, etc, etc.
October 9th: May. I can remember the buzz around this film when it came out in 2003. Every person I knew that was into horror films wanted to see “May”. I can honestly say it lived up to it’s own hype. Not a “scary” movie but more an unsettling piece about a lonely girl and her journey into becoming a modern day Dr. Frankenstein.
October 10th: Basket Case. Siamese twins Duane and Belial were happy being conjoined but society said “NO!” and sliced them apart. Later in life the twins decide to get their revenge by murdering the doctors responsible for their separation. BTW, Belial is a squashy little meatbag with fangs and one giant arm with claws that Duane carries around in a wicker basket. Should I have mentioned that earlier?
October 11th: Thir13en Ghosts. Another victim of the early 2000’s CGI craze. The movie is terrible in the best way possible except for the fact that Shannon Elizabeth is in it but never pops her top. What the hell, Robert Zmeckis? Do you hate tits? I don’ think you do because one of the Thir13en Ghosts is a naked chick sooooooo what’s the deal, bro-chacho?
October 12th: Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood. The first time Kane Hodder donned the mask was in The New Blood. Also, this is the one where Jason has to battle the girl with telekinetic powers. Go watch the trailer. They’re all like “this is the one you’ve been waiting for…”. Really? We’ve been waiting for Jason to battle a girl with telekinesis? I don’t remember anyone wanting that. Sidenote: the mindpower girls doctor is Bernie from “Weekend at Bernie’s”. Try getting that out of your mind when you watch this.
October 13th: The Lost Boys. C’mon man!!!! Kiefer Sutherland!!! The Coreys!!! Bill from Bill & Ted!!!! “Death by stereo”? Okay okay okay, the grandpa at least?
October 14th: Tales From The Darkside: The Movie. This is another guilty pleasure from my childhood. If it were possible I would suggest just a handful of episodes from the TV series but the movie has an odd charm.
October 15th: The Lords of Salem. This is easily one of the most beautifully shot films I’ve recommended. I think Rob Zombie is definitely gaining ground as a film director as “House of 1000 Corpses” plays as a big montage/music video, “The Lords of Salem” is a gorgeous orgy of witchcraft and violence. I will warn you that this film gets really gross in parts and my fiancé nearly puked in the finale sequence. Also, we get it Rob Zombie. Your wife is a babe.
That’s it for the first installment. Keep an eye on the Tapdetroit blog page for part 2 which will take you right on to Halloween. Will I put in all the classics? Or will I make way for new school horror? Stay tuned gore-hounds!!!!!!!