28 October 2011

Andy's Friday Five: Annual Halloween Viewing

Oh yes, it's Halloween time, baby! That means marathons of the Friday the 13ths, Nightmare on Elm Streets, Screams, and nine out of ten of the Halloweens. And, of course, school work somewhere in between all that movie watching. Best time of the year, ladies and gents. Best month of the year, too. Goodbye obnoxious hot weather, and hello cold, breezy windy wind!

Alright, so I may or may not be able to watch every film from every horror franchise I love because of time, but below I list five horror movies that are mandatory Halloween treats. No matter what, I have just got to watch 'em, or it's simply not Halloween, y'know? These movies are instrumental in making Halloween great.

5. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, the most perfect blend of comedy and horror, making it not only easily accessible to new viewers without any understanding of previous Friday films, but also the most enjoyable. The other movies have a certain degree or boringness to them. Unless you're truly in love with Jason Vorhees, and the 'atmosphere' that seems to take forever to establish, the Friday films, to me, become a bit of a hassle. This sixth installment breaks that mold. From beginning to end, it's fantastic fun. The writing and acting is, at this point, the best of the series, and when Jason Vorhees is resurrected for some teen killing mayhem, he truly comes across as an unstoppable, brutal, killing force. When he's not thrown into comedic situations, such as the poor paintball gamers who run into him in the woods. The film also boasts a rather brilliant way to conclude Jason's reign, at least this time. It's inspired and rather ingenuous. So for its clever writing, funny dialogue, tolerable characters, and brutal antagonist, Jason Lives is must see Halloween viewing.

4. From Dusk Till Dawn is nothing short of brilliant. The first hour plays like a tense family drama mixed in with the story of two quick-to-kill robbers (George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino). Once this family of three, held hostage by Clooney and Tarantino, arrive at a bar, the film turns into utter chaos and carnage. Turns out, all the workers at the bar - even the band - are vamps, and it's feeding time! What follows is blood, guts, and dismemberment galore. It's beautiful in its own little way. Not only is the battle royale an absolute joy to watch, but by this point, Tarantino's fantastic script has gotten us to care about each and everyone of these characters. And for anyone who actually ends up not liking these people we follow, they're heavily rewarded by the battle that ensues for the final 45 minute run. The film doesn't take itself seriously at all, and it helps that everyone involved clearly are game players and want to have a good time and make a good movie. They definitely succeed. From Dusk Till Dawn is a pleasure from beginning to end, one of those films you make popcorn, sit back and relax, and enjoy. Mandatory.

3. Troll 2 is one of my more recent pleasures. Hell, I'm not even sure if 'pleasure' is the right word. There's something about this movie that just grabs you and refuses to let you go. May it be certain scenes that are nearly unbelievable in that they actually exist in this world, or dialogue that make me crack up laughing, or the actions of the little kid dude who takes drastic actions to get his family out of Nilbog. Point is, Troll 2 is terrible, terrible, terrible. It's not the absolute worst thing in the entire universe, but yes, it's a stinker. But it also boasts something not all terrible movies can: it's a hell of a lot of fun. Hell yes. Give me the bad script. Give me the outrageously bad 'acting'. Give me that seductive corn! Give me the goblins and the green planty goo! Give me a ghostly apparition of a dead grandfather/uncle/whatever. Give me a hour and a half of pure enjoyment. Troll 2 is the ultimate in fun. It demands a group viewing where you either all laugh and have fun, or come together in mockery. It's a horror movie of a different kind, and cannot be missed.

2. Trick 'r Treat was one of those films that was hyped up a lot before its release, and luckily, live up to the hype absolutely. Anthology pieces are great, and to concentrate one on All Hallow's Eve is just fantastic. The traditions of Samhain must be respected, and the super creepy Sam (pictured above) ensures that they are. With the exception of my number one, there's not another on this list I respect nearly as much as this. In this state of horror, it's what we needed. The script is clever, there's a wide range of talented actors given great parts, the cinematography is beautiful and, when necessary, utterly creepy. A success through and through. And, surprisingly, it's creepy factor continues to shine through with each subsequent viewing. Do yourself a favor: if you haven't had the privilege of checking out Trick 'r Treat yet, remedy that immediately. It's not Halloween without this film, nor...

1. Halloween, John Carpenter's original, and still, after 50+ times seeing it, helluva effective. Out of all the slashers in horror history (next to Ghostface), Michael Myers continues to freak me out yet fascinate me. His story is utterly compelling. I will watch this franchise through great times (Halloween 4) and bad times (Rob Zombie's Halloween II), because Michael Myers is the most interesting of killers. Ten movies later, and Michael Myers continues to be utterly frightening. All thanks to the 1978 original. Atmosphere. Score. Performances (within question; some of the girls are annoying as hell). Editing. Script. Lighting. Set design. Cinematography. Every element of filmmaking is used to extraordinary effect here, coming together to make a movie that is scary, is tense, is heart pounding. Words of love for Halloween is spread all around the blogosphere, so I'll limit to what I say to this: this is horror at its finest, and everyone owes it to themselves to see this before they die. This is the Birth of Evil right here, folks. And He ain't going away.

So now that I've listed my five mandatory Halloween films to watch, what are some of yours?

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