Movies for the Halloween Season – Part 4
I’m back with my fourth installment featuring Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy films that I think are essential viewing for this time of year. Let’s get right to it as the first one is one of my favourites and a doozy!
Dead Alive (also known as Brain Dead) (1992)
If you have NOT seen this movie and are a horror fan, find it now! I ended my last movie feature with Meet the Feebles because that was written and directed by Peter Jackson (LOTR, The Hobbit). How in the hell he went from the Feebles and this movie to what he is now famous for is beyond me.
The story goes like this: a rat like creature is captured in the early part of the movie and is brought back to civilization to be in a zoo, but you already know something isn’t right if you’re bit by it.
At the zoo, it bites our hero’s (Lionel) grandmother who he lives with. The monkey-thing ends up getting accidentally killed but the essence of the evil that was in it, invades grandma’s bloodstream and she starts to rot on the inside and out, slowly turning undead. From there, our Lionel tries to keep her locked and happy in the basement until shit hits the fan with one of the movie’s best scenes and more zombies are created. From there on, it’s an absolute riot and bloodbath that’s not for the squeamish.
I watched this movie with my wife a few months ago after not seeing it for at least twenty years and I was surprised with how well it has aged and how surprised I was with the level of suspense and special effects, especially for this movie to have been released in 1982!
For those who haven’t seen the film, an average family in the US is living the dream until their little girl, Carol Ann, goes missing…inside of a TV that is on a channel that is off the air that’s showing static. Things for the family get worse as more hell is unleashed on them by an evil force manifesting itself in different forms. The family is on the hunt to find Caroline while staying alive to do it.
The movie is still a suspenseful whirlwind, even if you’ve seen it, as the family’s love and dedication to save Carol Anne is what really ties you to the characters.
Poltergeist 2 (1986)
This poor damn family. You’d think that after going through hell and back, karma would give them a break. Instead, the family experiences even more terror in this sequel.
The neighbourhood the family’s house was located on in the first movie has been excavated only to find a cave with even more evil surrounding it. From there, a deceased Reverend named Henry Kane has decided to try and get revenge and track down the family through any means necessary.
This film isn’t just a rehash of the first movie and actually builds on the story. The gore, effects and the suspense is just as good, or better (depending on who you ask). I watched this one a lot more growing up as I think I just liked the “spots” that were supposed to frighten you more. As of today, I can appreciate them equally but I still think I like this one still a bit more.
The Gate (1987)
As much as I loved this movie as a preteen, and dug it as an adult, up until doing a little bit more digging for information as I’ve been writing these did I find out this movie was actually a Canadian one.
A tree is cut down in Glenn’s backyard where a huge hole is left and a geode is discovered. The geode provides Glenn and his friend, Terry, some incantation writing the boys speak aloud. Terry also gets his hands on a heavy metal album that he thinks gives them insight as to what the hole in the ground is. The boys think they’ve done enough to prevent any evil from protrude from it and go about their business. Little do they know a sacrifice has accidentally been made and shit is about to hit the fan.
There’s some great effects here and stop motion fun. It may not hold up as well to some movies from the time period, but I still get a kick out of it and I think those of you who like a decent movie with a coherent plot will enjoy it.
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
A group of friends (isn’t that always the case) run into some car troubles after stopping in to visit Captain Spaulding’s “Museum of Monsters & Madmen.” Before their tire pops, they meet a hitchhiker named Baby and pick her up. She brings them to her house where to meet her family. From there, it all goes downhill for them and they realize they’re in for way more than they every bargained for.
I don’t know why but when I first saw this movie it pumped me right up! The plot moved along well, I really dug all the characters and connected enough with them to feel bad for them, and there was enough intensity mixed in with the over the top gore and comedy to be a pleasant mix. I still enjoy watching this movie over and over. That’s not to say I’ve dug or seen everything Rob Zombie has written/directed, but this is a fun horror movie.
The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
I’m ending with this movie for this article because it’s tied to House of 1000 Corpses. Not so much in the overall plot or with the over the top gore or comedy, but it’s the continuation of the story of Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding.
In this movie, the three aforementioned characters and their family are finally being hunted down for the crimes they have committed, as the hunters have now become the hunted. Baby, Otis, and Captain Spaulding escape while Mother Firefly is captured. When the three are on the run, it’s unfortunate for anyone who comes into contact with the group, as they’ll do whatever it takes to stay under the radar.
I don’t find this movie to really be a “horror” movie per say, but more of an intense thriller with a lot of vulgarity and uncomfortable moments involving sexual assault. I actually find it to be more intense than House of 1000 Corpses because of the motivation of the three main characters, the assaults and innocence of the victims, and what they would do to people to stay out of custody.