Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October Horror Movie Challenge Update: 20 Days Later

It's been a slow October. Too many things have gotten in the way of my usually addictive horror film viewing. The Yankees continued playoff run and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson are two reasons why I've only watched 14 films thus far. But with a week of Ferguson and Conan O'Brien reruns, I should be able to capitalize on that ever-important late night showtime. Anyways, I've watched four films since my last update. Pathetic.

October 15th
11. Children of the Corn (1984)* - 8/10
October 16th
12. The Ruins (2008)* - 7.5/10
13. Cat People (1942)* - 9/10
October 18th
14. The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) - 8/10

Children of the Corn: This is such a fun film. A film that is more a classic for its legendary name than anything else, Children of the Corn is still a must-see film in the genre. It's one of the great kids gone bad tales and adapted successfully to film here. You have to love the evil performances of John Franklin and Courtney Gains as the sadistic leaders of the group of children. The film takes a rather campy turn at the end, but it's all so fascinating. Recommended.

The Ruins: The Ruins is a case of "I've seen worse". And oh how true it is. This film won't be remembered in the long run, but it certainly hits all the right buttons along the way. The film follows the adventure five young vacationers take off the beaten path. Unfortunately for them, they visit the one set of ruins you don't want to set foot on. There's some effective gore and gross-out moments that'll most definitely sick out the easy victims, while those who who are like me will mostly give a "Hmm" and think of the more disturbing things they've seen. Still, the film is a button-pusher, and holds the suspense in the right places. Recommended.

Cat People: This terrific film from 1942 explores sexual tension and frustration in a place of horror. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, a noted contributor to the film noir genre, Cat People is certainly set inside a noir-like city. The shadows are heavy, deep and encompassing. Particularly so as the film moves along into its more "frightening" and climatic scenes. I put frightening in quotes because this film won't move you in the way it moved movie-goers back in the 40's. But still, the film is effective in its subtext, is one of the legendary Val Lewton produced films, and reigns in the top level of black and white horror films. Highly recommended.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes: A film by John and Erick Dowdle, The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a mockumentary, in the vein of say, The Last Broadcast, around a serial killer and the tapes he left for police to find. The film uses mock interviews in correspondence with the videotapes to produce a rather grisly and sometimes disturbing picture of a serial killer. I really quite liked the profile they created of this murderer. The acting here isn't the best as it is a low budget film, but the film still remains fairly effective, as the rough and gritty condition the tapes are shown in retain some realism amid the fluctuating quality of acting. Recommended.

That's all for now. I hope when I make my final wrap-up I have a few more titles to talk about. So long.

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