Finally Watched It: “House” (1977)

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Having seen this movie mentioned dozens of times on crazy movie lists, I finally had the chance to check it out.

We have our set up of a bunch of high school girls (I have nicknamed them The Sailor Scouts) all go to this old woman’s house and of course, shenanigans ensue. Typical right? Hoooooo boy, ladies and gentlemen, this movie I have to come right out and say is either the scariest funny movie I’ve seen or the funniest scary movie I’ve ever seen. Everything feels otherworldly and off kilter even when things are “normal.”

When it starts, all the main characters are so damn happy and go lucky all you can think is “well, hey there, Cannon Fodder. I’m sure nothing will go wrong here.” But even as old as this movie is, gods is it refreshing to have a cast we actually root for instead of a collection of unlikable assholes you WANT to die. You actually feel for the characters as they go through all this horrific shit; all done with effects that are creepy in some parts, and ‘pause the movie because you’re laughing so hard’ parts. If done with skill, I wouldn’t mind seeing this movie remade with updated effects! As it is, I’m half tempted to watch it a few times just because it was so much fun. This movie BEGS to be watched with a bunch of friends and booze if you got it.

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Finally Watched It: Ringu

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As if this even needs a summary, this is the original Japanese movie about a woman who is investigating a cursed videotape that kills you a week after you’ve watched it.

This movie is damn creepy. It may not have aged very well in some ways but, yikes. There were plenty of moments that freaked me out. And it certainly made me feel old because heck, who has video tapes anymore?

Now that I’ve seen the original, I actually find the remake to be on par with it. They’re both creepy, both have this great tone and lingering uneasiness. I can’t say definitively one is better than the other. I like them both. It’s a shame it took me so long to get to watch this one.

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Finally Watched It: “Jack Frost” (1997)

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I don’t… I don’t know why I had this on my list and felt the need to follow through with it…

A serial killer gets experimented on and when he dies in an accident, he becomes a snowman. At first, I could excuse this movie as mindless fun but then (I don’t give two shits if this is a spoiler) there was a carrot rape scene. I could have lived a nice, long, happy life without seeing that, thanks.

I will give this movie two good points: They did make it more difficult than simply melting him to defeat him and the exchange when the scientist guy says something like “You’re immortal! How does it feel!?” and the guy growls “It feels… COLD!” was kinda cool.

Overall, this is a dumb movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s about a killer snowman; not meant to be Shawshank Redemption. It killed some time and knocked another movie off my list.

I wouldn’t bother to revisit it, though.

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Finally Watched It: “The Amityville Horror” (1979)

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This is one of those classic horror movies that just sorta flew under my radar until I started my little Finally Watched It list. If you don’t know the story, it’s about a newlywed couple who moves into a house that’s haunted.

I wouldn’t call this movie subtle by any means but it is more subtle than the remake. If I had to pick between the two, I would pick the older one because I personally feel the atmosphere is better here; especially with the father character who is slowly being driven mad. Neither version is bad, I just feel the older one had more charm to it. It was more menacing than outright scary and I think horror can do with more of that than jump scares and gore. I’m glad I was able to cross this off my list.

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Finally Watched It: “The Haunting” (1963)

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Dr. John Markway in an attempt to gather research on the paranormal gathers people who have claimed to have supernatural encounters to stay with him in a haunted house and document what happens. Among them are Luke; a skeptical underachiever who hopes to sell the house one day, Theodora; a clairvoyant, and Eleanore; a psychic who becomes attuned to the spirits in the house.

Now, that I’ve seen the original, I can see why the remake was a flop. This version is subtle and unnerving; relying on the slow build of the character’s backstories to prepare you for what’s to come. The people are relatable and I love how it’s shot. This is just wonderfully done.

Rather than rely on jump scares, this movie instead blurs the line between what is supernatural and what is inside Eleanore’s head. I think I prefer a horror movie leaving me unsettled and off balance rather than going out of its way to startle me. There’s also this sadness to it and expects more from the audience.

Smartly done, I’m glad I went back and watched this one!

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October Loot Crate: Horror

  • Interior is Walking Dead (insert gasp of shock here)
  • Camp Crystal Lake pennant
  • Leather Face plushie
  • Freddy Glove Chopsticks
  • Regrettable Supervillians book
  • Halloween pin
  • Negan slugger tshirt

Yeah, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you are familiar with my opinion on The Walking Dead. Doesn’t mean that shirt didn’t give me a giggle. But to me, the real stars of this crate are the Leather Face plushie and Freddy chopsticks. I want to eat everything with those chopsticks. Those are just damn hilarious. I didn’t even look at the book yet!

