22nd October – The Omen (1976)
A wealthy and well-to-do couple adopt a baby but, as their little Damien grows up, things start to go awry. Is it possible that their son could be the Antichrist? Brilliant film, I’d struggle to find any fault with it actually. A true classic!
I also watched Black Sheep and Rogue on the 22nd, researching for my Top 5 Cheesy Creature Feature list!
15th October – The Shining (1980)
Writer Jack Torrence moves with his wife and son to a remote hotel, where he will be acting as caretaker during the winter months while the hotel is closed. The hotel has a violent past, and soon its dark influence starts to take its toll on Jack and his family. I must admit, I haven’t read the book (it’s on my long to-read list!) but Stephen King’s objections to this film do stick in my mind when watching it. It’s his story after all, and if he hates this adaptation, then I’m disinclined to argue against that. As it happens, two of the main problems that King has with the film are exactly my biggest issues with it: ‘In the book, there’s an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he’s crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene … And it’s so misogynistic. I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag.’ Rolling Stone, 31st October 2014
16th October – America Werewolf in London (1981)
Two American backpackers are attacked by someone, or something, while lost on the Yorkshire moors. One of the boys is killed, and the other – David – is seriously wounded. As David recovers, and goes to stay with one of the hospital’s nurses while he recoups, he finds himself having increasingly weird dreams and hallucinations in the run up to the next full moon. This is a great film, the special effects were revolutionary for the time, and I don’t think there’s a dull moment in the whole movie. One of my favourite werewolf features!
8th October – The Shallows (2016)
So, I was going to make Sundays all about true classic horror, but when it came down to it I felt like watching something new and simple! Nancy is surfing at the Mexican beach which her (recently deceased) mother visited when she was pregnant with her. However, as the other surfers leave for the day, Nancy finds herself attacked by a Great White Shark and isolated on an outcrop of rocks only 200 yards from shore. I love sharks, so I do have mixed feelings about the many films that vilify them, but this was still a pretty decent flick.
9th October – The Mist (2007)
I’d forgotten how good this film is! After a particularly fierce storm, a disparate group become trapped in a local supermarket when a mysterious mist descends from the local military base. It soon becomes evident that it’s not the mist, but rather what’s hidden in the mist, that they need to be afraid of. It has a great cast (Toby Jones is particularly charming), lots of jumps and plenty of depictions of human nature at its worst. It’s topped off with a wonderfully bleak ending, which I really love!
1st October – Halloween (1978)
As I have plans for the 31st itself, I decided instead to start the season with this classic. Fifteen years after murdering his older sister when he was a child, Michael Myers escapes a high security mental hospital and returns to his home town to once again wreak havoc. I must admit, re-watching this original Halloween made me realise that I don’t actually know it very well – between clips, parodies, sequels and remakes, I’d forgotten a lot about the original itself. It was a joy to re-watch it and take it all in. This was a great way to start the month, and reassured me that it’s well worth re-watching plenty of classics over the next few weeks!
2nd October – The Descent (2005)
My first choice for my Monster Movie Mondays was the brilliant The Descent. Six women go on a spelunking expedition, but soon realise they’re off the grid and totally out of their depth. I really love this film – it is tense, gory, claustrophobic and bleak. This film and Dog Soldiers are why I count Neil Marshall as one of my favourite horror directors. I’ve watched it many times, and it still really holds up.Jo
- Director: Tim Sullivan
- Writer: Chris Kobin, Tim Sullivan
- Main Cast: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Jay Gillespie
‘The south with rise…’
Misguided student road trips really are excellent horror fodder, aren’t they?! Here we have three stereotypical horny teenage boys on a road trip to Florida, until they follow a detour into Pleasant Valley (Population: 2001) where they – along with five other misled travellers – are welcomed as guests of honour at the Confederate town’s annual Guts and Glory Jubilee. The strange townsfolk ply them with food and drink, and make them feel very welcome…at first.
I was very tempted to include 2001 Maniacs in my recent Top 5 Comedy-Horrors list, but I felt the comedy aspect didn’t quite make the cut. However, I do really like it, so it gets its very own feature!