Despite Walking Dead being overrated, predictable, nonsense at this point, this was a well put together crate. It covers all the best franchises and whoever came up with those chopsticks needs to know they just made my day. Absolutely brilliant.

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Finally Watched It: Cube

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A group of people wake up in a prison with no memory of how they got there. Each new room they enter reveals horrible traps and they try to figure out the mystery of why there are there and how they can escape.

This movie struck me as a nerdy version of Saw; focusing more on strategy and math as opposed to outright gore. The way this movie is constructed with minimal music and believable actors make it more tense to me than the Saw franchise or most horror movies I see these days, honestly. I totally understand why this became a cult classic. It was smart, eerie, and bleak. I wish more horror movies took the time to really get inside people’s heads like this movie does. I’m glad I watched it and I have the sequels ready to go!

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Finally Watched It: One Missed Call

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Whenever there’s an American remake of a foreign movie, I make it my business to track down the original; which is how I found out about the REC series. When I heard about the American movie, I skipped it and went for the Japanese version. I just assume it’s better on principal now.

The premise of this movie is that this group of young people start getting calls from their own numbers. Upon listening to the voicemail, its the audio of their own deaths; essentially making it a call from the future bout how they will die. Obviously, they all run around trying to avoid their fate and solve the mystery.

What I like about films like this is the slow build, the quiet, the dark lighting, and thoughtful dialog. It is just simpler and – to me at least – more frightening than all the fancy CGI, slow-mo, and dramatic music. It makes everything feel so much more unsettling. It can drag a little sometimes but it’s nice to see any media take it’s time with you rather than inundate you with images for instant gratification.

I don’t particularly want to inflict the American version on myself to compare the two but if repeatedly asked, I may do so.

As I work through these movies (I have a list!) I am hitting more good movies than not, and I’m grateful for that. I’m sure I’ll come across some duds but seeing these has been awesome.

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Finally Watched It: REC 4 Apocalypse

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Unlike REC3, this installment in the franchise picks up from where the second movie left off with the reporter, Angela, being taken onto a quarantined ship with the soldier who rescued her and an elderly woman who survived the wedding in REC3. While Angela is there, the found footage is not, remaining in third person with shaky cam… Sadly disappointing as the found footage worked so well in the first two.

Anyway, the way this works is the survivors are on the boat with some scientists trying to work on a cure. The idea is that if something goes wrong, they can just blow up the ship and any infected people with it. Having a lab on the ship drains the power so the lights go out from time to time. The scientists and doctors believe that since Angela survived and keeps testing negative for the virus despite being exposed to it, they can use her blood and the blood of the infected monkey they keep on board to develop a vaccine.

I hate to say it but I hope this franchise is over. Not because this movie was overtly bad, it’s just the same story beats as every other horror movie out there. Don’t get me wrong, demon possession as a virus is a cool idea, the characters were entertaining, the actors were competent (at least in my opinion), but with the first two being so different I can’t help but feel let down by these last two. If they do another one, I’m not sure I’m going to bother watching it.

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Finally Watched It: REC 3

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Like the others, this movie follows an outbreak where the people are trapped inside with the infected. This time, it happens at a wedding and the bride and groom keep trying to get to one another.

I can see why they picked a wedding for this part as these days, everyone has some sort of recording device at an event like this. It wouldn’t be just the professional photographer’s point of view. However, midway through the  movie, it switches to third-person! Just out of nowhere; as if telling the story from first-person would be too hard after that so they gave up. And when I say gave up, I mean in every aspect. This movie just descends into the typical horror movie tropes with all the generic stupidity that makes you want to scream at the screen. An hour in all I cared about was when I was going to get the chainsaw I was promised on the cover but by the time I got it, it didn’t feel as if the movie earned it.

Despite the practical effects not being too bad, I felt so disappointed by this movie. The first two held together so well that this one feels like a cop out. It’s just not as tense and scary as the first two and it just gave in to all the typical zombie tropes of any other formulaic movie.

And this may be a bit spoiler-ish but my final word is… RIP; Sponge John. You were absolutely my favorite thing about this movie.

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